New Chapters

(Above: sort of a self-portrait from a recent trip to the Grand Canyon. Man, that place is awesome! Also, it ties the UN’s FAO headquarters in Rome for language diversity.)

As some of you already know, I recently left Wine & Spirits, where I have been, successively (and oftentimes simultaneously) a tastings coordinator, editor, staff writer and critic for the better part of the last five years. But now it’s time to move on, and I’ll be joining my friends in the trenches and hitting the streets of San Francisco to pimp wine. Of course, I plan to continue writing — especially here — but also in venues on subjects where there’s no conflict of interest. (And if any of the wines discussed, reviewed or profiled on this site happen to be those that I represent, then I will make that distinction quite clear.)

It’s no secret that times are tough in journalism, publishing and the wine industry (and elsewhere). And where those three subjects come together, well, let’s just say it’s been particularly tough. But I will say that for wine at least, there’s real strength to be found in the people and relationships that make up this business. I’ve worked in wine for over a decade, for the entire ‘aughts’ or whatever the fuck they’re called, and I’m constantly impressed, engaged, and then re-engaged by the relationships formed over those years.

That I believe is the wine industry’s true gift to world commerce and culture — sure, the latest and greatest vintages matter, but at the end of the day it’s the workers picking and pruning vineyards, the cellar crews lugging hoses, winemakers tasting their blends, distributors and reps out working the streets, somms and servers working tables, and retailers walking their aisles, that keep this whole thing going. Nature may make the grapes into wine, but it takes women and men to move it, to build excitement stoke the passions of the people drinking it.

I’m grateful for all the support shown by folks in the industry during these past few days. It’s why I love this business.

Thank you all, and here’s to a great new year!

Depeche Mode’s version of the classic ‘Route 66′ – good times!

(Above: I snapped this pic of tired old cars along historic Route 66 somewhere in Arizona.)

13 thoughts on “New Chapters

  1. Good luck, Wolfgang. I’m sure you’ll do well despite the crummy economy.

    BTW, you’ve picked my favorite version of this oft-covered song.

    In bocca al lupo!

  2. I prefer, slightly, the extended mix of Behind The Wheel/Route 66.

    It remains an amazing cover – rare for any band in a later era to cover a classic song and do it so much better.

    (Their newest album is awful; Route 66 sounds more like DM than this new album.)

  3. Gee, I’m not sure what to think about how this transition came about but I certainly wish you the best going forward.

    I can’t share Strappo’s enthusiasm for this version of the song.
    Soulless and robotic to me.

    I love the car photo. That middle Chevy(?) with the rust, the missing headlight and the impression of a broad grimace and black eye sums up where the post WWII USA is today.

  4. Congrats and best of luck with the new gig, W. I’m sure you’ll rock it on the streets.

    Definitely a sign of the times that Josh will be trying to fill your shoes himself rather than hiring a new writer/editor.

  5. I’ll always think of you when I hear this song again. Pretty good version, don’t think I ever saw the video before. Good luck in your new endevour.

  6. Bon Chance Wolfgang! I have also been in the wine biz for over 10 years and recently launched my own little CA based wine wholesale company. Selling the wines I love to accounts I like:)
    See you around the traps!
    Cheers, Amy Atwood

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