And Wednesday is here. My days are no longer days or nights. It is dark now and I have been up for several hours, commuted over 30 miles and early for work. I crashed here where I can type a note quickly. Since my new routine allows me to do more than I did which is more than what an average person does, I now have more time to dig into wine. And? I was riding the train and since I am very used to following technology news, I not only have blogs of value that are well-established and efficient hence easy to follow and be informed but also I can use more novel means of acquiring information such as video and audio. I have a Youtube account dedicated to such technology broadcasts which are also part marketing by established news agencies BUT do provide accurate and timely information. I was curious today and tried to add wine into this Youtube just to see the effects. Nothing. The Sommelier affiliations I have? Major wine publications? They barely led anywhere. Even local popular magazines which can have timely info barely have any leads. What does all this mean? They are so primitive or backward?
I like to think they refuse to divulge information unless is being sold. Marketing is a low priority. Local news of value to the wine trade is available in the resources that sell them! The same can be said of others. This is not an article about criticizing such venues but to ask where is one to receive information of value besides Decanter emails? I like to think we are so advanced in 2014 that I can dedicate one of my tablets to technology activities AND acquire a second tablet which may be used daily once or two or three times weekly for the purposes of gathering all incoming leads, news and so on BUT do these sources exist? If I were to take a simple step of acquiring a tablet and installing a RSS reader would I be able to receive whole and valuable (garbage is endless in this business) industry and trade information by adding say 8 to 12 blogs? Logically, I should be able to click my RSS Reader app icon daily as I have done for technology forever on my tablet and flip through the articles of recent that have value and bother to stop and read as much of what gets my attention before moving on! Shouldn’t I? I don’t think so. I think one reason is those who gather and provide news and information as third party are interested in “selling” them and have no interest in “informing” the trade or individuals in trade. I also think the organizations and institutions which are in the relevant businesses are only fronts for powerful people and money in the business until go out of business hence information is not their business nor is “industry.” I like to think that it is a responsibility of major publications to have at least one solid blog that pushes the most needed news AND skips the masses of garbage (that probably are created by them also) from this flow. I also think the bodies that operate in the field “assuming” an industry exists in some form beyond the facade and the businesses pretending ought to have some way of timely publishing their angle of the top or valuable news. Court of Master Sommelier? Wine and Spirit Trust? That is a random throw of the many bodies in business. If there is an industry also in existence there has to be a routine publication including “industry” needed information and news. Decanter is not IT. An entire industry cannot be run by tidbits thrown at us by one magazine. I like to think it is a duty in 2014 for those organizations and institutions which get so much out of this business to run a daily “original” blog of news and information no matter how brief or infrequent as long as is informative and valuable so if there is an “industry” out there and individuals whom are not wrongfully an “industry” structure is in place, what is worth knowing will be available. Two conditions must be met in this pursuit. If information is to be sold which may be necessary, a free version MUST exist or this is not beneficial for an industry and benefits the buyers and sellers only. Secondly, the format is very important or these contents are worthless. Many blogs, publications and sources provide the information but the format and the packaging of information together with all the garbage included in this flow of information make it impossible to make any use of the info. In a way, it would be disturbing to have a solid, clear and collective flow of valuable, accurate and mildly biased information and news of the industry in one place as say a RSS Reader. One step further would be video clips when worthy hence enhancing the value.
There are those who argue no “industry” exists and a bunch of traders with the most money hold everyone from employees to public hostage by their activities and provide “fake” versions of what may be needed from products, organizations, marketing to what you may name so it appears this Special Interest is really a solid, organized and healthy industry of many trained and qualified men, women and organizations doing what a healthy industry does. I agree and disagree but probably is the best description of Food, Wine and Hospitality in United States during the first two decades of 21st century. How about violating this standard? There are enough independent organizations and bodies and persons whom can initiate or clean up what is already available hence making the flow of information practical and useful and we have a new level of organization for what we have in place. It may be a fake “industry” and a solid coalition of businesses with no interest in an “industry” but in financial transactions short and long terms but we can operate another level on top of this by having many “valid” flows of information for the sake of information. An “industry” man or woman would be able to participate and be in tune with the “industry” that fights to exist beyond the controls of “profiteers” and we would in time have some level of organization that functions for more objectives than money changing hands or bank accounts. I think a multi-billion dollar industry needs such a basic level of activities to be flexible through times. People who are on the same page of what is going on in the industry form a group that has effect on the industry. Today, this is only insider experts or those who can “buy” information. A system of “valid” and “current” resources of flowing information would put the majority or large portions of those in the “industry” that is suppressed on the same page hence they have more effect and hopefully the common cause of a healthy “industry” will stand better chance of success against its own troubles.
