Tag Archives: wine writers

Warren Winiarski donates $3.3 million to honor wine writers

Warren Winiarski

That’s Warren on the far left. Now I know why he put up with three wine writers — myself, Mike Dunne, and Dave Buchanan (from the right) in close quarters for three days.

Warren Winiarski’s foundation wants to build the most comprehensive collection of wine writers’ work in the world

Warren Winiarski is more than an iconic figure in the history of U.S. wine. He’s a smart guy, too.

“My hope for this gift is that it will create a powerful resource for people who want to see how writers helped develop the wine industry itself and how they influenced the aesthetics of wine,” he told the University of California-Davis media office. “Wine writers didn’t write just about the regions or types of wine. They gave winemakers the tools they needed to make wines better.”

It means a lot that the man whose cabernet sauvignon won the Judgment of Paris appreciates what we cyber-stained wretches have done over the past 40 years. In this, Winiarski’s foundation has donated $3.3 million to UC-Davis to “build the most comprehensive collection of wine writers’ work in the world” at the school’s already well-regarded library.

Just let me know where to send a copy of the cheap wine book and the original $10 Hall of Fame. And, of course, all the writing we did for Drink Local.

I’ve known Warren for several years – judged with him, visited vineyards with him, been on panels with him. We’ve even shared a moment or two about my beloved Cubs, whom Warren suffered with when he was a boy in Chicago. So I knew there was more to his life than making great wine.

Hence, I should not be surprised by this gift. How else does one get better without legitimate criticism? That kind of perspective is invaluable, and that Warren understands that is just one more reason why he became the winemaker that he became.

So call me pleased. And happy. And maybe a little surprised. I get so cranky dealing with the wine business every day that my perspective is not always what it should be. So thank you, Warren – not only for acknowledging the role of those of us who type, but reminding me why I love wine in the first place.

Winebits 330: Cheap wine, more cheap wine, and corrupt wine writers

Winebits 330: Cheap wine, more cheap wine, and corrupt wine writersBet you never thought you’d see cheap wine in a headline with corrupt wine writers:

? Nothing more than $10: That’s the verdict of the British wine drinking public, where 80 percent of the wine sold costs 6 (about US$10) or less a bottle. And less than seven per cent are willing to pay more than 10 (about US$17) for a bottle.This doesn’t surprise the Wine Curmudgeon, of course, who has long been an Anglophile, complete with Tom Baker Dr. Who videos, a Winston Churchill poster, and a London Underground coffee mug. And it shouldn’t surprise any intelligent U.S, wine drinker, who has followed the blog or seen the most recent Wine Market Council study (which found that even the richest wine drinkers buy cheap wine). But you know the wine business — someone, somewhere will claim it’s all a lie, and we’re actually drinking $25 wine that gets a 93. Nuts to them. I want some of the 4 Adli rose in the article in the first link.

? Even the experts love cheap wine: A tip of the WC’s fedora to visitor Julia B., who sent this to me: Some of the hippest winemakers in the business drink wine that shows up on the blog. Like the Little James Basket Press red and whites. Like the Muga rose (recommended by a guy who used to make a $20 rose). This demonstrates two things: That people, when paying their own money, are fussier about what they buy, and that the quality of cheap wine — as preached here so many times most of you are probably sick of it — has improved dramatically.

? The Chicago way? Last week’s post about wine as bribes turned this up: That a French author claims her country’s wine critics are regularly bribed and that winery ratings are influenced by “surreal criteria,” such as parking spaces. And you think we had disagreements over scores in the U.S. Isabelle Saporta writes in “VinoBusiness (Albion Michel, $23.75)” that the French wine business is a “cruel, medieval micro-society” where powerful chateau owners care more about profit than wine and that French critics write favorable reviews in return for cash. One, says Saporta, allegedly demands US$7,000 for writing nice things about a producer’s wine — something I do for free. It’s hell to have ethics, no? Think of all the white Burgundy I could buy with a glowing review of crappy cheap wine.

Winebits 301: Drink Local Wine, wine costs, wine experts

? Regional wine week: Drink Local Wine will hold its sixth annual Regional Wine Week from Oct. 6 to Oct. 12, which means everyone has a chance to be a wine writer. Maybe that's my legacy as one of the group's co-founders? Anyone ?- professional wine writer to bloggers to wine drinkers with Facebook or Tumblr — can send a link to their story or post about regional wine. This year, as a bonus, there's a photo contest with wine-related prizes. Over the past five years, writers from across the United States and Canada have posted stories and sent DLW links from blogs, websites, magazines, and newspapers about their favorite
regional and local wines, wineries and events. I'll have my annual post on Oct. 6.

? Breaking down the cost of wine: One of the great mysteries about wine is how costs are allocated; that is, how much does each part of the process cost, whether grapes, bottling, marketing, and so forth. I cover this in the Cheap Wine Book (with a nifty graphic), and Jo Diaz, a long-time wine industry insider, has come up with similar numbers. What's important to note is how little the grapes cost — about seven percent of a $50 bottle of wine.

? Who do consumers trust? Not, apparently, wine writers if one study is to be believed. We're so far down the list it's hardly worth mentioning. This has caused all sorts of kerfluffle among those of us who do this for a living, which I'm mostly ignoring as part of my new policy of not writing about wine writing. It's worth mentioning that the study's author, the respected John Gillespie, has said that the survey "may not fully capture market influence." But it sure is fun to write about, no?