Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's on the Internet, so it must be true!

One of the stories making the rounds in the digital winesphere is about a recent segment on the Canadian radio show This is That. The segment featured two Canadian wine producers from the Okanagan Valley and the Niagara region. The host began by asking his guests what makes Canadian wine so good. From that point on, the two guests attacked and disparaged each other (and denounced innocent New Hampshire's wine industry in the process). The Sean Connery-esque Daniel Semple even quipped that the Okanagan pinot noir brought by the other guest "may have just been some garbage." At that point, physical violence ensued.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Crossing the Border Guards

Wine appellations fascinate me because my of my interest and background in geography. I often feel like the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding because I think almost everything has its roots in geography (I mean, describing the phenomena of the Earth is what geography is...). In particular, American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs for short, really intrigue me. Not because they are great in and of themselves, but that they reveal the cultural and political aspects of wine appellations more readily than those in Europe. And yes, culture and politics are just as geographical at heart as soil and climate.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Taste of Vail preview...

Wine festivals aren't my favorite events. They are usually crowded and impersonal. I have gone to a few Colorado specific festivals for pleasure and for work in the past. I have not had the pleasure of attending either of the two big ones in Colorado, Aspen Food & Wine and Taste of Vail. Sadly, I usually think of them as they are happening, and in the case of Aspen cannot afford the high entry fee. I was invited as media to Taste of Vail last year, but was not able to attend. I will put it on my calendar because it seems to offer a variety of wine events that don't seem to encourage the drunk fest of just a big tasting.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Colorado wineries earn two prestigious Jefferson Cup awards (yet again...)

For the sixth year in a row, a Colorado wine earned a Jefferson Cup. The Jefferson Cup Invitational competition honors the best of the best among wineries from all of America’s wine regions. Each year Doug Frost, one of only four people on the planet to hold both the Master Sommelier and Master of Wine credentials, invites wines from across America to enter, whereas most other wine competitions are dominated by entries from California. Jefferson Cups were awarded to wines made from both Vitis vinifera grapes (a European species responsible for most famous wines such as Chardonnay and Cabernet) and non-vinifera varieties, which flourish in the more extreme climates in the center portion of the U.S. I am hopeful that the frontenac and vignoles (non-vinifera hybrids) vines in my backyard survive the record cold temperatures we experienced, yet again, a few weeks ago along the Front Range of Colorado! I actually had a crop of frontenac this past fall, but waited one day too long to harvest because the birds got to them before I did.

This year, seven Colorado wineries earned a total of 28 medals from the fifteenth annual competition. Bookcliff Vineyards took home their fourth Jefferson Cup for their 2013 Malbec and repeated the honor they earned the previous two years! The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey's 2012 Merlot Reserve was also a Jefferson Cup Winner for the first time. Other Colorado wineries that were invited and garnered awards in 2014 were Anemoi Wines, Boulder Creek Winery, Canyon Wind Cellars, and Grande River Vineyards. Colorado's past Jefferson Cup winning wines include Boulder Creek Winery's VIP Reserve (2010), Bookcliff Vineyards' 2009 Petite Sirah (2010), Canyon Wind Cellars' 2009 Petit Verdot (2011), Bookcliff Vineyards' 2010 Ensemble (2012), and Bookcliff Vineyards' 2011 Cabernet Franc Reserve (2013).

In total, thirty-eight prestigious Jefferson Cups were awarded. The competition had representation of the best of what every quality wine producing region in the country is offering right now, including representation from California, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington. States that won Jefferson Cups included Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota (yes, North Dakota makes wine...), Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

Monday, November 17, 2014

What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it, unless...

