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Tag Archives: wine writing

New features for the blog?

Website
New features for the blog?

Always trying to find the right mix for readers.

Update: Thanks for all the emails — some very good advice and comments about what we’re doing here and how we do it. I was quite flattered to have so many people tell me they didn’t want anyone else to write for the blog.

Still working on the transition from the old platform to the new, and especially with updating the broken links — and we’re only in the seventh month after the switch. The Internet is a wonderful thing, and Google’s search algorithms are even more special.

Having said that, it’s time to continue the blog’s progress into the 21st century, and that means I need your thoughts about the following. If you like the ideas — or don’t like them — leave a comment at the end of this post or send me an email.

• A regular (monthly? every six weeks?) live chat about cheap wine, the wine business, and so forth, where you can come to the blog and ask me questions in real time. You type them in, and I answer. I’ve done this elsewhere, and it’s usually a lot of fun. The catch? What happens if you hold a chat and no one is there to chat?

• Someone besides me writing blog posts. I’m thinking about this not so much because I’m tired of writing the posts but because I’m wondering if another voice — though still focused on what we do here, still objective about wine, and still a quality writer — would add something to the blog. Also, if you’d like to so some writing for the blog, send me an email.

• Wine Curmudgeon TV. I’ve toyed with this before, but the logistics have always been daunting. They aren’t quite as daunting these days, so the question is: Is it worthwhile to do a shortish, 10-minute chat with a guest or guests about wine? And what kind of guests? Because winemaker interviews and features haven’t been all that popular here.

Supreme Court: Regulate wine writing through three-tier system

wine-writer-cartoon
Supreme Court: Regulate wine writing through three-tier system

Scalia: “So how does this affect what I buy through my wine club?”

A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled today that wine writing, since it’s mostly about selling wine and isn’t journalism, is not protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Instead, said the 5-4 majority, it falls under the 21st Amendment, which allows each state to regulate alcohol sales any way it sees fit, and which makes wine writing part of the three-tier system.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said: “First, state’s rights. Second, I’m an old white guy and I need to be told what wine to drink. Third, I thought wine writing was already about shilling for the industry.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in her sharply worded dissent, said: “Has Scalia ever actually read the Constitution? Or is he just making this up as he goes along?”

Reaction was swift:

 • The National Association of Attorney’s General said it would publish guidelines to help each state regulate wine writing, including recommended winespeak terms and a primer on how to score wines.

• The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said it would appoint a committee to take over Dave Falchek’s immensely popular Empty Bottles blog, and that the new version would be distributed through grocery store vending machines.

• The Wine Spectator praised the ruling, and a spokesman said: “We’ll be working closely with our partners in the production, distribution, and regulatory channels to assure that each benefits from the ruling, and especially us.”

• The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said wine writing in the state must now include references to football, sweet tea, and protecting the border. Or else, because its agents are armed. And don’t you forget it.

• Jeff Siegel, who writes the Wine Curmudgeon blog, announced he was giving up wine writing to return to the Burger King on Skokie Valley Road in Highland Park, Ill., where he worked the broiler as a teenager. “Yes, I’ll smell like a hamburger when I’m done with my shift,” he said, “but no will expect me to write that a Whopper has a bouquet of fresh heirloom tomatoes.”

The Court’s ruling came in Bonne vs. Parker, stemming from an incident at the 2014 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers that seemed really important at the time but, like so much about wine writing, is not that big a deal to the vast majority of people who drink wine.

More April 1 news:
Gov. Perry to California: Bring your wineries to Texas
California secedes from U.S. — becomes its own wine country

Update: Technical problems on the blog

technical-computer-problem-get-help-from-an-expert-over-the-internet
Update: Technical problems on the blog

No, the Wine Curmudgeon didn’t feel like this yesterday. Nope. Not at all.

11 a.m. update: The missing posts and comments have returned, and all is mostly back to normal. Thanks for your patience.

The good news is that we figured out what happened yesterday, when at least six posts — including the post scheduled for Monday — vanished from the server that hosts the blog. Also missing were a variety of other items, including all the comments from last week, and those should return, too, once all is corrected. So no, I’m not censoring comments, for those of you who wondered.

The bad news is that the problem hasn’t been fixed yet, though I have been assured it will fixed “soon.” And, because it wouldn’t be any fun unless there were more complications, I can’t post anything new to the blog because the new post (including this one, which I will have to repost) will disappear as soon as the problem is fixed. So it’s just as easy to wait until then.

That’s because (for those of you with a technical bent), this is a server issue. Somehow, part of the blog exists on one server, and the rest exists on another. And because the Wine Curmudgeon appreciates irony, yesterday’s blog traffic was no worse than usual. Maybe people just want to read me complain, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s about wine.

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