Sunday, October 17, 2010

One Year Behind Me; My Anniversary with The Oregon Wine Blog


Truism: Wine is best when it's shared with friends. I know a lot about truisms because I have a couple degrees in Philosophy, so you should trust me. We take logic classes and use words like truism.

I started my stint with the world famous The Oregon Wine Blog sharing a bottle of wine with my friend Josh Gana over dinner in Yakima. I broke out a bottle of syrah by Plaza Socieovole. Josh said, "That, sir, is a good wine. You have impeccable taste, both in fashion and in wine." I said, "Ah yes. These things you say, they are truisms." "We need someone like you, someone with great taste, who's also handsome and may write a prolific amount of content for the world famous blog I started," Josh opined. "You are indeed perceptive, sir," I replied, "I will accept your challenge."

And so it began.

Thusly, over dinner, we formed the kind of alliance that would take the northwest wine scene by storm. Not necessarily on the scale of Josh Wade, but pretty good for us. Thanks in large part to the "Corkage Free Zone" policy of many of the downtown Yakima restaurants, and the fantastic wines being produced there, I became the Washington Correspondent for The Oregon Wine Blog.

As my one year anniversary with the blog passed without ceremony last week, I got to reflecting on what a treat it's been. Like many of our readers, I was a new young wine drinker, eager to learn as much as I could when the opportunity presented itself, and smitten with this mysterious grape juice from a corner of the country that seemed a little more elegant, a little more honest than wine I've had from other parts of the world.

It’s been an amazing year for me, and for Gwynne, who edits my content. We've had such amazing opportunities thanks to folks like Heather Unwin and the Pilgrim family at Terra Blanca, Sheila and Nick Nicholas of Anam Cara Cellars, and Frank Magana of Picazo 717. The magic and the mystery of wine for us has given way to the magic relationships we've formed with some of the winemakers, growers, movers and shakers in Washington and Oregon's wine scenes.

What I've come to know about the wine made here is that the people doing it are extraordinarily passionate and imaginative. They've come to love not just the wine they're making, but the land that it’s grown upon and the people who have taken a keen interest in what they're doing. To those of you who are reading this blog from here in the Northwest: I implore you, get out there and meet the people who are making the wine you're drinking. Meet the families who are farming Red Mountain or the Willamette Valley, the three friends whose love for wine grew from a basement hobby to a Seattle boutique winery. Do that, and you'll find that the wines they're making are just the beginning of the story.

In the words of Sinatra, it's been a very good year, and here are some highlights:

The post Wine Bloggers Conference on Red Mountain. This was an incredible opportunity that I owe to the folks at Terra Blanca. It was an insider's look at what I believe is America's most compelling AVA. Read about it here.

Having one my blog posts picked up by my hometown paper The Pittsburgh Post Gazette. I was home in Pittsburgh visiting my mother and got the idea to combine two of my favorite things, Northwest wine and a Primantis sandwich.

The grand tasting at the International Pinot Noir Celebration. I need to thank Sheila and Nick Nicholas for helping me and Gwynne get to IPNC as well as the great staff of that event. If you haven't been and you love Pinot, what in the hell are you waiting for.

A meal of a lifetime with Chef Frank Magana at Picazo 717.

A trip to Newberg, and so many great experiences: visits with Anam Cara, Anderson Family Vineyards, a stay at The Allison and dinner at The Painted Lady.

I wrote 74 posts this year, as one writer on a staff of four or five. This is my 75th. Some were educational, some were tongue-in-cheek. Not all of them were brilliant, but maybe there were some gems in there. I look forward to another great year, more excellent discoveries both of wine and people and thank you, all 12 of you, for reading.


  1. It's been an honor to have you on the team, handsome sir!

  2. I have enjoyed reading your posts good sir!

  3. Clive, I eagerly await the blog posting that seemlessly melds wine, philosophy and cycling injuries...