...you sell wine in California. A few weeks ago, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) cracked down on a few small wine and beer producers because they tweeted (well, actually retweeted) information about a retailer's (Save Mart) event that featured their products. What's wrong with that, you might ask? Don't most businesses want to inform their customers where their products can be purchased?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Matt Kramer got it wrong about bullies who put down wine

Without wine lore, and wine tasting, and wine talk, and wine labels, and, yes, wine writing and rating—the whole elaborate idea of wine—we would still get drunk, but we would be merely drunk. The language of wine appreciation is there not because wine is such a special subtle challenge to our discernment but because without the elaborate language—without the idea of wine, held up and regularly polished—it would all be about the same, or taste that way. —Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

Two days ago, in Wine Spectator, Matt Kramer penned a polemic against nameless skeptics of the sensory value of wine. In Kramer's defense, he attempted to use an article by Adam Gopnik (yes, I misspelled his name (twice) in a comment over on the Jackson Family Wines blog, and for that I apologize) in the The New Yorker as evidence this anti-intellectualism bullying. The problems with him basing his condemnation on Gopnik's article are twofold. First, the article is more than ten years old. If you haven't read it, I strongly suggest that you do so. Yes, it reads as if it were written yesterday (or maybe tomorrow) and that is the sign of a good writer. But nevertheless it was written at a different point along the wine industry continuum and was actually an editorial on the 2004 state of wine prompted by William Echikson's book, Noble Rot. Second, and more important, Kramer completely missed the point of Gopnik's article. Kramer chose to quote Gopnik out of context. He should have started his article with the full quote that I've provided above. Gopnik actually accomplished what Kramer was attempting to do by making the case that wine talk and wine description are an integral "part of what lets the experience happen."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Great American Beer Fest Kicks off

Tonight is a big night in the alcohol beverage world: The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) kicks off this evening in Denver, CO. I don't limit my description to just the beer industry because the wine and spirits industries should be taking note of what the Brewers Association accomplishes this week. GABF represents the largest public tasting of U.S. beer, and an actually meaningful competition.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What is a Farm Winery?

A few weeks ago, the New York Department of Agriculture announced a decision aimed at helping farm wineries recover from the devastating Arctic Vortex event this past winter. This year, New York's farm wineries will be allowed to use out-of-state fruit to make their wines. Farm wineries in New York, by definition, must use 100% New York-grown fruit. Now, that may sound a bit draconian, but vintners have the choice of applying for a regular winery license or the more restrictive (and much cheaper) farm winery license. In addition to requiring 100% NY fruit, farm wineries are restricted to the amount of product they can sell. However, a farm winery may also "manufacture, bottle and sell fruit juice, fruit jellies and fruit preserves, tonics, salad dressings and unpotable wine sauces." Farm wineries can also operate "branch offices" (aka, tasting rooms).

Monday, August 11, 2014

Grape Collective's SpeakEasy

I've been out of town and away from computers for the better part of two weeks. I returned to my ancestral lands (Wisconsin) for a week of sun and boating. And yes, I ate lots of cheese and drank lots of Wisconsin beer. I should also note that I stopped at Upstream Brewing Company in Omaha and Empyrean Brewing Company in Lincoln on the journey to and from Cheeseheadland for some tasty Nebraskan beer. Perhaps my favorite find of the trip was a fantastic dinner (with Colombian and Venezuelan beer) at La Taguara in Madison. The food was just delicious and authentic. If you find yourself in Madison, go and thank me later.

Even though I had a beer bottle in my hand most of the time, wine was still on my mind. While away, Grape Collective published an interview with me for their get-to-know-a-wine-blogger series, SpeakEasy. Check out the interview here, and I should be able to update the blog here in the near future! 


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dr. Oldman won't shut up about the Wine Bloggers Conference

Forgive me. I tried to talk him out of it, but he was insistent on chiming in again on the Wine Bloggers Conference.

Oh boy did I miss out by not attending the Wine Bloggers Conference this year. I saw a few bloggers complain about one of the sessions that was dubbed the, "grand-fatherly white male traditional print writer" session. That sounds like the perfect seminar to me, so I investigated a little more. Turns out that there was a second session dedicated to other older white male experts! Hot diggity! I was totally off in my initial assessment. Earlier this week, I watched a Youtube video of another seminar at the Wine Blogger's Conference titled, "How the Pros Taste." Oh, this gem could have been simply titled, "How to be Professional." I expect well-organized workshops at the Frontiers of Computational Physics Conference (which by the way is in Zurich next June if you're interested), but not at a conference devoted to the lowly art of blogging.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dr. Harry Oldman on the Wine Bloggers Conference

With the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference wrapping up over the weekend, I heard from Dr. Harry Oldman, my extern. I was actually looking forward to attending this year, but my wife was in Panama for a conference and I had to stay home with Ben. Having never attended a WBC, I don't have a whole lot to say about the event, but Dr. Oldman was insistent on chiming in. I know I shouldn't give the crotchety old guy the attention he wants, but I suppose everyone is entitled to their opinions.

