Friday, February 20, 2009


Today has been a whirlwind. I feel like, as I do most days, that there isn't enough time in the day to get everything done. I know you know what I am saying - it's just crazy. I always think of that commercial line: "moving at the speed of business."

I finally got off my duff and decided that this year, I was going to take my Certified Specialist of Wine exam this summer. I opted to wait on my Certified Sommelier test until next year so that I can work on my palate some more. I spend so much time tasting wines on the premise of whether or not my customers will buy them than I do analyzing them and determining their taste profiles.

Also, I have become particularly motivated in becoming a veritable PR nightmare for the likes of KY Governor Steve Beshear and KY Senator Elizabeth Tori, the primary culprits in the latest tax hikes on alcohol in our state. As you can see on the right side of this page, you can sign up to voice your ire at their impetuous, reactionary taxing, regardless of whether or not you live in the Commonwealth of Kentucky or not. The citizens of bordering states Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia all have a stake in what's going on, because many citizens of these neighboring states have come to Kentucky to purchase wine and spirits, thanks to the huge price advantage we've held over these states for some time. In one signal signature (Gov. Beshear's) that advantage has been minimalized considerably and especially here in Northern Kentucky, where the advantage has been biggest, is the threat at lost businesses and jobs the greatest.

This Monday, we also begin a new era at our newest store in Fort Thomas, KY. Ray Burwick, who has been something of an all-star utility player, moonlighting a few days a week, will become the new store manager there. Ray brings with him over a decade of wine wholesaler experience, and a phenomenal palate and love of Spanish wines. Most of our regular customers already know Ray, yet those who do not should make it a point to say hello. Stop in, or email him at

And this year, I missed the opportunity to judge the Cincinnati International Wine Festival. I am at once, miffed and at the same time, relieved at the prospect. I was upset (if for only a few moments) because the night I was to attend the mandatory training seminar (the one where they tell you to "choreograph" your scores due to the apparent quotas for medal winners), much of the area was still under a snow emergency, and on top of that, my wife was getting out of the hospital after having her pacemaker replaced. I figured, "there's no way they are meeting on a night as shitty as this one" so without any way to contact them, I simply stayed home to care for my wife. Fast forward to this week, and I am out. Too many candidates. To be honest, after last year, I really didn't want to go back. Most of the wines that my group had judged were scored pretty low (only 2 out of 60+ wines received scores worthy of medalling), yet nearly half of them received medals. ??? The CIWF has also been hijacked by Lord knows who, opting to pair what they deem exceptional, exciting wines, with supermarket catering. And in the insult to injury dept.: an additional charge if you want to taste anything truly remarkable - a considerable one at that. I don't know what is on the agenda this year, and it really doesn't matter. It's really of no interest to me anymore.

And last but not least, we are coming up on our first anniversary here at Under the Grape Tree and on behalf of the staff I'd just like to thank you all for tuning in and reading all of our commentaries. I realize that the landscape of wine bloggers out there is quite vast, and opinions are wide-ranging, but I think our perspective is something different and something everyone can relate to and enjoy.

Comments are always appreciated so feel free to chime in (even if it's to tell us we suck).



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ray Burwick is a douchebag!