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Friday, February 15, 2013

Steve Heimoff doesn't like me...

Last week, Steve Heimoff wrote a book review of two new books. In the review, he accused Jancis Robinson and Linda Murphy of receiving money for placing labels in their soon-to-be-released American Wine. He also gets in a bit of name-calling as he says Robinson's name is "over-exposed," but that is not my fight to fight. Though I do not agree with is opinion of the content of the book, he is more than welcome to it. However, Heimoff seems content to only make mention the California regions he surrounds himself with, and I have to wonder (I’m just raising the question, not making any allegations) if Heimoff actually read the whole book. It is pretty sleezy to review a book without actually reading it.


Heimoff claims that there are no new interpretations or new innovative takes to be found in the book. That may be true, but the breadth of American Wine is what makes it a good book.What other book that covers the entire modern American wine industry devotes as much coverage to wines from Colorado, Michigan, or Virginia? Over half of the 8,000+ wineries in the U.S. are not in California and American Wine celebrates that fact. That is the new interpretation of the new world of wine we live in. People are starting to realize that there is wine made where they live that is worthy of drinking. People want to learn about wine from states that don’t border the Pacific Ocean.

Linda Murphy also commented on the post, scolding Heimoff for making wild accusations about how labels in the book were chosen. Heimoff did not so much as acknowledge either of our comments about his review. This is not a new thing for me. Ever since I called Heimoff out on the errors in his Pritchard Hill story for Wine Enthusiast, he has not responded to any of my comments on his blog. I can understand that he thinks I am beneath him and he wouldn't want to engage in a discussion with a simple blogger like me, but I figured that he'd at least respond to Linda Murphy. Nope, nothing for a week.

So yesterday, I posted another comment. Unfortunately, that comment has been erased from history by Heimoff. I really wish I had taken a screen shot before it was removed, but alas I didn't. What the comment said was something like this:

Steve, why do you fall silent when some criticize you? You seem to take pleasure in mocking Jancis Robinson and Antonio Galloni, yet when Linda Murphy or I call you out, you fail to respond. You made some pretty wild accusations about how Linda and Jancis chose labels for their book. Don't you think you owe Linda a response. And why are you falsely (and negatively) accusing them of doing something your magazine does? And I quote from the Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide, "Labels are paid promotions. Producers and importers are given the opportunity to submit labels, which are reproduced and printed along with tasting notes and scores. For information on label purchases, contact..." You are being quite hypocritical for accusing others of doing what your employer does on a regular basis. I hope (but doubt, as that is par for the Heimoff course) that you will now take the time to respond and explain yourself.

So that lived on the Internet for about an hour before Heimoff decided he wasn't up to the task of defending himself. I've now also been banned from posting on his blog. I rarely agree with what Steve has to say, but I admire his willingness to say what he thinks and to do it day in and day out. I know many others in the industry who feel the same way. I also valued my opportunity to attempt to engage him in a discussion/argument about the topic du jour. His blogging is one of the things that set himself apart from the other Ivory Tower critics of the wine world. Yet, Heimoff often rants against Robert Parker and the Wine Advocate (as he did yesterday, where he attempted to swoon and belittle wineries at the same time), but he sorely wants to be just like Parker. He dearly desires to have the same influence and power that Parker yields. One of the biggest complaints I've seen about Parker is that he silenced his critics on his online bulletin board. Heimoff is slowly getting what he wants (even if his reputation is not increasing they way he wants). The best part of the modern wine writing world is the ability to engage with each other. Heimoff has decided that silencing his critics, and going backwards at the same time, is more important than continuing down the path towards progress in democratizing wine. Oh, and did I mention that Steve Heimoff doesn't like me...?

25 comments:

  1. There was no pay-to-play here, speaking for our wineries. At all.

    Heidi Witherspoon, (Snake River Valley AVA/Idaho's Ste. Chapelle and Sawtooth Estate wineries) Precept Wine

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  2. I now consider myself in good company. I'm pretty sure Steve Heimoff doesn't like me.

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  3. Paul, but has he banned you from his site?