So, apparently the Wine Bloggers Conference was held this past weekend in Santa Barbara County. I don't consider myself a blogger (more of a human chameleon that can become a master at whatever I choose), so the big event wasn't on my calendar. You know how I found out about the conference? I saw it all over the news. ABC, CNN, FOX and NBC all picked up on the story. It was all Bill O'Reilly and Brian Williams were talking about over the weekend. Even Wine Spectator published a special issue on the conference that arrived this morning.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Listening and responding to customers...

Yesterday saw the release of a new California sparkling wine called Under the Wire. Haven't heard of it? That's not surprising considering that the release of its initial two wines totaled 120 cases. The new winery is brought to you by Morgan Twain-Peterson and Chris Cottrell, both of slightly more recognized Bedrock Wine Co. Bedrock is known for producing an array of syrahs, zinfandels, and red and white blends from heritage vineyards found in all corners of California. Twain-Peterson, along with a group of other like-mind producers (along with his Ravenswood co-founding father) actually established a non-profit organization, The Historic Vineyard Society (HVS), devoted to preserve California's precious old-vine vineyards.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Capital Grille's Generous Pour

A few weeks ago, I attended a preview event for Capital Grille's The Generous Pour (TGP) event at the Denver location. The premise of the 7-week event (July 7 - August 31) is that the restaurant chain is offering guests unlimited pours of seven different wines or $25 per person. Sounds like a good deal. The restaurant's website states that the selection includes "five highly acclaimed wines, two exclusive premieres, and all seven hand selected by our Master Sommelier." Diners can buy just one bottle or sample all seven through the course of a meal. The premise sounded interesting, so I made plans to attend to see what it was all about.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The hail damage in Burgundy is sad, but...

Earlier this week, a violent hailstorm destroyed vineyards in Burgundy. Most wine media outlets reported on the storm. Over on WineBerserkers.com, terms like "heartbreaking" and "gut wrenching" were used in reaction to the news that 80-90% of the crop will be lost in certain vineyards. Yes, the crop destruction is sad when you think about the loss of income for hard-working farmers and their families, especially when hail destroyed a good chunk of the 2013 crop. Bottles of award-winning wine were aborted before anyone could even enjoy their existence. However, after reading the headlines and pondering for a second, the news made me smile.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The first flying winemaker...

The consultant winemaker has always been important. Many people have a vision and the means to start a winery, but not the winemaking skill. Perhaps the best example would be Robert Mondavi. Mondavi was not a winemaker. He always hired winemakers to make his wine. For many years, his sons were the chief winemakers. Many other now-famous winemakers have also passed through the doors at Mondavi.

However, the role of a consultant winemaker is not that of a person that oversees the day-to-day operations at a winery, but stops in a few times throughout the year to offer an outside perspective. Napa Valley and Bordeaux are two places where wineries heavily rely on the advice of consultants

In the 1990s, the idea of the consultant winemaker took on an even bigger role as more people got bitten by the vintners bug and established producers wanted to make a splash by adding a big name winemaker to the payroll. As certain winemakers' fame began to rise, the concept of the flying winemaker took shape. Flying around the world and consulting for dozens if not hundreds of wineries, the likes of Michel Rolland, Stéphane Derenoncourt, Paul Hobbs and Nick Goldschmidt, have developed a reputation for being a guarantee of producing high-quality, expensive wines. Rolland has become the poster child for the flying winemaker moniker, he has also been cited as a reason for the development of the international style of wine.

But Rolland wasn't the first winemaker to hop on a plane to go to work. Warren Winiarski, himself the son of a amateur winemaker (and for what it's worth, his surname literally means "son of a winemaker) was the first winemaker at the aforementioned Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa. He was also, perhaps, the first flying winemaker in the United States.

