I thought about what to name this piece. Should it be a play on Alfonso Cevola’s wine blog “On the Wine Trail in Italy” with the oh-so-clever replacement of Houston for Italy? Or a title such as “You Meet the Nicest People When Social Media and the Wine World Collide.” Too long…quite awful…let’s stick with the above.
Since starting this website over a year ago, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting people from around the world who are involved in wine or social media. There are those that are quickly forgotten, others that become fond acquaintances, and still others I’m lucky to call friends. Whatever the scale of social media used, and for what purpose, I’m continually amazed at how it connects us in that truly “social” way. It’s often overwhelming to be sure, and the ability to navigate one’s way through the good, bad and boring is left to our own wants. Through contacts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc., we reach out to people, tuck them away lest we forget where we saw them, and resolve to remember them in the future. A couple years ago when researching an article on wine in antiquity, I stumbled across an in-depth piece from Jeremy Parzen on his site Do Bianchi. (http://dobianchi.com) I commented on what a fascinating article is was, and he responded. Since then I’ve followed him on Twitter and Facebook. In doing so, I noticed another gentleman versed on the Italian wine scene who often exchanged comments with Jeremy. They were, at times, like a couple who knew a secret…..and, well…..you didn’t.
After reading some of his blog posts, (http://acevola.blogspot.com) I was hooked. Facebook friends ensued, and the part that planted him firmly in my heart as a good guy (as I had already gathered) was his “sharing” a post of the tragic loss of a 9-year-old girl’s life in the Gabrille Giffords shooting in Arizona. In a rare request to my Facebook friends to “share” the article, he did…with the simple comment ”heartbreaking to me as well.” This wasn’t about business or connections, it was “social”….. a shared grief with someone I barely knew. Ya gotta love social media.
And now, dear reader, this is where Alfonso Cevola and social media intersect. I had the pleasure of meeting, and having dinner with Alfonso this week in Houston. He’s a genuinely wonderful guy, and one of the great wine bloggers. What appealed to me about his blog were the stories surrounding wine…often reflections of his life, insights into our humanity, the pulse of Italian culture and wine. Beautiful writing, period. Don’t for a minute think these are ramblings from one-of-a-thousand wine bloggers who profess a fondness for Barolos and Brunellos. The guy’s connected. After 30 years in the wine business, he’s one of the true insiders. Both in the U.S. and Italy, his opinon, palate and presence is sought after.
Over dinner, he was kind enough to indulge my barrage of questions, and challenge my immature palate to strive for more. Bottles of 2006 and 2007 Barbarescos were opened, and I was in for a treat. Trying to put words to what I was tasting, without feeling a complete idiot, it was fun to compare what we each picked up in flavor. The two vintages varied dramatically, and his thoughts on what may have happened in the that particular vineyard and winery were appreciated. The wine geekiness continued with a look at a map and the few small regions in Italy where Nebbiolo (the grape in Barbaresco) is grown.
Dinner complete, and a fabulous evening had by all….well, I can only speak for myself… good wishes and arrivederci!
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote “Life is a journey, not a destination” may be hackneyed…..but it holds true. People like Alfonso are part of the journey, and social media allowed it to happen.