Hosting The What We’re Tasting Podcast

Hey there. I have some news to share. I’m hosting the first season of a new Wine Enthusiast show, the What We’re Tasting podcast.

Each episode I’ll be chatting with a guest and discussing three wines, organized around a theme, selected by yours truly. For these inaugural shows, I’ll be joined by an editor from The Thuse who will riff on the bottles and talk about their reviews in depth. It’s a chance to get to know a region, a grape, a winery, and a producer beyond the confines of a brief tasting note.

For the first episode I’m talking with Lauren Buzzeo, who reviews the wines of South Africa. (She’s also the managing editor and tasting director.

Some of the topics discussed regarding South African wine:

  • New World or Old World?
  • Should you be scared of older vintages of white wines?
  • Why you better be paying attention to Chenin Blanc.
  • Getting to know the Swartland wine region.
  • The spirit of collaboration and the Cape Winemakers Guild

Have a listen:

And check it out on Stitcher and iTunes.

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(Re)connecting With My Mother Through Wine Travel

After the death of my father I started taking a lot of international trips with my mother. Wine travel made sense because, well, duh it was my passion and what I did for a living. And, hey, wineries are generally in some pretty spectacular spots, full of interesting characters, and a source for many memorable meals.

Also, my mom is a very good sport and has a keen sense of adventure.

Our first jaunt outside the US was to Chile and Argentina. While in the latter country I had an epiphany about who I was as a son and a person. This realization, frankly, wasn’t a warm and fuzzy one, but rather more of a wake-up call. I needed to come to terms with what my relationship with my mother was before my dad died, what it was currently, and what it could be in the future.

I tell this story in the November issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. The link below will take you to the online version. It’s a very personal essay and I’m grateful I got to tell it in a forum where you wouldn’t expect to see feelings laid bare.

Growing Closer in Distant Vineyards

Photo is me and my mom at Nant Distilling Company in Tasmania, which I highly recommend you visit.

The post (Re)connecting With My Mother Through Wine Travel appeared first on Jameson Fink.

(Re)connecting With My Mother Through Wine Travel

After the death of my father I started taking a lot of international trips with my mother. Wine travel made sense because, well, duh it was my passion and what I did for a living. And, hey, wineries are generally in some pretty spectacular spots, full of interesting characters, and a source for many memorable meals.

Also, my mom is a very good sport and has a keen sense of adventure.

Our first jaunt outside the US was to Chile and Argentina. While in the latter country I had an epiphany about who I was as a son and a person. This realization, frankly, wasn’t a warm and fuzzy one, but rather more of a wake-up call. I needed to come to terms with what my relationship with my mother was before my dad died, what it was currently, and what it could be in the future.

I tell this story in the November issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. The link below will take you to the online version. It’s a very personal essay and I’m grateful I got to tell it in a forum where you wouldn’t expect to see feelings laid bare.

Growing Closer in Distant Vineyards

Photo is me and my mom at Nant Distilling Company in Tasmania, which I highly recommend you visit.

The post (Re)connecting With My Mother Through Wine Travel appeared first on Jameson Fink.

What It’s Like to Be a Wine Buyer at a Grocery Store

I spent years working as a wine steward at the Broadway Market QFC in Seattle. It was a wonderful experience. I walked to work. Customers became my friends. As far as the wine selection, there were must-haves as part of the corporate set. But I got to buy weird, cool shit, too. I loved visiting my neighborhood pals and seeing fridges full of inexpensive, tasty Vinho Verde, rosé, sparkling wine, 1L bottles of Grüner Veltliner, and more.

At this store in Capitol Hill, it was never a dull moment, to say the least. Both good and bad. But I always had a great time. I also learned a lot about the wine business by working with sales reps, distributors, importers. And being in charge of beer buying was also an education. The suds selection at our store was extremely geeky and eclectic. I hand-wrote shelf talkers and put my name on them so customers would know what I was jazzed about when I was gone.

My time in retail wine was invaluable in developing my wine perspective and ethos. I was in the trenches of the wine business. Did I have opinions about the right way to cut cardboard cases and build displays? YES, EXTREMELY STRONG ONES. (Ask me.) My box knife skills were, well, razor-sharp.

How about a story from my tenure at this bustling neighborhood (chain) grocery store? One of my favorites is the “Last Drop” essay for the July issue of Wine Enthusiast. (It’s a personal story on the last page of the magazine.) For your internet reading pleasure, this tale is available online. It’s about a mop bucket, a legendary bottle of wine, and much more. Enjoy:

Bordeaux in the Back Room

Here’s a bonus story for you. It didn’t happen at the store, but related. I was walking downtown from Capitol Hill via Pine Street and had just crossed I-5 a few blocks back, near the old Von’s. (It was a place where a giant drink specials wheel would be regularly spun.)

Outside, the sidewalk tables were jammed. As I pass by, I hear a guy yell, “HEY QFC WINE GUY!” I turn around and approach the table. A man proceeds to enthusiastically say he was introduced to the Hofer Grüner, an Austrian wine packaged in a squat green 1L bottle sealed with a bottle cap, by me at Broadway Market. He then told me he served it at his wedding reception. I meet his wife, congratulated them both, and walk towards Pike Place Market sunset. (End scene.)

Photo by Dan via flickr.

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