Monday, December 17, 2012

Eulogy for the Wine Writer


“The creature which we used to call a ‘wine writer’ has died.”—Andrew Jeffords

I’d first like to say how honored I am to have been asked to deliver the eulogy for Wine Writer. I think I speak for all of us here when I say that it’s been a very difficult stretch since we learned of his untimely demise. Yes, Wine Writer had been horribly sick before he passed, a pathetic shadow of what he once had been, reduced to a kind of Laubotomized babbling, a sad and tired victim of Parkerson’s Disease, covered in nasty Suckling wounds, his Hugh Johnson Feiring nothing but blanks. In the end, it’s true, he had ceased to have anything meaningful to say. The last time I saw Wine Writer I asked him how he was feeling. “Full-bodied and unctuous,” he replied, possibly referring to what he’d left in his bedpan. Yes, he was very near death for a very long time, and I’m happy that Wine Writer is finally out of his misery. You’ll pardon me for being religious, but I like to think of Wine Writer having successfully crossed over to that glossy and pastoral place where all wine writing goes to die, Wine Spectator. There is no greater death for Wine Writer. Unless there’s blogging in the afterlife.

It might be comforting to think that Wine Writer died of natural causes. Comforting, but wholly uninformed. It would be more accurate to say that Wine Writer was tortured, abused, and then neglected like the Syrah aisle at your local wine shop. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Who of us will ever forget Wine Writer in his prime? Remember those days? Most of you younger people don’t remember a time when wine writing was about two, and only two, things—Wine and Writing. I know, that’s hard to believe. Wine Writer was somebody in those days. He taught us about wine. He had insight and he was articulate, he was free of marketing jargon and the only numbers he knew were for his local bars. The only 100 Point Scales he knew were from his psoriasis. Don’t be surprised, friends, Wine Writer and flaky go hand-in-hand. In those days he couldn’t be bought. Leased, with an option to buy, absolutely; hey, it’s the wine business! But why buy that used ’57 Balzer when you can go out and get yourself a new 2012 Jay Miller, with plenty of plush upholstery and built-in airbag? Those were different times. The writing was as important as the subject. Remember those days? That’s what we’re here to mourn. There will always be wine, and there will always be writing. But now they’re seen together about as often as sommeliers and humility. It seems M.S. is always a disease.

Maybe it’s the changing times that helped kill Wine Writer. He became an Everyman, an Everywoman, an Everymoronwithacomputer. Maybe he died trying to be everywhere, his talent diffused and useless like an Alka-Seltzer dissolved in 10,000 gallons of water—sort of like Pinot Grigio. Maybe it was that Wine Writer was ultimately confused with Wine Typer. Typing is not writing any more than epileptic fits are dancing. Though there are a lot of Typers that should be allowed to swallow their tongues.

In his day, you could find Wine Writer in every major newspaper, as common as horoscopes, but far less accurate, of course. Any significant food publication had to have Wine Writer onboard to give them legitimacy. Now they have panels. Who wants panels? Panels are for protecting cotton underpants. I don’t want them telling me what wine to buy. It’d probably be orange. Now the glory days of Wine Writer in newspapers are gone. You have only to pick up The Wall Street Journal to see his bloated body swimming in Rupert’s cesspool. It’s best that we bury him today.

Or maybe we killed Wine Writer. Yes, I said “we.” All of us, like in “Murder on the Orient Express.” (Oh, sorry, I meant to say, “Spoiler Alert,” which, by the way, they should install on bottles of Two Buck Chuck.) Maybe our device-driven attention spans killed Wine Writer, like so many pedestrians splattered on windshields like moths on a hot day in Modesto by Millennials talking on their iPhones instead of watching the road. Our slavery to email and Twitter and Pinterest (who knew an entire world could be built around Harold Pinter?) has diminished our attention spans to the size of bubbles in a bottle of Krug Le Mesnil. Maybe we killed Wine Writer with neglect. We only have time now for scores and vintage charts, not thoughtful and joyful wine writing. We’re always in a hurry. Right now, as I speak, most of you are wondering if you’ve received a text message in the last thirty seconds. You wait for the buzz or the chirp or the vibration like one of Pavlov’s dogs, the one who can’t keep his balls out of his mouth. You killed Wine Writer. As much as anyone else, it was us. Though, to be certain, we were just ending his suffering.

