In the wine blogging world, there is seemingly always a target who bears the brunt of our writing ire, for one reason or another.  For so many years, it has been (and still is to one degree or another) the professional, print media wine critics and the 100-point system.  Robert Parker, Marvin Shanken, – these are the guys who really seem to ruffle our feathers so to speak.

Currently, the target is Canadian wine writer Natalie MacLean.  The issue at hand is her use of others’ work on her website, and from what I have read so far, the charge has been lead by Palate Press and my blogging colleagues David Honig and Remy Charest.  To be sure, using work not your own to build your brand is questionable, unethical, and quite frankly, a colossal waste of time.  I am in agreement that you should be responsible for your own content in this business, otherwise, you nullify your credibility amongst your peers, as well as your readers.

Yet this latest fracas puts me in a pickle.

Truth be told, Palate Press hosts my blog, as I am a participant in the Palate Press network of several blogs out there (though I am probably like the Black Sheep uncle no one in the family talks about).  I also consider Natalie MacLean to be a colleague, and a friend.  I helped her edit her latest book, and have been a virtual friend to her for several years.

I am not sure what my two cents would mean in this debate either way, so suffice it to say, all I can do is encourage Natalie to acknowledge the work she incorporates into her site, cite all source material, and give credit where credit is due – but most importantly, I would encourage Natalie to rely on her own palate and her own vision – that’s why people read her work.  Monetize your site in other ways.

Wine Reviewed: 23

Wine of the Weeks: Bailly-Lapierre Chardonnay Cremant de Bourgogne 2002.

Good news in the wine biz: Anything Hosemaster posted…

Bad news in the wine bizNo Yquem for 2012.  Natalie MacLean ends up on W. Blake Gray’s (and just about everybody else’s) shitlist(s).

Disturbing news in the wine biz: Beer/wine hybrid.

On the homefront: While things at Casa K2 have been rather turbulent, what puts things into perspective are unfortunately, the tragedies that swirl around our society like the horrific events in Newtown, CT this past week.  And while the debates over guns heat up yet again, I wonder if we aren’t missing the real heart of the matter, in that there is a serious problem with how we address mental health issues in this country and how we inherently disenfranchise individuals for the sake of individualism over community.  The bullying, the stigmatizing – these issues seem tertiary in comparison.  I am not a gun lover by any means, but I am not about to get into a 2nd amendment throwdown with anyone.  Sure, assault rifles are born of only one purpose – killing.  These aren’t hunting rifles, this are killing machines with the sole intent to murder, whether in times of war, or times of unchecked and unrelenting aggression and rage.  Anyone who says different obviously enjoys the taste of the Kool-Aid.  But what we fail to recognize at times like these are the facts that individual accountability is abdicated because he or she was mentally ill, yet we have done nothing to address the growing trend of mental health issues in this country, aside from the overwhelming number of pharmacological inventions.  Pills aren’t going to make this problem go away.  As a society, if you have mental health problems, such as depression, you are stigmatized, whether on your insurance, at your job, or in social circles.  Here I couldn’t care less if more family, friend, social, academic, physician or parochial groups got involved – the more the better.  People tend to feel more disconnected, less part of something, anything; they feel alone.  As a society, we ostracize these people instead of giving them the means to fight the inner demons, confront and overcome them.  No one knows what kind of terrible issues our neighbors face, yet alone our communities, because we have chosen to disengage from them.  Why?  Is it a matter of safety?  Self-indulgence?  Self-preservation?  Or is it because we haven’t “the time” to simply ask (and actually care) how anyone else is doing in this life?  Maybe the end of the world the Mayans had in mind was a dramatic change in how we live our lives, and how we unite as a people of the Earth.  No nationalistic agendas.  No politicizing.  No differentiation of religious or spiritualist beliefs.  Just several billion people actually looking out for each other, and our environment, actually giving a shit about each other and how we treat ourselves, each other, and this world.

Or maybe I should just stick to wine, and leave the heavy lifting to our world leaders.  Maybe.

What is on my playlist?: Dvorak, Frank Ocean, Fugazi.

What wine(s) is (are) impressing me right now at the store?: Allegrini/Renacer Enamore Red 2010.

Recommended reads, blog or otherwise:  A Course in Miracles.

What’s on tap for this week?:  We are on hiatus till after the first of the year.  Just want to wish everyone Happy Holidays (unless the Mayans were right, then I guess it’s nice to have known you, and I’ll hopefully meet you all in the next life) and a safe and happy New Year.  Peace be with you all.



  • December 19, 2012 - 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Have a fantastic holiday Kevin!

  • December 20, 2012 - 3:24 pm | Permalink

    You too!

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