A Cool Response by Mr. Greg Harrington, Master Sommelier

Now this brought back some memories! 1st posted February 6, 2010:

Well, this is interesting (but honestly, unintended). My last wine review (Gramercy Cellars’ 2007 tempranillo) elicited some surprising responses from some unexpected readers.
As a side note, for those of you loyal enough to read my wine reviews (and I thank you graciously, as well as wonder if I have irreversibly warped your views of the world!), you should know that my blogs are targeted to those who have finished a long day of work, whether it’s making wine or peanuts. My columns should make you laugh, be informed, and give you a visualization of what the performance of the wine is. However, I have many weaknesses in my approach, as I am relatively new to this, so if you point one out…get in line (and email me about it!).
I am first, and foremost, a consumer. My wine experience starts with a trip to the store, like 99+% of the world’s inhabitants. From store to table, this is the wine experience that shows up in my review. It’s important to me, and should be for you. I like to know I’m buying (and enjoying) wine made from my “neighbors”. I also like to make my own path and branch out, whether it’s a 4-dollah hollah or a $200 jar of jam. The wines are made for someone out there and it’s my duty to expose what I think is the message in that bottle. This is my “wine home” and is not a locale for any personal attacks or cheap degradations. I just lay down the facts and give my viewpoints. Remember, it’s just about wine enjoyment.
And, let me give an alternate view of my last wine review. Greg Harrington is the youngest American to have passed the Master Sommelier exams. No easy feat. He has worked with the best American restauranteurs in managing world-class wine lists. He is a Cornell University School of Hotel Administration graduate. It is a flat-out honor that someone of his (and Pam’s–his wife) caliber and high-achievement has chosen to put roots in our great State of Washington. Word out on the street is he is a generous gentleman to those who have met him. His wines have quickly garnered more lustre for our region in the national press than, perhaps, any other winery in the last five years.
Time to open email before I run out of room…
In Greg’s own words: “I’d like to start by saying thank you for your post. I am always appreciative of any person that takes the time to taste and review our wines.” “Being from NY, I guess some of my statements can be misconstrued or seem downright arrogant or ranting. I actually thought I was contributing to the Paul G discussions with sincerity, but I guess it came off in an extremely unintended way.”
Next email: “When I said 89s are totally irrelevant, I was saying that an 89 really doesn’t drive sales anymore. In the past, getting any 89 or 90 did drive sales at the winery level. These days, nothing really happens until you get a 95.” (Greg should know. I obviously have no clue.) “In saying I send wines to bloggers, I was saying that I think the blogging community is an extremely overlooked vehicle for wineries to get the word out about their wines. I am surprised that more wineries don’t send wine to bloggers or invite them to the winery.” (Obviously, a man in tune with today’s world.)
Final email: “I value the blogger community and have had a few of them to both my house in Seattle and Walla Walla for dinner. I am extremely appreciative of the blogger community as I feel they serve an extremely valuable purpose to help people learn more about wine, which is vital to the wine industry.” “And lastly, yes my rant about the distributorship was probably uncalled for. The situation was that a distributor (they called us) called saying they wanted to rep the wines in x market. We over-nighted the samples. Then we didn’t hear anything back from the distributor after repeated calls. Nothing at all.” “…I think this is a situation that happened to many small wineries, in which samples are sent and then they hear nothing in return. A small winery has to watch every dollar.”

To wit, Greg didn’t have to do this. But, to respond in such a caring (and humble) manner and explain what he deals with as a winery owner and maker shows how words can be misinterpreted (by yours truly). I fully tip my hat to the Harringtons and wish them continued success.
You can take the man outta Nu Yawhk, but sometimes you just can’t take Nu Yawhk outta the man. Nothing wrong with that, and if anything, it adds a bit of spice to our often bland world.
Thank you, Greg.

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