Category Archives: Awards

2011 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting: Highs and Lows

This is an event I look forward to every year, even if I’ve ragged a bit on the opacity of the selection criteria in the past. There’s always an eclectic group of producers ranging from the very well known and perpetually excellent to the less well known and only occasionally excellent, or at least aspiring to excellence. There’s enough of each to keep it interesting. There’s also always great food on hand. This year’s venue, the Metreon, had its pluses and minuses. The view from the Metreon balcony is one of the best in San Francisco, so the outdoor, balcony part of the event, especially given the beautiful weather conditions, proved to be a scenic and inspiring place to taste wine. The indoor part, on the other hand, especially after dark, tended to be gloomy, cavernous and more than a little depressing. Continue reading

Posted in Australian Wine, Awards, Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Champagne, Chateauneuf du Pape, Greek Wine, Italian Wine, Loire, Napa, Northern Rhone, Port, Rhône, Riesling, Winemakers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I am Dubious of Wine Competitions: Medals for Everybody

I am intensely dubious about wine competitions. They are very common–it seems like almost every county fair in this country, and lots of newspapers, like the San Francisco Chronicle and Dallas Morning News, sponsor one. They do seem to be very important in Australia, where judges receive some training for them and I gather they have higher generally accepted standards for them than there are elsewhere. Almost universally, however, the wines that most of us in the fine wine world acknowledge as truly great never enter such competitions. Such wines are already well known, the wineries that produce them already experience more demand for those wines than they can satisfy, and such producers certainly don’t need to risk coming in second to some unknown producer in a blindtasting at the Fresno County Fair. That leaves a lot of unknown wines that are looking for any kind of recognition, or producers that feel the need for regular validation in the form of a bronze or silver medal at some local fair, as the usual participants for these kinds of things. Continue reading

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Why I Won’t be Attending the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference

I wrote here in late July about the largely unfortunate experience that the North American Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC11) in Virginia this year turned out to be. That post generated quite a lot of traffic and discussion. A number of people, including many WBC11 attendees, supported my comments and Tom Wark, who created the Wine Blog Awards that he passed on to the WBC organizers, wrote me a few days after my post to ask whether I’d be willing to be part of a group or committee to help advise the WBC organizers going forward, including meeting with them before WBC12 to discuss programming and the like. I said yes. In light of the organizers apparent willingness to hear from interested people about programming and other suggestions, I was definitely willing to give them another chance to organize an event that was aimed more at the interests and needs of wine bloggers. As events have transpired, however, Tom’s invitation to me to be part of the advisory committee was not honored by the WBC organizers, and I now have no intention of participating in WBC12 in any way. Continue reading

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2011 Wine Bloggers Conference: Sponsor Programming Heavy, Relevant Content Light

I may not be welcomed back to one of these things in the future after registering here my honest impression of this event. Realistically, though, I wouldn’t want to return if there’s not a major change in the way it’s structured, especially the total domination of the program by activities devoted to the event’s sponsors. But if one or more of us don’t speak up when the organizers go way overboard in selling off the vast majority of the program time to sponsors, what does that say about journalistic values in wine blogging? Continue reading

Posted in Awards, Croatian Wine, Wine Critic, Wine Seminars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 66 Comments

Nominated for Wine Blog Awards; Listed on Alltop

I’m bursting with excitement this evening with the news that this blog was listed today as one of five nominees in each of two categories for a 2011 Wine Blog Award. The two categories are best writing and best overall wine blog. Continue reading

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