Winebits 505: Friends of the Wine Curmudgeon edition

wine curmudgeonThis week’s wine news: Three of my friends have earned top wine honors, so many tips of the WC’s fedora are in honor

40 under 40: Kyle Schlachter, who has been a long-time Colorado and Drink Local supporter, has been named to the Wine Enthusiast’s Top 40 under 40 Tastemakers of 2017 – people “who are shaping the future of wine, beer, cider and spirits in America.” This is a tremendous honor, since the Enthusiast is a Winestream media outlet that barely acknowledges wine is made outside of three or four regions on the West Coast, let alone anywhere else in the country. That it honored Kyle for his work spreading the word about Colorado and regional wine speaks to his enthusiasm and success. Kyle has always found a way to inject drink local into a wine conversation, and he is not afraid to do it even when talking to the snobbiest California wine drinker. Which makes him even braver than I am.

Hail to the chief: Michael Wangbickler, one of the best PR people in the wine business, is the new president of Balzac Communications. This would be a big deal in any event, but it’s especially big for two reasons: First, because Balzac may be the best marketing company in the wine business, and second, because Mike replaces the legendary Paul Wagner, who wrote the book on modern wine marketing. Mike’s perspective and long-term vision are what make him so good – he understands that the wine business is about more than what’s going on at one moment in one place, and that success in wine is about more than one news release, one 90-point rating, or one free sample. This makes him smart and unique.

Hail to the chief, part II: Dave Falchek, once a newspaper reporter, has been the executive director of the American Wine Society for the past year or so. Dave may be even more passionate about getting Americans to drink wine than I am, which should tell all you need to know about his love for wine. And that’s why he is perfectly suited to the AWS, whose goal is to get Americans to drink wine and to be more knowledgeable about it.