Perhaps most of you aren’t aware that for the past ten or fifteen years the Wine Writer you knew wasn’t the real Wine Writer. He was an impostor. The real Wine Writer wouldn’t have published Hedonist’s Gazettes or Buying Guides or Picks of the Week or Top 100’s--wine writing that is lazy and self-absorbed, easily digested like your own spit, redundant and trivial like watching “Entertainment Tonight.” Wine Writer was being insufferably abused while his impersonators cashed in on the simpleminded and sad who were reading their unoriginal and empty words, and florid and vapid descriptions. Wine Writer may have died just a few weeks ago, but he’d vanished like Ambrose Bierce many, many years ago.

Which reminds me of Bierce’s definition of “Critic,” from “The Devil’s Dictionary.” It applies to those Wine Writer impersonators.

CRITIC, n. A person who boasts himself hard to please because nobody tries to please him.

I like to imagine that one day Wine Writer will return. Perhaps he is already among us, waiting for all the noise that is the great democracy of the Internet to die down so that he can be heard. Waiting for all the iPhones to be turned off so he can have our attention for more than a few seconds. Waiting for people to value insight and original thought instead of recycled and inarticulate words. Waiting. Waiting. Death has all the time in the world.

Meanwhile, I miss him.

41 comments:

I Think I Will Take Up Golf Daddy said...

I thought you said you wrote satire. This is so close to the truth that I am crying while I am laughing.

Just kidding about the golf.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Charlie,
Walking right up to the truth and screwing with it is the essence of the work. I just finally felt I wanted to chat about Mr. Jeffords' comments to those European bloggers. Who knew there were European Poodles?!! That seems insane to me. I certainly took his comment out of context, but no matter, it was fun to speak at Wine Writer's long-awaited funeral.

Quizicat said...

Wine Writer was at the head end of the blogging trend. Anyone remember the Prodigy Wine Board? You could talk to him directly there. It was fun and spurred many peoples interest in wine. It also was not surprisingly just as troll laden as any blog today. But you are correct that things have just slid further and further downhill as he diluted himself with more writers in his corral. I dumped my subscription with more than a bit of sadness a little over a year ago. You could barely find himself among the many many many pages.

Samantha Dugan said...

Don't need to miss him, I've got you. I'm with our beloved Charlie on this one Baby, this is both brilliantly funny and reflectively, painfully sad. I read one of these pieces from you and I both crave more, like feel sad when I can see the end is getting higher up on my screen, and I want to close my Word file forever as I know I can never write anything this good. You amaze me and I love you so!

Dean Tudor said...

Some of the wine writers have moved on to being "professional wine bloggers" and "creative non-fiction writers". In this economy, there is no monetary payment for wine writers anymore.

Others have become satirists, sartys, parodists, and party spoofers.

Everyone's just waiting for the Man with the new Mayan calendars (from the Boy Scouts of America).

Dean Tudor said...

Hey Ron -- let's try it again -- satyrs...now I'm satisfied.

Thomas said...

Ron,

In all seriousness, this is your best, because of what both Charlie and Sam pointed out (the punned names in the first paragraph are stellar).

In m case, the timing is interesting: recently, a brother-in-law sent me two shipments of Balzer newsletters. I haven't gone through them yet, but now I must do it soon.

Quzicat: I believe you may have missed the point.

david fish / fox farm said...

"Parkersons" is 3 syllables of genius...
way to go Ron!

David Rossi said...

Snarky, with a hint of reflection. Broad shoulders with wit, ryeness, and contemplation. Leaves me with a lingering finish of sadness, bitterness, and cassis.

Marcia Macomber said...