How about that?
22 Jan 2014 7:30 am Downtown San Francisco, California
I was going to take a nap on this long bus ride but did not feel that tired. How is the state of things? I have another blog for keeping my insights on what is going on but sometimes things cross over and this may be one incident. I am getting started again and a lot of things are unclear. I am in a way so glad I have come across so many phony and fake people also known as professionals in my lifetime. Wine field especially. A young field hence so many fakes? I really don’t know. I really don’t care. Nobody does. Nobody takes things seriously enough to think beyond basics. Fake is all there is? And what is wrong with that? These industries besides chain and fast food don’t believe in depth in a timeless manner. A short or long period of time and what it takes to make money during this time are all most in these businesses especially restaurants are interested in. Wine retail is a lot better and as I said the more organized folk like chain and fast food are most interested in depth. Short term operations could care less about what is “really” going on so they can stay in business a decade or multiple decades from now. They like money. They like the lifestyle. They like the pace and then find something else to do. More than a handful also are in it because is a great front for handling dirty money, etc but we pretend they don’t exist. The current industry has a lot of money invested in what they do but also are in development heavily hence very speculative. Napa as heaven of California wine? The damn place is so HOT since previous decades one wonders what is the future? These guys don’t care. Their experiments have done well and everything “looks good” so can sell and move on anytime unlike the more organized folk like those chain people that have reached the frontiers and cannot expand more but can do better by doing a better job and depth means a lot to them. That is the reason why I am not enthusiastic about returning to wine “business.” I am excited about wine and wine as an industry but not wine “business.” A few are legitimate people but the rest are short timers who see things that “look good” for now and are in them. I think that is where my interest will be. Once I finish my reviews and start banging my head against bottles, I like to be where the bottles disappear. They come from places near and far and eventually are used somewhere. That is where I like to be. That is the destination. I find it more interesting to be where wine is tasted and drank than where it is sold as food or luxury to guests. The latter is not about wine and its culture. And I like to spend time bottle by bottle not same bottles over and over again or a line of bottles with no end in sight as the main event. I like to get to know wine even if is 4 oz from a bottle on an individual basis and leave thinking I have pondered as much as I cared over something of value not just passed by it or surveyed it. That sounds best for me. I don’t know about others. Wine means different things to different people. Worship it so can sell it more and at higher costs is the culture of wine “business.” I don’t think so. 13 Jan 2014 6:19 pm Hayward, California
I am tired and not pooped but tired. Another day in wine ends. The last few posts I started in my other blog My Week in Wine I ended up copying and pasting them here. The lines of thought I follow appear in blog posts as I write and so far they belonged here not there. That blog was created for random stuff. Lets say I ran into a wine blah blah and there is not much to tell to stick it in this blog but worth mentioning, then it goes in that one. That is what it is good for. I am starting this post here because my experience has been I end up moving it here and why not just keep it here from the start! Copying on a cellphone screen is relatively hard. That is another thing.
I had my Saturday. I did a lot. It was fun. I guess doing different things is fun versus doing same thing all day. I did a little experiment and had a second breakfast at Jack just to see what happens. Exactly as I had expected. Too much breakfast and I didn’t even notice lunch time. My body decides that and if eats enough in the morning as in two or three breakfasts it will skip lunch on its own. And how was wine business. Who cares. Some businesses are always good. I have started confusing myself already. I need a lot of information before I can think and a huge space in three dimensions (not to mention that has smaller similar spaces all over) filled in all kinds of weird orders of various wines has a lot of not defined pieces and they need knowing before one can think. I guess not everyone thinks in three dimensional models to have my problem. Most of us think linearly. That is learned by learning language. People think that is a good way to think. As I have said the word stupid has too many meanings.
