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TUESDAY TRIBUTES
09/21/2010
Tuesday Tributes: Best of the Blogs
The Good Grape Finds ==> Something New Under The Sun

By Charles Olken

About the time I became aware of the blogs, which was probably later than most everyone else in the wine world, I found a controversy swirling that involved old media and new media. Or to put it more bluntly, at least in the way I see it, between newly minted writers, who self-proclaimed that they were part of the wine scene, and the old crowd, the so-called “traditional media”. It all seemed a bit silly, sort of like “handbags at ten paces” as the British like to describe soccer arguments between players who never get close enough inflict any harm. What I saw was a bunch old guys calling out young folk because these upstarts obviously had not paid their dues and too often, in the opinions of the old fogeys, did not know their onions, and a bunch of young fogeys in training who were responding with such harsh- sounding epithets as “dinosaurs” and “out of touch”. As I say, silly beyond words, and amusing to me because, despite the fact that I am undoubtedly the oldest of the fogeys and clearly a member of traditional media, I immediately fell in love with their energy, their passion, their lust for learning. And, yes, like the rest of the old crowd, I did sometimes find these young folks reaching beyond their knowledge and getting things a bit cobbled up. But, isn’t that what young folks do? It certainly is what I did three decades and change ago when I founded Connoisseurs’ Guide. Moreover, it is from this new class of writers, these pups, these whelps, these instantly famous journalists that the next group of “old fogeys” (meaning professionally successful wine journalists) is going to be formed.

Now, not all of those wine bloggers were new to the game, of course, but there, in the midst of the young and intrepid stood a man with a longer vision and a keen eye for truth, no matter where it came from. Jeff Lefevere’s blog, The Good Grape, was the most professional/insider of the “new writer” wine blogs even though he views the wine world from the outside. It is also a blog that has a freshness, a sense of vitality, a quest for what is coming next. It is an everyday read for me, and his entry of September 19, in which he explores the making of a new and quite attractive wine glass, has me committed to a side trip on my very next visit to Washington State’s wine country. You will find the blog’s home page here, http://goodgrape.com/, or you can simply click on the following link and go directly to the posting itself, The Entrepreneurial Spirit: Muehlhausen Glass. It is a deserving winner of The Best of The Blogs for the past week.

Herewith, an excerpt:

“I’m starting a periodic series of posts focusing on upstarts in the wine business. These “focus” stories won’t typically be about wineries, but rather ancillary businesses in and around the enjoyment of wine. These are usually people that love wine and want to pursue their passion, but they are also people for whom the entrepreneurial call doesn’t beckon towards the vineyard.

We start the series off with Meuhlhausen Glass, owned by glass artisan Ryan Muehlhausen and assisted by his Uncle, Steve Thompson. Muehlhausen lives and works on Lummi Island, a small island in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington state, equidistance between Vancouver, CA and Seattle and known for their arts community. There, Meuhlhausen launched a Sommelier wine glass, amongst his other work with functional glass as objet d’art.”

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