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It’s Been Too Long

Those of you who know me well know that I am rarely silent. In fact, people that I talk with on the phone generally freak out when I am silent for more than 5 seconds, illiciting frantic comments such as ‘Are you okay?’ or ‘What’s wrong?’.

And therefore I have had many people wonder why I have not written a blog post for awhile. I am wondering the same myself . . . and therefore decided to embark on constructing one this morning. Why had it taken me so long? Do I have nothing to write about?!??!?!

There is always plenty to write about when it comes to wine . . .but I find it important not just to write, but to also have a point of view that is consistent and memorable. That got me thinking – what IS my point of view and why oh why should anyone listen to me?!?!?!

I am fortunate to have had my world shaped by wonderful people, places and events. As most of you know, the winemaking world is not what I set out to do when I was younger. I originally started at UC Davis, where I eventually got my Master’s Degree in Viticulutre and Enology, but did not take this route at first. In fact, I ended up transferring and getting my BS in Business Administration from UC Berkeley. From here, I worked in the music, publishing and toy businesses for many many years until the desire to do something different drew me to the wine industry.

Another major factor in drawing me to this industry was my feeling that the industry as a whole did (and continues to) almost everything it can to distance itself from its consumer base, rather than embrace its consumer base. Sure, it markets itself to target audiences and lets them know they can ride up the status ladder by enjoying certain brands, but the industry does little to encourage consumers to develop and feel comfortable and confident with their own palates, and their own wine drinking decisions.

And herein lies my point of view – to try to ‘humanize’ the wine industry as much as possible, and to try to make people feel comfortable with these decisions.

When you step into my tasting room, you are not given a sheet full of tasting notes touting the ‘maui gold pineapple’ and ‘who gives a crap berry’ flavors and aromas that are supposed to come soaring out of the glass!!!! I want YOU to tell me what YOU find in my wines, NOT be lead by what I think you SHOULD find in them. This is simply one step in trying to make you feel more ‘at ease’ about tasting wine, and hopefully helping you get to the point where you ENJOY tasting and drinking wine without feeling intimidated.

I’ll leave it there – but I would LOVE to hear from you about what you like and dislike about the industry, about tasting rooms, about wine in general. Perhaps together, we can begin to ‘right the wrongs’ and enjoy wine for what it is – a beverage to enjoy without pretense and with or without food.

Cheers!

2 responses to “It’s Been Too Long”

  1. Larry says:

    Shawn,

    That’s exactly the type of thing that I try to avoid myself in my tasting room, and that I think make it difficult for many to feel comfortable in tasting rooms. I understand that wineries feel that there are many out there who need the ‘education’ in terms of describing aromas and flavors in wine, but from my perspective, telling them what they are supposed to smell and taste, which is just so subjective, is not the right avenue . . . .

    Cheers!

  2. First of all, glad you are OK Larry :-)

    Recently I was in a tasting room where I was told all the skittles flavors of the rainbow I’ll taste before even taking the nose. It was kind of like hearing the punch line before the joke or the end of the movie give away. That being said, I appreciate your style.

    As far as the industry goes, I think their are far too many divisive aspects in the wine industry. It seems in my estimation that so many are more interested in debate. I also believe that beyond the divisive points that there are some that attempt to push their views as they are the truth and the only way. They speak more than listen which in my estimation is a sign of other issues.

    I appreciate hearing from you, your perspective, but also appreciate your listening. Something a select few could learn from you in the industry.

    There are many more aspects to like about the industry than dislike. The majority of people working the wine industry are some of the greatest people of any industry. They are often very hospitable, humble, generous, kind, and thoughtful people that appreciate people, food, and drink.

    What unites us in wine is greater than what divides us!
    Cheers my friend!