“This is our 579th—and last—”Tastings” column. The past 12 years—a full case!—have been a joy, not because of the wine but because we had an opportunity to meet so many of you, both in person and virtually. Thank you.”
That was how John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter concluded their column in today’s WSJ. They don’t elaborate on their future plans; No editor’s note appears to indicate what will happen with wine coverage at country’s highest circulation newspaper.
When John and Dottie, as they were known to their readers, started writing the column, both came from news sections of the paper as opposed to wine, food or criticism. They asserted their independence from the trade, purchasing wines for review at retail and tasting them blind at home, with dinner over several nights. They rated wines on a scale of “Yech”, “OK”, “Good”, “Very Good”, “Delicious” to “Delicious!” Their column was often very personal, touching on wine in their family experiences, such as vacations on cruise ships or at Disney World. Indeed, their final column is a clarion call for how context influences the wines we drink.
But their signal contribution to wine writing was Open That Bottle Night, encouraging readers to pull a symbolically significant bottle from their cellar and open it just for the heck of it on the last Saturday in February. Readers then sent in letters with their experiences that John & Dottie rounded up in a subsequent column. It was inspired and interactive. And it won them legions of fans.
Best of luck to them in their future endeavors.