A study of literature is said to an excellent way to develop thinking abilities even if erroneously. It is said what I write online constitutes a fantasy realm that I have created or sort of like a video game fantasy world which is quite interesting but this game only has one player and everyone else strives not to be “in.” it is said the only time another being appears in my realm it is because I dragged them in there so sooner or later I can say and do bad things to them and I have developed this abuse system down to a science and art hence so interesting so people love to know for instance if the President was in the realm today what happened? The details will be very interesting like a fantasy videogame world. Let me think, first we cover his head with a lot of mustard then put slices of tomatoes all over the mustard to see how he looks. We can always change it. Anyway this is my fantasy realm and I dare you try think life without it. It is a scientific model of what should become of a lot of things. Some unfortunate people get caught in its machinery sometimes and that is price of progress. And what does all this have to do with wine? I was going to try explain some of the allure of wine by using fantasy realm model but typing on this phone takes forever. I just say understanding wine requires traveling to a realm where wine is understandable. This fantasy realm needs construction and learning details of this world by learning about wine and experiencing it is the only way to reach this understanding. Otherwise we just talk about wine not knowing shit because the realm is big and too my unique details to simplify it and claim we know wine. It is too crazy inside wine world and fortunately this is not a video game where fool players get abused by power players called Sommeliers who learn abuse from French (i will be hearing back about this one.) can do as they please and fool players take it as it comes. You can survive and benefit the wine world by learning too much. One of the unique things about wine learning is beginning and intermediate knowledge are bullshit. They are not worth a dime. Only advanced meaning thorough knowledge works and fortunately this body of knowledge is Finite. After that you can explore and no power player can do it to you. Your power equals in many ways and can remain in the fantasy. It is a fascinating world. The more you explore wine the more details of this realm are reveled to you and nobody can cover your head with mustard and slices of tomatoes because this ain’t a one player fantasy game where you get beat up by the player-owner. Wine world is great. Get into it. My stupid WordPress app won’t let me scroll anymore. I end here. 4 Jan 2014 6:11 pm Oakland, California
What is the solution? I like my material to be presentation quality which is easy. I just have to proofread before publishing and minor changes. The trouble is I have so little time. I have too little time. I can barely type up something of value while I eat breakfast or ride the train and proofreading delays the entire process to indefinite. I have always agreed with the feedback that I am a “vicious writer” and try to avoid that. A vicious writer knows too much about audience and how people read, think and follow thought. He can write so knocks the reader off one’s seat everytime. All it takes is reading first draft slowly and fixing a little so there are no breaks in the vicious line of thought. Sometimes leaving draft for later makes for a better entire rewrite that is vicious rather than ambiguous. And what is the benefit of writing for audience whom need to try extremely hard to come up with something that creates an exchange? Writing at the level of the reader achieves such an exchange and that is best achieved by first drafts in my case. They are more humane! And now once again I have another objective. My blogs also represent professional level work. After a week I finally was able to grasp the idea presented by Wine Advice that some sommeliers write and achieve professional contribution rather than traditional duties of the trade! And it was added to that later how about doing more of that while doing the traditional stuff? How do I do that? Same way I did my photography. A Flickr handpick of under 200 from some 3000 uploaded says more about my signature style than all the blog posts I wrote on photography. I think I do what I did with an older blog. I write and post what I write but change some posts to private later. In time, what is left are posts that meet selection criteria. I won’t censor old posts beyond what is now. In time, I hope my wine writing parallel my photography in saying a great deal about us and our philosophy rather than a river of blog posts that may have good content but…. We see if this works. 4 Jan 2014 9:06 am Lake Merritt, California
