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8 things to feel good about


I’m feeling good today. Spring is finaly springing here in California after a long, wet, cold winter. Soon it will be shirtsleeves and shorts again–not since last October have we seen that. (It’s already Springy in Santa Barbara, where I’ll be next week, but not quite yet here in the Bay Area.)

So I was driving home just now and thought it would be nice to tote up all the things that are happening in the wine biz that I’m grateful for. Here’s my list, in no particular order.

1. My blog. I’m so happy I started it on May 3, 2008. is going on three years old! A toddler in human terms, but in blog years (roughly equivalent to dog years), my blog is an adult, and quite a successful one at that. Not the biggest, but one of the biggest, and gaining readership every month.

2. Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Clearly California’s two greatest wines, and they’re getting better every year. Napa Valley is a world treasure for Cab and Bordeaux blends; our coastal valleys are producing some of the most exciting Pinots on Earth. And I get to taste them, visit the wineries and meet the winemakers. I am humbled.

3. The Recession is ending. It’s been awful for everyone, including wineries. At last there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. About time. I just hope it’s the light of day, and not the headlights on another oncoming train.

4. Friends in the industry. So many. Such nice people, from the P.R. folks to the dirt-on-the-shoes winemakers to the owners and somms and other writers and everybody inbetween. The wine industry attracts people who like to eat, drink and party. Nothing bad about that! (I should think the funeral industry wouldn’t be as fun.)

5. My magazine, Wine Enthusiast, is doing really well. Subscriptions way up. New blood at HQ in New York, bringing a fresh, sassy look and feel to the front of the book and online website. Keeping us Boomer editors on our toes.

6. New, young winemakers popping up all over the place, with new ideas, approaches, attitudes. I guess it’s the availability of grapes and/or bulk/declassified wine, not to mention the rise of custom crush facilities like Crushpad and Central Coast Wine Services. There are so many exciting new producers, you can’t keep up with them. Who will be the Dick Arrowoods, Genevieve Janssenses, Margo van Staaverens, Heidi Barretts, Rick Longorias, Tony Soters, Marimar Torreses of the future? They’re out there, that’s for sure, and it’s thrilling to make their acquaintance.

7. The wine blogosphere and social media. Still in a state of ferment, it’s changing everything. An exciting, turbulent place, without roadmaps. You have to feel your way through with infinite care and patience. It’s a thrill to be a small part of it, and a challenge to me, as a reporter, to keep up with it and try to figure out where it’s going and what it will look like in five years.

8. Living in Oakland. The geographic center of the Bay Area, wine- and food-loving, with a diverse, gritty population that keeps me from getting too addicted to the cult lifestyle. Oakland offers easy access north and south, making me feel like I’m at the center of the California wine web, sensitive to every quiver.

That’s what I’m grateful for. How about you?

  1. While I live a little north in Albany, I too am happy about the East Bay. I used to generally go to San Francisco if I wanted to eat out or try interesting wine. On top of Rivoli and Chez Panisse, now there are many great places to eat – Wood Tavern, Gather, Plum, Boot and Shoe to name a few. And Punchdown is a great place to try a new wine!

    I do think we are in the center!

  2. Glad to see your buzzin, and the front covers of WE have been eye candy lately. Just happy to be doing something I love to do.

  3. I’m happy to have access to so many interesting blogs to read. After a while, reading those I like is a little like catching up with a friend.

  4. Yep! And two more thumbs up here, for all of the aforementioned. Happy Birthday to your blog and its completely amazing combo of wit and insights.

    And yay, to downtown Oakland. Last month after Art Murmur’s awesome chaos we ended the night at the Punchdown for a glass of wine, then roamed next door to down 4 molecularly gastronomical desserts at Plum. We even walked home, sans bullet-proof vests…

  5. Lisa wish I had been there. Art Murmur is awesome.

  6. Sorry to be a downer, but there’s a head in sand quality about the comments concerning Oakland and the East Bay. Sure if you hang out around Lake Merritt and “Uptown” places like Plum or the various “gourmet ghettos”, you can ignore The Other Oakland and all the neighborhoods, the real ghettos, in the flat lands, even Jack London Square where the most recent murders occurred. Steve wouldn’t think of going to Jesus “Chuy” Campos’ restaurant. But it’s academic since Chuy was shot dead when he was opening his establishment. Feel good about the culture of Art Murmur, but know that just blocks away there is a growing culture of violence.

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