Food & Drink

July 4, 2010, a great wine blogger in the spotlight

I couldn’t have planned this better if I tried. This week’s blogger in the spotlight is a “bang-up riot” and how appropriate for the 4th of July! is certified, (wine expert that is), quirky, funny and definitely knows his juice. I’ve been laughing for days over 1WineDude’s answers. Once you read the Q&A you’ll see it’s as if we’re having a private conversation that you’re privy to. is an award winning blog whose tag line is “serious wine talk for the not so serious wine drinker.” Joe the 1WineDude goes to great lengths to explain the finer points and nuances of wine to his readers in an easy-to-understand manner. Quite frankly this blog is exceptional. I’ve been reading for some time now and I learn something new with each post.

Joe’s Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews are brilliant. They are one sentence ‘tweets’ of wine recommendations and some have a suggested food pairing; this segment of the blog alone is worthy of being award winning. Whether you are a wine novice, enthusiast, or expert is definitely worth putting on your must read blog list. And now since it’s a respectable hour to pour that mimosa this Sunday holiday morning, I say do it and read all about this great wine blogger, Joe the

South Florida Food and Wine: How did you start wine writing? Well, it really came about as something that I was hoping would add value to customers from a consulting company that I founded with a friend of mine ( – which also explains the name of my blog, But my buddy moved to VA, and the blog kind of took off, and now I don’t have time for the consulting!

South Florida Food and Wine: Do you do anything else other than write about wine? Not much… I’m just an IT executive, father, and musician… :-) . I’m leaving my day job at the end of January 2011, and will be trying to make a living on the wine front somehow.

South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most challenging thing about writing? Doing it well. I never had trouble writing consistently – I love to write. But writing well is always challenging – usually a fun challenge, but often a difficult one. Writing well – including research, conclusions, etc., etc. – is hard (and rewarding) work.

South Florida Food and Wine: What is the greatest opportunity that has come from writing for you?  Learning – the field of wine especially is particularly deep and you can go a lifetime learning about it and never be “finished.” Travel is the other great opportunity – the opportunities to go to amazing places and meet passionate, fun, and intelligent people. The connections that I’ve made through the wine world constantly humble and amaze me.

South Florida Food and Wine: What is your most memorable writing moment? I think it was probably taking Opus One up on their invitation to visit and get an insider’s/technical tour of the operations with Mike Silacci. The approach I took was to imagine that I was writing an article that would appear in a wine mag and had won a James Beard Award or whatever. Basically, it convinced me that wine blogs could get the same access to wine estates as the wine mags had, and that we should try to write content that was just as compelling but maybe more fun to read. Whether or not I achieved any of that is of course a matter of reader opinion!

South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your last day on earth, what would your final meal be? I would ask to get a meal at French Laundry or one of those similar places that are impossible to get into, since theoretically that would extend my sentence!

South Florida Food and Wine: What super-action-hero would you like to be and why? Underdog. No doubt. Underdog kicks ass. All the benefits of being human, being a dog, and being a superhero. It’s, like, THE perfect life!

South Florida Food and Wine: Do you have any wacky cooking habits? I cook in the nude, wearing only an apron, bunny slippers, and a pig mask while listening to Philip Glass. But that’s not wacky, right?

South Florida Food and Wine: What is the best wine advice you have to share? Read Best advice is to trust your own tastes. Wine is far less imposing than you’d first think, and chances are you’re way smarter about what you like and don’t like in wine than you think.

South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one obsessive wine habit? Not sure I’d call it obsessive but I can’t stand drinking wine out of crappy glasses. It really does make the wine taste like sh*t. Well, not literally like sh*t, but it can work wonders good or bad depending on the wine. Having a tulip-shaped glass is a must, even if I’m drinking casually. It can be made of plastic or Styrofoam, I don’t care, but it needs to be somewhat tulip-shaped. I mean, would you eat soup from a tall, thin glass – think about it, shape matters.