As an ex-thespian, this is my fave: "Our slavery to email and Twitter and Pinterest (who knew an entire world could be built around Harold Pinter?) has diminished our attention spans to the size of bubbles in a bottle of Krug Le Mesnil." The mind races with Pinning ideas for Mr. Pinter (that someone has probably already done on a Pin-ter Board)!

It is a sad but true commentary. But, thankfully it is a much easier read since Der Hosemeister is compelled to include his brand of satire to make it palatable. Nice after such a sad w/end.

Samantha Dugan said...

Time to start writing another one....
http://palatepress.com/2012/12/wine/pay-for-play-wine-writing/

and yes, I cannot believe I read something from Palate Press either, thank goodness for Facebook links!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Quizicat,
I was never a part of the Prodigy Wine Board, but I have heard of it. Blogging has affected wine writing in a lot of ways, mostly negative, but I think Social Media has done even more harm to it. No matter, best to let sleeping doggerel lie.

My Gorgeous Samantha,
You know me better than anyone, so you know I just write this crap for the simple creative exercise of writing it. I'm genuinely surprised I have eleven readers. And you also know I mostly hate what I write--it's the comedy writer's curse. Maybe every writer's curse. But when it's done and published and I assemble a group of folks as talented as you and Charlie and Thomas and Dean and Marcia and everyone else to comment, then I feel humbled, and glad that I have the small gift that I have. Thank you for such kindness, love and faithfulness. I love you too.

Dean,
Yup, I'm both satirist and satyrist.

I already have the new Christmas calendar from that wonderful group of Native Americans. It features a lovely photo of Mayan Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Thomas,
Thanks for the kind words. Old Balzer newsletters? Wow, those should be interesting. He was mostly a wine merchant, of course, owned a famous wine shop in the ritzy area of LA called Larchmont, and then a newspaper columnist. Quite a character, really. And did as much for California wine as anyone ever has.

David Fish,
That's about all the syllables of genius I have. Thanks!

David Rossi,
But you forgot to give it a score. I'm guessing about 84.

Marcia,
I have a fondness for Pinter, but none for Pinterest. Not sure I even know what the hell Pinterest is. Sounds like FaceBook for illiterates.

My Gorgeous Samantha,
A few folks have brought this to my attention. Nat MacLean is apparently much-despised by a lot of Canadian wine writers and journalists. And it is the stuff of great comedy, in a vintage (2012) that was a gift to a guy like me--Jay Miller, Rudy Kurniawan, Parker, the Natural Wine Nazis... So, yeah, I may have something to say about it. Then again, I try not to do requests. Except, My Love, for You.

gabe said...

Not sure if this is the right forum for this comment, but I think that wine bloggers have helped to revive wine writing. While all the wine blogs I read talk about wine, very few offer "reviews" or "scores". While scores still help sell magazines, they are irrelivant to younger wine drinkers, and they are losing their relivance in general. I honestly believe Parker sold the Advocate when he did because he knew the 100-point scale was dying out. I think it is the wine critic that is dying, and hopefully being re-incarnated as a wine writer.

Thomas said...

Sam,

I'm surprised the Palate Press article is considered news. To some of us, rather than news, it's olds. I do remember when Ms. McLean was starting out. Back then it was just "I'll put your information on my site if you'll put mine on yours." Somehow, the arrangement seemed to remain one way.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Gabe,
Sure it's the right forum. The sarcasm and satire I leave for the main page, in the comments I'm open to anything. So thank you for your thoughtful and optimistic remarks.

Is there more wine writing because of wine bloggers? Sure. Is it interesting, well-written, or insightful? It should be all three, but almost never is. That's the heart of the matter I'm approaching with this stupid post.

I have no idea why Parker sold a huge interest in his rag, but I suspect it has more to do with wanting to slow down a bit, as well as realizing that it will never have more value than it has now. At the high end of the wine market, where younger drinkers are not players, the 100-point scale is still a powerful force, and that is where Parker rules. For now.

