Articles Tagged wine publications
A friend of mine – Elaine Brown of Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews – recently sent me a note indicating that another friend of mine (David White of Terroirist) and I were mentioned in an online article over at FirstWeFeast.com that was written by yet another friend of mine, Jonathan Cristaldi.
Yeah, the wine world is kind of small like that.
Anyway, the article is titled “10 Dirty Secrets of Wine (That Nobody Wants to Talk About)” and it makes for a fascinating, funny, and at times kooky read about some revealing but less-than-glamorous aspects of the wine trade in general (my personal favorite from the list, which is funny although it sells many bartenders seriously short: “Bartenders and mixologists don’t give a shit about wine”).
The item in which we’re mentioned is “Wine critics aren’t necessarily more qualified than bloggers,” which I am quoting below so you can get up to speed quickly:
If we drew a line in the sand and asked established Wine Critics (capital C) to stand on one side, and amateur wine bloggers (lowercase b) to stand on the other, we’d immediately expose an ongoing war of credentials—one which leaves its bloodied tracks on bitter comment threads around the Internet.
Wine bloggers are correct in assuming that many notable critics have bypassed formal beverage industry education in lieu of “life experiences.” They take great pleasure in declaring that major critics are class-act bullshit artists—the likes of Robert M. Parker Jr. (a lawyer and self-taught wine guru), James Suckling (an undergraduate tennis pro with a graduate degree in journalism), and Eric Asimov (the nephew of author Isaac Asimov, with an undergrad degree in “American Civilization”).
Still, the relationship between the two camps is complicated. When the Critic unleashes a bad score or expounds on the subject of natural wines, wine bloggers will heap waves of tyrannical expletives upon them—but only behind closed doors. Put those same bloggers in front of the venerable Critic, and you’ll see them whimper in admiration and jealousy.
The Critic is well aware of this duality, and several of these esteemed scribes take great pleasure in lashing out against people they consider to be amateur fluff writers. In truth, many amateur wine bloggers are anything but amateur, having earned legit credentials from industry-lauded institutions like the Wine, Spirits & Education Trust (WSET), the Society of Wine Educators, or The Guild of Sommeliers, and many of them contribute articles to the very publications that major Critics write for — folks like Joe Roberts of 1 Wine Dude; David White, who founded and edits a daily wine blog called Terroirist; Elaine Chukan Brown of Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews; and many others.
Does formal education trump life experience? Do professionals owe it to their readers to earn a formal degree? Who, then, is rightfully deserving of the title “Critic”?
There are a whooooole lotta worms in the can that JC opened up there…
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My feature on the wines of the Greek isle of Crete is now available in the August 2014 issue of SOMM Journal.
That twenty-two word sentence belies what has to be one of the longest paths to seeing something published that I’ve ever had to walk.
Not that the folks at SOMM Journal / Tasting Panel were difficult to deal with; far from it (they have been a pleasure to work with, actually). And I loved getting to know the folks from Crete (and I was doubly-lucky in that I got to work with them this year in helping them present their wines and discuss their island’s native varieties at stops in both NYC and D.C.). It was everything that happened in-between and en route to working with those folks that required this article to be resurrected, phoenix-like.
Let’s just say this was not a quick route to publication, and I learned a valuable lesson in tenacity by pursuing this one. I was prepared to indulge myself in a litany recounting of the simple 4,422-step process constituting the in-between and en route, but I’ll spare you (you’re welcome).
The Cliff Notes version: I was originally “on assignment” with the Crete article for Sommelier Journal, after agreeing the concept with the then head honcho of the mag, during the 2012 Drink Local Wine conference (held that year in Colorado). Except about a year later, that that mag suddenly folded. Happily, Tasting Panel mag took it over, re-branded it as SOMM Journal, and was interested in the story…
Alright, so I lied about sparing you the litany.
Anyway, my Cretan sojourn bore additional tasty content fruit, by way of an interview with one of the island’s next-generation wine family members, and some thoughts for the Answers.com gig on three Cretan producers who are doing cool stuff.
The new SOMM Journal issue is worth checking out just for the map of Crete that Tasting Panel deputy editor Jonathan Cristaldi put together to include with my piece (see inset pic, which I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing, because it’s oozing with awesome).
“All your wine media are belong to us!” And you thought you were safe from me in the wine print world, didn’t you? Not so fast, jerky!
One of the wine biz print publications that is isn’t going totally broke (and in fact appears to be going strong as both an on- and off-line force in wine media) is Wine Business Monthly. I’m happy to report that I’ve got an article in this month’s issue, sexily titled “Concrete Vat Innovation in Argentina: New troncoconic concrete vat design said to give wine more character and rounder mouthfeel.”
I can just feel your nipples hardening at the mere mention of trococonic vats!
Okay, not really.
But for a lot of people making wine, this kind of tech innovation is a fun (though very geeky-technical) read. Anyway, I’m happy to have had an opportunity to contribute to WBM, and it was fun trying to surreptitiously inject my gonzo style ever so slightly into a piece of technical writing.
The idea for the article had a circuitous route to my conscious brain. After judging in the 2013 Argentina Wine Awards, I had the pleasure of re-visiting Zuccardi‘s estate, and catching up with the affable Sebastián Zuccardi (a fellow judge at the Awards, and one of the winemaking sons of Director José Alberto Zuccardi).
During our tour, after marveling at the nigh-endless stream of trucks delivering grapes to fuel their massive operation, I asked Sebastián if we could get an update on their experimental winery-within-a-winery that I’d first seen back in 2011. Sebastián was pretty eager – and all smiles – in showing me what they’d been up to there over the two years since I first visited (but then, Sebastián is pretty eager and all smiles about most things).
Turns out that Zuccardi had been pretty busy little innovators in that interim, during which they’d been perfecting the design on new concrete vats that Sebastián is convinced greatly improve the mouthfeel of some of their wines. I’m inclined to agree, having tasted the promising results. I took some notes, snapped a few pictures, and asked the WBM editors if they were interested, which they were.
To find out more about the Zuccardi’s long-standing love affair with concrete, and to get your winemaking geek on, go read the WBM article!
Looks like I’m far from the only one with a penchant for interviewing rock stars about their vinous habits: the Winter 2011 issue of Guitar Aficionado has been dubbed “The Wine Issue” with interviews with wine-making and wine-collecting rockers – and it prominently features a (pretty cool) guitar-shaped decanter on the cover (see inset pic).
According to the GA website:
“In Guitar Aficionado’s Winter 2011 issue, we bring you the rockers, vintners, and oenophiles that celebrate the grape. Rush’s esteemed guitar and bass duo, Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee, discuss their decades-long love affair with the world’s finest wines; the Police’s Andy Summers talks wine and guitars; celebrated vintner and guitarist Paul Gargiulo says there’s a little music in every bottle that leaves his idyllic estate; and Tool’s Maynard James Keenan and Daytona drive’s Scott Pruett tell tales of their winemaking ventures.
The issue also features articles on the wine tourism opportunities in Chile, as well as wine-and-music pairings by celebrity restaurateur / vintner Joe Bastianich (whose line-up of wines are generally pretty darn good, by the way).
Might just have to go get myself a copy of that, even if it does celebrate an instrument with at least one too many strings on it…
By the way, if you’re looking for rock star wine-related interviews, we got some right here: