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Wine,Wine Business,Wine Writer

Robert Whitley ~ Wine Writer #22 ~ The Man Behind Copious Wine Competitions

To simply call Robert Whitely a “wine writer” would be to only slice the rim of the target. Robert is a true renaissance man with all that he’s accomplished within the world of wine.

Here’s a snapshot of his wine writing and reviewing:

Wine Competition Coordinator for the following:

COMING SOON: Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition, Sept 26 and 27. (Only  a group of Sommeliers will be the judges for this competition.)

I’ve known Robert for a long time, and I remember the day that he told me he’d be launching Wine Review Online. He said that his contributors would be wine writers with solid credentials, and he’s carried through on that promise. Whitley’s list of writers is quite formidable. Those in the list below with a link are writers who’ve already been on this blog, with many of them in this picture during their wine judging:

This image is borrowed from Critics Challenge Website.

You may also read their full credentials on Wine Review Online.

This Q & A revels what a great resource Robert is for the wine industry, and how devoted he is to advancing the efforts of others.

Write Publisher questions:

[Q]  Many wine writers and publishers also have another job. If wine isn’t your main vocation, what is and for whom?

[A]  Wine competitions and entire life of wine. My career is wine.

[Q]  When did you segue into the wine business?

[A]  In 1990, I began writing for the San Diego Union Tribune.

[Q]  What prompted you to support those writing about wine?

[A]  There was a promising future on the Internet. The people who write for Wine Review Online are people I’ve known for a number of years, and I have great respect for them all. I wanted to create a bigger megaphone for them. The strong voice in wine journalism is too focused. We have a variety of palates and accomplished people. Having this Website gives each of my writers a platform and megaphone they don’t necessarily have on their one. McCarthy and Mary Mulligan, for instance, don’t have that regular outlet to get their voices out there. They’re book writers, versus wine critics or wine reviewers in a magazine or newspaper. Our crew is very talented and diverse. We get together from time to time; and we don’t always agree, but we respect each other’s point of view.

[Q]  What aspect(s) of wine do you most enjoy?

[A]  Drinking it.

[Q]  How has your vocation changed since you’ve entered the wine business?

[A]  I’m much more deeply involved. It seems when I become more busy, I just add another layer to my plate. There are many more things going on now. I’m much more focused on wine now, than ever.

[Q]  What’s the most memorable wine you’ve ever tasted, or wine event you’ve attended?

[A]  EVENT: A wine event in Italy, in the city of Verona. It’s the charming wine village of Vin Italy. While I’m not Italian, I still seem to have an affinity of anything Italian. It’s a moving experience.

WINE: It might sound like a wine snob answer.  I love La Tâche, Grand Cru, Domaine de la Romanee Conti, for example. It’s a grand Burgundy.

[Q]  What’s your favorite variety, if you have one?

[A]  I don’t have a favorite, but if you ask me “What’s your passion?” I’d have to say Bordeaux. I’ve loved them since I first tasted one in 1971. It was from the 1960’s, and that’s when I  first started collecting.

[Q]  Do you believe that there are better quality, lower priced wines today, than in past vintages?

[A]  Absolutely. People – some of the big companies like BV – have perfected the art of perfecting red and white wines of high quality. They don’t taste artificial. That’s not the case anymore. They’re not vegetal. The cost of land and cost of labor in the US is higher, so wine prices are higher. There are now a lot of affordable GOLD medal wines. Mush more so than ever before. Knights Valley Cabs are all $25 or $30. Those were the great wines of their year. Clos du Bois Cabs 13 years ago were about $8 or $9, and they were as delicious then as they are now. They’re the leader in the affordable field.

[Q]  What aspects of wine stories do you most enjoy?

[A]  The way they’re personalized in wine columns. I apprecaite what wine writers discover about the personalities and then how they report on those experiences. Writers have also related a lot of tasting, studying, and drinking wine. The types of things I enjoy most are family traditions, wine operations,  how people are continuing to be really connected to their land and show the family connections of people and land. These are the most entertaining stories, from my perspective.

I appreciate good large companies; they’re important, too. You need your $7, $8, and $12 wines. You get good wines from these companies that understand modern vit. It’s important over the years how that connects generations to families in wine.

[Q]  What’s your favorite food and wine pairing?

[A]  I have several. I love steamed clams with a Muscadet or Aborino. I also love steak with a mature Bordeaux, or a rock ‘em sock Napa Valley Cab. I also love Champagne with a meal, paired with the right things – scallops, or nice piece of fish grilled slightly, or even some veal. I love real Champagne; a good vintage and a top house. Great Champagne of the celebratory types for dinner are a great experience… Ones that have good texture, age, complexity… they’re the kind that elevate the moment.

[Q]  What’s your favorite innovation in the wine industry over the past few years?

[A]  Screw caps, the convenience. I’m not opposed to cork. I don’t believe everything should go crew cap, either. For screw caps, you just twist off, pour a glass, and then simply store in your refrigerator. You don’t have to worry about dripping if you store the bottle on its side.  I’m very pleased that the public hasn’t had the disdain that producers thought they’d have. There are fabulous wines under a Stelvin closure.

[Q]  What are your interests outside of the wine business?

[A]  I’m a sports fan. I love golf, basketball, and football. I don’t play basketball or football, I just love to watch. I do love to play golf, though.

[Q]  Who inspires you (wine business or outside of it, doesn’t matter)?

[A]  Varied cultures. Sitting on a piazza somewhere in Italy and hearing beautiful music. Spain, Australia, people are different yet the same. Real people making wine inspire me… expressing what they’re making with wine and being connected to the land. I really enjoy to write while traveling from one location to the next. You become immersed in it and you feel it. It’s really hard to recreate when you’re not there. I enjoy sitting at my computer in the middle of the night, while I’m still immersed in the story.

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One Response to “Robert Whitley ~ Wine Writer #22 ~ The Man Behind Copious Wine Competitions”

  1. Jo says:

    I just added a link to the Sommeliers Challenge, because the site went up over the holiday weekend.

    http://www.sommelierchallenge.com

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