Friday, April 18, 2014

2014 Colorado Governor's Cup results

Two weekends ago, the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board (CWIDB, and for which I work part-time) held the Governor’s Cup Colorado Wine Competition. This year was the fourth incarnation of the largest, and most prestigious, statewide commercial wine competition (actually the First Lady's Choice was awarded the first year because the Governor had not given consent to use the title). The 2014 Governor’s Cup was awarded to Canyon Wind Cellars’ 2012 Petit Verdot from the Grand Valley AVA. The past two years saw cabernet franc coming out on top, but even before this result I was starting to think that petit verdot might be the best cultivar for Colorado producers. This year also marks the inaugural "Governor's Cup Case." Modeled after the Virginia Governor's Cup Case, the top twelve wines will be the wines that the CWIDB use for the next 12 months for its marketing and educational endeavors.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dr. Oldman channels Oprah to expose a doping scandal that will rock the wine world...

After his surprising Boxing Day interview, Dr. Harry Oldman thought that today would be the perfect day to share his next interview with us.

I had so much fun with my interview with my anonymous wine critic friend (though I hope the interview wasn't the real reason he is no longer a critic...), that I thought I'd try my hand again at asking another famous wine personality some tough questions. Bobby P and I go all the way back to his early days as the world's first blogger, a camp which I too have fallen into. Together, Bob and I would take on the heathens of the wine world on Prodigy's Wine Forum. It had been some time since we last talked, but I've long defended him from the many sheep of the Interwebs. When Bob agreed to sit down with me I decided that I had better improve my interview skills, so I watched countless hours of the best interviewer I could think of: Oprah. I've followed Oprah from her very start on AM Chicago, but spending a week straight of watching reruns gave me all the insight I'd need to make this a newsworthy interview sure to cause a ripple in the space-time-wine-blogger continuum. One day, I am sure that this interview will be as talked about as any interview Oprah did with Tom Cruise, Lance Armstrong or Lindsay Lohan. Make sure that you are sitting, because what I'm about to share with you will knock your tastevins off!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Variety's the very spice of life

                               The Sycophant
Who waits to dress us arbitrates their date;
Surveys his reversion with keen eye;
Finds one ill made, another obsolete,
This fits not nicely, that is ill conceived;
And making prize of all that he condemns,
With our expenditure defrays his own.
Variety's the very spice of life,
That gives it all its flavour.
     -William Cowper, The Task (1785)--'The Timepiece' (Book II, lines 599-607)

Wine is an immensely diverse product. Flavors and aromas vary widely depending on grape cultivars, places of origin and wine styles. Wine quality and price is as diverse as the number of SKUs available on the retail shelf. The wine world is a wide world of variety - and that is a good thing. Wine's diversity, and those who cheer it on, should not be discredited as being "a losing path." Wine does not fit nicely into some Platonic universal. Every person tastes wine differently and every person has an idea of what Wine should taste like. Some people like big, bold wines while others prefer light, delicate wines. Some drink only red wines, whereas others only drink white wines. Some only drink wines from a specific place, others explore the vast universe of fermented grape juice. Being able to choose to drink a wine from the United States of America, France, Italy or any other country is something that should be celebrated. Being able to choose from a variety of styles not expected from a specific place is also something that should be celebrated. Pleasure seeking through wine should also be celebrated, but so too should the idea that wine can offer more than just a party in your mouth.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tasting Turley Through Haiku