Friday ended. Fruitless day. Lots of activity. I worked my ass off. That is what college is for. I also got the word people who haven’t got to college don’t like college graduates. Lousy shitty school I went to never got me a good job and becomes trouble too. Governor thinks I am a California education success story! Please….. And then run into a bunch of people who don’t like you because have college education. Is that why my fried chicken was late yesterday? I worked seven hours non-stop and handled what is referred to as hundreds of wine boxes. First the official word is I am too scary. And nobody believes me when I say my body makes its own decisions. It decided no lunch and we just keep going and nobody believes me that my body won’t listen to me and keeps going. Then expert word is I have a trick system for moving boxes hence I can do a million and not get tired. They finally learned how stuff get moved. Little by little. Break the motion up to as many pieces as possible and heck is safe and non-stop. I don’t know but if history is a lesson, don’t copy my stuff. If you don’t get killed or maimed for life, I will be hearing forever how was my fault and what I said. Ignore Uncle Cush. He went to California college. Aha. You cannot do what he does says Sacramento. Don’t you wish you were educated in California too! Anyway that is the praise I get from the fine folks far away in high rises who get overpaid by US Treasury to whine I have a trick system? F… all of them. I learned a lot about wine today by keeping close to them boxes. They don’t have a poetic presence but are coming to life slowly as I remember their stories. I have to learn a little French again. I want to learn functional French. They made me study grammar and all kinds of French stuff. I like it American style. Learn enough to fake it. I am glad I shall return. I don’t know where. For now to my normal life. And something good did happen. Vegas says I can go work there now. They say if I can handle sixty million bottles of wine and climb three stories high holding them like I do I am good enough for Vegas. Yesterday, I got word a friend who is a General commented that I handle boxes of wine like they are boxes of Ammo and can explode. That is not far from the truth. Wine has a story. That is a decent or above. If you can understand it, you can handle it. The trains have these ads that say 40% of all food in America gets tossed and people hunger. That is how wine gets treated. Ever been to a big event tasting? The quantities of wine wasted by the reps as they pour to impress you! A few drunks appreciate it but the rest toss them. 40% of food in America gets tossed! That is still food. Boxes of wine are like boxes of ammo if we knew what the story of the wine inside was. It is not just taste. French are right getting mad that memorizing names of wines won’t do and I have to understand French culture and people. There is a lot of that culture and people inside them better bottles. Trick system my ass! Losers work foe government except for our governor who bas been nice because they couldn’t do anything right and think the other guy bas a trick system hence can do. One day I tell you the tale of Chateau Obama reds. The joke is Obama owns the winery and I am the wine maker and believe or not I can mix so joke says people pay a lot to get a bottle of Chateau Obama so they drink when mad. They hate both of us! Corny joke. Nobody knows Uncle Cush outside his circles. Try again. 3 Jan 2013 5:51 pm Montgomery Station, California
am getting me knowledge back and not even drunk yet. Ran into a list of some 2000+ good quality wines we sell and viola here is challenge how much can I remember by reading through it once? I am rusty but gets your brain started! Wine advice said I am back in my sommelier mind after a few days only. I was wondering is it because I am pissed off that I complained about Fried Chicken fast food not doing proper wine tastings! A few criticized me but the smart ones loved it. Yes, I am right and they agreed. It is SO hard to taste regularly for most as was to get an order of Fried Chicken out of these people within all these limits and barriers. That is an industry problem and only some have the “privilige” of easy regular tasting. Plenty of garbage for tasting always however but routine evaluative tastings! Ha Ha. Not in a country proud to make a fake version of everything and ban the real version so can sell fake with higher profits. Fake tastings everywhere and if real tastings abundant the fakes die. That is un-American. Selling genuine and tossing fakes! Oh my God!
