Monthly Archives: July 2015

A Crisis of Identity- #MWWC18


Know Thyself.  The imperative has been circulating since the togas were in fashion and still remains an ideal.  For some of us, the desire to please, the pursuit of acceptance still trumps more often than we care to admit. For others, the footprints are well caked in the path.  Living “authentically” in each breath and decision.  There is no crisis of identity, only a daily unfolding and refining.

In the Finger Lakes, people have been making wine for decades.  It is a region where people expect to find great Riesling, and they will.  As the growers and winemakers try their hand at different grapes and processes, they are forming their own identity. With each year, the grapes share more of their story. The winemakers refine their personal style.  And yet, in the two tasting experiences I have had while here, there were some definite surprises.

Hector Wine company began making wine in 2009.  They describe…

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A Crisis Looming for U.S. Wine?

the drunken cyclist

wine-stain1-3While I was out in Lodi, California a couple of months ago, I spoke with several growers in the region and they talked about a variety of issues: crop yields, sustainable farming, pest control–issues that have faced growers since the beginning of the wine industry. There was another issue that nearly every grower mentioned that they feared would likely be the dominant issue facing California winegrowers for the foreseeable future:

Labor. Or more precisely, the lack thereof.

On the surface, this does not seem that it would be all that controversial until you factor in that the vast majority of labor in wine country is provided by immigrant/migrant workers, most of whom come from Mexico. Unless you have been living under a rock the last couple of decades, you know that immigration has become a political issue, which means it is rarely approached with even a modicum of common sense. I think I have…

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MWWC #18: Crisis in Metz*

The Armchair Sommelier

MWWCI learned my 19th word of French last month . . . merde.

We’ve recently returned from a two-week European Family Vacation to Germany and France. We completed (and mostly successfully, I might add) a rather ambitious itinerary that included Bavaria (to visit Opa), Metz, Verdun, Paris, Normandy, Metz again, and finally, back to Bavaria.

We spent a lot of time in the car (learning the ins and outs of the French highway system, aka, the French National Toll Road), and I spent a lot of time counting.


Mom, what are you doing?

Counting passports.  As long as we have our passports, we’re good.  Anything else, we can replace.

I must have counted our passports 432 times on this trip.  My kids (and my husband) rolled their eyeballs and dismissed me as paranoid, but my trip motto was, “paranoid gets us home”.

This was a family and history vacation, not a wine vacation.  And…

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Our Saber Crisis #MWWC18


Monthly Wine Writing Challenge 18 #MWWC18
After several months away, I’m jumping back into the game with the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge group.  The premise is simple: a friendly challenge among the group to write on the topic for the month. Votes are tallied (remember, no wagering) and a winner emerges.  The winner chooses the next month’s challenge. This month’s theme? CRISIS

Our Saber Crisis
As many wine enthusiasts, we love sparkling wine.  We serve it whenever guests visit, we open a bottle at the slightest reason to celebrate or when we need a little encouragement after a tough day. (click on any photo for slide show)

Sabering around the World
We cut our sabering (sciabola) teeth in Italy. Back in Italy again,  our daughter, Casey, is introduced to the fine art.

More Sabering Fun
Great use for the slo-mo feature on my phone to catch the moment.


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#MWWC18: Crisis

Elizabeth Smith

Monthly Wine Writing Challenge Monthly Wine Writing Challenge

It was one week into the start of classes, fall semester 2012, when human resources contacted me to set up a meeting. As soon as the meeting was requested, my gut told me it wasn’t good. I told my teaching colleagues about the meeting and said, “I’m going to be let go.” They all flatly denied it. I mean, after all, I had taught for 23 years with stellar annual evaluations, I taught two languages, I was Faculty Senate President, and I was well known across Virginia as an innovator and leader, being one of the first faculty members to teach nontraditional courses via compressed video, then later, online.

Although three years have passed, I still remember sitting in the office with the director of human resources, the Vice President of Instruction, and the President. He handed me the letter saying my position was being eliminated due to a budgetary reduction…

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