Thoughts On Being Best Overall – AKA – The Final Countdown!


Meaning, it’s the LAST DAY to vote for your favorite wine blogs in the 2012 Wine Blog Awards!

And dig this, we’re nominated in not one but two categories, including the grand high llama of awards, BEST OVERALL! That, plus the Best Winery Blog category!

(If you’d like to read some thoughts on the Best Winery Blog award, you can do so by clicking here.)

(And should you be so inclined as to vote – for us or otherwise – please click here.)

And now, some “proper” thoughts on being a finalist in the Best Overall Wine Blog category …

To be perfectly honest, I dislike bits of writing — epistolary, essayish, or otherwise, that begin with “to be perfectly honest.”

But in this case, if the cliché fits …

To be perfectly honest, I feel a tad conflicted asking you for your vote, I mean, Best Overall Wine Blog? That seems like awfully high praise. I mean, there are literally hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of wine blogs out there, and a great many of them are really and truly excellent, in that Raymond-Chandler-Made-Crime-Fiction-More-Than-Just-A-Genre-Genre kind of way; meaning, there are a great many blogs out there that are ostensibly about wine, but are really much more than that; they are instead essentially the anthologized essay collections of gifted and insightful humans who are working out their places in the cosmos via an addiction to the word, the way, and the line, with wine as their paradigm and prism; the afflatus by which they become amanuenses to Bacchus.

That’s the first conflict.

And then there’s the Ron Washam problem, who, in his capacity as The Hosemaster of Wine, once wrote that “Wine blogging is the attention-seeking barking of lonely poodles.” By which logic this award becomes … Best Overall Lonely & Barking Poodle?

I jest of course. Ron writes a wine blog too, despite the cloak of irony, and a damn good one. He’s a finalist too, by the way!

Anyhow, back to the real sense of conflict. I mean, look at my colleagues in this category! (And please note, I say “colleagues,” not “competition!”)

Best Overall Wine Blog, Finalists:

How on earth do I in good conscience recommend “4488: A Ridge Blog” against all that talent and track record, all that prowess and perspicacity, all that sagacity and superability?

Take Jamie Goode. In just the time that I’ve been writing this blog, he’s racked up the following, to name just a few:

2012 Shortlisted for the International Wine and Spirits Competition Communicator of the Year award

2011 Shortlisted for Roederer International Wine Awards – Wine Website

2010 Shortlisted for Roederer – Wine Website

2010 Shortlisted for Roederer – Artistry of Wine

2010 Shortlisted for International Wine and Spirits Competition Communicator of the Year award

2008 Shortlisted for International Wine and Spirits Competition Communicator of the Year award

I mean, that’s a whole lot of shortlisting! My hat is off to Mr. Goode, I must say!

And how about 1 Wine Dude? He’s already WON this category before (in 2010)! Plus, dig all this:

•#14 on’s 100 Most Influential People in the U.S. Wine Industry 2012  

•Best Wine Tourism Feature Runner Up – 2010 Born Digital Awards

•Top 3 Wine Blogs – Wine Enthusiast

•Top 100 Wine Tweeters –

•MyMediaInfo’s Top 10 Wine Experts on Twitter

Hats off to you too, Joe Roberts!

And then there is Terroirist! I mean, my lord, they’ve got, what, ten different authors writing for them? Eleven? Their roster goes to eleven! And nearly all of them certified somms and/or professionals in the wine industry! That’s like than All-Star Team of wine writers!

Hats off to you as well, all you Terroirists!

And lastly but certainly not leastly, Jameson Fink.  About whom I have to say, this is a man after my own heart (for whatever that’s worth!).

As but one example, on the About page of his blog, you’ll find the following (which I read as a bit of a Mission Statement of sorts):

I’ve visited vineyards and wineries in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, France, and Italy. (Also California, Washington, and Virginia.)

I like t-shirts and jeans with my wine.

I’ve spent over six years working in the retail wine business.

I’ve worked in restaurants and bakeries in Flagstaff and Chicago.

I live in Seattle, the whole time in Capitol Hill.

I’m also fond of beer and cider.

I will dazzle or dismay you with an overabundance of parenthetical asides and exclamation points. (Seriously! It’s who I am!)

I’d rather be drinking Champagne.

I love v-neck sweaters.

I’m happy that you read all of these, and hope you’ll visit often.

To which I respond:

–I  too am wearing a V-neck sweater, and I too would rather be drinking Champagne (I am currently drinking tea, which I love! But it’s not Champagne!).

So, we have all that in common (plus, I too used to live on Capitol Hill in Seattle! And I lived in Chicago too!).

But then, Paul Mabray of VinTank singled out Mr. Fink as one to watch in his article “The 9 Most Important Wine Bloggers in the US.” And he did not mention this blog. V-neck sweater notwithstanding.

So, Mr. Jameson Fink, my hat is off to you too! Your work is still new to me, but I’m loving what I’m reading; your effortlessly conversational style, your sublime reconciliation of the high and low brows of wine and writing, your humor, your insight, and your consistent enactment of the wine blogger as passionate outsider marching to a funkier rhythm; it’s all very exciting to behold.

And then there’s us. Me. This. 4488: A Ridge Blog. What do we have to offer, against all the above?

Well, first off, Ridge. That’s what this blog, and this author, have going for us. We have Ridge. The history, the story, the chronicle. The philosophy, the world-view, the faith. The wines, the vineyards, the people. The narrative, the experience, the odyssey. The land, the locations, the legends. The story.

And that’s it. That’s what this blog is all about. Put most simply, storytelling. A tale, a teller, a listener. The in-the-moment enactment of the most basic of human ritual; togetherness. We tell our stories to each other to remember we’re alive.

Read a back label on a bottle of Ridge wine. That’s the star this blog sights by.

This is Ridge Vineyards, making wines of place. And this is 4488: A Ridge Blog, writing tales of place.

If you’d like something perhaps a bit more tangible, I give you the following: links to the Top 10 posts on this blog in the past year, based on total readership (in no particular order):

The Oak Wars: French vs. American -or-
A Barrel Of Information About American and French Oak -or- More Fun Than A
Barrel Full Of Grapes!

Zoot! And Poetry, And Wine, And Jazz,
And Steve Martin, And The Muppets, And Jack Kerouac!

Building Monte Bello: The 2011

What IS High Alcohol In Wine?

Blessed Are The Cheese-Makers!

My Wine Pages: My Ridge Anniversary!

Things I’m Thankful For …

Li-Po and T’ao Ch’ien: Chinese Wine


Thelonious Monk!

Funk power. Over and out.

Categories: Business of Wine, History, Press Reviews, Ridge Memorabilia, RIDGE Staff, Social Media, Viticultural Salmagundi, Wine & Art, Wine & Music, Wine & Philosophy, Wine & Poetry, Wine and Jazz, Wine Blogs, Wine Quotes, Wine Tales

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10 replies

  1. the very best of luck to you!
    fabulous writing, chock full o’ brilliant thinking, profound feeling, & uniqueness.

  2. 13 Ways of Looking at The Geyserville. Writing like that is why you’re among these other worthy honorees, Christopher.

  3. Not only does 4488 have Ridge wines to offer, we have you — Christopher Watkins.

    Christopher, poet and storyteller par excellence, who understands these wines so well and can tell their story – in this place and in this moment – in his own well-crafted words.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, in words and pictures, and for connecting us all to the experience, and the community, of Ridge Vineyards.

  4. Thanks!

    And here with your article we witness further proof of why you deserve the accolades!

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