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Vinography in the Sunday New York Times

It was quite a surprise to find myself featured quite so prominently in the Sunday New York Times Travel Section yesterday. When the author asked if I would join him for a glass of wine to talk about wine bars a couple of months ago, I thought perhaps at most I'd end up getting quoted in the story, and so I armed myself with pithy quotes about the rash of restaurants in San Francisco that call themselves wine bars, but are really just restaurants with more than eight wines by the glass.

Instead, I got a few minutes of fame as the authority on San Francisco wine bars -- a title I certainly aspire to.

Ordinarily I wouldn't bother blogging about a mention in the paper. I still enjoy and appreciate my press coverage, but I try not to make a big deal out of it.

I decided to mention the Times piece, however, as it would give me a chance to correct a factual error in the piece, and to protest that my smiles seem somehow to be read as smirks.

Implications of my snobbiness aside, the article has me incorrectly quoted as saying that one of my criteria for a wine bar is that it must have at least five wines by the glass.

Actually my minimum criteria for a wine bar is that it have at least five red and five white wines, and those better change on a regular basis. And if the wine bar is worth anything, it better have more than that. For anyone curious as to what I actually think constitutes a wine bar, I suggest you read my post on the subject.
And for anyone curious as to why I would smirk when a reporter I'm with orders a glass of excellent northern Italian white wine, join the club -- I'm still working that one out myself.

Read the full story.

Comments (16)

Steve wrote:
09.11.07 at 7:25 AM

Well he didn't actually say you smirked, he just asked the question. So tell us, oracle, what was it?

Swati wrote:
09.11.07 at 8:24 AM

Congrats on your NYT appearance! I really enjoyed the article. Was wondering though, since we're in the middle of harvest season in Northern California, could you recommend upcoming wine harvest-related tastings or events in the area?

Alder wrote:
09.11.07 at 8:40 AM


During harvest season, pretty much everyone in the winegrowing or winemaking business is far too busy to hold tastings or other events. Some wineries (though I'm not sure which ones) do offer "Crush Camps" where individuals who are interested can participate in the harvest and the crush.

Alder wrote:
09.11.07 at 8:42 AM

No smirks here. Not even if he ordered a rose and asked them to leave room for some 7up.

Micah wrote:
09.11.07 at 12:19 PM

Well done on your inclusion in the NYT! I'll be heading to the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant this Thursday. Any suggestions or favorites?

Ben Smith wrote:
09.12.07 at 12:48 AM

Interesting. I think the 'smirk' comment from the journalist is based on what 90% of non wine-trade folk suffer from - paranoia. It doesn't matter how much we protest that 'any glass of wine you enjoy is a good glass of wine', others will always feel they are moments away from some terrible social faux pas when ordering wine in the presence of someone who actually knows (a lot) about wine.

09.12.07 at 12:52 AM

Did you notice the article you were featured in was at various points #1 in popularity? This is so cool! You are the new face of the wine blogger!

09.12.07 at 1:08 AM

Yes, I agree with Ben. "Pinot Grigio complex".

As it happens Alois Lageder makes excellent wines in a most amazing winery, and these include very fine examples of Pinot Grigio. Nice to know it is available on your side of the pond.

Melissa wrote:
09.12.07 at 7:07 AM

I saw this and was so excited as I've begun following your blog religiously. Congrats! Keep up the excellent work. Cheers.

Alder wrote:
09.12.07 at 8:39 AM


Thanks for the note. I think you're correct, though I might say "nervousness" instead of paranoia. It certainly wasn't really mean spirited, I don't think. More about the author than about me, in my opinion.

09.12.07 at 5:14 PM

Alder, I was so excited to see your name in the Times on Sunday! I thought the aside about the smirk was hilarious, and definitely not something you would do, as you are not the smirky type.


Ben wrote:
09.13.07 at 1:17 PM

Congratulations! Being in a "real" newspaper is always such a good marketing factor. Especially for websites, as there are still millions of people out there that don't discover you!

Zach Coelius wrote:
09.13.07 at 3:35 PM

Well done. I read the article with delight. One more step to becoming a real fancy pants...

See you at Bernaling

Alder wrote:
09.13.07 at 5:19 PM

My pants can only get so fancy before I start to feel uncomfortable.

BigProb wrote:
09.14.07 at 1:23 PM

Regarding the question above about wine country events around the harvest, the Patrons' night tasting in Sonoma on Sept. 28th is awesome. All the local small guys are out and pouring their own wines. It's goofy, and less tourists than locals for a change.

ScottS wrote:
09.16.07 at 5:13 PM

But Alder, the fancier the pants, the better the $&\, no? And potentially good wine, too...

Congrats on being seen as the expert that you are.

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