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  4. banned from posting on his blog? that's sad. I haven't seen your posts there, but you don't seem the type that would be tactless or inappropriate.
    I have to admit I don't read it anymore...too many of the 'wine' blogs are about anything but. I'd like wine writers to stick to writing about.....wine.

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  5. GDFO says...

    Maybe it is because you like sweet wines and don't put down new wine-drinkers who tend toward things like moscato d'asti. Perhaps your tatto is not cool enough.
    Oh! No! It is because you don't like Pinot Noirs that are over 14% a.c. Yes! Thats the ticket.

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  6. Paul--

    I have it on good authority that Steve thinks you are the salt of the earth. As for you, Kyle, well, we can't all be loved by all of the people all of the time.

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  7. Charlie, I never asked to be loved by Steve. I simply posted an opinion and question to Steve. It wasnt rude or inappropriate. He didn't have to answer, but he decided to remove it and not allow me to comment any more. I think that was rude and inappropriate.

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  8. Kyle--

    To be serious for a second, I am rarely in favor of deleting posts unless they are obnoxious spam or irrelevant and obnoxious. But, the point of discussion boards to me is discussion, and unless the discussion hits one of those "obnoxious" levels, it at least deserves to sit there.

    No one can or should feel obligated to respond to everything. In the early days, Steve responded to nothing, and I chided him for that. Then he started responding to everything and it got a little bit too "precious".

    Whether or not he responds to criticism is less of a concern for me. It a criticism is levelled and there is no response, then it stands there on its own uncontradicted.

    That is OK with me. Removing legitimate differences of opinion, however, is not something that I believe ought to happen.

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  9. Heimhoff who? Never heard of him.

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  10. @Charlie - thanks for the clarification. I often feel like I am at polar odds with him.

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    Replies
    1. Opposites attract... It's what makes an issue (or people) whole... two sides to every story, etc. It makes for good discussions.

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  11. Kyle,

    I appreciated your comments on Steve Heimoff's blog regarding American Wine, which piqued my interest. My guess is that Steve was least impressed by the book's coverage of the California wine regions he is most familiar with, as he seldom comments on wines made elsewhere. As far as Jancis Robinson goes, it is hard to believe that she would be able to complete two enormous books so close together - American Wine and Wine Grapes - in addition to her many other activities. That said, and despite Heimoff's comments, I have since ordered my own copy of American Wine.

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  12. I always thought Steve hated everyone except for a chosen few. As for removing your comment, unacceptable.

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    Replies
    1. Steve doesn't have hate in his heart...

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    2. Jo, Steve certainly has a strong dislike for many people...

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  13. "Blogs and bulletin boards are supposed to be back-and-forths, right? I mean, a New Age kind of thing about participatory journalism, a digital conversation between bloggers and commenters, no more top-down Voices of Authority, but instead a dialogue of equals. Right? Or so I’m told. When a blogger or bulletin board host slams the door in a commenter’s face, that seems more Old Journalism than New, a digital version of Never make war against someone who buys ink by the barrel. Shouldn’t be done. Makes the site look like it has something to protect." - Steve Heimoff 4/16/2009

    I couldn't have said it better, Steve. (my, how things have changed...)

    Here's the URL for the post on steveheimoff.com from which that quote came:

    http://www.steveheimoff.com/index.php/2009/04/16/when-should-a-blogger-delete-a-comment-or-thread/

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  14. This is kinda his standard way of doing things. He seems to have gone the route of creating negative articles to spark views, and then amazingly, doesn't reply to comments or allow many comments to be posted. I gave up reading his stuff a while ago.

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  15. Replies
    1. I've since tried commenting and they haven't been posted... Oh well.

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    2. Guess he won't be trying any Anemoi wines anytime soon. Not that he would in the first place.

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  16. Steve's writing rarely interests me, ditto for his personality, or at least what I pick up from his writing. I understand your frustration based on the circumstances you mention in your post, and I wish he'd respond to you. That said, I can't help but pick up on some the petty and mopey aura of this post. Knock back a glass and move on from personal squabbling.

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  17. IJB, I'm over it. I obviously could not get an answer from Steve on his site, so I wrote this here. Seems that people are interested in the fact that Steve was unwilling to respond to me. I've got nothing against Steve.

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