This past week has been quite active for the wine world and it has inspired me to pump out another volume of “WINNING & Losing”. On a personal note, this week has been quite impactful for me as two of my favorite wine related websites are going through transitions, one calling it a day, and the other being taken over by a terrific organization.
The U.S. wine drinker – Yup, we’ve finally surpassed the self-loathing French as the country who loves wine the most. Grant it we’ve a lot more people; however our young generations are embracing the “wine & cheese” culture, whereas the French are embracing their own national pastimes: self-loathing, being Socialist, and willfully giving up what is theirs. I’m ecstatic that we’re appreciating the finer side of things…it may not be high-end wine; however it isn’t PBR either!
The Daily Grape – Social Media, Web & Wine celebrity Gary Vaynerchuk, in keeping with his cutting edge/new media style and inviting personality, has transitioned his immensely popular Wine Library TV (see LOSING) to the more accessible, Smart Phone driven Daily Grape. Thus far, I like the product better; however I’m a creature of habit and will find myself typing in the old site for a while still. Great work!
Kent State University (Ohio) – It’s not often that you Ohio, viticulture and enology in the same sentence and when you do, you’re likely to gasp. That’s exactly what I did when I heard that Kent State is now offering programs in each. This is quite exciting as there are not too many grape/wine related programs this side of the Mississippi! This move sees them joining the Viticulture Enology Science and Technology Alliance. Hopefully this trend will spread and the quality of wines produced in the lower great lakes and Ohio Valley regions will benefit (for the love of God…PLEASE!). Regardless, this is a terrific first step!
Olivier Magny – The “Jamie Oliver of Wine” has struck again. The witty sommelier and entrepreneur continues to win over audiences, be it at his Paris-based wine-tasting establishment, O Chateau, or with his new book, Stuff Parisians Like: Discovering the Quoi in the Je Ne Sais Quoi, the kid has got “it”! Recently, he was seen giving famous traveler and PBS personality Rick Steves advice on the nuances of French wine. If you are ever in Paris, you have to hit up O-Chateau and the experience that is Olivier Magny.
Boston Sommelier Society – I had to give these guys a shout out, as they have recently voted to take over the website I created, Smart Tastes. Since I’ll be relocating to Manhattan and have far more restrictive time constraints placed on me, BSS Chairman Michael Meagher stepped up to the plate big time for me. Kudos you guys, I know you will keep the mission alive!
The French – On the flipside of the U.S. winning, the French are most certainly losing. How the hell can you, the French, let the U.S., the dumb Yankees who drink cheap beer and wouldn’t know the difference between Boone’s Farm and Chateau Latour, pass you as the largest consumers of wine…it’s your damn birthright, embrace it, don’t shun it!
New Zealand – What’s the best way to reward the people who helped your region finally have a positive year? Yup, raise the price. At the first sign of gains in the region in years, New Zealand wineries’ have decided to say “thanks for helping us survive, now pay more for our overrated wines.” The thing is, there are many other regions that are fairly priced that will gladly accept the business they are about to lose. By the way, a majority of your Sauv Blancs are homogenous bores and already overpriced!
Wine Library TV – This is not so much of a diatribe about failure, but more of an end of an era. I’ll never forget the first time I saw the charismatic Gary Vaynerchuk on WLTV at my cousin Bob’s house, one episode and I was hooked. The guy has passion in truckloads and is why I decided to write for one of his sites (the now defunct Cork’d…hopefully not due to my writing). The other day GV announced the end of WLTV and the beginning of The Daily Grape, which is pretty much the same format (although more Smart Phone driven)…but sentimentally it’s different. So in the end, it’s not so much that WLTV is losing, but more that I am losing a little piece of me.