Too many things have been said about the fleeting passage of time to come up with a new way of expressing awe at the rate our past accumulates behind us. I can still remember thinking myself quite clever for coming up with a term that literally got zero google results in 2004 (Vinography!). I only wish I had taken a screen shot.
I've been writing about wine for ten years now. Comparing the young man who naively began this journey back then and the unshaven hack on the fourth day of his latest press trip (typing away in a lonely hotel room in the town of Chateauneuf-du-Pape), the contrast is laughable.
The energetic and clueless wine geek back then thought posting the Wine Spectator scores for a recent vintage in Piemonte passed for interesting, even though he hadn't tasted Nebbiolo more than a handful of times in his life.
And then, 10 years into this adventure, there's the e-mail I received a few weeks ago letting me know that I had been inducted into the Wine Media Guild of New York's Wine Writer Hall of Fame, an honor shared by only 22 living wine writers. It's an honor I hardly deserve, considering what I know about wine could fit in the pinkie toe of some of my fellow inductees's bodies of knowledge.
But the distance I've traveled in understanding and competence, at least relative to my beginnings has been vast, and I've loved every minute of the journey. I'm incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to ply this shadow career of mine along with all its fringe benefits (witness the rainy-but-nonetheless-thrilling view of the world's greatest Grenache vineyards out my window at the moment).
Perhaps the most gratifying aspect of this adventure has been the fact that people actually enjoy reading what I can manage to squeeze onto these pages with the free time stolen from my job and my family. Sometimes I want to shout out loud: "but I could be so much better at this if I just spent more time doing it!"
Despite my imperfect capabilities and inadequate time, you, dear reader, keep coming back for more. You offer your thoughts now and then, and occasionally dive deep into debate. You encourage me, both by simply showing up, and by reaching out and saying how much you enjoy something now and then.
So the most important thing to say after ten years is: thank you. Thanks for your patience and your participation, and your public and private encouragement.
The 10th anniversary is supposed to be a gift of tin, with aluminum being an acceptable second choice. That's perhaps fitting, as I type away on my Apple laptop that happens to be carved out of a single piece of aluminum. All my gifts to you, readers, are made out of aluminum.
Our 10th year is going to be a good one.
My book will be published this spring; I'll be participating in the annual Symposium for Professional Wine Writers; heading to Washington State to speak at Taste Washington; moderating a panel at the upcoming In Pursuit of Balance tasting in San Francisco; going back to Austria for more Riesling and Blaufrankisch; drowning myself in Oregon Pinot at IPNC; and much more.
I hope you'll stick around for the ride.
10th birthday cake image courtesy of Big Stock
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