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Magazines,Wine

Wine Spectator ~ Perhaps the Final Weigh-In

This is something I’ve given a lot of thought to, and have been trying to conjure up the right blog opinion.

In all fairness, employees of Wine Spectator have been very kind to me with shared colleague respect, most especially the women in the offices. Perhaps it’s the sisterhood, perhaps it’s the level of empathy… Whatever it is, I have developed a deep respect for Marvin Shanken’s team.

Nothing’s perfect, so I’m not going to play Pollyanna here. What I’m going to do, however, is shed some light on this from my own personal learnings, because it comes back to the entire big picture.

EARLY 1970s: I was professionally creating really intricate bead work… One day, my sister Merry walked into my mother’s house (where I was also visiting) with someone that she had just met. Her new friend’s name was Wally White Feather. Wally was from a South Dakota Sioux tribe (Nemo, SD) of Native Americans. She was amazed at my bead work (Caucasian et al, I mean, common – how many of us are there?), and immediately gave three things to me:

  1. A book called “Collections of Dakota Sioux Designs” that her grandmother Mabel A. Rooks had complied. Mabel had given the book to Wally with a personal inscription “To Wally Feather by Grandmother.” (I still cherish and have it.)
  2. Two strands of loomed bead work that were originally sewn onto denim pant legs of her jeans. (I had just seen Sunny and Cher on the cover of “People” magazine, both wearing these same exact beads down the arms of their jean jackets.)
  3. A legend: In all their bead work, the Sioux always leave one error, because their is no real perfection. (This is where the spirit of the work is able to enter and exit the piece of work.)

Which brings me back to my Wine Spectator thinking… There is no perfection in anything, but there is a striving for excellence in order to get us as close to being as perfect as we can possibly be. Wine Spectator does a really good job of putting together a comprehensive wine magazine that we all enjoy reading; e.g., I love Matt Kramer, because he’s so thoughtful in all of his processes, and every time MaryAnn Worobiec writes something, she’s got my immediate, undivided attention. There are others, too, that I deeply respect. Where would we be without Tim Fish’s constant historical perspective? Behind-the-scenes Cheryl Lewis is constantly making sure that I’m connected to their publication’s events. The list goes on, but I won’t right now.

Just remembering what our wine writer pal Steve Heimoff has recently said, we must remain humble in all of our process and eternally grateful… (Because there will always be lessons along the way when we’ve strayed even a baby step.)

From a distance, can you find the error in Wally White Feather’s work? It took me days to find it, even with my beading eye. For now, search the soul of this seemingly perfect piece, and I dare say, no one will find the flaw.

Up close and personal, now that I’ve found the flaw for you, it’s fairly easy to see, proving it’s not perfect – as it appears above – after all… (I also love how the flaw is so contrived, in order to step away from perfection.)

My life, the image of myself, and how I view others have become a lot less strained with this Native American legend as one of my living guides.

2 Responses to “Wine Spectator ~ Perhaps the Final Weigh-In”

  1. JD in Napa says:

    Nicely done. I had posted a similar thought to Steve’s blog, along the lines of “of all those 5000 entries, here’s one bad apple – does that spoil the entire thing?” It doesn’t, but it sure amped up the haters.

  2. admin says:

    Haters love to hate, and lovers love to love… That’s why some of us rant, and some of us rave…

    I know that I’ve used the list from Wine Spectator in the past to congratulate people on the list. In New York, the restaurant Le Cirque 2000… Sirio Maccioni, a restaurateur larger than life, actually responded with an invitation to visit him when I’m in The City. This isn’t a bridge that i would have ever imagined, and yet was built from the Wine Spectator list. I can’t condemn that which has benefited me.

    Sirio has subsequently been very generous with his staff’s attention whenever I’ve sent someone to Le Cirque 2000, treating them as VIPs.

    As you’ve said, one bad apple doesn’t spoil the entire basket.

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