With a dash of accomplishment, a gallon of surprise, and a full tank of humble pie it hit me that WineZag is now six months old. This project has surpassed my original expectations for social media immersion and continued promotion of wine as a lubricant for human connection without bias. Thanks to the thousands that visit every month and the hundreds that find these wee hour WordPress mind melds entertaining enough to check back regularly.
Underneath the six month soundtrack of popping corks and clicking keyboards are more than 40 blogposts, friendships launched, new connections opened with more of the wine and food trades’ good guys, conversations held with the (wine 1.0) critics that I have followed over the last 25 years, and discovery of the (wine 2.0) writers that are redefining wine culture and information sharing. Amazingly enough, my writing has even been published in wine media other than WineZag.
Virtual tastings and Tweetups proliferated to create moments of massive simultaneous information sharing without the restrictions of physical tasting rooms. I have been witness to excited young (meaning at least 10 years younger than my 50 years) wine aficionados, enabled by easy and available social media tools, lighting up the blogosphere by annhilating critics and cultures celebrated by earlier generations of wine writers and drinkers. This period of time has given birth to a really fine online wine “magazine” that appears to have legs. Traditional wine media and critics declared bloggers to be irrelevant and irresponsible. A virally promoted contest grabbed the attention of thousands while offering a chance to win (congratulations Hardy) a $10K per month “Really Goode Job” living for free in California wine country and blogging about the local wine lifestyle. A conference was cemented for bloggers to converse, for once without solely relying on 1s and 0s, and celebrate their informal vows to free information sharing. Trophy wines FINALLY started slipping off the map to the Holy Grail. Gary V emerged. The US wine industry started getting kicked for its blind acceleration through the value segment into the $50-$100 wine dead zone. And, the FTC felt it was time to set some rules and regulate this volume of information sharing about a lifestyle beverage that has recently moved thousands to exhausting, but mostly religious and disciplined, publishing regimens; evil free sample reviewers and paid bloggers beware! It has been an eventful six months to say the least.
Modern history shows that every single generation’s wine fascination has been serious and enthusiastic for its time. As wine’s styles, regions, regulations, commercial trends, vineyard management, winemaking practice, technology, drinking accessories, and wine media/critics find new watermarks, it should always be remembered that the 1s and 0s, the molecules and cells, and the very foundation of any generation’s wine culture NEVER change.
The unique combustion achieved from human consumption of wine is timeless.
For one second let’s ignore the news and advances celebrated by each new wine generation and refocus on that special moment of wine transferring to nose and tongue, leaving the glass, passing through the palate, saturating and warming passages and bloodstreams along the way, until finally lubricating the brain in the most pleasing of ways. Every generation of wine enthusiasm is built around that simplest, unevolved moment of wine appreciation.
So, isn’t that enough reason to respect and feel connected to preceeding generations of wine professionals and enthusiasts no matter how dated or primitive their practices appear now? And isn’t it a signal to be open to the trends and changes that more senior wine drinkers encounter as their years of wine enthusiasm accumulate? For these reasons, I am thankful to WineZag, and the energizing engagement it enables with so many like minded wine lovers, for acting as the vessel in bridging my Wine 1.0 roots with an exciting 2.0 culture that is emerging as the latest trimming to the always constant intoxicating combustion associated with human consumption of wine.