My post was also about wine writers, not wine critics. There are a few who are both, but most are one or the other. Wine critics will survive for a lot longer--wineries need them, even if consumers don't.

Thomas,
I think the news is that Palate Press is willing to do the legwork and go after Nat Queen Colon. After hearing so much evidence, one has to wish them Bobspeed.

Tom Wark said...

Come'on, Ron. You need to name names. One mention of Robert Balzer won't do.

How are those real writers of yesteryear who are now no longer with us, but who once gave real credit to the title of "Wine Writer".

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Tom,
It's just satire, my friend. It all stemmed from Mr. Jeffords' remarks to the European Poodle Conference, remarks I took out of context for the sake of comedy. He declared wine writers dead; I just wrote a eulogy. It's what I do.

The Balzer mention was aimed at being insulting, if only vaguely. Talk of his being on the take from folks like the Gallos was rampant when he was writing for the LA Times Sunday Magazine and he was finally dismissed, or he "retired" much like Jay Miller. Though Balzer did a LOT for California wine, I wouldn't ever call him a great wine writer. But who am I? A hack with a blog.

I'm afraid, Tom, that I find most of the wine writing I come across, particularly on the Internet, to be dull, poorly written, and ultimately as unsatisfying as an eight dollar Merlot. I'd include myself in that. It's mostly insufferable. Was it better thirty years ago? It was a lot harder to be published, a lot harder to get the job, now everyone's a self-appointed wine writer. Quality can only suffer.

Hey, I don't come over to your blog and ask you to make sense. I'm just here to be funny. Explanation is the enemy of funny.

Anonymous said...

I just read this article on Nat Decants - had to pay $2.10 to read it.

You should sue, naturally.


- Andre Simon

Anonymous said...

the hell with Nat

I'm suing the whole lot of you - as soon I figure out how to get out of hell

- Nate Chroman

Thomas said...

Tom,

If you don't know who the writers were, you ought to find out. That's why we still have (at least for now) research libraries...

Anonymous said...

Not bad, but the obit. bar was set very high by the obit. for The Pillsbury Doughboy. Check it out, google easily.

Having said that, it is good that wine consumption in the USA is rising, both amount, and per capita, although the per capita is still low. And with or without subscriptions and blogs and bloggers who complain that they can't make any money scribbling for free. Wine retailers are more important, I suspect, since they sell wine, not advertising. So, Jeffords is a good writer, Asimov is 1/4 as good at most as his father (that still means Eric is quite good) and it is fun to read the Feiring Johnson Robinson Galloni Suckling contretemps. While sipping on the latest bottle of Robert Mondavi Private, on sale for $5.99. I mean, really, how private can you get? If you really want to see some writing, ask Heimoff what he thinks of conservatives and Christians. The page blisters right up from the heat.

Have yourselves a merry Christmas, drink more red wine, and don't forget Kwaaaaanza.

Anonymous said...

This is good stuff. We all love to write: keen expressions of passion are exhilarating to the one holding the pen as well as the reader. Is it any wonder that fame (as in anointed or quested) is part of the equation? Many would argue that there are solid principles to the craft and that there are clever tunnels and mazes to conquer en route. In a fit of enthusiasm I once proclaimed my urge to attend the annual Wine Writer's Symposium in the Napa Valley--and glean some perspective from 'the masters' only to be met with a crushing rebuke: 'well, you know that winemakers could never be allowed to participate'. This of course amounted to a dreaded 79 points so I shut up and returned to my bins and Shirley Horn CD's.

gabe said...

The wine critic is probably still moving widgets for the massive wine corperations, but most of the small wineries I've seen popping up are not interested in that market. The two main reasons are (1) most winemakers know what style of wine those critics are looking for, and don't want to make those wines. and (2) wine scores are for old people, and anyone starting a winery knows about patience. While scores still sell wines right now (they do it for my current winery with every 90+ review), they are not as relevant as they were 5 years ago, and will be even less relevant now. Younger drinkers become older drinkers, And older drinkers become dead drinkers. Score are for older drinkers, and we all know where that market is going...

