Uncorking “Corked: A Memoir” (The Kathryn Borel Interview)

Vinted on March 8, 2010 binned in book reviews, interviews, wine books

Reading Corked: A Memoir, you may find that you don’t much like author Kathryn Borel.  And it will probably have nothing to do with her being a Canadian (sorry, Canada… just poking fun at you because you won all of those Olympic hockey gold medals…).

She is, by her own fearless admission, not the best of traveling companions. Neither is her father, with whom she travels to some of France’s most famous wine regions in an attempt to connect more deeply with him while they still have time together on this planet.  Even a healthy proportion of the storied French wine producers that the Borel clan visit in Corked are portrayed as, to put it mildly, difficult.

Corked isn’t about wine appreciation, but it touches on the topic frequently and views it obliquely, as if through a funky, tilted lens; it circles the topic as if both wine and Kathryn were old cats in some new territory – familiar, but with a sense of fight-or-flight caution.  Let’s put it this way: Kathryn describes her new book (also her first) as being about “wine, France, my father, existential dread, and death.”  So you know the viewpoint on wine is going to be different.

As it turns out, wine plays a minor, but important, role in Kathryn’s sometimes hilarious, sometimes quirky, sometimes painful recounting of her journey through French wine country – at turns a vehicle for connectivity, and an insurmountable and intimidating barrier.

And it’s exactly because of that unique viewpoint that I was so stoked to read Corked and to interview its author (if you need further convincing of Kathryn’s unique view on life, just check out how she introduces Corked on video, or visit her craftily quirky – or is that quirkily crafty? – blog).

If Corked reveals a truth about the human condition, it’s that coming to a shared understanding as adults – to a place where we can truly appreciate one another – isn’t always as simple as sharing a glass of excellent vino; sometimes it takes a gut-wrenching rite of passage.  That probably mirrors the relationship some of us have with wine at one point or another in our lives.

Read on for the interview, which is mostly full of wine-related topics but, thanks to Kathryn, is totally full of awesome – just prepare to be entertained, a little moved, and a lot impressed by his woman…

Read the rest of this stuff »

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2010-03-06

Vinted on March 6, 2010 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 05 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Wild berry party spoiled by too much green, too little body, & too high a price tag $100 B #
  • 05 Freiherr Langwerth von Simmern Rauenthaler Baiken Riesling Spatlese (Rheingau): Stately, clean & just a *tiny* bit cloying. $40 A- #
  • 05 Wolffer Estate Claletto (Long Island): Fab Amarone-style Cab from stellar year. Focused black fruits = Awesome. VA = not-awesome $85 B+ #
  • 06 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir (Walker Bay): Would be lovely, if not for the prominent & nasty burnt tire & band-aid aromas. $37 D #
  • NV Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs Brut (Champagne): Red apples & baked bread launched at tasty velocity towards your taste buds. $42 A #
  • 02 Domaine Des Baumard Savennieres (Loire): Touch of honey & a lot of awesome. W/ that acid, this CB ain’t goin anywhere anytime soon. $30 A #
  • 08 Deerfield Ranch Los Chamizal Chardonnay (Sonoma Valley): Give it time & peach & apple will appear. So will the midpalate heat, tho $28 B- #
  • 06 Deerfield Ranch Red Rex (Sonoma County): Capable kitchen-sink red blend, but you’d better like black raspberry before attempting! $28 B- #
  • 09 Grey’s Peak Sauvignon Blanc (Waipara): Like a barrel full of monkeys. Monkeys made of lemongrass, limes, gooseberries & firm acids. $18 A #

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How To Make Money Writing About Wine (A Glimpse Into the 2010 Wine Writers Symposium)

Vinted on March 5, 2010 binned in wine blogging, wine industry events

This week, Alder Yarrow posted video coverage of the Wine Writing & Social Media panel discussion that he moderated at the most recent Wine Writers Symposium held in Napa.

I was fortunate to have attended the Symposium and to have sat in on the panel that Alder moderated.  It’s great to have the video captured for posterity, and in hindsight I’m not sure whether to laugh or to cry at the state of wine writing and its monetization possibilities.

In summary, there have probably never been so many challenges combined with so many potential opportunities when it comes to writing about wine and making any money while doing it.

The challenge is that, as we said in the panel discussion, “the genie is out of the bag” when it comes to free content and wine: people expect to be able to get high quality content about wine on the Internet, and pay nothing for it.  This is putting severe downward pressure on wine writing payment in general.

The opportunity is that the market for consuming information about wine has never been larger, and the price of entry is free, for now.  Personally, I fully expect that market to become saturated, after which it will become expensive to enter, and it won’t expand again for probably ten years.  If you want the details on that, well, you’re gonna have to watch my not-so-pretty face on the video!  Actually, fellow panelists Doug Cook, Steve Heimoff, and Patrick Comiskey make the video well worthwhile despite my inappropriately timed humor.

Would love to know your thoughts on this – please check out the video, and shout out in the comments; where is the future of wine writing and its monetization going?  To hell in a hand basket? Or soaring to new heights?

Cheers!

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