How else to explain the Wine Curmudgeon as a finalist for a 2013 Wine Blogger Award — as one of the five nominated for best industry blog? Best industry blog? For a blog written by someone who has spent his entire wine writing career fighting the man. Opposing the power. Upping the people. Trying desperately to make wine simpler and easier for the ordinary consumer, and pushing the boulder uphill in the face of an industry that could care less.
I can only think of two things that might explain this: First, the wine industry, in an attempt to co-opt the opposition, has clasped me to its bosom. This would make sense, assuming the wine industry cared one way or the other about what I write. Second, that the nominating judges made a mistake. Which, given my dour Midwestern outlook on life, is probably what happened. No doubt, someone will shortly call me and apologize and say better luck next year.
Until then, I'm going to enjoy this, odd category or no. Because I am grateful. Happy, too. Ecstatic, even. Thank you, nominating judges. Because I sit at my desk and type five of these things a week and wring my hands and gnash my teeth and wonder if anyone reads them and if they do, does it matter? And how can I get people who aren't really wine drinkers to read the blog and what kinds of posts would they like to see? And how am I going to make any money off of this and will I ever finish the book, and dammit, I need a post for next Thursday.
And, of course, I will be most shamelessly promoting my nomination in hopes of winning the award. So go here and vote for me. Voting ends May 24, so don't waste any time.
? Jonathan Swift? Mike Veseth at the Wine Economist, citing the precedent set by Anglo-Irish satirist Jonathan Swift 283 years ago, suggests ?Instead of asking critics to score the wines on a quality scale, let ?s ask them how much they are worth! How much should someone be willing to pay for this wine Which the Wine Curmudgeon wholeheartedly agrees with, and has been part of the blog since its inception. Imagine the fun: Suggested retail price, $15. What it ?s worth price: $5. That would get everyone ?s attention, no? Besides, who wouldn ?t want to be in the company of Swift, who wrote ?Gulliver ?s Travel ?s ? and fought the good fight against the 18th-century British bosses and elite?
? What should wine cost? Eric Asimov at the New York Times says $20, for at that price it ?s possible to find something where ?the odds swing decidedly in your favor. With a little experience, you can find dozens of joyous bottles, plucked carefully from the ranks of the routine. ? He lists 20, mostly very nice bottles. though availability outside of Manhattan may be a problem. What intrigued me the most, though, was Asimov ?s discussion of price, which is something he doesn ?t do much. He acknowledges that $20 may be a lot of money for some of us, and that there are perfectly acceptable bottles of $10 wine for sale. When Eric Asimov says things like that, the wine world has most definitely changed.
? Oops: The Wine Blogging Awards, which recently announced its finalists, made a mistake in the Best New Blog category, where one of the finalists wasn ?t supposed to be one of the finalists. Something about a math error. It ?s pretty much a mess, and involves separate voting in that category. I suppose I could write something snarky here, like a wine blogger should, but I like to think I ?m better than that. Besides, the awards have enough problems of their own.
? Unhappy bloggers: Not everyone was thrilled with the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference, held in Charlottesville, Va., a couple of weeks ago. Or, as my pal Dave McIntrye noted, the Whine Bloggers Conference (where the comments have angled all over the place, including a discussion of Missouri wine and whether it's any good — which it is, for the uninitiated). Tom Johnson also has a few thoughts at Louisville Juice. Meanwhile, back at the WBC, Richard Jennings, who blogs as RJ on Wine, was quite unhappy with the record heat, and held the organizers accountable. Why, he wrote, would the conference hold a major tasting event outdoors in 100-degree heat and high humidity, despite plenty of advance warning of weather conditions? Boy, that's a tough crowd, isn't it? As someone who organizes events for the media, the Wine Curmudgeon will take note of this and make sure the weather is more acceptable for our next DrinkLocalWine.com conference in Denver. Don't want DLW to get ripped in the cyber-ether for too much snow in April.
? Wine blogger awards: Congratulations to our pal Lenn Thompson at the New York Cork Report, who won his third consecutive wine blogger award (for best single subject wine blog). Lenn has broken new ground for regional wine with the Cork Report, and it's nice to see him honored. Also a winner: the Enobytes blog, which is never afraid to speak its mind, for best wine reviews.
? Wine in restaurants: Some sage advice from the great Dan Berger about buying wine in restaurants: "Always look at the non-traditional categories for the best values. (Try Albari o as an alternative to chardonnay, or Argentina malbec instead of merlot.)" The article offers a number of other useful tips, and offers wine buying etiquette pointers as well, like when it's acceptable to send back a bottle of wine.