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Lucky or Grateful?

March 23, 2014 17 comments

MWWC_logoThe Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, or MWWC for short, had been ongoing for a while – and one would think that all the aspiring writers mastered the basics by now and can handle any challenge word with increasing ease. Yet every time I write a post for the MWWC, I hope that the next one will come easier – and it doesn’t happen. This post, with the subject of “luck”, was probably the hardest of all, and I’m trying to finish it in the last 20 minutes before the clock passes the midnight mark. This might be more of a rant than just a regular post, but you will be the judge of it…

Lets forget the wine for a minute and just talk about the concept of luck. If you are looking for one abused, misused and misinterpreted idea, this might it. Just think about all the monikers – “this is your lucky day”, “lucky penny”, “my lucky shirt/socks/rubber duckie”, “luck of the draw”, “lucky moment”, “lucky to be alive”, “lucky star”. Yes, we use them casually and often, albeit I would argue we don’t really think or imply the actual meaning of the word “luck”. Outside finding a $5 bill in the parking lot (may be a good luck for you, bad luck for the person who dropped it), the luck is usually comes to those who puts a lot of effort to get it. Is successful business created by sheer luck, or by sweat, sometimes blood, and lack of the sleep? Is successful marriage the result of luck, or the hard work of both spouses? Are the happy and healthy kids the result of luck, or the result of parents daily work and sacrifices? Yes, luck exists, of course, but its impact on the daily life of the vast majority of people, shall we say, is slightly exaggerated?

Now, let’s look at the wine world. We need to divide it into two parts – there are those who get to make the wines, and those who get to consume them. So talking about those who have to farm the land, grow the grapes, harvest them and then go through all the step from harvest until bottling (never mind selling), how much luck are they expected to get? The only lucky break they can get is the great weather. Great weather makes things a bit easier – but, this is where winemaker’s luck starts and ends – the rest is passion, sweat, tears and hard work. Lots of things can go wrong during all the stages of winemaking, and luck will not help to fix them – but knowledge, experience and tenacity will.

Let’s come to the other side of the table – the consumers. Now, this is where the role of luck is hard to pinpoint. You get the bottle of wine which generally costs $70 for only $25 at WTSO – is that luck? May be, but what if this wine is not your style and you don’t like it – but you got 4 of those bottles just to get a free shipping – is that still the lucky situation, or may be not so much anymore? You built the wine cellar, you got the wine and kept the bottle for 10 or 20 years, now you opened it and tastes great – is that luck? You tell me, as I’m not sure if that should be called a lucky accident, or is it really the result of the great winemaking and your labor of love as an oenophile.

I’m really not sure how often we should feel lucky, and if “lucky” is even the correct word – I think “grateful” is far better word to use. Yes, we should be grateful to the winemakers for all their hard work, as they created the wine which lasts, the wine which can move us emotionally. We should be grateful to our families, which allow us to spend money, time and efforts on this passion, and tolerate us literally go nuts because of the few drops of some strange liquid in our glass which we consider better than the nectar of Gods. Before we even get to enjoy that glass of wine, we should be grateful for our overall lifestyle, which allows for the things so insignificant in the grand schema of things, as glass of wine, to play such an important role in our lives (go explain the importance of wine to the billions which only dream about the glass of clean water). So lucky or grateful? I think the luck is something we try to keep to ourselves, and by being grateful we actually give it back.

So lets drink for being grateful for all the luck we have in our lives, and may it always be with us. Cheers!

Monthly Wine Writing Challenge Reminder

March 18, 2014 Leave a comment

The time left to connect luck and wine in potentially award-winning epistolary exercise is getting very short… You have less than a week to submit your lucky entry for #MWWC8, so get to that keyboard and start pounding, errr, I meant, typing…

the drunken cyclist

Even though I am not the “official” host of Monthly Wine Writing Challenge 8 (#MWWC8), I like to think of myself as the Challenge’s “Goodwill Ambassador.” Thus, consider this a “friendly” reminder to get your butt in gear and get writing! Perhaps this month’s theme “Luck” does not particularly “speak” to you and you are finding it difficult to come up with a post. Maybe you have been incredibly busy hosting your Uncle Cletus who showed up on your doorstep three weeks ago and has been drinking your cellar dry ever since. Then again, you could just be a lazy son-of-a -female-dog and were planning on writing it this weekend (like me).

Regardless of your reason(s), as far as I can tell, there have only been five entries thus far (please let me know if that is not the case and I will be sure to include you here):

The…

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Wednesday’s Meritage – Texas Wine Country Trip Contest, #MWWC7 Results, Robert Parker Addresses Wine Writers, Amphorae to the Rescue?

February 26, 2014 3 comments

Meritage time!

Same as a last week, today’s Meritage doesn’t have the wine quiz answer portion – as there was no quiz last week. Thus let’s jump right away to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web.

Have you heard the expression “Everything is bigger in Texas”? Do you want to check it out for yourself? You have about 5 days to enter Wine Enthusiast’s contest to win a trip for 2 to the Texas Hill County. The winner of the prize will receive:

  • Round-trip flights and transportation for two to Texas
  • Up to 8-night accommodations at local B&Bs and winery accommodations in the Texas Hill Country
  • Guaranteed visits at up to 12 wineries
  • Select exquisite multi-course wine-and-food dinners

There are less than 21000 entries so far, so I think you have good chances! For all details and to enter the contest, please use this link.

#MWWC7 has concluded and we have the new champion – Kara of The Sweet Sommelier blog. This round was quite difficult, with the theme “devotion” putting many people on the offensive, but it still had a very good showing with 22 entries. You can read very interesting analysis by the SAHMelier, the host of #MWWC7, in her concluding post. And you can read the winning entry here. Now we will be eagerly awaiting the new theme for #MWWC8.

Last week, the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers took place in Napa. As you can judge from the name of the event, a lot of professional wine writers were in attendance. There were a number of interesting keynotes at the symposium, including one by none other but the Robert Parker (I don’t care what do you think of his ratings, but his influence over the wine world is indisputable). Alder Yarrow, who runs blog called Vinography and is a professional wine writer himself, recorded the full keynote and shared it in the blog post which you can find here. It is a bit long (slightly longer than an hour), but may be well worth your time.

Last note for today is all about experimental winemaking. As you know from the ancient history, an amphorae was one and only tool available to the winemakers thousands of years ago. Now, Andrew Beckham, a ceramics artist and high school teacher, started making amphorae and use them to make wines – and the results seems to be very encouraging, with the wines taking on the explicit earthiness and minerality trait. It is very early to tell when and if the amphorae will become a mainstream winemaking vessel – but nevertheless, it makes a very interesting read – here is the link to the article.

And we are done for today. The glass is empty – but the refill is on its way. Cheers!

 

 

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