The 2012 edition of the Colli Orientali del Friuli Blogger Project begins April 2. Like last year year, I’ll be leading a group of six bloggers to taste, eat, see, and drink in the eastern hills of Friuli. And like last year, we’ll be posting everyone’s impressions here on the COF2011 COF2012 aggregate blog. Here are this year’s bloggers… Stay tuned!
Photo by Jaquelyn Morris.
Talia Baiocchi is the current wine columnist at both Eater.com National — where she writes Vintage America, a column about American wine and wine trends — and Eater.com New York, where she reviews restaurant wine lists for her Decanted column. She is the former editor of WineChap.com in the United States, and a contributor to The San Francisco Chronicle, Wine & Spirits Magazine, and others.
She began her career in wine in when, after graduating from NYU with a degree in journalism and political science, she swore off the idea of law school and decamped for Italy. She worked the wine harvest in Piedmont in 2006 and traveled to every winemaking region she could before running out of cash. Upon her return, she landed a job at Italian Wine Merchants where, at the ripe age of 22, she was entrusted with managing the wine collections of high-profile clientele. During this time she began writing Synesthesium, a blog about music, art, and wine that would eventually lead her into the lucrative world of professional writing.
She has been featured in numerous publications, including Wine & Spirits Magazine as a top new talent in the wine world in the magazine’s “30 under 30” feature, as well as in Time Out Magazine as one of New York’s “New Wine Prophets.” She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka writes the wine blog Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews where she brings together comics and writing with a goal of making wine simultaneously accessible, and informative. She originally began writing and drawing about wine as a creative diversion from her life in academia, until she decided to leave university life and keep her nose in the glass full-time.
Aleut and Inupiat from Alaska, Elaine grew up commercial salmon fishing on the Western Coast of Alaska, with four generations of family guiding her. Since moving from Alaska, she has lived in Boston, Seattle, Santa Cruz, California; Montreal, Quebec; Hanover, New Hampshire; and now Flagstaff, Arizona. An existential-virtue ethicist at heart, Elaine believes her love for wine rests in its ability to express and enliven passionate living.
Prior to her life in wine comics, Elaine was a full-time philosophy (and sci-fi) professor at Northern Arizona University. She has also served as the Charles A. Eastman Fellow at Dartmouth College, and a Tomlinson Fellow at McGill University. Elaine’s publications include work on poetry in Fulcrum: An Annual of Poetry and Aesthetics, and on Chaucer with Cambridge Scholarly Press. Outside of academia she has also worked as a lapidarist, and a camel trainer.
Elaine owes drawing comics to her friend Susan, who pushed Elaine into posting them online, and owes the foundations of her wine knowledge to her friend, Fred, from The Wine Loft, Flagstaff, AZ, and her sister, Melanie at fishwineski.com.
Stuart George is an independent wine writer and consultant in London. He studied English and European Literature at the University of Warwick and then worked as a wine merchant, travelling extensively through the world’s wine regions, before turning to wine writing. In 2003 he was the UK Young Wine Writer of the Year. He has judged at wine competitions in Austria, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Spain and Italy and worked harvests in France, Italy and Australia. His blog “By George” can be seen at StuartGeorge.net.
Whitney Adams is the lady behind the wine glass at the popular wine blog Brunellos Have More Fun and the voice behind the mic of The Crush podcast, featured twice on iTunes as both new and noteworthy. She is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and spends her days at Domaine LA wine shop and her evenings on the floor of Terroni restaurant, both in Los Angeles. Whitney has also done sommelier stints with celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre at the incredibly popular LudoBites pop-up restaurant and on Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. Whitney is an accomplished wine writer and photographer as well, contributing articles for Tasting Table, Huffington Post, The Chalkboard Mag, 32 Days of Natural Wine and Refinery 29 and featured on NBC LA, LA Weekly, LA Times, Daily Candy, Snooth, and Tubefilter. She has led wine demos, tastings and classes throughout California and loves talking about good wine as much as possible, always with a fresh and unique perspective.
Some time in my senior year of high school, I [JC Reid] picked up a book called The Great Railway Bazaar by the travel writer Paul Theroux. It’s filled with all kinds of quirky observations and adventures about traveling abroad. After reading it, I said to myself, “Oh yes. This is what I want to do.”
I took my first trip to Europe as a 19-year-old sophomore. Having read about the wonders there, I half-expected to encounter beings of a higher intelligence, some kind of alien creatures with a culture more advanced than ours. At first, after traipsing through the galleries of the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay and the Beauborg in Paris, I almost believed it.
Then on a train trip from Paris to Barcelona, we came to a screeching halt on the outskirts of Barcelona (delays were the norm back then — trips scheduled for 6 hours often took 24!). We stopped on a stretch of elevated track across from a residential building. Looking out the window, I found myself staring into a second floor apartment occupied by a Barcelonan family. For two hours I watched them go about the mundane tasks of life – eating, washing dishes, folding clothes, watching TV, talking on the phone. It was both revelatory and mesmerizing for a kid from Beaumont, Texas.
It was then that I started to realize that people are pretty much the same wherever you go in the world (an observation that has been borne out through subsequent decades of travel). Still, individuals and even whole nations have their own quirks and eccentricities. And they have stories, lots of stories. For some reason these stories fascinate me, endlessly.
JC — aka Chris — writes for the Houston Chronicle and his personal eponymously named blog.
O yeah and what about the funny looking dude who speaks Italian with a Veneto accent?
My name is Jeremy Parzen and I author an Italocentric blog called Do Bianchi (about my life with my family, Tracie and Georgia P) as well as a blog devoted to (more general) wine education for Houston’s weekly rag, The Houston Press.
I’m truly honored to have been asked to lead another blogger trip, the second one in the Colli Orientali del Friuli. Last year’s trip was a blast (just scroll down through the thread here) and I’m excited to reconnect with friends and wines in Friuli.
But the thing I love the most about these trips is the camaraderie and the community that they build and the isights that they can provide into our understanding of our own humanity.
Borrowing a page from Claude Lévi-Strauss, I believe that wine and food are a rational distortion of nature and that our study thereof is much more than a whimsical exercise in hedonism. I am convinced that a deeper understanding of our relationship to nature through wine and food expands our knowledge of ourselves and knowledge itself. Humankind invests meaning in nature — as per Lévi-Strauss — by “distorting it.” In other words, when a winemaker decides to pick his grapes at a given moment or to apply a given winemaking technique during vinification, her/his choices reflect not only an aesthetic preference (to borrow from Kant) but also an ideological (as per Marx) and a cultural (as per Jung) leaning or tendency. As such, the act of winemaking (or bread baking or the curing of a pig’s thigh) becomes an expression of our humanity and consequently a medium through which we can posit epistemological reflection. In other words, by studying wine and food and its different expressions — cultural, historical, technical, ideological, aesthetic, etc. — we may gain a more profound understanding of our humanity — and what we’re all doing on this earth together.
Thanks for checking in and thanks for following along!