Somehow, the kind of wine writing I like to read underperforms in popularity contests and award competitions. Take this year’s Wine Blog Award winners for example; stuff that just never makes it onto my reading list. I don’t really care what wines Jaime Goode likes or doesn’t like, what Ken’s Wine Guides latest 100 tasting notes are, how Alder Yarrow deals with massive sample shipments to his office, nor to pick through Blake Gray’s personal brand building or controversial barbs. I force myself to occasionally read the writing of these really popular and accomplished content creators, hoping to unearth the source of all the accolade.
None of it tickles my creativity, craving for entertaining information, imagination, nor thirst for connection
Is it possible this has something to do with my age? This morning, a wise limo driver took me to the airport and said something fascinating that got me thinking about all this. He suggested “youth exists as a period of time that you can feel confident having all the answers to all of life’s questions while aging grants you the ability to admit you have more questions than answers about life.” With 53 years of life and 27 years of fine wine enthusiasm weighing down my answer:question quotient, I like to consume content from like minded people (young and old) who share a perspective of personal discovery, poke curiously at popular assumption, tell wise stories, work hard at not becoming reference points, make personal not global pronouncements, place wine and people in real life vignettes, question their own conclusions, and act like, well, humble old winos.
One of this year’s wine blog award winners, Evan Dawson, regularly writes about stuff I am not interested in (New York State wine). Still, he has written a fine book on the Finger Lake Wine Region; Summer In A Glass. He also created tremendously resonant content in his winning post Why Do I Write About Wine? While it may not be the best post I have read this year in the wine blogosphere, it was a great piece of writing that excited me. It is a wine article about people, places, feelings, purpose, and above all, connection. I have met Evan, don’t know him well at all, and probably ought to pay more attention to his work. It would be a lot easier for me if he created content about European wines instead of New York wines. But, why did he advance this thought when pondering his own personal motivation behind wine writing? “The answer,” Evan proclaims, “lies within my desire to make lasting contributions”.
Not to malign lasting contribution, nor Evan’s right to the claim, but I am lured to authors constructing content grounded in far less ambition. I relate to authors that connect self discovery with knowledge while advancing wine wisdom cloaked in the über simplicity of wine’s ordinary pleasures and place in the world. Since wine is a source of entertainment then shouldn’t the content about it feel just as simple as its entertainment value? Stories that inform through context and humble roots draw me in, just like most of Evan’s post-of-the-year did.
With regrettably regular instances of failure, I also strive to place me and wine in this context when I write about personal wine experiences and discoveries that are the simple byproducts of a life of wine enthusiasm. There are a few content creators that inspire me in this vein, and whose work I try to keep up with. Check them out. They have a lot to say about wine at a very high level. Several of them never seem to make it to the ballots of the Best Of Awards. Add them to your feeds, they are creating the best wine content today (IMHO):
Anonymously written: Brooklyn Guy Loves Wine and Food
Jeremy Parzen: Do Bianchi
Levi Dalton: I’ll Drink to That Podcast Series and So You Want to Be a Sommelier blog
Eric Asimov: New York Times Wine Critic
Hardy Wallace: Dirty South Wine
Chris Kissack: winedoctor
Matt Kramer: Wine Spectator