Web 2.0. How many have heard that already? It’s borderline cliche.
Anyway, I’ve taken the plunge on three social networking sites. Be my friend, follow me, or whatever their jargon is. Here are the sites:
1. Twitter. Be my friend. I can’t decide if this is a revolution in micro-blogging or a complete waste of time. So far I’ve learned various things such as: one woman was PMSing, another guy hates his job, another guy just finished 18 holes of golf, somebody else is at the farmers’ market (BREAKING!), and yet another guy is pinging his DNS server or some such. I have revealed trivialities as well such as my confusion thinking New York State cider was different from mere apple juice. OK, I’m probably not doing the best sales pitch and, indeed, I’m kind of undecided about the whole thing. Be my friend and convince me of its virtues! One beauty of Twitter is obvious since all postings are limited to 140 characters: Blowhards not allowed.
2. StumbleUpon. Be my friend. SU is sort of the Russian roulette of web surfing–except without the guns and death. Sign up for it, select some preferences, and SU generates new websites for you to explore at random every time you click “Stumble!” Or you can explore what your friends like, which may be safer and more rewarding.
3. Open Wine Consortium. Be my friend. OK, not as catchy a name as Facebook. But it is like a Facebook for wine geeks. Post comments on your friends’ walls and join the various networks to discuss aspects of wine, particularly issues of interest to wine bloggers and those in the trade. There was even a brief discussion (now, oddly, closed) about the logistics of a possible wine bloggers conference later this year. Join the fray.
Mrs. Vino is having a bountiful harvest so far this year–and it’s only March! Over the weekend, we got the best Easter present in the form of a baby boy, our second. So if my blogging is somewhat intermittent, consider it a parental leave.
But Mrs. Vino’s (re)productivity doesn’t stop with babies. The fifth book in her series of children’s books has just been published: Eco Babies Wear Green. Just in time for Earth Day!
I mentioned my forthcoming book earlier in the week in a post and there have been some very supportive and enthusiastic comments and emails! Thanks so much! Also a little bit of confusion, which I have no doubt created, so I thought I would clarify things.
I have the very good fortune of having two wine books coming out this year! The first, Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink will be published on July 1 by the University of California Press. In it, I trace the story of wine in France and America through the lens of wine politics–struggles against nature and society, where lines get drawn, how wines get made. Man versus man, man versus nature all that good stuff. There’s even a part where Britney goes crazy and shaves her head–oh wait, that’s not in there but I thought I’d mention it here in an effort to sell more copies.
Above you can see the cover art in all of its glory! I’d venture to say that I have the first ever wine book cover to be graced by a bottle in a brown paper bag. Covers matter, obviously, since buyers often judge books by them–and especially now since Borders will be displaying more of them face out.
There was a great essay in the Times on why it takes so long to get a book on the shelves if you’re not familiar with the book publishing process. One peril discussed in that article is having a book come out in the second half of a presidential election year. Even though it’s not a wine drinker’s guide to politics, it’s perhaps fortunate for me that this book on wine politics also happens to be coming out in a presidential election year!
The second book is the one that I finished writing last month when I gave you a head fake and said I was going to take a break from blogging and then didn’t. More details to follow on this one. But since the first book won’t tell you which wine to have with dinner the second one will–and more!–since it is Dr. Vino’s Guide to Wine. The publisher on that one is Simon & Schuster. It’s due out in November.
This excellent New Yorker article examines the phenomenon of measuring carbon emissions. The author, Michael Spector, mentions the study on the carbon footprint of wine that I wrote with Pablo Paster. And we were THIS close to a mention! Roll the tape:
Last year, a study of the carbon cost of the global wine trade found that it is actually more “green” for New Yorkers to drink wine from Bordeaux, which is shipped by sea, than wine from California, sent by truck. That is largely because shipping wine is mostly shipping glass. The study found that “the efficiencies of shipping drive a ‘green line’ all the way to Columbus, Ohio, the point where a wine from Bordeaux and Napa has the same carbon intensity.”
