Nearly 600 posts, over 2,000 wines, and one sampling of the world's hottest pepper later, I'm proud to celebrate my 4th Anniversary writing Benito's Wine Reviews. And even though there's more wine bloggers out there than ever before, I'm still on the list of the Top 100 Wine Blogs.
Favorite post of the past year? I'd have to say cooking salmon on my car engine in honor of several meals my grandfather fed me on long road trips.
There's not that many wine blogs that have been continuously operating longer than mine: Lenn, Alder, Tom, Stephen... When I started the blog I was 28 with zero experience regarding the wine industry and limited wine drinking knowledge. In fact, one of my favorite comments comes from March 2005 in respect to a tasting of 15 heavy Italian reds that pretty much killed my palate that day. An anonymous reader wrote, "This idiot knows nothing about wine."
At the time I knew slightly more than nothing, but I'd like to think that I've made some significant progress since then. By January 2005 I'd tried wines from six countries and five US states, probably representing a dozen different grape varieties. Now I'm up to 25 countries, 16 states, and over 150 grapes. I've toured vineyards, received sample bottles, tested wine gadgets, and engaged in lively e-mail correspondence with winemakers, bloggers, and readers from around the world.
If you're a fan of this blog, do me a favor. Well, two--throw a little change in the collection plate through a purchase on my Amazon Store, but more importantly, explore new blogs that cover subjects similar to mine. A great starting point would be some of my new friends from the past year. In no particular order:
The Wine Commonsewer sticks to red wines with the tenacity of a bulldog. A Marine, libertarian, tax attorney bulldog, that is. I swear the man stepped out of a Robert Heinlein novel.
Samantha Dugan sells wine in LA and has a wine label tattooed on her back. A great change of pace when my posts get too manly with the cigars and roast pig's feet.
Wine Diver Girl is a wine professional and SCUBA enthusiast out of California, but does not recommend combining the two activities.
Paul Ryburn has established himself as the voice of Downtown Memphis, and while he appears to be more of a beer lover, his site provides a resident's view of the area that so many of us merely visit.
Wine Smash takes the Gary Vaynerchuk style of video wine blogging to the Nashville area. Lots of fun and I'm always happy to see another Tennessean online.
How about Mondosapore for all your Italian wine needs by way of New York? It's the only wine blog I read where I can comment in bits of Italian.
A view from Texas thanks to Wine Enabler, who might also be the first pair of bloggers to explore West Virginia wine.
And you can't forget our correspondent from the wilderness, who blogs from a trailer in Montana and serves up wine wisdom with a side of morels and bison, Ramblin' Wino.
Go forth! Read, digest, comment! Support the bloggers you love, give them encouragement and help them make it to their own anniversaries.
I'll be back Monday with a groundbreaking, historic and folkloric post that will blow your mind.