Last week, Christina Turley was in Colorado to lead a series of seminars showcasing a handful of Turley Wine Cellars' new releases. I've met Turley's winemaker Tegan Passalacqua and tasted a handful of their wines before, but this was the first time I was able to taste eight Turley wines at the same time. And yet, this tasting was just a glimpse of what Turley offers.
Turley Wine Cellars was founded in 1993 by Larry Turley after he sold his portion of Frog's Leap Winery to his business partner John Williams. Turley wanted to focus on zinfandel and petite sirah (though Turley spells it as petite syrah). After Larry's sister's, Helen, short stint as winemaker in the early years, Ehren Jordan held the reigns as winemaker for almost two decades. Tegan Passalacqua (who also is the co-founder of the Historic Vineyard Society and about to release his own wine brand, Sandlands, in the coming weeks) took over the title of winemaker in 2013, though for all practical purposes Passalacqua was the man at the helm since 2006. Turley now produces 34 wines from 38 vineyards across the entire state of California. In addition to this army of old-vine zinfandel and petite sirah, Christina Turley was instrumental in convincing her father, despite his less-than-delightful characterization of the variety and its fans in the past, to add a Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon to the stable."The Label" is marketed as an independent project and is meant to be a contemporary take on the classic Napa Valley cabernets from the past.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dr. Oldman on the Wine Writers Symposium

I was in Napa Valley two weeks ago for Premiere Napa Valley, but I was unable to attend the Wine Writers Symposium. Others have written a few accounts of what transpired during the workshops and sessions at the secluded Meadowood Napa Valley resort and spa. With not being there, I find it interesting to hear about the fun and informative events attended by a whole host of wine writers. I think it is pretty cool that simple bloggers, or people new to the world of wine writing, can hang out with established writers from Food & Wine, Wine Advocate and Wine Enthusiast as well as columnists from the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Wall Street Journal. My extern, Dr. Harry Oldman, was disappointed that I was not going to chime in on an event that I did not attend, so he asked if he could. I know I shouldn't let him post anymore, but he can be very persuasive...

Friday, February 28, 2014

A few more thoughts on Premiere Napa Valley

Just as with last year, I want to write about a few specific thoughts on Premiere Napa Valley in a bit more detail than my initial post.
Premiere Napa Valley 2014 Auction

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Initial comments on Premiere Napa Valley 2014

As usual, the weather in Napa this past weekend was almost perfect and the results from the 18th annual Premiere Napa Valley wine auction shattered the previous record. Seventy three bidders spent more than three hours purchasing 225 different lots of wine for a total of $5.9 million. That total was almost as much as the two previous auctions (now the second and third largest results) combined! The most expensive lot was a 60-bottle lot collaboration from Scarecrow that brought in an astounding $260,000. That lot was more than double the previous record for a single lot and comes to $4,333 per bottle. What makes this even more mind-blowing is that more than a dozen other lots sold for less than $10,000, including a few that sold for just $5,000 total. That's almost the price for just one bottle of the Scarecrow! Other six-digit lots included Schrader Cellars' 2012 Double Diamond Rocky's Row,  Shafer Vineyards' 2012 Sunspot Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and ZD Wines' Non-Vintage Petit Abacus all selling for $100,000 for five cases.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Off to Premiere Napa Valley 2014

I'm headed to the 18th annual Premiere Napa Valley barrel tasting and auction today. Premiere Napa Valley offers some of the world's rarest wines, with wine winemakers pushing the limits of their creativity, offering one-of-a-kind limited lots. With a maximum of 240 bottles, and more often only 60 bottles per lot, the wines offered at Premiere Napa Valley are truly unique pieces of art. Vintners, members of the trade, and media are invited every February to taste the barrels of these special wines as a preview of the coming vintage release and to raise money for the Napa Valley Vintners trade association. The lots are purchased by retailers and restaurants and then occasionally made available to their customers.

The barrel tasting tomorrow morning will be somewhat of a preview to the 2012 vintage of Napa cabernet sauvignon. There will be the token chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and sparkling wine offerings, as well as a handful of Bordeaux blends showcasing cabernet franc, malbec, merlot and petit verdot, but the vast majority of donated wines will be varietal cabernet sauvignon. After a series of cool vintages (with 2011 being the wettest and coldest) the 2012 vintage has been proclaimed to be an excellent growing season. Fruit quality was high. Along with yield. From what I've heard from winemakers is that 2013 gets a slight nod to 2012, but I'm eager to see what the tastings today and tomorrow reveal and to see how much bidders are willing to spend on high-end Napa Valley wine.

