Articles Tagged shelby vittek
[ Editor’s note: Following is a guest post that involves two long-time friends of 1WD, the former unpaid 1WD intern Shelby Vittek, and local Philly boy wine educator Jason Wilson. Shelby recently worked with Jason on Planet of the Grapes, a series of releases about wine that are targeted to Millennials (I have no affiliation with PotG, apart from it being an excuse for us to get back in touch with both Jason and Shelby here on 1WD). Here’s Shelby’s take on the PotG series, and here Q&A with Jason. Enjoy! ]
What does wine education for Millennials look like? Surely, we’ve all been continually bashed over the head with the reminder to reach out to the younger generation through social media. And yes, you obviously need to approach us differently than you did our parents’ generation. But once you do that, how do you reinforce which bottles we should be reaching for?
A new digital series of wine guides called Planet of the Grapes, written by Jason Wilson (my editor over at Table Matters and author of the very entertaining spirits book Boozehound), just might be the answer. Since the end of my reign as the Young, Unpaid Shelby in April, I’ve been helping Jason pull together the first volume of the series, “Alternative Reds.” And despite being written by a Gen Xer, I think it has a lot to offer the youngest group of wine drinkers — a fresh perspective on a wine scene dominated with advice for older generations.
As some 1WD readers might recall, I’m a huge advocate of studying abroad in a wine shop to find exciting bargain bottles. And in “Alternative Reds,” Jason offers similar advice, recommending a handful of lesser-known or off-the-beaten-path grape varieties and regions that are actually affordable. These wines, like Morellino di Scansano, Petite Sirah, Dolcetto, or the reds of Southwest France, are a far cry from the Napa Cabs or Merlots our parents grew up cultivating. And because it’s available electronically, the book can be read and accessed virtually anywhere on our handy smart phones. I know I’ve pulled it up on my iPhone in a wine shop several times to look up specific bottle recommendations since the book’s release in August.
But the new series is more than just a guide to which hip, undiscovered wines us millennials should seek out. Included in the bunch is a free (my favorite word to hear) download of “When Wine Talk Get’s Weird,” [ Editor’s note: also available as a $0.99 Kindle stand-alone download ]a longer essay that reinforces how our tastes continue to evolve as we learn more about wine. Combined with entertaining stories and an approachable narrative, Jason’s whole approach to Planet of the Grapes assures the younger generation that learning about wine doesn’t have to be an overwhelming exercise. We’re allowed to adventure through the world of wine however we’d like, and we’re allowed to have fun doing it…
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Last month, I had the sad duty of bidding farewell to Shelby Vittek, who most of you know as “The Young Unpaid Shelby,” the 1WD intern. Shelby’s official internship (the actually-earning-university-credits part) concluded at the end of March. Everyone in Roberts HQ has been sad to see her go, most palpably my daughter who literally hung herself around Shelby’s right leg, mockingly begging her not to leave.
Only a few weeks removed from having Shelby around to help out, and I can say that I wish I’d grabbed the other leg and begged her to stay. From cataloging samples and finally making sense out of the sample pool mess that had taken over my basement, to working directly with Google on performing the technical legwork required for setting up The Punch Down show, to performing research that made its way into several articles across all my various gigs, Shelby totally crushed it as an intern. So much so that we’re discussing opportunities to keep her on in some (hopefully paying) capacity, along with the occasional guest post.
Which is, I think, where Shelby really shone during her 1WD tenure: behind the keyboard. Her guest posts were stellar, her writing chops are impressive, and I can tell you that she’s bright when it comes to yielding knowledge of the wine world (so much so that her smarties outshine some people that I know who involved in the business and are twice her age).
All of which is another way of saying that if you’re in the biz and are reading this, you ought to seriously consider this young woman if you’ve got a job opening requiring great communication skills combined with practical wine knowledge and a drive to continuously improve on both.
Now that I’ve given you my commercial for Shelby’s professional value-add, we can talk about the fun stuff: namely, wines that she picked to serve during her send-off dinner…
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We continue to live by the motto “Go Big Or Go Home” when it comes to guests for The Punch Down show (if you missed March’s guest – Gary Vaynerchuk, finally coming back to talk about wine – then get your butt to the video and get caught up), and it’s with great pleasure that we will host wine industry icon Jancis Robinson for Episode Four next week, April 2 at 1PM ET!
A Master of Wine since 1984, Jancis has authored over 25 books on wine, including The Oxford Companion to Wine (the hefty text that serves as the number one resource for WSET Diploma students), and the more recent (but equally weighty) tome, Wine Grapes – A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours.
Jancis has garnered nearly as many awards as there are grape varieties profiled in her latest book – she was Decanter Magazine Woman of the Year (UK) in 1999, won the Grand Award at the Society of Wine Educators in Sacramento in 2009, and in 2011 was voted third most powerful person in wine by Decanter.com.
I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with Jancis a bit, and I think the best way to give you a glimpse into her personality is to recount the exchange we had when we first met (at an event in Portugal a couple of years ago; you know, in the time before Interest). It sent something like this: Jancis walked up to me and said: “Hello! I had to introduce myself, you’re ‘The Dude,’ aren’t you?” To which I replied, “Ohhhh, no, that is not how this introduction is going down. You’re awesome, and I’m just a bug!”
Jancis could probably be forgiven if she decided to put on airs and offer ivory tower pronouncements about what wines we all ought to be buying. She’s taken exactly the opposite approach, however, embracing social media full-tilt and engaging with wine lovers directly in two-way on-line dialog, as well as pouring much of her efforts into her online presence at JancisRobinson.com.
So… think we’ll have much to talk about? Follow along at http://www.1winedude.com/thepunchdown/ for details, and as always hit us up with questions beforehand.
See you on April 2!
[ Editor’s note: following is the third guest post from the 1WD intern: the young, unpaid Shelby Vittek, who many of you will recall really shook things up with her first 1WD article (and continued that trend with her second). You can check out more of Shelby’s wine writing work at TableMatters.com, and find her on twitter at @BigBoldReds. You’re of course encouraged to chime in and let us know what you think (but keep things civil, you opinionated b*stards!). Enjoy! ]
Have you ever wanted to know what kinds of wines make up 1WineDude’s cellar? What exactly constitutes the mass of media samples he gets shipped every week? Where do they come from and exactly how many bottles are waiting to be opened and reviewed?
I used to wonder. But that was long before I spent months sorting through the endless boxes of wine samples in the cellar. In October, I bravely—and perhaps somewhat stupidly—agreed to take on the massive project of cataloguing and organizing them all. I had watched this episode of 1WineDude TV, (cut to 3:25) where I got my first preview of the mountain of boxes, but really had no idea how big of a challenge I had signed up for. At the start of my “internship,” I was prepared to personally catalogue maybe a couple hundred, 500 bottles at the most, and thought I’d finish the project within four or five weeks.
Yet here we are, over four months and 820 bottles later, and I’m just finally able to announce that every single wine has been accounted for and its details entered into a tracking spreadsheet. Of course, this number is bound to change the next time I hear the doorbell ring and am met with five more shipments of samples. But for now, the cataloging chaos has calmed, and my “wine friends” (as 1WD’s daughter calls them) have a slightly more organized home.
To celebrate the end of a huge undertaking—even if momentarily—I want to share with you some intimate details of the wines I’ve had my hands all over for months, as well as some things that surprised, perplexed, or disappointed me…
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