Saturday, August 8, 2009


Every so often, you have to stop and remind everybody how your mind works when you do something for a long time. Here at the Grape Tree, I’ve been “reviewing” wine for over a year in the manner I have been writing reviews in-store for years now, and as there are a few new readers on this blog, I thought it best to offer up a refresher for all who actually drop in on the blog from time-to-time exactly how my reviews are laid out.

For starters, I don’t like to use a point scale, because I don’t like to quantify an “experience.” I feel like a judge at a figure skating competition – tasting Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, and, VOILA! I hold up my card – 7.6. No, I’ll leave that to the guys getting paid to do it. My “scale” is simple: from best to worst, AMAZING, OUTSTANDING, and AVERAGE. Good and vague and open to interpretation – just the way I like it. And then of course, the mojo. This is where I tell you a little something about the wine in question. Having written these for shelf talkers in the stores, the “mojo” was more an explanation of why I brought it into the store, whether it was extremely rare, a unique interpretation of the varietal(s), or something that just rocked my world.

I usually review around a dozen wines a month, mainly because I can’t get to many more than that, but also because I just don’t want to be solely a wine reviewer. I like writing about my experiences in this business, whether it’s people I meet, wineries I have visited, trade shows, or just the goofy machinations of the wine & spirits industry.

These wines are not submitted to me by wineries or importers, so I do not get free samples like most of my blogging or writing brethren. While I do get samples, they are for the store and are to make a determination on whether or not to carry them on our shelves. The reviews are more a means to promote these wines in our store, and posting them on our blog is just an added bonus.

My approach to this whole blog thing is much different than most wine blogs out there. It began as another avenue to convey what is new and what is going on in our stores, and has grown into its own animal online. It has opened many doors, and reached out to people throughout this industry, connecting us to the greater wine world than just what exists in and around the metropolitan Cincinnati, Ohio region. It has becomes something very cool, and I hope, adds another voice to what is a veritable cacophony of voices championing the beauty of wine. Naysayers be damned, the Internet was created for an uncomplicated and expansive exchange of ideas, and the wine blogosphere is just that. As for our wine reviews, they are a bit different, and are honestly, no more than my humble opinion on particular wines that have captured my attention in the short-term. I have spent the past 20 years learning all that I can about wine, and it’s a continuing process, yet the reviews found here at UTGT are meant to share that experience and that growing knowledge with our readers.


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