Michael Lonsford was the long-time wine writer at the Houston Chronicle, and he was one of the best. He and Diane Teitelbaum in Dallas were, for years and years, the wine writing business in Texas, taking arms against a sea of troubles (if I may paraphrase Shakespeare).
Lonsford retired this year, and it doesn’t look like the bosses in Houston will replace him. This means the newspaper in the fourth-largest city in the U.S. won’t have a wine writer — and the geniuses wonder why no one of a certain socio-economic group reads newspapers anymore.
Lonsford wrote about his career in an email that circulated around the Texas wine business. I want to quote one part, in which he summed up what each of us tries to do, no matter where we are and who we are:
“For a long time I fought the good fight, but I never, ever kidded myself. I always knew I was local and never pretended that I wielded a big stick like wine critic Robert Parker. …
“Believe me when I say I have been the luckiest wine writer in the country. I’m not sure, but my tenure may have been the longest – if not, certainly one of the longest – uninterrupted wine columns in U.S. newspaper history. Which means you have been kind enough to overlook all my mistakes (and I know that was a lot of overlooking!) and that you understood that you — the Chronicle reader — were my customer. If I liked a wine, fine. If I didn’t, fine, too — but you needed to know that there are a lot of crappy wines out there. I never hedged my bets.
I always did it for you my way – straight, no chaser.”
Straight, no chaser — that works for me.