Ron Washam, HMW said...

First Anonymous,
Isaac Asimov was Eric's uncle, not his father. I loved Isaac Asimov's work when I was a teenager, but, really, he had the coolest muttonchops too.

Second Anonymous,
Shirley Horn, isn't that what they bury silica in for biodynamics? The manure they bury in Duck horn.

They wouldn't let me into the Napa Valley Wine Writers' Symposium either, and I'm not a winemaker. Guess I'm not a writer as well.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Gabe,
You could well be right. I'll be dead. It's lovely to think that one day scores won't sell any wines, high end or not. I am completely in favor of that.

It's no secret that most winemakers know what style appeals to Parker or Laube or whomever, and they often claim they could make high scoring wines if they wanted to. I'd never urge anyone to chase scores, that's a fool's game. Make the wines you like and your audience will find you. Maybe. A big maybe.

The thing is, every new winery, and there are thousands, has the same game plan--more direct to consumer! More social media, more personal contact, make great wines and they'll find us, build a loyal clientele and a big wine club. Can't tell you how many of those wineries I met who needed to move wine on Lot18--dozens and dozens and more dozens. They didn't need scores, or couldn't get reviewed, or had decent scores but nothing over 90. And they had lots of wine to sell.

You're talking twenty years from now, Gabe, I understand. But, truly, I heard much the same twenty years ago. I don't want to be right. I hope you're right. And I hope you're one of the successful ones.

gabe said...

haha. thanks hosemaster, I hope I'm one of the successful ones as well. Let's hope the island of misfit toys becomes the next hot appellation.

I agree that every new winery has the same game-plan, and most run into the same problem (and it has nothing to do with scores). Most wineries have trouble setting themselves apart. How many of those Lot 18 wines are in the 90-point club? Probably more than you think.

Every once in a while, I see somebody local doing something truly unique. It's inspiring, and interesting, and its good wine. It's great wine. It's wine that makes you remember why you fell in love with wine in the first place.

That's where wine writers come in. A 90-point score might help move a specific varietal from a specific vintage, but it won't really tell people why that winery is great. No tasting notes can do that. It takes a real wine writer to tell the story. No score required.

I've seen it happen with local writers and bloggers who don't give out scores. I've probably told you my Dr. Vino story enough times; Katherine Cole is a popular local wine writer who has helped wineries break out without ever giving them a score.

As a young winemaker, my goal is to make wines that are delicious, affordable, and unique. I'd much rather have a blogger tell the story of my wines than see one of my wines get 91-points from The Parker Spectator. Even if that specific wines sells better with a score, the long-term success of the winery is dependent on people knowing who I am, what I am doing, and wanting to support what I'm doing. True fans support a team thru thick and thin. Front runner buy gear, but they make shitty fans.

Not every winery is Kendall-Jackson, and not every winery is struggling. We're doing well enough to sell out of all of our wines. We regularly score in the low-90's. But we really only submit wines to make sure we're not making crap. The only time we really care about a review is when somebody looks at who we are and writes about our wines, which is always interesting to us.
Recently, Wine Adcoate and 1WineDude gave us proper reviews, and the head winemaker and I sat and talked about those reviews at length. Today, the Wine Enthusiast gave us 90-points, and we barely blinked at it. Who cares about a score? If a wine writer wants to dissect our wines, we're interested. If a wine writer wants to give us a score, thats ine, but we don't really care about that.

Anyway, I hope I'm not boring you by talking about the oldest topic in the history of wine blogging. Thanks for taking time to respond

Fa-bio said...

Twenty-sixth! What with all this non-intervention in the bodega that has to be done, I was too busy to log on :(

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Gabe,
I think that what you're talking about, also, is trying to communicate an honest story to consumers. You know as well as I do that most wineries hire people to tell their stories, marketing people, and that those stories are only truth-adjacent. Many of those stories are then promulgated in the media and then passed along by wine shop owners, sommeliers and the like. It's pre-written journalism, and it's all over the place. It breeds cynicism in wine lovers, and deservedly so.

