21 January 2011

6th Anniversary

Happy 6th anniversary, BWR! I'm not sure how blog years convert to human years, but given that the average blog survives about as long as a batch of potato salad in full sunlight, I remain proud of the endurance here.

For me, 2010 was the year of samples. It was the year when I all but disappeared from my local retail shops, with the requisite guilt and occasional, "Oh, so you think you can just walk back in here?" Most of what I wrote about in 2010 was based on samples, and while I didn't keep an exact count, I think around 200 bottles showed up at Casa de Benito during the calendar year. I know some of you get thousands of bottles a year, but this was a manageable amount with assistance from good friends and beautiful ladies. (Bachelor winebloggers seem to be a dying breed, but I can highly recommend the wine tasting party. Open a dozen bottles, everyone brings an appetizer, and you get to spread the love.)

I like the fact that samples provide me access to wines that aren't sold in my geographical region, as well as allowing me to try some great wines that I might have ignored in my own browsing. If public relations people are reading, I'd love to try more sparkling wines, rosés, and wines from emerging markets like Greece and Austria. I still love the classic reds, the standard regions, and every new bottle is an adventure in some way. I rarely say no to anything, but after getting 30 Sauvignon Blancs in a period of two weeks I'm a little burnt out on that grape.

Speaking of numbers... I used to count the total number of bottles I've tried, but that got out of hand a long time ago. But here's some stats of where I stand in my own curious self-education. I've tried wines representing:

- 164 unique grapes
- 28 countries
- 16 states in the US

In previous anniversary celebrations I've pointed out some new bloggers, or sites that are new to me, and there's no reason to stop that tradition. Between RSS, Facebook, and Twitter, there's about 100 winebloggers that I'm following, and here's a few that came to my attention in 2010:

Chicagoan Sam Klingberg dishes out wine advice at The Broke Wino. Sometimes irreverent, sometimes hilarious, I keep thinking this guy is part of the old Atlanta group of winebloggers. Many of those guys have scattered westward, so we must outsource such writing to the frosty shores of Lake Michigan.

Chicago is one of the only American cities with a recognizable and frequently used city flag. I'm using it here to highlight that I've really enjoyed adding flags to posts over the past couple of months. Also, there's no chance that I'll ever be reviewing a wine made within the city limits of the Windy City, so I might as well show it here.

Rafa Ibarra writes El mundo de Rafa Ibarra from Mexico, and while the site is in Spanish, there is a very effective Google Translate button on the right column. He covers the little-known but impressive world of Mexican wines as well as bottles from around the world. And if you comment on the site, his English is superb.

It was a pleasure this year getting to know the talented Jeremy Parzen of Do Bianchi. Aside from the man's impressive command of the Italian language, the wines of Italy, and music, he's a friendly and down to earth guy who has learned to enjoy the joys of life in Texas, like the Frito Pie.

Mark Walker is doing some great writing over at WineLife365. Check it out for the stylish design, stay for the giant photographs.

Also be sure to visit Kris Barber's The Wine Rogue, which I think is the youngest of the blogs listed here, debuting a year ago this month. Congrats on your first anniversary, and many happy returns!

Jo Diaz was an early adopter who snapped up wine-blog.org. I got to know her both through her website and her role in wine publicity. She's responsible for the fall flood of Petite Sirah and the recent batch of Portuguese wines. Jo provides an insider look at the marketing side of the wine industry, and has some great stories to tell.

For readers new and old, I'm listing some of my Favorite Posts on that permanent link in the upper left. If you like what I write here but don't want to dig through six years and 894 posts, that's a great shortcut to some of my better work. (Yes, I will reach the 1000 mark sometime this fall. No, I'm not going to do a ton of little posts to reach that goal. Pacing is key here.)

Finally, getting to hang out with Samantha Dugan and Michael Hughes earlier this year was a real treat, and I look forward to our next opportunity to pop some corks together.

Cheers, everyone! And here's to a great 2011!


Barbara said...

Congrats on 6 years. Well done.

Benito said...


Many thanks, and I'll never forget you as one of my first supporters among the other winebloggers at the time. I was amazed that I was picking up readers in Australia when I was still unknown in my home town!


Jo Diaz said...

Congratulations, Benito! After five years on my own blog (thanks for the mention), I know what you've put into your, almost. And, that's in terms of time. I've crossed that 1,000 threshold what a great feeling that one is in terms of accomplishment.

You realize, don't you, we both could have written a couple of books by now ;^)

Anonymous said...


Congratulation on your 6th year, like we say in France "Maintenent tu as de la bouteille" which means
that you have matured.If ever you come to the south of France, let me know, I'm sure that we can have a great time poping a few corks and enjoy some wild tastings.
Keep up the great job. I'm looking foward to the next 6th.
Trés amicalement,
Calvisson, France

Benito said...


I hear ya... Though I needed to get through those first two awkward years before I really hit my stride. I've thought about a book from time to time, but haven't hit upon a great idea yet. Though next week I'll be reviewing Deb Harkness' new book... Stay tuned!


Merci, monsieur! Always glad to have a reader from France, and thanks for your interest in my writing.


Samantha Dugan said...

Congratulations kid. You were one of the first wine blogs I started reading and have been one of the sweetest, most helpful bloggers I have had the pleasure to meet. Not sure I have 6 years in me but this is an accomplishment worth striving for. Thanks for all the stories, pictures and vast information you provide us Ben and hanging with you and Michael was one of my personal high points of 2010....lets do it again!

Benito said...


6 years goes by pretty fast when you've got people reading, hang in there. :)


Samantha Dugan said...

People reading?! Oh crud, that's what I've been doing wrong....

Big Mike said...

I would like to add my congratulations on 6 years! Thank you for the now and again mention and for the enjoyable reading the past 6 years. Hopefully, before you hit 7, we will get together again!!
Good luck my friend

Big Mike

Benito said...

Thanks Mike, it's been a blast!


Mark said...

Congratulations Benito, and many thanks for the mention. I like my pictures how I like my wine! :)

Benito said...


Thanks for reading, and best wishes for the future success of WineLife365!


Do Bianchi said...

Benito, mazel tov on the anniversary and thanks for the shout out and kind words (I'm just catching up on my blog reading now and yours is always at the top of my Google reader).

I've always been a fan and am digging it as always...

congrats! hope to get to meet and taste with you soon!

Benito said...


yours is always at the top of my Google reader

If anyone ever asks my advice on naming a wine blog, it would be to avoid starting it with V or W. Nothing against those, but that part of the alphabet is pretty full. I'm sure somebody is going to try to beat 1WineDude with 000-AAA-WineReviews.com. ;)


Sam k said...

Cheers! Six years is *beyond* impressive. Here's to the seventh bein the best eva! Hopefully we'll knock back a few this yera, too.

P.S. Thanx for the shout! I went to High School in GA, so I could serve as a legitimate satellite member.