South Florida Food and Wine: If you could choose to be any wine, what would it be? A bottle of DRC (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti) in my wife’s wine cellar; then she’d have to keep me forever :)

South Florida Food and Wine: If looked in your refrigerator, what would I find? Lots of organic ingredients that my wife uses for cooking amazing food. Also, vanilla soy milk for coffee and LOTS of opened wine bottles!

South Florida Food and Wine: What is the one “staple” food you always have in your cupboard? Cereal and oatmeal. Can’t do without ‘em. Almonds are another perennial cupboard-dweller in my household. Also doggie biscuits, though our beloved Weimaraner Sam just recently passed away.

South Florida Food and Wine: What is your beverage of choice? I have a shirt that has Chinese symbols on it and around those symbols in English it reads “Stick to Coffee… And Alcohol.” That about sums it up for me. Water & green tea also make daily appearances in my liquid diet.

South Florida Food and Wine: What is your favorite comfort food? Hmmm… probably cake. Go big or go home, right?

South Florida Food and Wine: What is your wine claim to fame? I think there are a couple of things that helped “put me on the map” so-to-speak. I was lucky enough to identify how great Volta’s Cab and Matthiasson’s white were before the mainstream wine media picked up on them, so those kind of “reinforced my palate” and I like to joke that they were my `82 Bordeaux in terms of proving that I might know what the hell I’m talking about. Recently, I’m known as “the guy who interviewed Robert Parker” (I’ve got some more really awesome interviews coming up on, including some bona-fide rock stars). Winning the 2010 Wine Blog Award for Best Overall Wine Blog was thrilling and humbling and has gotten me increased notoriety, particularly with PR people who are competing with one another to pick the most inopportune time to try to give me their business cards.

South Florida Food and Wine: What is in your kitchen junk drawer? Junk. Duh. What kind of question is that? Seriously, it’s crammed with all kinds of crap – but it’s where I keep the pocket knife I use to open all the boxes of samples that I get so it plays a very important role in the whole equation. Move that pocket knife and you will cripple the production of my blog for weeks!

South Florida Food and Wine: What is the best wine gift you ever received? My wife got me an interesting silver tastevin that is pretty old. It’s really awesome. She also got me an engraved decanter from a local glass-blowing company; it’s really thick and impressive and heavy, and you practically have to turn the thing upside down to pour out of it, so it always gets people talking at the dinner table.

South Florida Food and Wine: What kitchen chore do you dislike the most? Dishes. Dishes suck. Dishes are the tool of Satan and have been placed upon this earth to ruin the callouses in my hand so that I hurt myself playing bass in my band. Dishes suck and should be destroyed.

South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most exotic food you have ever eaten and where? Probably in Africa – the fruit there was AMAZING. I also had grilled elk at a friend’s house, which I think he hunted in Alaska or something. Reminded me of Pinotage.

South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most bizarre thing you ever did with food or wine? Poured it down the drain – the agony!!!

South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most extravagant food or beverage item or culinary tool you spent money on? We live pretty simply and don’t really have too many single-purpose kitchen gadgets. My wife does have a yogurt-maker, and a bread-maker that she got off Craig’s List for like $25 and has already paid for itself about 100 times over. I’d say our coffee grinder – it was $50, I already hate it, but we are French Press coffee snobs and so it’s like having running water or something, it has to *has* to be working!

South Florida Food and Wine: Where was the best wine you ever had? And why? At the advice of legal counsel, I decline to answer. I suppose I could take a stab at this but it’s a next-to-impossible question. How about this – I’ve only ever given an A+ “grade” to one wine, and that was Quinta do Vesuvio’s 2007 Vintage Port, which is an AMAZING wine and pretty close to being a “perfect” Port in my mind. But I like to think/hope that there’s always a better wine waiting around the corner and I enjoy so many styles that there’s no way I could pick a “best” right now. I dunno… this question sucks… I want to go home now because you’ve stumped me… :-)

You can follow Joe the 1WineDude on his blog and on Twitter @1winedude

To read previous blogger’s in the spotlight click here

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