I think you and I mainly see eye-to-eye on all of this, Gabe. I didn't say wine writing is dead, that came from Mr. Jeffords, though it may be on life support and comatose. As I wrote in an earlier post, I'd like to see more joy in wine writing, and less sanctimony.

I like how you say a "real wine writer," which is suspiciously like "real" wine. Whenever one has to qualify with the word "real," well, it makes one question why you need that word "real." Real is usually apparent, unless one is by nature hallucinatory.

Thank you for taking the time to write, Gabe. You're a valued member of the wackos here at HoseMaster of Wine.

PaulG said...

Hey Gabe - good to know that my reviews are "barely worth a blink"! I will keep that in mind next time I am agonizing over the right descriptors for the 5000th wine of the year.

Charlie Olken said...

I often wonder why wineries submit wines for review and then turn around and say that scores, reviews do not matter.

And while we are at it, I would love Gabe to define what a proper wine review is and why WineDude and WA achieved that but Wine Enthusiast did not.

With tens of thousands of wines in the market place, there are not enough days in the week or bloggers in the blogosphere to have long, one wine at a time style of review make any dent in that total of wines. If the goal is to inform the consumer, that style will never be sufficient no matter how well written, interesting to read or beloved by the folks who like that style.

Perhaps that is why a recent poll of winedrinkers found that 85% of them want ratings with their wine reviews.

It seems to me that some folks are trying to tell the consumer that he is wrong and they are right. Good luck with that.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Paul and Charlie,
I can't speak for Gabe, but I admire his honesty.

How you guys manage to write so many descriptions month after month after month is a wonder to me. I make fun of it all the time, but it's not a job I could do. And I'm an admirer of the skills of both of you.

Gabe, like a lot of small winery owners, needs the press, needs scores, and needs to get his name out there. He doesn't have much of an advertising budget, I'm guessing. I'm sure that's why he comments here and at STEVE! and 1WineDoody and who knows where else. (And at least he has something to say and isn't just trolling.) He surely must be aware of the old show biz axiom, "It doesn't matter what they say about you, as long as they talk about you." Any review that spells your name right is worthwhile if only for the fact that all the readers of WE and CGCW have read your name in print in a prominent publication.

I had no idea this post would get the kind of response it's received. I banged it out one afternoon inspired by the Jeffords remark, which really meant that the paying job of wine writer is dead, not that wine writing itself is dead. But it touched some nerves. Which genuinely surprised me. I only seek to make folks laugh a bit at the foolishness that thrives around this playground we call the wine business. It's only wine. It's not the massacre of children. It's not tossing the mentally distressed into the streets to fend for themselves. It's of little or no importance but for the quality of our spoiled ass lives.

Samantha Dugan said...

I have to confess that I cringed a bit when I read sweet Gabe's comment, not because I don't agree with him, in fact I agree with much of what he had to say here and told him as much last night on my blog. I cringed because I knew Paul G reads this here blog and wondered if he might be doing some brand damage by speaking his mind...but I felt better once I reminded myself how many times critics remind us that it's not personal so I'm sure there has been no damage done.

As to Charlie's question I think the point I took away from Gabe's comment was that a feature carries more weight and promise of notice than a simple review does. I happen to agree 1000%. I can do a long list of write ups for the newsletter and I will absolutely get sales from them, but when I do a feature on the winery, a region of the winemaker, well the sales are far higher. People do like the story and want to feel in some way connected to what they are about to buy. Hell I can tell as story at one of my classes, one about having dinner at the domaine in Burgundy or the Loire, what the family was like, the vision they have, a funny memory or even what we ate and I know that that wine will be my top selling of the evening. Happens every time. The story sells, and creates a connection and that is what I think Gabe was getting at. Least that's what my lame ass heard...

Charlie Olken said...

