A hearty shout-out to Randy and Kaz, the hosts of the excellent KVSY radio program and on-line podcast Wine Biz Radio, were very kind in mentioning and discussing my recent post on how to better appreciate wine despite the light-speed pace of how we consumers tend to evaluate our purchases these days. The WBR podcast also includes an in-studio interview with August Sebastiani, and a phone interview with uber-social media man Gary Vaynerchuk to discuss his best-seller book Crush It – so it’s worth a listen even if you have no interest in what they they had to say about my recent article (of course, if you have no interest in what they had to say about my recent article then I’d seriously question why you’re spending any time reading this article, but hey, it’s your time…).
The podcast is titled Leaving The Nest, in reference to the Sebastiani boys going out on their on in terms of their wine brands, but I found it eerily suitable to the short discussion that Kaz and Randy had about my post. Randy called it “the best wine blog post ever” – a bit too superlative, even for me, but I was honored and touched by the sentiment. Especially considering that I almost didn’t run the article because I felt I didn’t quite catch the vibe and continuity in it that I was aiming for – so it almost became a throwaway piece.
Leaving The Nest – that really sums up how I feel after publishing the posts on the virtual pages of 1WineDude.com, because I never really know where the conversation is going to lead after an article has gone live. And I love that. I love that I could never, ever predict a reaction like Randy’s, or the types of challenges, stories, anecdotes, questions, and insights that I consistently read from the comments made by 1WineDude readers. By people like YOU.
Honestly, it’s the dialog with you that keeps me going on this blog. That and the opportunity to drink nice wine while outlaying the smallest amount of cash possible.
I mean, I try to respond to as many comments as I can, because the main difference between wine blogging and printed wine media is the fact that no article is “finished” when it’s posted on a blog – it’s a discussion, and evolution in which you take part and in which your role is essential to teasing out the most interesting aspects. It’s an aspect that is impossible in printed media, it’s what makes blogging unique, and it turns an otherwise “finished” statement into a jazz composition – I lay out the framework, and you guys and gals add the solos, the tempo and key changes; YOU are the ones who really make it come alive.
So, whenever you get the chance this week, when you’re sipping some wine with dinner or are out at a bar with friends, let’s raise a glass together – Here’s to the opportunity to continue to make kick-ass, beautiful wine blogging music with you for a long time to come!
Meet the New Boss
Same as the Old Boss
– Pete Townshend, Won’t Get Fooled Again
I get a lot of wine samples (and no, I have not yet properly pimped out my wine storage to accommodate them all). I know that many of you (because you’ve told me) hate it when I say that, because supposedly this is some sort of wonderful problem to have. However, that position is based on two assumptions that generally are totally wrong:
- The wine samples are primarily for my enjoyment.
- The wine samples are primarily very good wine (or, alternatively, the wine samples primary purpose is to keep me intoxicated).
The fact of the matter is that neither are true (the samples are for evaluation and most of them are not ‘knock-yer-socks-off’ good), so I don’t buy the argument that I’m a dick for discussing issues I might have with keeping up with wine samples (I could buy alternative arguments for why I’m a dick, however). I’m not going to complain if a winery producing limited amounts of excellent wine sends me a sample or two, because I know that most of you (because you told me) want me to write about those wines. But, in reflection of the wine market in general, those ‘special’ wines reflect maybe 2% of the samples sent to me.
I’m telling you this because, if my sample profile is any indication, the wine market is focusing on budget/value, and targeting the general wine consumer using low price points. Common sense would suggest that, in this time of economic meltdown challenge, the focus on producing budget wine is a logical new development in the wine market.
Logical conclusion, but wrong…
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As much as social media wine wizards and millennials rail against established wine media, most of them (myself included) share with those ‘old media’ types a similar and mistake-prone approach to wine evaluation and appreciation.
And that is, the rapid-fire assessment, review, and perfunctory judgment of any given wine. We are judge, jury and executioner of the glass’ contents, often within the span of two minutes.
