Thursday, December 28, 2017

On the Wine Trail in Italy - The Terrible Teens

Or, 12 going on 17...

In a world that pulses on a 24-hour news cycle, where we don’t remember on Thursday what happened on Monday, here we are at the birth day. For better or worse, on the wine trail in Italy turns 12 today, and heads into its thirteenth year, not officially a teen yet, but feeling like 12 going on 17.

I should have seen it coming. When O.T.W.T.I.I. was a baby she was cute and cuddly. Her toddler years, her all-about-diaper-training, her first steps, her two year-old rebellion years, and as a proud papa, I (or rather, we) weathered it all. As she grew up and became a little gangly (e.g. wordy), my friends and family remarked on what a precocious one she was. But I persevered. And now she is a teenager, and I am prepared for her to hate me in a few years.

All kidding aside, this has been a good ride, thanks in large part to you, dear reader, and to all the fine farmers, winemakers and folks who along with yours truly, are, slaves to the wine god.

2017 has been an interesting year. Fortunately, not as “interesting” as 2016, but there have been some good times and there have been some challenging ones. But looking back over the year, I’m damn proud of what I saw accomplished in 2017.

I returned to Vinitaly after an absence, and found it to be improved, much improved. I’m sure my attitude improved as well, but when you take thousands of souls (and emotions) and sequester them inside a dozen mega football stadium sized pavilions, well, let’s just say it’s a minor miracle.

The work of selling Italian wine in America, my beat, saw 2017 as one of the best years in my career. We lost a few friends along the way, as life goes. But the wines have never been better. And more diverse. You can get anything you want at the Italian wine restaurant, or so the song goes. Well, actually it’s not so easy to find everything you want at any Italian restaurant (which is a blog post for later in 2018), but from the standpoint of sourcing, Italy has it all. And it has got me thinking. And I will elaborate. But just not yet.

In terms of readership, after the United states, who comes here? Over time, my largest readership (after America) is France. And then Russia (probably bots) and then Italy. Why is that. Why France? I think I know why. And that, dear reader, will also be a blog post for another day in the new year.

I was going to follow the lead of several publications who have put out their worst blunders, their failed pieces. And then I got to looking at the stats. And realized it was one kick-ass year (self-congratulations, it’s all the rage in America these days). Really, folks, who wants another bummer report? The good news is, everything is going pretty well. For a blog. And a wine blog at that. And we all know wine blogs are dead. No, really, they are. D.E.A.D.

But still, I persist. When I look over the eno-blogosphere, I see so many corpses strewn across what was once a vibrant and fast-moving landscape. Yeah, we’ve migrated some of our stuff over to Instagram, and some of us have moved into other media, printed and inline. And that is all part of the evolution. Imagine you’re Eric Asimov, working for the Gray Lady, being told to pursue more of an online presence (as all print newspaper journalists are being told). Here, one of the last of the wine journalist Mohicans, sitting in in his wine closet-cum-office, knocking out is latest point of light, only to have to be mindful of traffic, hits, replays, stats, and so on. I feel for you, dawg. It’s your job, your livelihood and your passion.

And we need people like Eric. The world of the influencers is a shape-shifting arena, and one which is being hotly debated, as to just who are the influencers. I want to know this, though: who influences the influencers? Who is the Wiz? Again, this will have to wait for 2-0-1-8. I have some ideas.

All this to say, Happy Birthday to my terrible teen, O.T.W.T.I.I. and Happy New Year to all y’all.

And yes, it’s spelled y’all, y’all.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W


Wine Curmudgoen said...

Well done.. where would wine blogging be without you?

Marco Diplomatico said...

Keep on pushin', amico, keep on pushin'. Thanks for staying in the ring!

Marius Fries said...

Keep up the excellent work Alfonso, it‘s my sunday evening highlight !

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