Help Save James Laube

Wine Spectator writer and wine reviewer James Laube is one brave man!

I was sent word of a local event and wine auction benefiting The Young School, a Montessori school in St. Helena. Like many local schools in wine country, they organize grand events to raise money through sales of tickets to the event and through an auction. The Young School’s event, "Forever Young" at Quintessa Winery on the 17th has a great line up of auction lots.

The Young School’s event takes place this weekend and indeed they will have an auction at the event to help raise funds for the school. But being in Napa Valley, their auction lots go a bit beyond the usual magnum of of Cab from a parent’s cellar. Take a look at Auction Lot # 24:

"Lot 24        Lunch with James Laube
Tour The Wine Spectator’s beautifully restored Victorian mansion-headquarters in Napa with Senior Editor James Laube and continue on to lunch with Mr. Laube. He has written for The Wine Spectator since 1980 and today reviews 5,000 California wines a year; he has written four books, one of which won The James Beard Award for the best wine book of the year in 1996.

I can think of a number of winemakers and winery owners who would LOVE to have the chance to get Mr. Laube locked into a private lunch where they get to go on and on and complain and complain about the 89 point score they were given for their Cabernet or the 86 point score they got for their $50 Chardonnay. And there’s poor Mr. Laube. Obligated to sit across from them and listen to their rant. They bought the right to rant throughout lunch and James agreed to be there.

Living in the community where the wines are made that he reviews, Jim Laube almost certainly gets stopped on the street by folks who want to complain, thank him, "get to know" him and generally just try to know "how could you score that wine that way?" The fame that comes with being a well regarded and influential critic must be different than the fame that comes with being an entertainer. Imagine being the restaurant critic for the New York Times living in a town made up of only chefs. This must certainly be odd, if not a little disconcerting at times.

Whatever price Jim Laube or other critics pay for the attention they pay to creative works is one they chose. And if they put themselves in a position to be tapped on the shoulder as they shop for groceries it’s only because they’ve done their job well enough to be taken very seriously. But still, Jim Laube is brave.

If you are a fan of his and want to save him from being subjected to to what might be 2 hours of rants and ravings of a winemaker who didn’t get the score for their wine they think they deserve, you can bid on Auction Lot #24 without going to the auction. You can find bidding forms and the entire Auction catalog HERE. There’s some other very cool lots too.

Check out Lot #8…Dinner with Gerald Asher, the long time wine columnist for Gourmet Magazine who may be America’s best wine writer.

Posted In: Events, Rating Wine


4 Responses

  1. Jerry Murray - March 15, 2007

    At IPNC a few years back I was walking past Mr Laube and the idea popped into my mind ” how much could I extort from CA wineries to take him out right here and now”? Of course being on Oregon winemaker, I decided Mr. Laube poses little threat to my industry and decided to let the Califonians do thier own dirty work. To open himself up to this possibility is indeed brave or reflects the respect he has for the people in the california industry. Of course the flip side is that some disgruntled winemaker might have to spend some part of that lunch listening to Mr Laube. They may not like what they hear.

  2. Mark Finley - March 15, 2007

    Perhaps Mr. Laube should fear collectors as well. Especially those who purchased his 96 point, high alcohol, low acidity wines and who upon opening a youngster at age 7, have found that their wine has already started to disintergrate.

  3. Fermento - March 15, 2007

    BFD!!! We’ve all got jobs. His is no different. He may have to deal with whiny winemakers, but he doesn’t have to clean out lees-caked drains…Boo-freakin’-hoo!!

  4. shari - May 24, 2009

    I would just like to know how I can email Mr. Laube. I had intentions of “saving him” but got to the auction site too late- as it is now May and the auction was in March. My bad.
    Can anybody get me his direct email address?

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