Christmas has come and gone, which depresses me to no end (if you’ve ever witnessed the Griswaldian light display at my house you’d understand why – you can say that I “get into it” a bit). Gifts have been exchanged and the holidays have officially passed.
I wanted to take a minute and reflect on what I’ve found over the last year or so are the top 8 wine related things I can’t live without…there are really in no particular order…
1. De Long’s Wine Graper Varietal Table – I love this thing and like I mentioned previously, its a MUST HAVE if you live in cubicle nation. Other wine nuts will see it on the wall and strike up conversations with you. Always fun and you’ll be surprised how many “enthusiasts” you’ll dig up (usually upper level folks, which doesn’t hurt in the corporate world). Not to mention you learn alot about varietals while you’re at it!
2. This wine opener! Kelly and I got it randomly as a gift and it is THE best wine opener out there. Forget the “Rabbit” or its knock-offs. Don’t spend hundreds on a table mounted one or one from “Sur La Table”. This thing is as small as the Rabbit and opens as easy as a table mount. Flat out ROCKS!
3. Wine Life Today – Shameless self promotion? Yes. But I have to admit, while I have nay-sayers on the value of a Digg.com-style wine news site, its working out well for me. There are now a steady level of power users (important even on Grandpa Digg – about 10–20% of users are actively voting and WLT is consistent with that) and the RSS feed is becoming very useful. I the Wine Life Today RSS feed on my Google homepage and it shows interesting stuff regularly that I click through. And its activity level is making more and more attractive. The more it gets used, the more useful it is! Funny how that works, isn’t it?
4. Wine-Searcher.com and WineFetch.com – These are two main stays. Couple these two sites with your friends’ recommendations (or those of a reliable publication) and you’ll be discovering new wines via online in no time. Love these sites.
5. Typepad – What can I say. My blogging platform of choice. I’ve used it for over two years now and when you have it at the “Pro” level there is as much programming as any
other blogging platform second only to WordPress. I submit, however, that you’ll have to be pretty technical to use WordPress in any sort of advanced way. I can certainly program WordPress but I can’t tell you how much nicer it is to have the folks at Six Apart to fall back on when I royally screw something up on my 2+ year old blog and they pull my but out of the fire.
6. Web 2.0 – or more generally, the social networking phenomenon. See everyone’s heard of MySpace and Facebook and MOST people go “why on earth would I expose so much personal sh@! to the world?”. I think thats the right reaction as one should have a healthy fear when it comes to personal info and the Internet. But Social Networking is so much more really. Its the translation of social interaction to the online world. It doesn’t REPLACE social interaction – if you’ve done that then you’re actually crossed over into “loser” – but when done correctly it compliments you social interactions. Its given me a whole new technical arena to sink my teeth into and introduced me to many many wine people that I wouldn’t have otherwise met. See, its important to the wine world because its going to change everything about the wine world. No single person will wield so much power when rating a wine. No single person or publication will determine the market price for a wine. These technologies are very important to the wine world because the wine world is ever changing and nature keeps any single wine producer from dominating it. More on this later…
7. Joseph George Wines – also known as my local wine hook-up. I’m seeing online wine experience approaching the experience I get from my local wine hook-up but its not quite there. Bert George, who owns Joseph George Wines, is the most knowlegeable wine guy you’ll run across when it comes to CA wines. He’s second generation and they’ve expanded into a winery in Sonoma. His shop has just about every wine you’re not supposed to get without showing up to the wine tasting room and he can tell you in a heart beat what you’ll like next based on what you liked before. That experience is what I see number 6 (above) approaching – having a site that people you trust work with you on selecting the right wines and enhancing the overall experience. If you’re “in” with him you may even get him to send you monthly things that never miss.
8. Half-bottles – Not necessarily for drinking, but for storage. See, I’m on a never ending quest to find the perfect preservation system for wines. I had to cut back on consumption a few years ago because I started being conscious of silly things like Triglycerides and LDL. So I don’t bang down a whole bottle at a time with my wife anymore. What to do with the leftovers? The best thing that I’ve found was to pour the half bottle that is left out of the old bottle and into – what else – a 375ml half bottle. Wine can’t oxidize if there’s no oxygen and what better way then to put it in a container that fills all the way up with wine? It was one of the earliest things I wrote about on this blog and I’m concluding that its my preservation of choice still almost two years later. There’s a little Winehack for you!
Well, thats it. I’m sure they’ll be a whole lot more in the future as the wine blogosphere and general wine world moves more and more online. Wine is the perfect niche for the coming world of social and ubiquitous computing so here’s to a great 2007.
Enjoy the Wine Life!