- Category: Newsletter Archives
Welcome to the end of November, and what a busy month it has been, I almost forgot to publish a newsletter (I had it ready) - but here I am on the last day of the month putting the monthly newsletter out to you. Last month, you witnessed the return of my commentaries, and the response was great: people reached out with positive feedback and a big welcome back; while others asked a few more questions about why these pieces took such a long hiatus. So this month I let you in a little more behind-the-scenes and into the "wine soaked mind" of a wine writer.
Last month I said "for those who think I'm going to rock some boats have no fear, I'm here to tell my story ... I'll leave the boat-rocking to those I inspire"; but then again, who knows, maybe I still got some controversies in me somewhere (guess we'll have to see what the new year brings).
Here's what follows is this week's newsletter: commentary, wine reviews, video and podcast links and all the other good stuff you've come to expect in a more compact fashion.
Please consider a donation to my Patreon page to support my work - any amount is appreciated: you can find my Patreon page here.
Musings from a Wine Soaked Mind ...
Inner Strife – Why I Almost Gave Up
So it’s time to let you in on the internal turmoil that I have been having since I softened my newsletter and made it all about the wine ...
Over the past few years, I have slowly lost my passion for wine writing. I feel there is too much BS out there, too many voices trying to outdo one another with ridiculous scores; too many assholes with nothing to say; and a competitiveness over who can heap unearned praise whom on some of the most basic wines (a 96 point score from a Toronto Daily comes to mind - complete with a clickbait headline well below the reputation of this paper); and who can “scoop” a story first before checking whether the facts are correct. And when they are incorrect a written apology comes later and in fine print, if at all.
At one point, a colleague got belligerent with me, and managed to put me in a funk, all because I called him out on a faux pas, and he decided the best way to deal with it was by blocking me on all social media platforms and by name calling. What has this industry become? I thought to myself. When two people can't have a discussion, or a disagreement - without it being met with vitriol and anger. What's the point of writing about wine anymore?
For years now, I have found myself on the outside of an industry I love, that I had such affection for, and tried to fight for what's right. My efforts were met with private affirmation, but public apathy. Alas, in this industry when you fight for what you perceive is right, or point out a fault within, the tables get turned on you. A perfect example of this was back in 2002 when David Lawrason pointed out the “the Asian lady bug” problem in the 2001 wines; he was met with strong blowback from some winery principals in Ontario, but in the end he was proven right. These days I give wine tours, and people in the industry recognize me and I love hearing two things as I walk around these wineries: 1) my old rambling on the lips of the younger generation; and 2) I had a Niagara College graduate come up to me recently and say, “you were required reading when I was at Niagara College” - it means that I was reaching someone. I was ticking off the old guard, sure, but I was reaching the next generation, the one that might bring change.
The bottom line is, lately I found myself looking internally and wondering if I really wanted to continue the writing, the videos, and everything was all met with a collective “meh”. There are even times I've phoned in the podcast, literally. But I got a kudos from an unexpected source that affirmed I might be back on track. My podcast partner, André, made an off-handed comment that I seemed more engaged on a recent podcast and that it was my best work in months; suddenly I was buoyed to continue on. Sometimes all you need is someone to recognize what you’re doing.
All this is not to say all is hunky-dory in my world; I probably suffer from depression, apathy, and plenty of self-doubt because of what I have gone through. I'm not blaming others, but I would like to state that in such a small industry, like ours, we should all be trying to raise up homegrown voices instead of shutting them down and blocking them off. Be open to criticism and learn from it to grow. I did not have the outlets "the kids" have these days to promote my voice; I relied on the old guard around me, and was let down. Kudos to the kids who have found their voice and create their own path. Let's give them room to breathe. My only advice to them is be true to yourself and stop trying to outperform and outscore - it only hurts your credibility in the end.
Click on any wine name to see the full review:
Bachelder 2020 Gamay Noir, Bai Xu ... (****+)
Calamus Estate 2020 Merlot ... (****+)
De Simone Vineyards 2019 Cabernet Franc ... (****+)
Flat Rock Cellars 2020 Pinot Noir Gravity ... (****+)
Peninsula Ridge 2020 Shiraz ... (****)
Plus : The Non-Ontario Selection ...
Tommasi 2021 Valpolicella ... (*** ½+) - Italy
--- Highlighted Videos This Week ---
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