"After 28 years of writing my wine column, and dealing with some terrific people such as yourself (but let's call a spade a spade here - I had to deal with many assholes, too, like Justin Meyer, I don't care if he is dead), my wine column at the Houston Chronicle is history. So I need to say that dealing with many of the wine people I have come to know and like - the pleasure has been mine, and I'm grateful.
So, a few words of farewell, and please do me this favor and pass this on to others in the wine business - suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, public-relations people. I only managed to retain a few e-mail addresses from my work computer before I left the confines of the office, and anyone who knows me knows I am completely computer-illitirit (I may has mispeled that).
For a long time I fought the good fight, but I never, ever kidded myself. I always knew I was local and never pretended that I wielded a big stick like wine critic Robert Parker (and some of you liked to point that out to me - just business, you said, and I understood, although ...). My one satisfaction: I'd like to think I was a better writer. You may disagree, but at least allow me this one self-delusion.
Believe me when I say I have been the luckiest wine writer in the country. I'm not sure, but my tenure may have been the longest - if not, certainly one of the longest - uninterrupted wine columns in
I always did it for you my way - straight, no chaser.
Believe it or not, the first time I wrote a a farewell wine column for the Chronicle was more than 20 years ago. You see, periodically I would get burned out and would approach people on staff I knew who liked wine to see if they would like to take over the beat - offered to help them over the rough spots - but no one would take up the challenge. I was amazed - the wine beat, along with, maybe, being a travel writer or movie reviewer - was primo - yet no takers. How strange. So even though I would get refreshed on the wine beat I would still update periodically the "goodbye" column that was, I hope, more inclusive and certainly much more
eloquent than this rambling. But again, the Chronicle deemed it not necessary to run my farewell column. So be it. Sometimes silence speaks far more loudly than words.
My retirement from the Chronicle is now complete: No more pun-dacious headlines, no more haikus and - now - no more wine columns. As for the latter, if you enjoyed them even half as much as I enjoyed writing them for you, it was worth all the time, all the inconvenience, all the hassle - and that was a lot, not just for me but also for all the people involved.
Don't believe it? Think of all the winemakers and winery owners who came to Houston, dog-tired from weeks on the road, when all they wanted to do was sit in a hotel room, watch CNN and have a beer, but no - they had to sit down with yet another wine writer and repeat the same mantra over and over again. They weren't happy, but it was business. And I was there, too. Dog-tired, often bored, too, but it was business. Yourbusiness.
And think of all the
Yes, I'm grateful to you, the restaurateurs. And to you, the distributors. And to you, the wineries and your winemakers and reps and brokers and and PR people. Twenty-eight years - whew - I couldn't have done it without you.
To all of you, I am grateful. For your thoughtfulness. For your support. And for your friendship. Yes, I'm grateful: That's the truth - as always, straight, no chaser."
Please visit the IN THE NEWS section on www.texacaliwine.com to read a few reviews and feature articles Michael so generously wrote in years past...Cheers - ALI