I don’t know if you remembered or not, but this week is our anniversary together. Two years ago in June George Murdock and Skip Nichols from the East Oregonian sat down with Maryl Featherstone from Graybeal Distributing and yours truly. Our plan was to conquer Eastern Oregon one bottle and 550 words at a time!
Our thought was that Eastern Oregon needed an “occasional” column to talk about wine and wine related events going on in the region. Even though the majority of drinking age people in the region prefer Pendleton Whiskey, Keystone Light or Natural Light beers, we knew that there were a lot of people with growing interest in wines.
Personally, I thought I’d write a few articles and then the space would get filled with something else. Honestly, I figured that I’d run out of hot air before too many weeks, and had even asked a few other people to help me in the endeavor. I really didn’t think that I could write this much, this often, or this “intelligently”. The article would be one of those quickly forgotten things that happened and then disappeared until a few years later when someone would come up with the idea again.
Well, to my surprise I am still writing this column every Friday morning and emailing it off before 6 a.m.. Every Thursday I look around my office and ask myself what the heck I’m going to write about this week. And, surprisingly enough there is always something to write about. Each and every week the wine world changes and grows in so many ways. It really is shocking to me that I still have things to write about, and yet just as shocking is that I don’t have enough space to write about everything.
A few things have changed over the past two years. The largest factor, and one that has greatly affected both my own drinking style as well as the industry as a whole, has been the economy.
The great recession has definitely “moved the cheese” for most people in the industry. Where you used to be able to open a winery, build a beautiful building, and produce oak-heavy, half-cooked wines for thirty plus dollars a bottle is definitely a thing of the past.
Wineries won’t admit it straight out, but they are hurting badly from having a glut of wine that isn’t moving due to price point issues. Vintners that produce overpriced and undervalued products are now closing or selling out. We are drinking wines I never thought would be less than twenty dollars for under ten every day.
Another thing that has happened to wine in the last two years is social network marketing. Twitter and blogging are specifically is changing the way we drink wine. There are thousands of bloggers all over the world, and their network of choice is Twitter. As a wine enthusiast I can read the daily thoughts of Paul Gregutt, Gary Vaynerchuck, or most of the other famous wine writers throughout the industry. My own blog, www.onerichwineguy.com , which started a year ago as a way of archiving this article has hundreds of readers every day. If you are interested in any particular wine you can Google it and know just about anything you want or need to know in just a few seconds.
So, I guess we’re in this for the long run folks. I look forward to many more years with you. Happy Anniversary, and see you again next week!