Ron--

Gabe probably makes pretty good wines, and I would love to know which wines they are. The fact that he submits them and talks about the scores but then says they don't matter may not be hypocritical, but it is cognitive noise that essentially undermines half of his point--and he does not really admit that.

As for the wonderful Samantha, yes, I think you did get a lot of Gabe's intent right, and I appreciate the way you put it. However, as long as he submits wines for scores and talks about those scores, and uses them to validate what he is doing, he makes an absolute mockery of his comments about the place that scores have enjoyed and still enjoy.

As I said above, it may not be hypocritical but, with all due respect, it is rhetorical nonsense as he proves by his own later comments.

Charlie Olken said...

Now on to a different topic.

The blogosphere did not revive winewriting. It has always been there. In fact, despite Jeffords and all the other handwringing naysayers, there is tons more winewriting the way Gabe defines it than there was just a couple of decades ago.

I may not be a fan of WS or WE or W&S, but the number of "stories" they publish way outdistances anything that existed previously.

Sure, there have been losses in some places. There have also been gains. Does Gabe remember when the SF Chron had one short wine column. That was not so long ago.

Gabe is, of course, right that a long story (600 to 1500 words) is better to tell his story than a 40 to 100 word wine review. But, I wonder how many of those 90-point wine reviews he has accumlated? If more than a few, he is also getting his story told by way of the wines he makes.

Jeffords exaggerated for effect. Ron lampooned him for very good effect.

But anyone who looks at the field of winewriting over anythign but the last several years ( or weeks as seems to be the case today) understands that 500,000 readers of the WS and 50,000 readers of WA are not chopped liver.

Perhaps, at this point, you who are stil listening, might want to drop in on Tom Wark's comments over on his blog, Fermentation.

Perhaps the problem here is that Ron wrote really good satire and some people thought that he was Walter Cronkhite.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Charlie,
Gabe's winery is easily accessed by clicking on his name in his comments. I've never had his wines, or even checked his reviews. I'm hoping they're yummy.

No, the blogosphere didn't revive wine writing. If anything, it has worked tirelessly to obscure it. I do my part anyway.

To judge from Tom Wark's post, it seems most wine writing these days is about wine writing.

gabe said...

Paul,

Sincere apologies for any disrespect. I was not trying to dimiss the quality of you writing, only trying to prove a point, and I ended up putting my foot in my mouth. I am incredibly sorry.

What I was trying to say was that tasting notes don't tell the same story as a full article talking about how a winery makes wine, and why. When someone writes an article about our winery, and gives a more in-depth dissection of what we are doing, then we also have a more in-depth discussion of their review.

All of that, tho, is an excuse. I said something dumb, and I sincerely apologize. I can only hope you can seperate my dumb opinions from the people who own and operate my winery, who are good people, and smart enough to avoid saying such mean and thoughtless things.

Respectfully,

Gabriel Jagle

gabe said...

to everyone else, all i can say is that the views expressed on this website are simply the opinions of some schmo that works at a winery. Any similarities to the opinions of a reputable winemaker are purely coincidental

PaulG said...

Gabe - apology accepted. In no way would your comment have the slightest impact on any reviews of your wines. I hope I'm better than that. But I do get tired of the seemingly endless jibes at wine reviewers who mostly work hard for little pay

PaulG said...

...and make a great deal of money for the very wineriesnthatnthumb their noses at us

Thomas said...

So, Gabe now knows why some comment as anonymous...not that I condone the practice...I applaud Gabe for not hiding his identity...and speaking his mind...not that I agree a 100...or even a 95...

A thousand years ago, I was taught that before you decide to sink a great deal of money in something like starting a winery, it's a good idea to identify your target market first. It appears many don't agree with that advice, but if you were to do that, it would probably diminish (not erase completely) the need for outside influence to sell your product. It would be like going to the source. What a concept!

gabe said...

Although my word choice was incredibly poor, let the record show that my comments were meant to highlight the importance of wine writers. And my word choice should serve to highlight how difficult a task writing can be