Sunday, December 27, 2015

Adventures on the Wine Trail in Italy – Ten Years After

Somewhere in time I read "one who seriously endeavors in an activity really has nothing to say for the first ten years". It’s all pretty much “chopping in the woodshed.” Looking back, it gives me comfort, in that the years ahead might mean that I can start telling the stories I have been practicing at these past ten years.

Martha Graham once said, “'Age' is the acceptance of a term of years. But maturity is the glory of years.” Again, words of solace. But the way ahead awaits. And so onward, looking for the really great tales.

I was not born into a literary tradition. My path has been a visual one. In fact, I sometimes think these words do little more than frame the pictures. But I am resigned to the reality that we humans need words, and so I struggle, I scribble, I quibble and crawl, and I hope to find images in words that I cannot capture in pictures.

My first real attempt at wine blogging came December 28, 2005 with a picture. A few months later came my first comment, from Tracie B. I had been reading a few wine blogs, Tyler’s “Dr. Vino” and Alder’s “Vinography”, Eric’s “The Pour” and a few other long defunct logs, now floating among the shards and driftwood in the cyber-eddy of time. No matter. Some come and some go. A wine blog isn’t a major life necessity. I recall the cynical words from an erstwhile blogger, “Every blog is a vanity blog.” Indeed, that is setting a low bar. If there is any redeeming value, it serves as a gathering spot for ideas, dreams, memories, hopes and maybe even a little bit of learning.

I’ve had a tremendous time these past ten years. I have also probably wasted a lot of time I otherwise could have used to do more important things. Who knows? It doesn’t matter. What has been is back there. What matters is right now. In no way do I intend to bid you all good bye; I hope what I have done and what I will do here will be still be relevant to those loyal readers and folks who accidentally stumble by here, courtesy of Google, in search of some hard data about Italian wine.

Italian wine has never been more popular. In the arc of my career, which spans almost 40 years, I see this as a Golden Era for Italian wine. I know the folks at Vinitaly don’t imagine I feel that way, as they probably think I’m still hacked off about lousy bathrooms and crappy parking spots. Well, maybe not all of them.

What I am hopeful about in relation to the state of Italian wine in 2016, is that the farmers and the winemakers and the new generation have a world view of things, but they also understand the macro – their little plot of land and the energy behind it and the uniqueness of what each and every parcel is capable of. And that is greatness. Italy is a mother who can do no wrong. Italy is hero and savior. Italy is the family that loves us and who we love back. Italy is land, ravaged neither by wind nor sun nor humankind. Italy is the ideal. The reality is the work-in-progress we all have to do with our life. But there must always be an ideal. And Italy shines bright in my heart and in my soul. Not just wine, that’s a small part. Any of us who follow the path along the wine trail in Italy are so fortunate to have this gift in our lives. And all I want to do, in the next ten years, is cast light upon that path.

In America, the young people are awaking to that sunrise. As well, in China, Germany, Denmark, France, Australia, Norway, Russia, Ukraine, Canada, England, New Zealand and yes, Italy. The readers who frequent these posts come mainly from these countries. Biggest surprise? After the United States, the largest readership for On the Wine Trail in Italy comes from France. That makes me very happy, as I consider my French cousins to be part of my family of wine (and blood, according to my DNA). If I weren’t so dug into the wine trail in Italy, I’d love to start another wine trail, that in France. But I have enough to occupy my time with Italy. I’m sure you all understand. Thank you, thank you all, my world family.

It always seems that when I go to write one of these things, around word 800, everything winds down. And here we are, once again. Thank you all for stopping by all these years. Maybe there are people who no longer read wine blogs anymore. But for those of you who still do, welcome to my portal. I’ll try and not let you down. And I have a lot of things to say and show and do between now and 2025. Stay tuned. Hopefully, the best is yet to come.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W


  1. A very happy birthday to the blog and anniversary to you sir. Thank you for being a lovely voice in the midst of a cacophony of chest beating, snore inducing and silly bickering. You my friend, are still a happy place.
    Best to you Alfonso.

  2. Don't belittle yourself, my friend. I should take pictures half as well as you write. Happy birthday, pal.

  3. As someone who just recently discovered your blog, I look forward to *my* first ten years reading it.


  4. Auguri! Happy 10th Anniversary. Yours is always an interesting read.

  5. Congratulations, Alfosno. As someone who has started many blogs of my own, I am in awe of this 10 year milestone. I admire your tenacity and commitment to this blog. It has evolved over the past ten years to a must read for many. It has exposed a side of you that you have nurtured and developed. Much like a child, we have watched it grow. Now, I can hardly wait for the next growth period to arrive and develop even further. You do the stories justice, but I KNOW there are many more stories buried in the crevices and crags of your soul. Dig them out, polish them up and give us the gift of their brilliance.
    Love you, Sis

  6. Félicitations, Alfonso!

    What is so wonderful about your blog, which I dip in and out of rather than reading every post, is that it is so consistently well-written, thoughtful and creative.

    What is so wonderful about you is that you think, you write and you create, on and on, several times most months. You do it. And, that's more than most of us. You do it well too...

    And, you seem to enjoy it, so as long as you continue to, then keep on doing it and here's drinking a good wine (Italian or French) to the next 10 years!

  7. Happy Anniversary!

  8. Thank you all for the kind comments....


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