A Great Wine Critic Takes On The Blog Format


CGCW Charlie Olken has a blog.

Big deal. New wine blog on the block.

But wait. Consider the context: If I'm not mistaken, Charlie Olken's foray into freely accessed, on-line publishing in a diary-like format marks him as perhaps the most wine-experienced blogger in America. Charlie has for more than 35 years been publishing the Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine, a newsletter that is and has been highly respected by winemakers, the wine trade and the wine obsessed.

Thirty-Five years!

There are a few other folks who have been involved with American wine publishing and commentary longer than Charlie and who, like Charlie, are still involved.

I've knew Charlie would stake a claim in the blog world before he knew it. I knew this because he is a semi-regular commenter on this blog and others. Frequently, when he leaves a comment it is longer and more insightful than the post upon which he is commenting. This is both somewhat depressing and edifying to me, but also inspiring. You've got to like it when smart folks comment on hour blog. However, it has been clear to me that a person with the depth of knowledge that Charlie possess and with the motivation to leave extensive comments on another person's blog and with a history of publishing under his belt, he is clearly a candidate for his own wine blog. And we finally have it.

The Connoisseurs' Wine Blog appears on the home page of the website for Olken's Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine.

It appears that we will be getting daily updates on the blog, with each day dedicated to a different category of posts such as:

SUNDAY: Books, Spirits & Stuff
MONDAY: Rants & Opinions
TUESDAY: The Best of the Blogs
WEDNESDAY: Pairings & Recipes
ETC

In my view, based on reading the content of his new blog and his many comments on my and other blogs, Charlie Olken is at his best when he delves deep into the meaning of wine criticism, the history of the California wine industry, and, of course, when he reviews wines. I suspect (and hope) that these topics will flow regularly from his keyboard.

The bottom line here is that with the appearance of the Connoisseurs' Wine Blog we have regular access to the thoughts and analysis of one of the most experienced wine minds in America.

This is going to be a treat.

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14 Responses

  1. Nick Perdiew - September 9, 2010

    Bravo Tom C Wark for joining the chorus celebrating this addition to the lineup. I love the positive props you’re giving here.

  2. Steve Heimoff - September 9, 2010

    You’re right, Tom. Charlie’s blog is a welcome addition to our little world!

  3. Alfonso - September 9, 2010

    Oh man we’re gonna have so much fun with Charlie in the sand box

  4. Jeff - September 9, 2010

    I think it’s swell, too. Charlie has proven a valuable commenter over the last year — another feather in the cap for his long and respected career.
    One quibble, however: His “blog” doesn’t have an RSS feed therefore making it a web site that he publishes to using a content management system. Maybe it was an oversight, or maybe it was on purpose, but either way, it’s a mistake not to have an RSS feed and technically not a blog.

  5. Ron Washam, HMW - September 9, 2010

    Puff Daddy has been threatening to start a blog since before there was an Internet. Nice to see he’s finally followed through. Connoisseurs’ Guide has been my go-to California wine publication for at least 30 years; when a wine gets 3 Stars you owe it to yourself to find a way to taste it. I’m guessing Charlie’s blog will be a touchstone for reasonable, thoughtful and entertaining wine prose for years to come.
    Of course, he’s no 1WineDude.

  6. Charlie Olken - September 9, 2010

    Tom–
    I am greatly flattered and honored by your comments.
    And I am further honored by the comments of the folks who have gathered here.
    Today’s blog topic is biodynamics. I have no axe to grind either way and ask only that I be shown, not proselytized. Please feel free to stop by and add your two cents at http://www.cgcw.com. We all learn by sharing, and the comments left so far are thoughtful and informative.

  7. Samantha Dugan - September 9, 2010

    Alfonso…I get my turn in the sandbox first! Seems silly for me to welcome Sir Charles to the wine blog world, he has been more active than most bloggers in the blogosphere…and far more articulate. I shan’t welcome you Charlie my sweet friend but I can tell you that I will be devouring your posts and visiting often. You are a very wise and fair cat, (well aside from the whole Chardonnay thing) and you I have much to learn from you.

  8. Thomas Pellechia - September 10, 2010

    Charlie has a blog?
    Is that the one I saw yesterday???
    I even made a comment about some woman named Sam.
    Well, we lost one and gained another, who seems to have brought out the one we lost.

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    I found someone that delivers wine right to your front door! No need to leave the house!! lol

  11. buy wine online - September 12, 2010

    so people are learning you can now buy wine online much cheaper than the local grocery store…at last!

  12. Mark's Wine Clubs - September 13, 2010

    Thanks for the heads up Tom. I think many of us have been clamoring for some time to find another industry insider to write an honest blog. Parker joining Twitter was a nice start, but we haven’t gotten quite as much information from him as we might have hoped in that format.

  13. John Kelly - September 15, 2010

    Tom – don’t know much about the TypePad platform but WordPress has a neat little plugin called Akismet that blocks spam comments…

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