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On the road again, day four


It’s Thursday a.m. here in New York, under leaden skies with lots of muggy, humid air. So different from coastal California. We’re done with everything at our annual Wine Enthusiast summer editorial conference except for some last-minute details and a final tasting with my colleagues: Monica Larner, who covers Italy from Rome; Roger Voss, who covers much of Europe from southwestern France; Joe Czerwinski, out multi-facted tasting director, who covers Australia and other places; Susan Kostrzewa (South Africa, others), and me (California). Paul Gregutt (Pacific Northwest) and Mike Schachner (South America, Spain, etc.) were sadly absent.

It’s so wonderful tasting with these guys because they really know  their stuff, and I learn so much from them when they talk about wines from their respective regions. When I first started tasting wine, and then writing about it, I fancied I could be an “expert” about all the world’s wine regions. I was quickly disabused of that notion! You can know a little about a lot, but you can’t know a lot about everything. I know a lot about California and a little about everything else.

This is not to disparage wine writers who tackle the globe. We need them. But you can’t look to a generalist for specialized wine writing on a specific region.

We were talking last night over dinner at a local Thai restaurant about our jobs. People think it’s all about great dinners and fancy travel and great wines and while there’s plenty of that, the reality is it’s a job! There’s hard work and relentless hours and meetings and schmoozing and getting lost on the road and waiting in airport terminals and all the rest of it. After I’ve been on the road for a while I can’t wait to get home and sleep in my own bed, eat my usual steamed veggies and broiled, skinless chicken for dinner (instead of rich, fatty stuff) and get to the gym for my daily workout. There’s no time to work out on the road, and staying in shape is an essential part of a balanced lifestyle.

Well, this hasn’t been the most substantial post I’ve ever written, but I wanted to get something up. And, as I’m on someone else’s computer here at W.E. headquarters and our first meeting is about to begin, I better get off.

Thank you readers for supporting my blog. I deeply appreciate it.

  1. Steve, a word of advice regarding fitness on the road. Find the time. If you only have 10 free minutes in a day, that’s a mile you can run, and if you can run a faster mile then you need even less time for that. Even if it’s only a little bit it goes a long way in relieving stress and helping you maintain productivity. It’s a necessity, not a luxury, and we owe that to ourselves.

  2. Steve,

    I know just what you mean, even on the retail side I hear it all the time, “Oh what a tough job you have” like we just sit around and taste wine all day, or the trips we take are vacations….so not true. We have to clean the restrooms, deal with cranky customers, taste a lot of horrific wine and schlep cases, it is tough. The trips can be grueling as well, living out of a suitcase for 25 days, falling into a strange bed after tasting for 12-15 hours, long meals without the people you love and all the nightmares that can/do happen when you travel.

    There are many great things about this business, I love it but it is not what people imagine it to be.

  3. Steve – I hear ya on the travel thing. There’s just nothing better than sleeping in your own bed. And the eating part – while fun and interesting on the road, can at times, be very much over the top! Really, how many steaks are too many? And, no, I do not want to eat Foie with every meal.

    Travel safe!

  4. Dylan, others: sorry I was realllllly late in posting your comments. Finally home now. Great to be back in Cali!

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