Archive | April, 2010

A New Bunch: DC Wine Appreciation Society

13 Apr

It’s an idea whose time had come.

I had always wanted to be part of a wine club, one whose members were genuinely interested in wine and learning about wine, and one whose members would not be adverse to chipping in for very nice bottles.  But for one reason or another the club did not materialize.

If you’re reading this blog there’s probably about a 10% chance you’re a law student.  If so, you’ve no doubt taken torts.  Torts–which can loosely be defined as civil actions to recover damages for injuries to person or property–can be divided into two broad categories: intentional torts and unintentional torts.  Unintentional torts encompass negligence, the five elements of which are:

  • Duty
  • Breach of duty
  • But-for (factual) cause
  • Proximate (legal) cause
  • Damages

The proximate cause can be defined as that which gave rise to the injury.  For instance, if I accidentally push someone through a window, then the proximate cause of the resultant injury is my push.

But-for causation, however, is an interesting concept because it recognizes that every outcome is the result of many different causes.  For instance, in the above scenario there are multiple but-for causes, such as the victim’s sitting on the window, my being on the second floor, the host throwing a party, etc., all the way to very distant events such as my being born, my parents meeting, ancient tribes settling in what is present-day Korea, and so on.  The analysis for but-for causation becomes: “but for X’s action, would Y have suffered injury?”

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New Article in the Palate Press!

5 Apr

Check out my newest article in the Palate Press!  It’s about my five days managing Ansonia Wines, which is a newish small boutique wine shop in the North Dupont neighborhood of DC.

There’s a Reason No One Reads Wine Blogs: A Response

3 Apr

You’ve probably done it.  You’re researching for a term paper and you get engrossed in the Golgi apparatus or the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.  You start talking about it to your friends to the exclusion of almost anything a normal person would find remotely interesting.  Then, somewhere between the cisternae and the endoplasmic reticulum you realized that you’ve developed tunnel vision.  The more you specialize, the less you interest the average human being.

There’s an excellent post on the Palate Press that explores the topic of why no one reads wine blogs.  The author, Tom Johnson, looks at the utterly abysmal readership numbers–citing, for instance, the fact that “the top 100 wine blogs combined would be the 280th most popular blog in the country”–and offers two reasons for this phenomenon.

First, he observes that most wine blogs only offer wine reviews, leading to a “recipe for insignificance.”  I would tend to agree with Tom.  Wine reviews are useful but not intrinsically interesting, and they are available through a whole variety of sources such as wine magazines and review databases.  I personally dislike wine blogs that are 100% review-driven, although I do recognize that some people create such blogs primarily to keep track of what wines they’ve tried.  Nonetheless, as Tom writes, the best blogs are those that provide context and and tell stories.

Second, Tom points out that political blogs are nine times as likely as wine blogs to link to other related blogs.  He writes, “Wine bloggers in general are failing to use the defining characteristic of the worldwide web: the ability to link.”  Linking more often would create conversation and increase readership for all concerned.  I recommend that you read Tom’s article, which is well-researched and provocative (if the ninety-two and counting comments are any indication).

That being said, I would like to elaborate on one of his observations.  His article states the following:

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Rackin’ ‘n’ Rollin’: Wine Racks for All Occasions

1 Apr

If you’re a student like me, chances are that you don’t normally purchase bottles of wine to cellar. Most of the bottles of wine you purchase are probably meant for immediate or short-term consumption. Indeed, most of the bottles are probably not meant for aging, anyway, and even if they are the lack of a proper climate-controlled environment makes it downright dangerous to try storing wine for extended periods of time.

Thus, I store my wine in cardboard boxes that have been turned sideways. It’s not the prettiest sight, but they’re stacked in one of my hallway closets where they are kept from light and heat. It’s also an approach that the wine writer Karen MacNeil uses for her own cellar, apparently.

However, wine storage does not have to be purely practical. Indeed, wine bottles can be stored in a way that is not only aesthetically pleasing but can actually be considered art.

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