Monday, December 28, 2020

Happy Birthday to the Dinosaur ~ On the Wine Trail in Italy Turns 15

If only this blog were a young girl who was turning into a woman. It would surely be more apt for these times. But a quinceañera it is not going to be for this old dinosaur of a blog, on the wine trail in Italy.

Fifteen years in most cases is a relatively young age. But for a wine blog? It’s ancient. Some would say passé. Lord knows, I’ve tried a lot of different things to keep it upright and sailing right along. But It is work. No doubt about it. Although it is also a labor of love.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not quitting or hanging it up. Not yet. I still have things to say, and if there are people who still want to read what an elderly white male who came from the wine trade has to say, I’ll forge on. But there is a life to everything, whether it is a bottle of wine, a human life or a relatively insignificant wine blog.

All this to say, I’m glad to have made it this far. And grateful to the impressive volume of readers who come to this site once a week for my essays.

But blogging, and wine blogging in general is in a bit of a slump. Maybe we’ve all said everything there is to say. I know some folks have just stopped, while others have morphed into a pay-to-play newsletter format. Some have gone on to work in journalism, while others, some, have passed away, or just faded away. Nothing is forever.

What still gets me excited about my “Sunday sermons?” Well, there is no lack of drama or change in the world of wine. And as I’m, more or less, specialized on this blog in Italian wine and culture, for sure there is plenty to write about. But, that said, I’ve pivoted from the newsy and gossipy to what most people perceive to be a bit more esoteric of paths. And there is more than one path. I’ve been experimenting with this blog in those areas, for those who have been following. I love science fiction. In fact, I love stories. And I don’t think they always need to be the hard factual stories a journalist cuts their teeth on (I have my wine column in the Dallas paper for that). I’ve probably written this a time or two on these posts, but one time when I was sitting there having a bottle of wine with Eric Asimov, he asked me “What is it you’d really like to write about?” I cannot believe I spontaneously answered to him, “Oh, I’d love to write a science fiction novel!” Yeah, I said that to the nephew of one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time, Isaac Asimov. But I did do that. And even though it was momentarily embarrassing (to me) there was more than a kernel of truth to my affliction for science fiction. And some of that has been bleeding onto these pages.

Also, I’m very curious about the elasticity of time. The past. The present. The future. All that. I’ve gone into the past and interviewed winemakers and ancient souls. I’ve time traveled to the future to talk to Italians and wine makers hundreds of years from now. Why not? It is my blog, after all. And nobody is charging anyone to read. Yet. It’s fun. It allows me to press my creative juices, possibly making for a good bottle of who knows what? I’m very interested in the child inside all of us. And during my career in the wine trade, I spent a lot of time and effort trying to be a good, reliable, responsible adult. But now that activity is for the younger adults in the wine trade. My time, now, is to reconnect with “little Al,” as my nonna called me, and see what I can come up with. Again.

But writing is not at the top of my queue. Nor is wine, really. Italy still commands a lot of space in my world, real or imagined, for sure. But it’s the visual part of this world that really has me hooked. I’ve been a photographer for 55 years. That’s 80% of my life. My (analog) darkroom is fifteen steps from my (digital) office. So, there’s a reckoning coming. Everything is ready. I’ve been to Italy more times than I could remember, if I didn’t keep a spread sheet of those 59 treks back to the wellspring of so much inspiration and affection.

The Italy I knew in 1971 is nothing like the Italy I hope to revisit in 2021. Think about it, a half century. Holy crap, it’s a little scary! But I like what I see, even when I close my eyes and imagine what it must be like. Thanks to films, music, friends, and any number of other connective ways, Italy stays in touch with me. And when the screens go dark, there is always the invisible, the imagination, the dreamscapes that keep sending me messages, keep staying up with those of us who are listening.

While I’ve gone over my 800-word limit (again) I want to thank you for being here all these years and for commenting and reading and coming back from time to time to check in. I’m not going anywhere, yet. There still is a lot of Italy, her wine, and my real (and imagined) realms to discover.


tomfiorina said...

Buon compleanno, Alfonso!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I couldn't see you going shopping for a quinceañera dress.


Alfonso Cevola said...

Thanks Tom!

And yes, MJ, more like a Pinata or to the DMV for a learners permit!

Tom Maresca said...

Complimenti, Alfonso -- and I hope we all get back to the real Italy soon!

Alfonso Cevola said...

Thanks, Tom. Subito, per favore....only time will tell...Grazie

Marco said...

Happy 15th amico! The child within us all that you write of brought to mind this quote that you may have seen: "Consciousness hedged about by psychic powers, sustained or threatened or deluded by them, is the age-old experience of mankind. This experience has projected itself onto the archetype of the child, which expresses man's wholeness. The "child" is all that is abandoned and exposed and at the same time divinely powerful; the insignificant, dubious beginning, the triumphal end. The "eternal child" in man is an indescribable experience, an incongruity, a handicap, and a divine prerogative; an imponderable that determines the ultimate worth or worthlessness of a personality."~ CG Jung

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