Categorizing 2009—Wine Blog Style
I believe 2009 has been one of the most significant 12 months of my life. As I think back on the past 12 months I find myself wanting to categorize and define and organize it into neat packets.
Much of 2009 revolved around my life as a blogger, what it revealed and what it has resulted in. Another good portion of 2009 revolved around my now 20 year pursuit of establishing myself as a reliable wine PR and marketing guy. And a large portion of 2009 was a cascade of personal changes.
And though it really is hard to categorize and organize a year, here's a brief attempt:
BEST PLACE TO RETREAT FROM THE WORLD OF 2009
The Bar at The Girl and the Fig
A most amazing restaurant on the Sonoma Plaza who's owner, Sondra Bernstien and chef John Toulze and various employees have made each and ever stop in (stops that number more than I can count) a perfect experience, filled with great food, perfect Manhattans, attentive service, friendships…all filled with comfort.
BEST NEW WINE BLOG I'VE ENCOUNTERED BUT NEVER WRITTEN ABOUT
Written by Tom Johnson, Louisville Juice strikes me as a perfect rendering of the wine blog genre. Tom posts regularly, refers to news or other blog posts he's come across, offers his own spin on the discovery and delivers it all in an engaging read. The fact that he calls his blog "LOUISVILLE" Juice masks the fact that the blog is the perfect daily stopover for any engaged wine lover living anywhere on the planet.
BEST WINE OF THE YEAR
2003 Failla Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast
Maybe the most complex and satisfying juice I've put in my mouth in 25 years.
MY BEST BLOG POSTS OF THE YEAR
Of Memories of Broken Glass and Mothers
On Fathers & Bourbon
The Dinner Party
The Three Tier System & Consumer Access To Wine
God Bless You
MOST REWARDING PR WORK OF THE YEAR
Inertia Beverage Group Acquires New Vine Logistics and lots of PR and Media Relations Ensue
FERMENTATION COMMENTER I'D MOST LIKE TO SEE START A BLOG
Charlie's regular comments on this blog are often as good or better than the post he's commenting on. Add to this his regular dialog with other commentators and you realize the man's many years thinking about, tasting and writing about wine at The Connoisseurs Guide To California Wine have resulted in unique insights that need significantly more sharing.
MOST DISAPPOINTING REGULATORY DEVELOPMENT OF THE YEAR
Creation of the Calistoga AVA
When the TTB granted appellation status to the Calistoga AVA it forced two wineries that use Calistoga in their winery's name to dramatically alter their business plan or to relinquish all equity their brands had accumulated. And they did this without any financial compensation. This act theft by regulation was criminal in view.
BEST DINNER PARTIES OF THE YEAR
A Dinner in Sonoma at the Girl & The Fig To Honor Alice Feiring
BEST WINE BOOK OF THE YEAR
The Finest Wines of Champagne
MOST IMPORTANT WINE ORGANIZATION THAT HASN'T GOT OFF THE GROUND
Academy of Wine Communications
Michael Wangbickler and the folks at Balzac Communications have made an effort to get this wine PR & Marketing Pro association off its back and vital again. If it ever gains steam it could serve an enormous service to the wine marketing community.
MOST IMPORTANT WINE ORGANIZATION THAT GOT OFF THE GROUND THEN STALLED
Open Wine Consortium
The Open Wine Consortium is a collection of VERY digitally connected wine people that started with a tremendous bang a couple years back. It's potential as a social networking hub on the net is unquestionably huge. But in 2009, it stalled. It must get up off its back.
MOST IMPORTANT NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION FOR 2010 #1
Secure my retirement
MOST IMPORTANT NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION FOR 2010 #2
Take Piano Lessons
MOST IMPORTANT NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION FOR 2010 #3
Concentrate on the simplest, most important things: The people I love (you know who you are)
MOST IMPORTANT NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION FOR 2010 #4
Post on FERMENTATION More Often.
MY MOST SURPRISING ACHIEVEMENT OF 2009
Stopping Smoking After More Than 20 Years of Puffing
Even now, more than 2 months after quitting, I can't believe I've attempted this…and can't believe that so far…so good.