It’s good the research is getting out there! The WSJ blog Environmental Capital also mentioned it here and the New York based authors were delighted to raise a glass of Bordeaux to the finding. Foreign Policy also mentioned it in passing this time around but actually did mention it before.
Anyway, if this has made you thirsty for more on the topic, check out a summary of our research findings, my op-ed in the NYT suggesting a local drink, and be sure to come to the March 18 free talk and tasting benefiting The Nature Conservancy! Hope to see you there!
Are you interested in climate change and wine? How about a free tasting of natural and organic wines? Then you need to put March 18 at 7 PM on your calendar and come to West 26th St.
I’ll be joining a panel to benefit The Nature Conservancy. Dominique Bachelet, director of climate change science at The Nature Conservancy, and Scott Pactor, owner of Appellation Wine & Spirits, and I will be on the panel. The wines will be provided courtesy of the excellent importer/distributor Michael Skurnik.
Even though the event is free and open to the public, you’ll need to register because space is limited. I hope to see many of you there!
“Message in a Barrel: Drinking Wine in a Changing Climate.” Details and registration.
In other Dr. Vino green news, there are still a few spaces left in my afternoon seminar at UC Berkeley (but held in their SF SoMa location) on Saturday, February 23. “Red, white and green wine: can you taste the difference?” Image: istockphoto.
“The Bryant Park Project,” a very good program on NPR, asked me to discuss (live!) the issue of interstate wine shipments this morning (segment is here). What with the Giants’ upset victory yesterday and Super Tuesday tomorrow, I’m glad that the politics of wine saw the light of day! Hopefully some momentum is building on this important issue especially after Eric Asimov’s story from last week in the Times.
And speaking of the Super Bowl, which wine to you think Gisele was sipping up in the booth?
It’s actually exciting news–I’m under contract to write a wine book for Simon & Schuster. I’m thrilled that they made me an offer and am especially thrilled that they have put it on the astonishingly fast track: The book is scheduled for release this fall. It’s going very well and it is shaping up to be a horrendously fun and informative practical guide. If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ll like the book because I got the contract for the book based on this blog.
The only problem is that I haven’t finished writing it yet. So that’s why it’s worth talking about now. In order to make the final push, I’m going to have to pull back on the blogging for a bit. I’ll still be posting here but the posts will be fun, interactive ones where you do a lot of the heavy lifting. Stick around! And send in your photos for our guessing and captioning!
Things should return to normal tempo in about a month.
Welcome readers of the Wine & Spirits magazine! If you’re looking for some bullet points and discussion of my research with Pablo Paster on wine’s carbon footprint, check here. Consider subscribing to the site feed or the monthly email updates on the right sidebar.
And if you haven’t seen the issue that is hitting mailboxes and newsstands now (but not the web), check out the Syrah extravaganza issue with reporting and reviews from Australia, the US (Santa Cruz), Chile and France. There’s also an interview on the back page that I did with editor and publisher Josh Greene.
While some of it covers familiar ground to blog readers, there’s some new material and great art (I wasn’t Simpsonized)! And I also make a proposal for later in the year: because air freight has such a big effect on a bottle’s carbon footprint and much Beaujolais nouveau is sent around the world by plane, how about saying no to nouveau and making the third Thursday of November a global celebration of local wine? Hit the comments with your initial thoughts on this idea. We’ll come back to it later in the year.
One point of clarification: the story ran a chart from our paper that reflects the various amounts of carbon dioxide emissions for bottles from different places. Napa looks horrible with even more than Australia! What was reflected in the text of the paper but didn’t make it into the chart in this story is that all the bottles were being sent to Chicago via differing modes of transport. The Napa one was sent sent by air. Sending it by truck would bring it down slightly below the CO2 emissions of the French bottle.