With all apologies to Fyodor Dostoyevsky for this bastardization of his great work in Notes From the Underground. The narrator in the story is an obnoxious person, so please don't take anything that I say personally -
I am an uncredentialed man… I am an insignificant man. I am an undisciplined writer of oenological drivel. I believe that I have a learning disability. However, I know nothing at all about what that disability might be, and do not know for certain what makes my writing so bad. I don't consult an expert about it, and never have, though I have great respect for wine writers and sommeliers. No, instead I leave disparaging comments on their blogs, and argue about my value to the wine world. Of course, I can't explain exactly who I am trying to convince; I know better than anyone that all of my wine blogging friends will still agree with me after reading my comments, and that the wine press will still look down their noses at me. I am perfectly aware that I am not "showing them" when I leave scathing messages on blogs and on Twitter. I know this better than anyone, that I am only injuring myself and no one else. Still, I won't consult an expert. If my writing is bad, well–let it get worse!
I have been going on like this for a long time now – okay, only three months. I used to be a respected wine geek among my friends. They would come to me for recommendations about what wine to drink with a certain food, or to ask what Cabernet to buy for less than $15. Then I decided to start writing my vino adventures in a blog. I may have been a poor writer, but I took no bribes (or junkets), you see, so I was bound to find a recompense at that, at least. (A poor joke, but I will edit it out on the blog. I wrote it thinking it would sound witty; but now that I have seen myself that I only wanted to be snarky – Now I think I will not edit it on the blog on purpose!) Why was I arguing and making snarky comments to Steve Heimoff, when he was clearly right that I had no education or certification to recommend myself to readers? I was inwardly conscious with shame that I was not only an insignificant writer, possibly even possessing a faulty palate, but that I was really just posting my thoughts at random and amusing myself by it. I might foam at the mouth about social media or Robert Parker, but bring me a free sample of wine and I would just as happily do a review of it.
I knew that I was just one man, in possession of a single palate. Who was I to tell people what I thought of wines? The thought of my Master Sommilier certification-lessness tormented me till I was ashamed to even share my opinion- it sickened me, oh how it sickened me. Now, are not you thinking that I am expressing remorse for something now, that I am asking your forgiveness for something? I am sure you are thinking that, however, I assure you that I do not care if you are….
I write this blog to amuse myself, and so much the better if it at all amuses you. I said that I was ashamed to share my opinion, but I lied. I have never claimed to have any certification or credentials, and I find myself no more or less suited to objectively comment on wine than Robert Parker is. My friend Steve Paulo is right when he says that we are all a little full of fecal matter, and that includes the Wine Spectator, the Hosemaster, myself and anyone else who has ever tried to describe or rate wine. It doesn't even matter if a score is included or not. At some point, words fail to capture everything of true importance about wine, yet we talk about it anyway. We talk because we love it. To experience it, you must drink it. I offer only my opinions and frail observations. In addition, I offer no apology for what I am, or for what I am not.
Note: The question that I find myself asking after having read (and participated in) all of the back and forth about blogging, is "what's the point?" Deep down I don't really care what Steve Heimoff or Robert Parker thinks about me, or about my blog, and I'm sure that they feel the same way about me and about other bloggers. I write a wine blog because I have a passion for wine, love to write, and I enjoy the wine community that I've found online. I don't need credentials for that, and I never told anyone that I had them. I'm through with arguing in comments on Heimoff's blog, or trying to justify my existence as a wineblogger. I'll not cast stones, and I'll not respond to stones cast at bloggers (as a general group, but I will always defend my friends). It's like my grandfather used to say, "Never wrestle with a pig, you
both just get dirty and the pig likes it." I respect what wine writers do for a living, but I'm doing something different. I'm not trying to be them. I think there is room for all of us.
Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I can just blog.