Thursday, August 6, 2009


This week has been a bit crazy. Every other month, I decide the store’s floor displays need to be rearranged, and like some Michaelangelo on acid, I have these different arrangements in my head, ones I am unable to translate into words (or else I would have someone on the staff with a younger and healthier back do it). It’s almost a whole-day-event, and these days, it’s a one-and-a-half shirt job.

I am sure a lot of my peers in this profession don’t mess with moving so many boxes around; they have stock people and floor support to do that for them. I am one of the weird ones who would just assume do it myself – the whole specific vision thing.

This month, while moving the stacks of featured wines around at our Fort Thomas store, I was thinking about a few things that are transpiring in the business: supplier consolidation, supplier expansion, the state of wine blogging and print media, etc., etc. A man my age should be thinking about Jessica Biel or Megan Fox (falling into that Mid-Life fugue state), but I actually love my job enough to be in a constant state of rethinking my approaches to it.

On my supplier front, I have one distributor adding a fifth division to their operation, which may prove problematic, expanding their sales rep stable to five per account. Five different people from the same company calling on you, at least to me, seems ludicrous and unproductive, but I have been assured that they will try to whittle that down a bit for me (perhaps 3 or 4 instead of 5). Another distributor is reeling from the loss of their portion of Constellation Brands here in Kentucky. And there doesn’t seem to be any sign of adding replacement brands, so who knows where their heads are at in this stage of the game. And still another distributor is morphing into a more streamlined, esoteric, boutique wine wholesaler, having lost virtually all their spirits brands and the majority of their bulk wine brands. This is a big step in an alien direction for one of the country’s oldest family-run distributorships whose focus has almost always been liquor.
What does this mean for us? New perspectives and new approaches from folks that seem reluctant to drastic change – it is a notion that always strikes me funny, given the ever-changing landscape of the wine and spirits industry. You almost need a scorecard to keep track of everything.

I keep reading various blogs and magazine articles about how wine blogging is changing the way information is conveyed on wine, and how many think print media is dead or dying. I find myself standing on middle ground with this debate. I think about the whole Kindle thing, and how people speak of printed books as being obsolete. A weird concept for me because of my desire to become a published writer in the novelist sense, and having already published one book of poetry (you can buy it for under a buck online at Amazon right now, ha!). The magazine writers lobbing their sore loser grenades at the new vanguard of online writers, who blog as if they pontificate atop the highest mountain, speaking to the troglodytes below. It is all so reminiscent of the pettiness of a schoolyard shouting match. Face facts y’all – the wine writers for Spectator, Parker, Enthusiast, are not going anywhere – yet. And we bloggers will be the redheaded stepchildren for some time to come, due to the overwhelming majority as being simply neophytes who “enjoy” their subject, but are not certified experts in their subjects. Not that many of the print writers are actually certified anything, they are just more legitimized by the fact that they are getting paid for their work. Most of us bloggers are not.

Speaking of bloggers, locally, I stumbled onto two new wine bloggers. Tom Johnson writes for Louisville Juice, and joins renowned wine writer Robin Garr and his crew at Wine Lovers Page, as representing the Louisville contingent of wine geeks. Welcome to the neighborhood, Tom! The second blogger is not entirely a wine blogger, but more like a consumer blogger, exploring her economizing of drinking wine from the box, and expanding it with some real life frugality that is certainly welcome in these sad economic doldrums. Glad to have you around Amy Deal, and give my regards to the Gem City. Check Tom’s blog at Amy’s blog at

I hope to be caught up enough to get some blog posts up ahead of schedule. I have two trade shows this weekend, plus Wine & Music Monday, Wine Blogging Wednesday, and a few reviews of some South American wines I’ve been meaning to get to, all on deck.

Until then, cheers!


Beth said...

Nice blog. ENjoyed going through it. Keep it up the good work. Cheers :) Happy Blogging :) Beth

Tom said...

Hey, thanks for the plug.