Archive for October, 2009

Free idea

Monday, October 26th, 2009


Boontling. From:


While looking at the back label of a wine my wife received in one of her club shipments, I recently learned about Boontling – the obscure American English dialect which has 1,300 unique words and originated in the 1800s in Anderson Valley’s Boonville.

I’ve recently been speaking with a winemaker friend (not operating in the Central Coast) about improving the visibility and success of his brand. This made me think of one key fact: in a landscape where everyone makes as much noise about themselves as possible, being understated is going to present problems in one’s ability to compete. By extension, being conventional makes one prone to getting lost in the noise or being overshadowed by more distinct and unique branding. (more…)

Made in forests, spoiled in processing?

Friday, October 23rd, 2009


Docking. From:


A press release commenting on this year’s cork harvest caught my eye today. It reads very much like a grape harvest or vintage report. Yet, I could not help but think that, just like with wine grapes, while the harvest may be exceptional, individual corks can still be spoiled.

I have nothing against cork. Yes, it is a let down when I open a highly-anticipated wine only to find TCA gushing out of the bottle. That happens only in a small portion of cases. (more…)

Is the OpenWine Consortium aimlessly adrift?

Thursday, October 15th, 2009


Is the OWC out of steam? (derived from Wine Bloggers Conference logo)

Is the OWC out of steam?

I joined the OpenWine Consortium when its membership numbered only a few hundred. I saw the OWC as something with potential to help the industry: it could organize bloggers, raise the bar for online wine publishing, create some educational programs and help wine producers and budding wine commentators build their brands. As I write this, the OWC boasts 4,613 members.

Other than organizing the Wine Bloggers Conferences, the OWC offers a forum for discussions. However, it has been months since I last saw any active efforts to organize members or truly accomplish something of impact for the wine industry. Certainly, the WBC is the most successful effort of the OWC, but as some have commented, rather than helping the industry learn how to harness the Internet and Social Media, these events have been criticized as being primarily press junkets for wine bloggers. (more…)

How hot is your wine?

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009


Hot wine.

Hot wine.

Don’t you just hate it? That wine shipment you had been anticipating is delivered and when you take it from the driver’s hands, the box is hot to the touch. You dread to think about the temperature of the bottles inside. On such occasions, I have opened the shipper and felt the bottles to be warm.

An informal poll of the delivery drivers who visit my front door indicates that the inside of the delivery vehicle can be about 15°F higher than outdoor temperatures. The temperatures inside the delivery vehicle can reach 100°F when the outdoor temperature is 85°F. The question that begs asking, then, is: Just how hot does wine get inside a shipper if it sits in a hot truck during delivery?

My quest for an answer to this question is a featured article on today.


I’ll be right back

Thursday, October 1st, 2009


"The world's oldest metaphor"

"The world's oldest metaphor"

Today, around 2 pm, I should be going under anesthesia. (It is no small tribute to H.M.O.s that only five months after injuring my knee, I will be undergoing surgery to repair it). While my consciousness is dissolved into oblivion (for what will, hopefully, be a very short time), I offer some wine similes for your amusement.

I don’t like analogies, similes and metaphors. To me, using them is like peppering every sentence with “like” and “you know” (yes, I know this is a simile). There are precise and articulate ways of conveying ideas with language. I see it as intellectual laziness when specific, concrete words are bypassed in favor of an attempt to invoke some symbolic imagery. Never mind that most similes and metaphors tend to be trite and jaded. (more…)