When I get to California in a few hours (it's 5 am here at gate B37 in Denver), I'll make the drive up to Napa and weave my way throughout the valley visiting various appellation preview tastings and a few private parties. At these events, PNV lots will be previewed and other wineries not part of the auction will be pouring their latest released and maybe even a few library wines. While the introduction to vintage, and they opportunity to taste wines I can only dream of affording, are important parts of why I attend PNV, I am really looking forward to seeing friends and acquaintances in the industry. Colorado is kind of like an island in the American wine world. Most wineries and wine writers are found on the coasts. So at big industry gatherings like this it is fun to see familiar faces and meet new people. I of course am eager to taste a few key wines, but the informal and social dinner tonight with a few "New California" winemaking and wine-writing friends might be my most anticipated stop. I even brought a bottle if Colorado petit verdot to share!

Oh, I almost forgot that I told Paul Mabray that I'd try to get a selfie of Steve Heimoff and me. I saw Steve last year in passing, but didn't have the opportunity to introduce myself. I am hopeful I can meet Steve this year and fulfill my promise to Paul.

Ok, time to get some sleep in the flight and I'll report back next week (I'm sure I'll be tweeting throughout the weekend)!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Do wine sales matter for writing wine blogs?

Yesterday, Joe Roberts wrote about one of the most commonly cited criticisms of wine blogs. An argument that many critics use to support their claim of wine blogs' insignificance is that blogs do not move consumers to buy wine and are thus useless to wineries trying to sell wine. I have no idea how many people use my blog to make purchase decisions, and frankly I do not care. I do know that I have purchased wines based on recommendations from other blogs, as well as recommendations from traditional wine publications (Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, et al.). I buy wine for many different reasons.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The California wine industry wouldn't be where it is without Colorado...

In terms of size, history and reputation, Colorado doesn't hold a candle to California. I happen to think some of Colorado's wines can compare quality-wise to premium California wines, but they're still just a drop in the bucket compared to their Bear State counterparts. Over the past 50 or so years California wine has been immensely influential in the global wine industry. Despite producing wine for over 150 years, it took until 1976 for California to get the respect it deserved. Colorado on the other hand, not so much. However, many of California's biggest names in wine have their roots in Colorado (including a wine at that Judgement of Paris tasting). Colorado, after all, is known as the headwaters of America for being the source of four major rivers, so why shouldn't it also supply some of California's vintners as well?

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Daily Grind...

Writing a wine blog can be a difficult endeavor. I have the utmost respect for those individuals that are able to publish something on a daily basis. A few blogs are the result of a collection of collaborators, but many are lone writers typing away every single day. I'd love to be able to write every day, but I just can't. While my blog sometimes gets in the way of my life, my life gets more in the way of my blog.

I have a job, a wife, a child and a house to take care. The cats and chickens are easy when compared to all of those other things, but they take work too. I'd be willing to bet that most wine writers that are able to publish daily have few of those responsibilities. I'm sure some do, and probably even more! The hardest part, but also best, of my life has to be the 2-yr old that is sitting next to me as I type this. 2-yr olds require near constant attention (if you expect them, and your belongings, to be safe). When I am home, and thus able to write, my attention is usually not directed at my computer. Diverting a few moments here and there to Twitter is much easier than spend a decent chunk of time typing on this keyboard (which coincidentally is missing the comma key because of a curious little boy...) when feeding, entertaining and cleaning up after the little guy are necessary. Before Ben was born I used to write at night before bed. But now, after he has gone to sleep, I usually just want to turn my brain off and watch television. Over the past year, I've been lucky if I've posted something once a week. Now, I'm not trying to get any sympathy. I understand that I could watch less TV or sleep less if I really wanted to publish more blog posts. My lack of ability for posting more often makes what others do even more impressive.

Time isn't the only limiting factor. Coming up with ideas is almost as difficult as finding the time to put those ideas into a form that other people might want to read. Yes, I do respect the writers that are able to write something every single day. I don't care if some of the topics are repetitive, banal or vexatious, daily publishing is still impressive.

