I have been laughing for a week about this interview. The Vino File is quite an endearing and amusing character. Some of his answers literally will have you laughing out loud, e.g., Tater Tot Casserole, durian fruit, cucumbers, Kitchen Aid mixers and dogs, vegemite and my favorite, Chex Party Mix. So aside from being a very entertaining interviewee I totally dig The Vino File blog. His design, logo and font are all very appealing which makes reading The Vino File very easy. This blog is just under a year old and chuck full of very interesting and useful views on wine. I have shared this site with my students to use as an informational tool and guide for the basic reason that The Vino File subscribes to the wine theory that “It is meant to be social, and the only thing that matters is what you like and think is worth your time and money.” Well said Vino File, well said. So without any further delay I present the very affable and very informative The Vino File as this week’s great wine blogger in the spotlight.
South Florida Food and Wine: How did you start wine blogging/writing?
The Vino File: Early this year I decided that I both wanted to learn more about wine and really needed a creative outlet (that should tell you as much as you need to know about my real job). These thoughts happened to coincide one day with my idea to start The Vino File. I really had no idea there was an entire world of wine bloggers out there and was quite naive about the amount of time this would start to consume as I became more and more interested in the pursuit. It has quickly become one the most fulfilling and fun endeavors I have embarked on.
South Florida Food and Wine: Do you do anything else other than blog/write about wine?
The Vino File: I really hope that if blogging were all I did that my blog would be a lot better than it is. I put a lot into it, but The Vino File really is for fun, and done completely in my spare time (hence the waxing and waning frequency with which I post) I also enjoy food, both cooking and trying restaurants. I split my week between Pasadena and San Francisco, due to work, and therefore have lots of opportunities to try new things. I read quite a bit and spend as much time in Oregon with my family as I can.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most challenging thing about blogging/writing?
The Vino File: The most challenging part is staying fresh and frequent. I love wine, and taste a lot, but I don’t have the luxury of structuring life around wine which can be an impediment to great content ideas. That leaves me struggling between leaving the pages empty for a week or two when the creative juices aren’t flowing, and posting plonk just to keep it going. Trying to find that medium in between the two extremes is challenging (but also gives me something to ponder, which I kind of enjoy)
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the greatest opportunity that has come from blogging/writing for you?
The Vino File: The greatest opportunity in blogging for me comes in meeting new people. This happens on a very regular basis whether it is meeting people via social media outlets or in person at tastings and events. Like I said, I had no idea about the wine world that was existing out there, but have found the people nearly across the board to be warm and engaging drunks folks, several of whom I would consider friends now. The creative outlet, and the people, make it worth all the effort.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your most memorable blogging/writing moment?
The Vino File: Hands down the greatest moment was attending the Wine Blogger’s Conference in Walla Walla. What a great group of people from all walks of life coming together to enjoy the company, the wine, and the spirit of social media. It was a blast.
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your last day on earth, what would your final meal and wine be?
The Vino File: I would answer this different on any given day. I’m largely motivated in life by food and wine, so mood plays a big part in what I might choose. But to answer right now I would take a perfectly roasted chicken, some very rich potatoes gratiné, and a 2009 Morgon (just intrigued by them right now).
South Florida Food and Wine: Do you have any wacky cooking habits?
The Vino File: I really love Vegemite or Marmite. So I have a tendency to eat a piece of toast with yeast spread and a slice of Cheddar as breakfast or a snack. Most people around me find this a bit odd.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the best wine advice you have to share?
The Vino File: Relax about it. If you have friends that like only sweet wine don’t say a word, let them enjoy it. If you enjoy inexpensive wine, then drink it. If you want to stick to a budget at a restaurant don’t worry, just do it. There is a tendency for people to be intimidated by wine, and for wine people to intimidate others. I think it is latent leftovers from junior high or something because let’s face it, most of us who are now into wine were probably a bit nerdy back then. Overall if your wine experience is not fun, or is stress inducing, walk away and go somewhere else. It’s just a drink to go with dinner or friends.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one obsessive kitchen habit?
The Vino File: My grandma taught me that if you rub the two cut ends of a cucumber together on first slice then it takes the burps out. I know in my mind that this cannot be true, but I also can not cut a cucumber without a quick rub….
South Florida Food and Wine: If you could choose to be any wine, what would it be?
The Vino File: No question I’d be German Riesling. Sharp and profound, consistent, and often in the background, it has its hardcore devotees and its unconverted skeptics. I love that.
South Florida Food and Wine: If looked in your refrigerator, what would I find?
The Vino File: Deli meat, mustard, cheese, and Marmite for impromptu sandwiches. Greens for a quick salad, and dairy and eggs for breakfast and coffee. That’s it. I am on the road during the week, so when I cook I always buy the food the day I’m going to make dinner. When I am home for a week things look about the same with a few more fruits and vegetables laying around.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the one “staple” wine you always have in your “cellar”?
The Vino File: Right now I like to have 2007 Cotes du Rhone around as I think they are great for the price point. I also am quick to pick up inexpensive Spanish red wines as they often over deliver for the price point, although I’m a little weary of some of the ‘bigness’ and oak that is being thrown at these wines.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your beverage of choice?
The Vino File: I honestly drink water, coffee, wine, and beer (the latter two not necessarily on a daily basis). I’m not a soda person, and rarely drink cocktails. So it is coffee in the morning, water all day, and a wine or beer with dinner. This might have something to do with my tendency towards routine….
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your favorite comfort food?
The Vino File: Tater tot casserole – hamburger in the bottom, green beans in cream of mushroom soup in the middle, and a crispy layer of tater tots baked on top. I could it eat three times a week if I thought it was healthy.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your culinary claim to fame?
The Vino File: My Molasses Spice cookies won the office bake off in like 2002. And when I follow the Chex Party Mix recipe it turns out WAY better than when anyone else in my family does it.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the best culinary gift you ever received?
The Vino File: I love my Kitchen Aid mixer. I can’t say why as I don’t use it very often, but I’ve often thought that in a fire I would save my dog and then the mixer.
South Florida Food and Wine: What kitchen chore do you dislike the most?
The Vino File: I hate to mop the floor. I don’t know why but I hate it.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most exotic food you have ever eaten and where?
The Vino File: I went to a fairly upscale restaurant in Mexico City with some co-workers who live there. They specifically took me there to eat tacos de gusano, which are grubs kind of pan fried in butter. It wasn’t a bad taste, but they do look like big fat worms. The only exotic food that I have had that I really cannot stomach is durian fruit, which I first experienced in Singapore. I can see the appeal but can’t get past the dead skunk’s butt profile that met me up front.
South Florida Food and Wine: Where was the best meal with a bottle of wine you ever had?
The Vino File: I’m the type of person that would choose the answer to this question based almost entirely on the social experience of the meal. So I’m going to choose a trip to Bend, OR with my entire family. We visited a steakhouse that I believe really used to be a cowboy hangout and brought along a bottle of Amalie Robert syrah. Something about everyone being there, eating beef and drinking wine that were both local made the night feel so authentic and relaxed. It was really amazing. Don’t get me wrong I love 5 course dinners with wines that many consider ‘important’ as well, they just don’t necessarily stick with me as a great life experience. For me food and wine are ultimately about the people you share them with.
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