Wined Down: Pinot, Sex, And Getting Even With The Wine Biz

Vinted on October 31, 2012 binned in Wined Down (

You’d think that when you gather wine lovers into one conference area with the promise of imbibing a lot of vino in short order, they’d have little over which to argue. But that’s not the case when Sideways (and its follow-up Vertical) author Rex Pickett is also in the same conference area.

Pickett’s keynote/interview at the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference was the very stuff of divisiveness, garnering mostly either kudos for his brashness, or derision for his healthy sense of himself and his own abilities. Few seemed to sit somewhere in the middle, as I did when I described Pickett’s WBC talk as “equal parts comedy, narcissism, and brilliance” (which, incidentally, a winemaker in attendance told me seemed an apt description of wine blogging in general – ah, perhaps Rex reflected us too well?).

Anyone who attended that session at WBC12 knows that Pickett is at best uncensored, at worst a bit nuts, and probably entertaining, which is why I decided to interview him for my gig. Pickett and I had a lengthy conversation over Skype, during which he was a slightly-more-relaxed but just-as-incendiary and amicable version of the guy who drove such strong reactions at WBC12. Which is why you might want to read what he had to tell me about his new book, Pinot Noir, sex, and getting even with the wine and publishing businesses.

But then, you’ll only be reading the parts that I thought wouldn’t get slapped with a lawsuit – Rex is nothing if not open, and he was happy to name names when we spoke. Since I don’t want to 1WD to get slapped with any lawsuits, either, I’ll refrain from quoting those bits here, but if you want to ply me with beer and wine in person I might spill the beans off the record…


p.s. – If you’re wondering where the Halloween post is, you’ll find that here.





  • Tom

    I was one of the people who thought Pickett went way off the rails at WBC, that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing except that I was waiting for something I could use from the discussion (other than not actively slamming people in a public talk). In your interview with him, though, the struggle to get publised makes me undestand a little better his apparent I'll say whatever the f^&* I want to attitude, since he doesn't feel beholden to anyone. But I did get one other useful nugget, the idea that writing in the first person amplifies the reader's experience of whatever they author is describing. Good to know..

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Tom. I can understand that reaction, he was rambling and maybe even a bit offensive in that talk, but that's *him*. Basically, what I gathered is that there's no on/off switch, with Rex Pickett you get what you get and it's 100% Rex.

  • masi3v

    I was certainly in the middle at WBC12–the guy seemed to me to be everything you described, but that is decidedly his issue, not mine, so why get all worked up about it? I tried to chat him up at an after party and he just seemed odd and insecure–again, not trying to judge, just making an observation. It underscored for me that even though he is 'famous' it does not appear that he has a lot of 'good' or 'easy' days….

    • 1WineDude

      Masi3v – yeah, exactly. He's not doing poorly, but he's not living on easy street, either.

  • Richard Auffrey

    I enjoyed the book Sideways but Vertical was very disappointing. It seemed so unrealistic, more the fantasy of some horny nerd who thinks he will get laid so much once he publishes a cool book. Generally, writers are not rock stars and don''t have tons groupies. It was too much of a stretch to think that Miles is now this major chick magnet just because he wrote a wine book. Sideways was an homage to Pinot, while Vertical was an homage to Viagara. I have nothing against sex in books. But I would prefer it to be more realistic.

    • 1WineDude

      Richard- well, if I'm not mistaken there's a threesome at IPNC in that book… that one is definitely a stretch! :)

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