We see this happen all the time – in fact in some cases (like certain Twitter Taste Live events, or the “speed dating” wine blogging at the Wine Bloggers Conference), it’s encouraged and necessary. I often participate in and have grown to love those events, provided that we don’t take them too seriously.
And we shouldn’t take them seriously, at least as far as true wine appreciation is concerned. Why? Because every glass of wine, from the pedestrian to the sublime, is speaking to you, trying to tell you something about itself – you need only take the actual time to listen to it.
In the case of many wines made in the ‘Old World’ style (what my compadre Randall Grahm calls Modernist), where typicity of place and nuanced complexity are the goals, that message may be “Come back later.” New World (Postmodernist) wines usually (and probably unfairly) fare better in rapid-fire evaluation scenarios, precisely because they more often offer their treasures quickly and liberally – “Hey! Over here! I’m talkin’ to YOU!”
In a globally-connected, information-based economy like ours, we are progressively programmed with positive reinforcement to spend as little time as possible on something – in fact, we’re rewarded for doing many things at once, and the more quickly we can shove them into the same time slot, the better.
The trouble is, if you want to appreciate wine fully, you need to dump the Speed Racer + Multitasking Pro persona. Pronto…
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I’m not usually at a loss for words (and I suspect that the condition is temporary and will wear off in a few nanoseconds), but my reaction to 1WineDude.com winning Best Wine Blog in the Foodbuzz.com Blog Awards is… uhmm…. WOW! And THANK YOU. Thank you to Foodbuzz, to all of the people who took the time out to nominate and vote for the blog, and to you for putting up with me for so long! Fellow nominee, ‘friend of the Dude’ and all-around wine blogging powerhouse Dr. Vino was voted “blogger you would most want to be your personal sommelier” (the other wine-related awards category).
I was quite surprised when I found out that 1WineDude was even nominated (which I’d discovered after voting had already started, upon visiting the site to vote for a friend’s blog in another category). In fact, I didn’t even know that there was a Best Wine Blog category in the awards at first. I was both amazed and humbled to have been nominated at all, and the competition was stiffer than the wooden staves that go into vats of el-cheapo American Chardonnay. So I’m also amazed and humbled to have won.
I’m not gonna get all ‘Dick Cheney re-elected’ on you and say it’s a ‘clear mandate from the people’ in support of taking wine seriously but not taking yourself too seriously, and I don’t want to make more out of the honor than it should be, but winning this award did give me a few seconds of serious pause, because Foodbuzz.com seems to be a pretty big friggin’ deal right now (at least in the U.S.).
I was fortunate enough to have been contacted by Foodbuzz.com early in their development, as part of their Featured Publishers program, and I’ve watched them build a (very) large community of (very) talented foodies in a (very) short amount of time. Their success is actually a bit staggering – Foodbuzz.com now gets millions of visits every month. Their reach is, in a word, enormous (and it’s still growing).
Anyway, following is a snippet of the internal dialog going on in my head during that few seconds of serious pause (FSSP):
Me: Maybe 1WineDude.com really is making a difference in the world of wine and helping people to take an emboldened approach a potentially daunting topic? I suppose that stranger things have happened, right?
Me2: You mean like three wine critics and one Japanese cartoon driving a massive amount of wine spending dollars worldwide. Also, why are you using words like ‘emboldened’ and ‘daunting’ when you’re talking to yourself? No one should use 15th century words when they’re talking to themselves.
Me: Good points. Jerk.
During the FSSP, I did contemplate taking a more serious approach on the virtual pages of the blog, now that I can officially call 1WineDude “award winning.” Fortunately, that didn’t last very long.
I have one regret about of this this – I wasn’t able to make the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival, which by all accounts appears to have been a huge success (both Randall Grahm and fellow nominee Alder Yarrow had good things to say about the event while it was unfolding via twitter). I plan on doing everything that I can to make the trip for next year’s event.
Congrats to all of the winners – it’s definitely worth checking out the other Foodbuzz Blog Award winners, especially if you’re a foodie-at-heart; there’s some really impressive blogging happening there.