I started this blog as more of a journal to catalog my exploration of the wine world. I would write about the wines that I drank, but I a grew tired of just writing tasting notes with no real bigger picture than just promoting a wine. I do receive a small number of sample wines and taste them with every intent of writing about them, but unless I find the wine really interesting and fitting into a bigger topic I am unlikely to just write a tasting note. Now if I were to start receiving more samples, then then topics such as comparing similar wines from different regions might be more reasonable stories. One successful tasting series was Ben's Bubbly. When my son was born, I added a weekly topic that focused on tasting sparkling wines from around the world, as well as documenting Ben's growth. It was a fun series, and one that I am considering bringing back, although with a different style of wine.

I tried to do a regular interview with Colorado winemakers, but that ran its course when I couldn't get any more responses from more winemakers. It is frustrating that so few Colorado vintners keep up with the world of wine writing. That idea morphed into a series of interviews of American vintners over on Decanter.com, but ever since an editorial change a few months ago I have been unable to continue with that (in fact, two additional interviews were submitted but never published). I might also try to bring these interviews back to the blog in the the future if I can find interested winemakers.

One of my favorite new topics is the occasional "guest" posts by Dr. Harry Oldman and Remi Burmí. The posts by these two characters are more creative and humorous than traditional wine blogging. Plus, they provide a different perspective than I would normal provide. I can guarantee that both will continue as guest writers in the future.

Most of my recent posts are simply opinion pieces reacting to some news item or an other wine writer's articles. I know that across the blogosphere too many stories are about blogging and I am just as guilty as the next blogger. Social media, the 100-pt system and the alcohol content of wine seem to be some of the more discussed topics by digital and traditional writers alike. I happen to think that a healthy debate has its place in the wine world. I am not shy, especially when I disagree with someone. However, there is a lot of navel gazing in the world of wine writing, but that can be said about many other fields. Just look at tabloid journalism. All TMZ and the like "report" on is the illegal or absurd activity of a few celebrities. In academics, many peer-reviewed articles are researchers debating research methods and findings. Politics seems the same way these days. There is more name-calling and criticism, over the same few topics, than getting anything actually accomplished for the good of the country.

I'd love to get feedback from my readers as to what you want to read. I'd love to be able to publish on a daily basis, but that is most likely not going to happen. I do, however, want to try to be more active on my blog. Would more reviews be of interest? How about interviews with winemakers or even retailers? Would having posts published on the same day of the week be a good idea? Do you think Dr. Oldman or Ms. Burmí should be retired? Get more coverage? I really want to know how can I make this blog better. Please let me know in the comments!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dr. Harry Oldman: Damn right all these teetotalers should get out of my vineyard!

I really didn't want to weigh in on the recent Robert Parker rant, and I won't, but my extern, Harry Oldman, insisted that I publish what he has to say. Please, I'm just the messenger, so don't shoot me!

I can't sit idle any more and watch an idol be dragged through the mud. When I read Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s "Article of Merit," I stood up an applauded. I said, "Well, Parker's the best critic in the game! When you try him with a sorry wine like crappy trebbiano, that's the result you gonna get! Don't you ever talk about him! Crappy trebbiano! Don't anyone open their mouth about the best, or Bob's gonna shut it for you real quick! Legion of Boom!" Granted, I was alone in my living room drinking a delicious 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but it's the thought that counts. My balls are big enough, and sag low enough, that I am not afraid to stand by my man!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Super Bowl Wines (show your support by drinking local)

With Super Bowl XLVIII only days away (interestingly, the NFL has made contingency plans to move the big game up or back a day depending on the weather), NFL fans can read the food, wine and beer suggestions that are popping up all over the Internet. For those of us in the Broncos' and Seahawks' home states, marijuana recommendations are also part of our reality now too! It just so happens that in addition to Cannabis, both Colorado and Washington have wine industries. For those NFL fans that also want to enjoy wine during the big game, this is a very good thing!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Marketing myopia in the wine world

This morning, my good pal Steve Heimoff published a blog post about how wineries can get famous. He raised some interesting points about the changes that have taken place in mass communication between the present and 1994 when the movie Disclosure "made Pahlmeyer a star." Obviously, he discussed the rise of social media, but concluded that a critic's score was the "best way to get huge notice by the public."