Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blogging comment contest--everybody's doing it, why not I?

If you are really into wine, you must have heard of the MS, MW, and WSET certificate programs that teach all you need to know about the subject—I think.

Because some of us, including me, aren’t sure whether or not those few wine education programs really do the job, a small group of divorced moms who receive large alimony checks came up with a solution at one of their afternoon drunkfests; they call their endeavor the Perspicacious, Pretentious, Presumptuous School of Wine (PPP).

The women sought to bring wine education to the people, more specifically, to people like us. In other words, they want to educate fools, and take it from this fool, the single moms with a two-ton drinking problem have come up with a foolproof wine education program…and now, vinofiction readers have a chance at benefiting from it.

For a brief time only—about twenty-five minutes—PPP offers my readers a chance to gain their highest-level wine education certificate.

Yes indeed, my readers have a chance at bypassing levels 1 through 4, which cover such mundane topics as grape growing, wine production, grape variety identification, sensory analysis, and winemaking as well as wine marketing to skip right straight through to the real meat of the program, the Pusillanimous Wine Professional Level 5 certificate (PWP5), the one that guarantees the world of your vacuous credentials as a talker rather than a doer.

You won’t have to memorize dates, smells, vintages, names, or even alcohol levels. Plus, to enter this contest you don’t have to hold either a WSET, MS, or MW, but it helps to hold very high self-regard, even if you are a fool—especially if you are a fool.

To enter this contest all you have to do is be the 53rd person to comment on this blog entry. Using fewer than 140 characters, tell us all that you know about wine.

Your entry will be printed out and dumped with other entries into a large red hat with a feather boa that sits on the table where the drunken ladies meet. The first lady who manages to grab an entry, and can focus her eyes enough to read it aloud, will pick the winner.

Fool that you are, you probably already have thought that to win this contest all you’ll have to do is wait until the 52nd comment is made and then dump your vanity on us. But think about this: right now, hundreds of people have read this blog entry (maybe thousands). Surely only one or two readers are smart enough to fully comprehend its contents. The rest are already clamoring to show what fools we mortals be, so hitting the 53rd comment mark will be quite random with high odds against you, and that means that only a lucky fool can win. Are you that lucky fool?
Disclaimer: I have absolutely no affiliation with PPP, although I do hold a PWP5 which I gained fair and square. In addition, I have received no compensation from PPP to post this contest and promote their brand, unless you count the check and two cases of wine PPP sent me for the wallboard work I did to remodel their ugly office, which was in fact a truly ostentatious living room of one of the ladies whose ex-husband had no taste.
Copyright Thomas Pellechia
March 2011. All rights reserved.

Lifting a blog entry without the author's permission (and without recompense) is a copyright infringement--period.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


It’s been a while since my last post. I have an excuse, but I don’t want to take time making excuses. Truth is, I haven’t much to say right now about the subject of wine. In fact, I haven’t much to say about anything these days. That’s part of my excuse.

Still, almost without fail, at least once each day, the thought of me ignoring vinofictions crept into my mind. It bothered me almost the way a nagging control freak bothers us.

For days, thoughts of finally abandoning this blog for good gave me guilt feelings. The idea that I could walk away from something that I had created made me feel almost ill. This deep sense of responsibility has always haunted my psyche. Every dog or cat I have ever had as a pet figured that out about me and used that knowledge to mold my habits to suit their needs.

For the past three days, the compulsion to write in vinofictions tugged at my sense of responsibility until, today, I could no longer take it, and so I decided to write something, anything, to get this drag on my day to ease up.

Many years ago, I learned that the best way to face writer’s block was a combination of keep writing and keep taking breaks. It’s a contradiction, but it often works. You spend time each day, the same time of day, too, writing whatever pops into your feeble mind until, “voila,” you often find that you have begun to write something if not important at least intelligible. After each session, you do something that you truly enjoy doing—walking, running, biking, shopping, dining out, meeting friends, etc.

With that in mind, and noticing that I have yet to come up with anything either important or intelligible, I think I will go do something that I enjoy, expecting that tomorrow I’ll come up with a real vinofictions entry.

Oh wait: I have to drive over an hour one way for my daily radiation treatment.

Now you know my excuse for having not been writing in the blog.

Copyright Thomas Pellechia
March 2011. All rights reserved.

Lifting a blog entry without the author's permission (and without recompense) is a copyright infringement--period.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Don't wait for me Argentina...

Sung to the tune from the Broadway play of the 1970s, “Don’t wait for me, Argentina…”

Thanks to the “Wines of Argentina team” I can plainly state that more than three read this blog. Also thanks to the “team” I can plainly state that marketers are sometimes funny, if not downright unscrupulous—or maybe they think that bloggers are unscrupulous—or maybe some bloggers are.

Here’s one way to calculate the scruples of a blogger: if a blogger writes this month about the white wines of Torrontes, be careful. You see, the blogger may be writing about that subject for the chance to win a free trip to Argentina, courtesy of the “Wines of Argentina team.”

Get it?


Here’s how it works. The “Wines of Argentina team” sends the following email to bloggers:
"We've seen your wine blog and would like to invite you to write a post about Argentine Torrontes and participate in our Blogger of the Month contest. You will have the chance to win a free trip to Argentina! Here is a link for more info
Looking forward to reading your blog post!"
The email is signed by the Wines of Argentina team.

If the “team” made an effort to read my blog it would know that I am a rather cantankerous old journalist who takes ethics extremely seriously, and that I would likely consider this “contest” a breach in ethics.

Here’s why: a journalist neither writes a story for a marketing entity nor does a journalist write a story to enter a contest for freebies.

I know that the official Argentine language is Spanish, and I know that there’s a large Italian contingency in Argentina that speaks a kind of SpanItalian.

Still, every member of the team should know what this means: quid pro quo.

This situation reminds me of an offer made to bloggers concerning a wine refrigerator and how to get yourself one. In my view, that, too, was an ethical breach in the waiting.

Now I know that there are some in the blogosphere who consider my attitude “old school.” I know because some bloggers have told me so after I’ve pointed out what I consider their actions as skirting on thin ethical ice. But I refuse to back down, and so I repeat to my three other readers: if you read a blog entry this month about Torrontes, remember that old “grain of salt.”

Copyright Thomas Pellechia
March 2011. All rights reserved.

Lifting a blog entry without the author's permission (and without recompense) is a copyright infringement--period.