The SwanSong

So, I’m sitting in my chair facing my keyboard and looking at a blank screen—that’s today’s version of a writer facing a blank page.

In this case, the blank screen is because I am no longer sure what to say about wine online.

A number of adjectives describe what the online discourse about wine sometimes does to me. This week, I stumbled upon one too many adjectives, along with one too many jerks.

It saddens me that so many times those who voice their self-righteous proclamations seem to know just enough about wine and winemaking to be dangerous and not enough about humility and the general way that people need to act toward one another in order to peacefully share this planet.

In other words, a hell of a lot of wine geeks should never have been let out of high school!

How did it come to pass that people use the gift so pleasant as wine to bring attention to their status, to their self worth, and to their self-appointment as arbiters of taste? They subvert the goodness of wine. They claim they speak and consume wine out of passion. What comes through to me is obsession. Passion is an emotion of the heart—obsession is an emotional illness.

In any case, wine geeks never were my intended audience for Vinofictions. They are not my whole problem.

I aimed for the general wine consumer. My aim was to use Vinofictions to educate to the extent of my knowledge, which in wine amounts to about 26 years of study and experience in the business, from grape growing to winemaking to wine selling and wine writing, alongside decades of wine consumption that reaches back to age seven.

I am fully aware that, while I may have learned things through study, I don’t know it all, and so I also hoped that through dialog on Vinofictions I could continue to learn from others while they learned from me. But Vinofictions hasn’t really captured much attention and has generated even less dialog.

Wine writers with more than just opinions can help others come to their own decisions by giving them an understanding of the facts. But that doesn’t appear to be what gets the attention. What seems to get attention are wine writers who issue proclamations and position subjectivity as if it were information. I don’t do that kind of thing well because I do not believe in it.

I am suspending Vinofictions for the 2008 summer while I consider if I have anything left to say and also to find out if what I have to say has much of an audience. Right now, I’m of the opinion that the audience isn’t nearly as large as the time and effort warrants.

The blog will remain online so that the archives will be available to sift through and read.

A few of you have been kind enough to take part in this blog and to throw me encouraging words. I thank you. I wish there were more of you.

And to prove to you that I am not a saint, and that I, too, have something to sell: my third book is scheduled for an autumn release. Hope you all read it.

Copyright Thomas Pellechia
May 2008. All rights reserved.

7 Responses to “The SwanSong”

  1. dmdoyle says:

    I am saddened to read this entry. Frankly your blog is one of the most interesting and well written out there, and it would be sorely missed.

    You are right that there are no shortage of jerks writing ignorant or obnoxious comments about wine and wine lovers, as well probably every other subject. So what? They are easy to ignore and their influence is nil, except perhaps among each other.

    And as you have indirectly pointed out, there is a great need and demand for civil, intelligent conversation about wine. I sift through many of the wine blogs out there and rarely come across one worth reading with any frequency. Yours happens to be one definitely of quality, and even more rare, one that provokes thought.

    I would ignore the jerks and snobs and focus on the rest of us who are serious about our interest in wine. We are out here!

  2. Thomas says:

    Thank you, DM.

    I do know there are people out there who respond to Vinofictions, and I appreciate that.

    I need some time to figure out which direction to take the blog.

  3. lwfass says:

    Don’t do it! Yea there are assholes but as dmdoyle says there are assholes everywhere in every field and in every walk of life. This country is ruled by assholes. Be thankful that you have a little corner of the internet where you can say whatever you want. You will be missed.

  4. Thomas says:


    Already many of the comments I’ve gotten, here and on my blogspot location, have persuaded me that I shouldn’t give up. I will take some time to rethink my direction–maybe come up with some new ideas to make the blog more interactive.

    I’ve also got a massive agenda right now: have to edit my next book, have a number of visitors coming the end of May (Serge is one of them) and I am erecting a greenhouse so that my wife and I can start removing ourselves from petro-chemically produced vegetables in winter.

    Plus, I have to find a day of rest!!!

    Incidentally, if you ever want to explore the Finger Lakes wine world, just give me a holler. I’m here all summer.

  5. lwfass says:

    Good to hear. Might do a nice little excursion out there. Might be fun.

  6. Thomas says:


    I know you like Riesling, and I know you’ll like some of the ones produced in the Finger Lakes–but there are other surprises here.