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Wine Writing Goes Missing

By Charles Olken

I usually begin my day with a tour of the wine blogosphere. Mostly, I am just cruising around looking for a new thought or an insight into the world of wine that will brighten my day. I admit that I begin with The Hosemaster of Wine, a hilarious , often scatological take on my favorite subject, and then wander over to STEVE, the eponymous blog of Steve Heimoff who is not only one of the most prolific wine bloggers around but also comes with a very active discussion group that at times can rival the numbers who queue up at Hosemaster to get their two cents in. There are other regular stops, of course, some of whom are active and some who only get around to blogging when they actually have something to say.

And that brings me to the blogs I read today. They had nothing to say. Maybe it’s the day or two before Christmas and thoughts of sugar plums are filling wine writers’ heads. When last seen, The Hosemaster was wishing us a Merry Christmas et al and telling us he would not be back for a couple of weeks. Indeed, the old man was a bit melancholy for such a fine time of year, but he did confess to a sin or two saying,

“I certainly managed to offend an unusually large number of people this past year. I know it seems hard to believe, but offending people isn’t my actual goal. In fact, I don’t even have an actual goal, not when it comes to this blog anyway. Well, maybe to meet hot chicks, but that hasn’t really played out like I’d hoped. It turns out that satire offends people.”

Yes, satire offends people, especially those being lampooned, but it is kind of stimulating to laugh at the wine world that we all take so seriously. Although, looking at what was on offer today in the blogs, I am beginning to wonder if some folks take themselves seriously at all.

Consider these offerings:

--A commentary on the Wine Bloggers Conference. Nothing wrong with that except that the conference happened last summer. Maybe the blogger ran out of things to say because he titled this blog entry, “Who gives a crap about wine bloggers” and then proved that there are times that we ought not.

--An offering about last minute wine gifts. OK, some folks are always on the lookout for last minute gifts. I know I am, but happily, Amazon delivered my choice for Mrs. Olken today so I am out of the woods. But, maybe I am just jaded. If I get so much as one more useless wine gadget, I will have to hold a garage sale or move out of the house.

--STEVE, my good buddy, with whom I can shoot the breeze for hours when we cross paths at wine meetings, is up in Oregon and reporting to us on the weather and what it is like to drive a car in the rain.

--But, finally, I found what I was looking for. W. Blake Gray, on his blog, The Gray Report, has authored a piece called “Where Do Supermarket Wines Come From”? I admit that I almost passed this one by as I have very little interest in cheap, bulk-produced wines but I like Blake’s work most of the time, and so I took a look. It is not that I learned all that much. Most of the cheap wine is the work either of large wineries or private label producers—and almost all of it is not to my liking even for the price. Blake did not change my mind on that, but what he did was to do some first class sleuthing and uncover the makers of labels that do not exist in real life. It was a good read and deserves a look if you, like me, are bored with today’s blog offerings. For which, I apologize if this one has added to the burdens of the day.

Other than that, have a great Christmas. Ours lasts a couple of days starting with the neighborhood party and then on to our own family gathering. There is one thing I know for sure about these events—I will like the wine. I am supplying it in order to make sure that I do.


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