Such a wonderful NYE blog post. I hope you accomplish all of your 2010 resolutions and stay happy & healthy! Keep up the great work!
You pay the fare, and I’ll give you piano lessons. If you are serious, I can send you some material to get you started–really.
Two things make me feel whole: writing and tickling the ivories (they used to be ivory) so, I know how it feels to want to learn the piano.
Thomas, I’ve got a wonderful full keyboard, weighted keys electric piano. I’m doing it. Always wanted to, now I will.
I’m serious. I can send you some material. But I need to know if your keyboard has a wall behind the keys at least 2 inches tall.
If you do not plan to take classical training, I can show you how to quickly develop the important chord skills, as all song melodies are strings of broken chords. Mine is a visual learning method that requires both a decent memory and ear.
I have both a grand piano (you know, that acoustic stuff) and an electric keyboard. Vastly prefer the acoustic sound, although the electric board gives me better action.
Congrats on that quitting smoking thing!
So yes, Tom, what happened to OWC? And what happened to Joel? Any online venture requires “admins” Mystifying, particularly given its membership base of over 5,000 industry people. Got any insight yourself beyond that it must get up off its back.
Thanks, Dale. It’s something I still am “working” on. But so far so good.
Ditto that on the OWC. I think I saw Joel say in the comments at Wine Sooth (when Arthur was taking the lack of engagement at OWC to task) that a community must be led by its members. Fair enough. But, people like to be led, though — ask any PTA member or neighborhood association President.
So glad you kicked the smoking habit, Tom! To your health 🙂
Thanks for the kind mention. It is interesting to me to see how much fun we are all having here in blogland, although I do wonder if we are talking to the same people across the blogs I visit. Still, it does not matter because I see all this as conversational journalism, and the point of it is to say something and to get something back, to generate a forum for intelligent discussion. And if anything useful comes of it, well so much the better.
I am not sure how unique my insights are. Tom P. might prefer the word “wacky” for some of them, but he and I are of a vintage, and some of our bottles (ideas) have aged well and others are just aged. Kind of like my cellar when you get right down to it.
Still, if there is anything unique about me, it is that I have been blessed by the opportunity to make a comfortable living running a cottage industry publication through which I get to taste wine for a living. I have done so for thirty-five years, and whether I keep at it another five or another fifteen will depend on forces beyond my control.
All I can say is this. When my grad school class secretary sent out an email a couple of years ago asking us all what we were planning to do now that we were reaching retirement age, I responded that I had no intention of retiring, could not see myself not doing what I do. Some wise man wrote back and said, “Of course not, you are doing what we all want to when we retire”.
And, so, in the last year, I have done some tweeting, have a new Facebook page and have discovered, albeit somewhat belatedly, the blogosphere.
Will I ever have a blog? Don’t know, but I would not be surprised. Learning new tricks is fun.
I hear the piano lessons at NVC are great and uber-affordable!
Happy New Year!
It’s the other way round. Yours are the prevailing insights–mine are the “wacky” insurrections.
Congratulations on quitting smoking! I quit in 2009 too. It sure increased my sensitivity to food and wine flavors and notes. Looking forward to reading you through 2010.
Congratulations on quitting smoking. I just reached 11 years without a puff. I miss it sometimes, but I’ve never felt better.
I agree about OWC, but I think the sad truth about organizations like that is that its members are busy trying to run businesses, etc. They don’t have to time to lead themselves. And every large non-profit organization (whether charitable or an industry association) has leadership that sets a vision consistent with members’ desires. To expect 1000 people to just self-organize is naive.
If Piano lessons yuou seek, you need to meet my wife Alison Harris. She’s in SR, she’s an accomplished singer/songwriter (look her up on itunes for reference) and she’s a great piano teacher.
Cheers to 2010 and learing a new musical instrument!
MY MOST SURPRISING ACHIEVEMENT OF 2009 – Stopping Smoking After More Than 20 Years of Puffing
Bravo! The rest pales in comparison.
Great achievement to quit smoking after so many years, takes total determination to move on. Cheers
OWC will pick up again, once it hosts the American Wine Blog Awards!
Congrats on quitting smoking. That’s one huge achievement. I am still struggling to quit although i use the latest technologies. Hope one day i will have my lungs clean again.