The Iconoclast, The Reporter, and The Crusader—Wine Folks We Miss
Listening to Alice Feiring’s interview with the late Joe Dressner, it got me thinking about a few people who I really miss. Joe is one of them.
I never met Joe Dressner, the iconoclastic wine importer who never, ever held his tongue. I never missed reading anything that he wrote and to this day I am sorry I never met. He said some very nasty things about me, as well as saying some very gracious things about me. I did not understand the man and this is some of what attracted me to him. Alice’s interview with him is well worth a listen. I miss him being part of the community of engaged and passionate wine people. Joe died in September 2011, after battling a brain tumor and as part of his reaction to this situation, he began a blog entitled “The Amazing Adventures of Mr. Tumor Man.” I am hoping that if I ever have to face a situation such at that, I can do so with the gregariousness and face-forward way in which Mr. Dressner did. Listen to Alice’s interview with Joe. You can also still read his first blog and one of the first ever blogs, The Wine Importer.
Another gentleman I miss is Rich Cartiere. Rich was a reporter who primarily covered the wine trade, the business side of things and he was a very good one. Rich died in 2008 and at the time he had a website called “The Wine Market Report”. He broke news, he doggedly covered stories and he was as conscientious as they get. I was shocked when I learned he died of cancer. He was 51 at the time. He never told me he had this infliction.
Finally, I miss Jerry Mead. Some of you will remember Mr. Mead. He was an inspiration for this very blog. At the time of his death in 2000, Jerry was still writing what at the time was the longest running wine column in America. He was a steadfast proponent of direct shipping and took opponents to direct shipping to task in words with the artistry of a butcher taking apart a carcass. You could always count on Mr. Mead to say the right thing when he saw the wrong thing being perpetrated.
I am generally not one to look backwards and dwell. That sort of thing can stymie you, hold you back, and keep you in place and I have no interest in that. But today Alice’s recording of an interview with Joe Dressner made me think of those folks who meant a lot and did a lot and inspired me. So, here’s to Alice and to those folks I miss.