what it takes

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The far-flung regional editors of Wine Enthusiast magazine have just completed our annual editorial conference, held at the home offices in Mt. Kisco, New York. I’ve been with the magazine since 1999, and though many changes have occurred, the core writing/editing group has been consistent throughout most of that time. The company enjoys a unique business model, which ties together multiple enterprises, all wine-related, under a single corporate structure and ownership.

Our purpose during these all-too-brief meetings is to map out editorial strategies for the coming year, to discuss new initiatives in our print, online, event planning and publishing ventures, to share creative ideas and “pitches”, and to enjoy plenty of face time with the on-site editors, support staff and management.

jailhouse rotgut

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sitting in an airport, waiting to board, gives you time to make some odd connections. In this instance, the trail led me from a note about the jailing of Lindsay Lohan, to the recipes for making wine in prison, to a brand new cure for hangovers.

Ms. Lohan, as the world surely knows, has been hauled off to prison for a variety of offenses that include missed court dates, drunk driving charges, and general rowdiness. She will probably be out in just a couple of weeks, and sadly will not have time to gather the necessary essentials to make her own wine. But just in case, I will pass along this link, which may or may not lead to fine wine, but certainly will help her (now in lockdown) pass a pleasant half hour or so just in the reading.

wine in the spotlight: l’ecole 2009 walla voila chenin blanc

Friday, July 23, 2010

One of the grapes widely planted during the 1970s-era expansion of Washington vineyards was chenin blanc. By and large these vineyards went into to most fertile Yakima valley and Columbia basin sites, were heavily watered, and produced large crops. The chenin blancs that resulted were off-dry, fruity and simple, quaffable white wines with no aspirations to the greatness of which the grape is capable.

to "e" or not to "e" - that is the question

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A reader in Florida posted a thoughtful comment regarding the electronic version of my book. Here is what he wrote…

“Please, please consider an iPad or Kindle version. Presently the only electronic version available is in Adobe Digital Editions format which in not compatible with any of the portable reading devices. Bought the Adobe version before my last vineyard trip and found that I had to lug my laptop in addition to my iPad. Total waste, I could have just brought the hard copy of the book and saved $28 to boot. That said, great book, I really appreciate your work.


the essential guide, take two

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Word has come in from Don McIlraith, the Special Sales Manager at UC Press, that pre-orders for the new edition of my book may be placed at any time. The book is expected to start shipping in mid-August, so the expectation is that it will be available for tasting room sales before the summer tourist season wraps up, and will lead into fall pre-holiday and holiday sales with plenty of time to spare.

Though it has been just three years since the original edition of this book was published, it is not at all too soon for this update. As I write in the new Preface,

pfalz pretenses?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Go to www.turningleaf.com and you are instantly tossed into a marketing promotion with the tagline “How Do You Breathe?” You know you’re breathing corporate air when you have to “prove” that you’re 21 before proceeding – though why you must be of legal drinking age to visit a G-rated website has never been clear to me. Anyway, soldiering on, you find yourself being saluted by a white-toothed model holding up a glass of white wine and surrounded by more “How Do You Breathe” and “Just Breathe” links.

Apparently, this is Turning Leaf’s new campaign, clearly aimed at women, and just getting under way.

wine in the spotlight: reininger carmenère

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Carmenère is the sixth Beatle of grapes. Not sad sack drummer Pete Best (he’s clearly Malbec), but the other guy, Stu Sutcliffe, who made a brief appearance as the band’s original bassist. Carmenère does the same thing. Other than in Chile, where it has rather surprisingly become something of a standard-bearer, the grape is all but invisible. Technically one of the six official red grapes of Bordeaux, it isn't even a factor there. And quite honestly, it's easy to see why. The stuff is herbal to a fault, can quickly turn stiffly tannic and stemmy, and has little or no discernable impact when leaked into a Bordeaux blend.

easy to criticize?

Monday, July 05, 2010

Last Friday’s post on this blog specifically asked wineries for their perspectives on the recently-concluded Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla. Somewhat surprisingly, it seems to have stirred up bloggers and attendees more than the wineries, who were generally positive in their remarks. Which in turn has gotten me thinking. So let’s continue the conversation...

bloggie comes a'courtin'...

Friday, July 02, 2010

The blog dust has settled, and the next big wine events to hit the Northwest – Riesling Rendezvous, IPNC, a couple of charity auctions – are claiming the spotlight. But I wondered how the whole blogger frenzy – an inscrutable tangle of tastings, field trips, seminars, walkabouts, offline parties, midnight rambles, and constant tweeting – actually felt from a winery point of view.

So I asked. I posted this on my Facebook page: “WA Wineries – did you host or participate in the Blogger Conference at any stage of the game? Please send me a note with your uncensored feedback. How were they? Interested? Knowledgeable? Spoiled? Clueless? You tell me. I will be happy to keep things anonymous if you wish. But I would like to assess the whole statewide tour from a winery perspective. Thanks!”

And the responses have come flooding in, a mix of (mostly positive) comments, thoughtful suggestions, and a few gripes. Here’s a cross-section.