Wine blogging in the time of coronavirus

How many of us remember this from high school?

What’s the point of a wine blog in a world consumed by the coronavirus? Call it necessary optimism

Friday update: Thanks to everyone who left such kind comments and sent such considerate e-mails. Again, I didn’t write this post to elicit sympathy, but to try to offer a bit of perspective. And to those of you who sent less than kind e-mails? No doubt your pandemic pantry is well stocked.

Blog traffic has been down as much as one-half over the past couple of weeks, mostly since the coronavirus started its deadly expansion from China to western Europe and points in between. In addition, blog cancellations have increased steadily, even though I haven’t written about screwcaps, ingredient labels, overpriced California wine, or any of the other things that usually portend cancellations.

Frankly, it’s damned depressing to write posts that no one reads. I say that not to elicit pity, but to ask a larger question: What’s to be be done about wine blogging in the time of coronavirus? Does it matter? What’s the point? Does anyone really care?

The answer, of course, is incredibly complicated. On the one hand, don’t we all want to behave like Albert Camus’ narrator in “The Plague” – “a man who, faced with suffering and a common crisis, does what he must and becomes a leader and an example, not out of heroic courage or careful reasoning, but rather from a sort of necessary optimism?”

On the other, and no matter how absurd it may seem, we also have a need to overwhelm Walmart and Costco to buy hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, household cleaners and staples like rice, pasta and canned food to build a “pandemic pantry” – just in case. And what about all that toilet paper?

And I can’t shake the feeling that the people who are supposed to be our version of Camus’ Dr. Rieux are more concerned with the stock market, the presidential election, and interest rates than they are with the coronavirus.

And maybe that’s the point, that the answer lies somewhere among all those contradictions. I am neither an epidemiologist nor a philosopher, but it seems that Jim Schutze, a former newspaper colleague and all around wise human being, hit on something recently: “We should be thinking about ways to keep doing what we need to do while minimizing our risk. It won’t work to try to shut everything down and hide in our holes. In fact, that will make things worse.”

So the blog will be here. If you read it, you read it. If you don’t, you don’t. But it will be here: Call it my small contribution to necessary optimism.

My apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who wrote “Love in the Time of Cholera,”  and to everyone else who has used a play on that title for their recent coronavirus posts.

8 thoughts on “Wine blogging in the time of coronavirus

  • By Frank -

    Keep writing! If ever we needed to be drinking more wine it’s now.

  • By Deb -

    I haven’t missed a post… though I do just read the email. Keep writing.. you know alcohol kills germs… so why not drink the wine to help that?

  • By MrDoug -

    We need to know if it’s time to drink the “good” bottles before it’s too late!

    Blogs like this provide a welcome break from nonsense that is being spewed elsewhere. This keeps our spirits up and that helps keep us healthy. So as a public service keep writing!

  • By William -

    The EquineUrineVirus has led me to cancel a much anticipated vacay to the Rhône Valley. I’m fighting back by touring the Texas Hill Country wineries this April. A small gesture, perhaps, but I was determined to not be totally cowered.
    The risk of getting quarantined by well-meaning but overzealous bureaucrats was a one I wasn’t willing to take.

  • By Jane Nickles -

    I love a blogger who can casually toss in a Gabriel García Márquez reference here and there. Keep blogging!

  • By Carl Giavanti -

    Bravo Ken!

  • By eric -

    i for one appreciate your wine writing and read it everyday (i get the emails) and would prefer to read your posts rather than yet another article on coronavirus and how wimpy people are panicking and cleaning out store shelves

  • By Paul Tincknell -

    Hey, wine (and beer and spirits) are hygienic beverages … . What other beverage to drink during the virocalypse and these end times? I mean, we all need something to get through an election year, regardless. A toast to necessary optimism, and keep writing my friend.

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