Monday, September 5, 2011

Hillside Winery: From the Vine to Wine

Mark Schaublin of Hillside Winery in Gilboa, OH was recently interviewed by the Lima News. Here are the links to the article and to Hillside's website:
Lima News Article

Hillside Winery website

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The End of an Era - for reals this time

As you know, I'd been out of the loop on the wine thing for much of the summer. I decided to check in and see what Gary Vaynerchuk was up to on his new Daily Grape show. I was greeted with this:

I'm like "What?! Again?!" It was just back in March he decided to end his Wine Library TV run after 1,000 episodes. Had it ended there, I could respect him bowing out gracefully with his final episodes featuring many long-time "Vayniacs". Those episodes are my favorite -- seeing the Wine Library community reviewing a few wines with one another in person. Even though I think it would have been a great new format, it was a good way to bow out.

I felt really bad for Professor John Boyer of Virginia Tech (see the Drink This Now! book linked on the side? Yeah. Him.), because it had only been a few weeks before episode 1000 that he and his students made this epic video mimicing Gary's famous intro.:

But then Gary V. announced Daily Grape with all the gusto he could muster (as per his form). My wife and I were astonished. Wine Library TV, we felt, wasn't broken and was doing pretty well from what we could see. Besides making some of the similar technological advances Daily Grape seemed to continually grapple with in it's formative weeks, we felt WLTV still had a lot to give and a lot of drive. Why change? I think the answer is somewhat simple: Because he wanted to. Gary has the personality that thrives on change. He is never satisfied with what he has for long; he's always after more.

Gary did visit Virginia Tech in late April with a large audience. He recorded a Daily Grape episode after giving his shpeal on business/technology. Then they recorded what would have been episode 1001 of Wine Library TV, but I later found out from the professor that Gary didn't find it to have been a quality enough episode (maybe the wines were sub par, or maybe it was just Boyer was so starry eyed it was embarrassing).

Gary's biggest push was the $5 monthly newsletter. I can only guess that after 5 months, they were not hitting the numbers they wanted to and the anticipated revenue wasn't coming in. With Wine Library TV being a branch of the Wine Library store owned by his father, there was an indirect revenue from wine sales. With Daily Grape, the show and newletter WAS the product and that's a tough commitment to make when there isn't enough money coming in from it. It's much like blogging I can tell you; the paying gigs come first.

So only after 5 months, Gary announced he was done with Daily Grape as well. You could tell he was a little embarrassed to be having to do an exit episode again in the same year. He knew he'd be letting people down; people who like Boyer's wine class (and myself) who daily sought to expand their wine knowledge which I guess leaves us with less entertaining (though no less knowledgeable) wine stars like Jancis Robinson and Kevin Zraley.

I tried to find out if his Sirius/XM radio show was still on, but my lengthy search on the Sirius website denies any knowledge of it.

So as best as I can tell, Gary's big push right now is his marketing arm: Vayner Media. I wish him well in his future endeavors and will smile proudly when I hear he finally owns the New York Jets.
"If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success."
-- John D. Rockefeller 

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I've been excited for the release of this film for quite some time. It releases September 30th. Check it out. I guarantee it's worth seeing. At least twice.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

2010 Orleans Hill Cote Zero

Last night, I decided that since I finally got my first real paycheck in a LONG time, it was time to celebrate. I ordered some pizza, rented a video, and headed over to Vino Bellissimo. Matt, you haven't let me down when it comes to suggestions. At first,  he took me to the Primativo, but recalling how that went last time, I decided to try something different. He looked over the Zins, then settled me into Orleans Hill Cote Zero. $9.99 - a price so good I decided to throw in some Framboise.

Cote Zero is up front about being organic, sulfite free, and vegan friendly (Vegan friendly??? If I have any vegan readers out there, can you school me (nicely) as to why wine wouldn't be vegan friendly?). What it isn't up front about is what it's made from--at least not on the bottle. But from what I've gleaned from the interwebs is that it is a syrah/grenache blend. It does have that bit of syrah kick you can expect, but it must be the grenache that reigns that in because I did not find it overpowering. But I wonder if that has anything to do my developing palate or the pizza I was eating with it; but in my limited experience, food will often kick up the wine a bit.

Unfortunately, it seems in my hiatus, I've lost my nose a bit. My take on the smell is grape juicy juice and a little bit of treated lumber. The wood comes through a little stronger on the taste (not overpowering), but otherwise the nose and the mouth agree. Not much hiding here.

But in the end, Matt was spot on. This wine is fantastic with pizza! When having wine with food, it's been my experience that the right pairing is like watching two people you've known for years, who didn't know each other, but have met and fallen in love. A bad pairing is the subway fight with the baby stroller rolling off the train in the ruckus (yeah, that was news this week). As I mentioned, food will normally kick the wine up a notch and with syrah, I was a little afraid we'd be setting out an extra plate for the oak monster. The pizza actually kept the wine in check and would not let it overcome the meal. Definitely be buying this again! In fact, next time I buy this, I'll be buying two just so I can keep one on hand.

I'm baaaack!

Hey ya'll! I'm finally employed. I'm doing 3rd shift work at a factory in Sidney (no Mom, I'm not in Australia). The work itself is boring, but I work with a great bunch of people.

There are a couple reasons I've been gone so long and I think y'all deserve something of an explanation. Since being laid off early last year, I'd been living on unemployment. I started the blog as a hobby to learn. I love learning about stuff. But I came to realize I was spending too much time on the blog and not enough on looking for a job. Also, I didn't think it was right to be living off the state and spending the money on wine; even cheap wine. If I was going to drink wine, I should earn the right to do it when I've earned the money to pay for it myself.

But as you might guess, this is a bit of a catch 22. Now I have a job, I don't have a lot of time to devote to the blog. True. But now I'm earning it. So no, the posts won't be as frequent as before, but for now I'm back. I've missed you and hope to bring you some valuable (or laughable) content in the coming months.