5 Noteworthy Wines Made from Uncommon Varieties at Vintage Spokane

You know that famous saying about opposites attracting? What the saying leaves out is that the attraction can occasionally lead to sudden repulsion when certain aspects of the opposing personality manifest. Take, for instance, a case in which a husband, who is prone to ADD fits of absentmindedness, remembers on the way to a certain food and wine event that [...]

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My Vintage Spokane Preview at Masselow’s Restaurant

It will likely come as no surprise to anyone that I like to eat. Strike that. I LOVE to eat. Now I’m no food snob, (I’ve been known to eat at the local Chili’s, and to even leave happy with that decision) but I especially love to eat food that is prepared from quality ingredients, by someone who knows their [...]

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Wearing a Lot of Hats in the Wine Biz

I’ve always liked to wear a lot of hats. Since I was a kid I have lamented the fact that I didn’t grow up in the era of the Humphrey Bogart movies that my mom used to love watching. Sure, there were always ball caps, but you never saw men walking down the street in their suits and a nice [...]

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“Jesus Saves” or “Let the Winery Make a Dollar”

We live in a commercial world. Even the most sacred things are often mired in a bog of commerce. The only thing truly sacred in this society is commerce itself. I think my first experience with the cold facts of our consumerist society was on a childhood trip to a Christian book store with my mom, which was a pretty [...]

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Like a Phoenix From the Ashes

Like so many of my wine blogging compatriots, I have displayed a troubling habit of periodically releasing a flurry of articles, only to then spend months without posting a single thing, only to then launch into an apology and subsequent flurry of articles. Like a vino-swilling Ouroboros, I keep the cycle repeating as the years pass by. Well, here we [...]

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Sante Goes to New York (With Your Help)

The first time that I visited Spokane was following the Wine Bloggers Conference in 2010. I pretty much fell in love with the place right away. The city was just the right size to offer, you know, city stuff. We were, of course, focused on wine during that trip, but we did also make some stops that were focused on [...]

By Ben Simons with 5 comments
The Continuing Legacy of Sokol Blosser Winery
Alex and Alison Sokol Blosser

Relative to the rest of the world, the wine industry in the United States is still very young. This is especially true of the wineries of the Northwest. Several of the pioneers of the industry in Washington and Oregon are still active in those industries, or are a mere generation removed from involvement. The origin stories of most wineries and [...]

By Ben Simons with 4 comments
The Women of the New Wine Media

Wine writing in the traditional media has long been somewhat of a boys club. Although there are a handful of women who have managed to penetrate the Riedel Ceiling, such as Jancis Robinson and Alice Feiring, the overwhelming majority of wine writers in print have been male. Thanks to the new DIY options that have sprung up with the advent [...]

By Ben Simons with 29 comments
The Continuing Odyssey of Randall Grahm
The Continuing Odyssey of Randall Grahm

I still remember the first time that I heard Johnny Cash’s original American Recordings album. There is something haunting about the vulnerability of an aged Cash’s gravelly voice singing over a simple acoustic guitar. There is an intense honesty that comes across in the music once you have stripped away all of the excess instrumentation and production that had gone [...]

By Ben Simons with 19 comments
Back from Portland

I came, I saw, I drank a lot of Pinot Noir. Last week the 2012 Wine Bloggers’ Conference was held in Portland, Oregon. This was my second time to attend the conference, the first having been the 2010 conference in Walla Walla. WBC12, as the attendees referred to the conference, was a fantastic mixture of fellowship, education, and party. I [...]

By Ben Simons with 3 comments