French gave me wine advice because of my tasting problem. They warned if I say one word they clam up and won’t talk to me so they got away. They claim visiting wine at the source is the only way. That is the vineyard etc and taste there and see and talk. They say a lot but basically that French make great wine because they go to each others vineyards and taste and talk and so on. They say bottle business is British invention and British never cared about wine. They traveled the world and stole or bought to sell. French say British had lots of bottles to show and taste so can sell what bought. They didn’t care about wine. They just were into selling them and that is what this bottle tasting system is and for people who want to buy and sell and don’t give a shit about wine or quality. French say my problem does not exist. I have a problem because bottle tasting system was not designed to appreciate wine or quality. It aims to sales. I have to do the minimum which is see the wine where wine is made and get all the info there is. And more not said here. I like that. Bottle tasting has advantages but is bullshit too. Once past a number there is a bunch of drunks socializing and tasting as business is over. Tastings have their own culture and we don’t cover here but I am working on my problems differently now thanks to French (bastards some may say but not me. I am nice now). I listened and did not say nothing as they demanded. Others are rude in parenthesis this time. Such is life. Blame the British and I agree. No problem. They are rude. 3 Jan 2014 7:10 am Hayward, California
I am going to concentrate on a backward approach. Wine Advice (that means the person who advised me and talks to others who discuss blah blah) says I write plenty to get back in. They do have a valid point. I learned about wine through specific wine bottles then ended up in studies which are hard and general in nature. The next step is same again and I need to make friends with many wine bottles to cover the whole spectrum. That is a difficult approach but necessary and what is meant by wine writing first. Wine experts are now identified differently. As one progresses through this field one comes across many. They all speak the same language and more or less same things but careful systems make us deal with them properly. It is like living in a community. We come across many people and all of them pass as “people” but we know by cultural learning who is who and what is what. We avoid. We approach and so on. Culture teaches us how to choose. Wine people are similar. Everyone talks of wine and has their angle on wine. Most need to be banned from discussing wine. Culture teaches us that. Dealing with them leads to losses. Many sell wine. Many write on wine. Most drink or serve wine. They need care in handling. Their angles on wine and industry are very incomplete if not destructive. Avoiding them is the rule. A few and a very few of those few know what they talk about. They naturally avoid you and all the rest. That is not a bad thing. The time has come once again to go through the field and one comes across so many “people” who are known collectively as “wine people” and most have this introductory line of “I have been in wine business for X number of years and….” and “I have been in restaurant business for X number of years and ….” These are the people to avoid the most. They think they are authorities. They have the worst and most biased and possibly most erroneous ideas of the field and don’t you dare have an alternate view as they told X number of years right in their opinions. We need avoid them. And personally, I have to deal with another group in my quest. The so-called knowledge people who have some education or a lot, have some name or drag a celebrity of the field as being part in their work and are equally a problem. The higher folks have a good name for them. They are called “professional wine drinkers.” These folks have had enough background to be in the field at a higher than casual or tenure point and cannot be pushed off their step but their primary knowledge and ability lies in “drinking” a lot of wines and throwing labels, names, vintages, tastes and stories out at audience as their “knowledge” you cannot argue with unless you also drink their same and then can battle them. It sounds like there are not many left in the field. I guess that is why most “wine people” fit the nickname “doushbags” so aptly. We don’t have an industry in spite of what we are told. I have told people and I have been told by higher folks what the hell I am talking about. Experience will prove they are right. Food, wine, liquor, hospitality and the rest at least on the West Coast are just businesses. They market themselves and persons as many things but all in all are just that. They don’t have a deeper foundation of common principles and organization making them an industry. That means some level of regulation which fights easy dollars and let’s face it at least the restaurant part of this great “industry” (don’t forget great! That is a needed adjective in wine and food writing or upset some) many illegal activities are housed inside “restaurant biz” fronts and the existence of an industry structure would create serious conflicts with their “business” activities hence we promote “industry” but lack one. That is still the state of a lot of things on the West Coast. Who cares? We do so we avoid them. We need to look for and spend time with “good” parts of the food, wine, liquor and hospitality industry. That does not mean promoting them blindly but there are many “good” and “notable” things out there. The bads outnumber the “goods” by too many hence waste of time unless we are criminologists. The future needs more of “good” of this whatever we call “the industry.” Let’s stick to that in our path of visits, exploration and findings. 1 Jan 2013 12:05 pm San Leandro, California