Sunday, January 18, 2009

Morris: Feedback to winery reviews are rare

Anyone familiar with the wineries of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail has read the sentiments of Roger Morris, who has been writing about wines for a number of publications for years and who manages a blog called Been There Tasted That.

I had a lengthy conversation with Moris the other day, most of which I plan to post later. But I was curious what kind of reaction he got from wineries when he was even a bit critical. A review of Dove Valley Winery in Rising Sun, Md., that he wrote for the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal pointed out that the year-old winery needed to improve its wine if it hoped to compete with those around it. Unfortunately, those stories only stay online for seven days before the news operation charges for them, so I can't link to it. Nonetheless, Morris did admit he felt compelled to include that in his review.

"Usually most of the things that somebody has said, it's usually a matter of interpretation," he said Thursday by phone. "I don't get much feedback at all. First of all, unlike film criticism, which I did when I was very, very young, I don't have to review everything. So I think that most wine people out there, unless they’re slaves to wine ratings, they’re more interested in me saying 'Hey, here’s something that’s interesting you might want to think about, or here’s something that you may want to try or here's someplace you may want to go.' I thought that when I did Dove Valley though that I thought while I was writing about it that I had to sort of let my readers know what I thought they were going to get. Just basically nice, simple wines that pretty much taste the same from one to the other."

N.Y. farmers' markets brave the cold

Dropping this note on New York farmers' markets, from the weekly e-letter of the state of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation and director Jim Trezise.

FARMERS’ MARKETS throughout New York State are a great way to “buy local” and get great food and wine, even in the winter. A couple decades ago, Bob Lewis (now with the Department of Agriculture & Markets in Brooklyn) and Barry Benepe started the ball rolling by creating the Union Square Greenmarket, which transformed a dangerous, drug-riddled neighborhood into a bustling market where regional farmers sell directly to New York consumers. For well over a decade, Anthony Road Wine Company’s John Martini has appeared there every Saturday where, he says, “the money’s good, and the show is great”, and he often outsells the winery’s tasting room back in the Finger Lakes. This fall, a Pride of New York Winestand, now sponsored by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation and run by Wine & Food Associates, has allowed many other wineries the chance to showcase their wines each Friday; and the program has now expanded to Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza on Saturdays. Agriculture & Markets Commissioner Patrick Hooker is encouraging New Yorkers all over the state to patronize the local markets, numbering more than 50 during the winter months, with some having moved indoors but others braving the elements. For a listing of New York farmers' markets, including a link to just the winer ones that are open, click here.