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Thoughts On The Occasion of Turning One

One year ago yesterday I embarked on a project to catalog my wine and food adventures in an informative way. To create a record for myself of where I ate and what I drank and at the same time provide recommendations to the growing number of friends that looked to me for such things. I was interested in the blogging phenomenon, and it seemed like a good form for my notes. At the time there were two blogs on the Internet that dealt with wine, neither of which had been updated in months when I started posting.

I had little idea of what I was signing myself up for, or rather, what I would end up turning it into.

Here I am a year later, the owner of Vinography™, thousands of readers strong and growing. I have written almost daily about food and wine for an entire year: over 40 detailed restaurant reviews, roughly 200 individual wine reviews, around 170 other posts ranging from news topics to editorials, and nearly 700 comments on all of these from you, dear readers.

I have also been joined online by dozens of wine blogs now, adding individual voices to a lively wine community online, one that is starting to attract attention from the mainstream.

The past year had many highlights for me. I was, of course, pleased and honored to be featured in Bon Appetit, to win a 2004 Food Blogging Award, and to be praised in the Sacramento Bee.

I've also enjoyed just the process of writing, finding out what matters to me to write about, and have been proud of many pieces that I've put up here. Here are a couple of my favorite posts:

  • Restaurant Review: Kyo-Ya: The Best Sushi in San Francisco (3/10/04)
  • If your wine was Gerard Depardiue, what would it taste like? (6/2/04)
  • 2002 Borra "Fusion" Meritage, Lodi, California (8/1/04)
  • My Conversation With Robert M. Parker, Jr. (11/12/04)
  • Thoughts On Older Vintages of Wine: Are They Worth It? (11/23/04)

    Not one of my favorites, but by far the most commented upon post (so much so that I had to turn off the comment feature for that article) has been the cure for the Asian flush: a brief piece about how Ruth and I found she could eliminate the red flush caused by alcohol by taking a Pepcid AC tablet. People were starting to ask me for medical advice, and it had to stop.

    Apart from the madness surrounding that particular article, my efforts here have been rewarded by encouragement, praise, excitement, collaboration, and interest from many.

    In celebration of that, and of the year that has passed, I decided to throw a little party.

    Last night I was joined by about 20 friends of Vinography at Bacar, a nice restaurant and wine bar in San Francisco for a few nibbles and good conversation over some great wine. Those of you who came, thanks so much for making the effort and it was really wonderful to meet those of you who were previously known to me just as e-mail addresses. Here are a few photos from the event. It was a great party and we'll do it again next year !!

    (Apologies in advance for getting anyone's name wrong and for not having pictures of some people.)

    Here's a bunch of the revelers: Lee, Amy, Anil, Alaina, Maria, Peter, and that's Ruth on the lower left.

    Maria and Peter

    Jen and Jon (and that fuzzy red guy in the back is me).

    Pim was such a dear, and bought me a cake. And not just any cake...

    Kieca. I didn't get a picture of her boyfriend Matt.

    Sam, Jen, and Jeanne. Missing a picture of Sam's boyfriend Fred.

    Meriko and Russell

    Me explaining something to Pim.

    Somehow Karen and Nino escaped without getting their picture taken, as did John, and David showed up at the point where I could no longer operate the camera safely!

    Comments (10)

    Andrew wrote:
    01.16.05 at 11:43 AM

    Looks like you all had a great time - pity you are a £500 plane ticket away (and god knows how many hours) or I might have been tempted to pop by myself!

    Sam wrote:
    01.16.05 at 12:21 PM

    Hey Alder - thanks for organising. I had a blast and it was nice to catch up again with some fellow SF bloggers and meet some new people too, especially owners of blogs I very much admire but hadn't met until last night. Thanks to Pim for the cake, I had a bite and it didn't spoil my dinner. Sorry we had to dash off to another party, but I am sure we will all have opportinities to get together again soon. Like someone said - so many blog birthdays to celebrate!

    Karen wrote:
    01.16.05 at 3:21 PM


    We had a great time too! I'm sorry we didn't stick around long enough to meet everyone and have some delicious cake but it was fun, fun, fun. We should do it again!!

    Karen & Nino

    Jeanne wrote:
    01.16.05 at 4:49 PM


    Thanks for including me in your Vinography's birthday party. The chance to meet you, and other SF food bloggers was an added bonus. Great fun all around--including the Neyers Syrah you suggested--a new favorite.

    Jen, Sam and I all look quite the trio!


    jen wrote:
    01.17.05 at 11:52 AM

    Alder, thanks for inviting me - I had a great time meeting you and all the other bloggers who I haven't had a chance to meet. Thanks for giving me an excuse to finally check out Bacar -- it was so generous of you to provide appetizers.

    01.17.05 at 6:15 PM


    Melissa and I were sorry to miss it (much as we enjoyed Sedona); looks like everyone had a good time.

    Bertrand wrote:
    01.18.05 at 2:00 AM

    When I saw your post yesterday I thought I should have checked these last minute flights that you can find sometimes for close to nothing (of what I heard ),just to be with you all ! There are many types of blogs on the net , but food and wine blogs have this bon vivant thing that makes virtual turn real .

    meriko wrote:
    01.18.05 at 8:05 AM

    And another chorus of thanks - we had a fabulous time. Such a treat to finally meet you, and the others! We were secretly hoping Derrick & Melissa would come - though Sedona sounds lovely. 8)

    Lenn wrote:
    01.18.05 at 9:59 AM

    Alder...happy birthday to Vinography and sorry I couldn't make it. The cross-country trip was a touch limiting this time around...but one of these days I'll make it out that way to meet all of you.

    Looks like a great time was had by all...and you've got me pondering my own blog birthday party!

    the caveman wrote:
    01.18.05 at 12:03 PM

    what i admire most if your ability to keep it fresh and up to date. Way to go, the best wine blog out there.. Must admit the I am losing confidence in California's wines...But that's another story.

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