Five years of Full Pour

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

For most of 2007, I had been logging tasting notes in Blogger as a personal aide-mΓ©moire, not wanting to pollute my other writing projects with fumbling attempts at transcribing the experience of wine into words. Meanwhile, my friend and fellow wine lover Chris Pratt was also playing with tasting notes, pushing their form this way and that in his highly personal, vivid way.

To write about the wines we were tasting under the banner of Full Pour brought these threads together in a way that was, and continues to be, somewhat idiosyncratic. Our work was never going to feed an audience hungry for capsule recommendations or insider insights, an audience that was and remains well served by other channels. Instead, Full Pour became an extension of us: two friends and crazy wine people with an interest in the aesthetics of wine; in what it means to open a bottle of something in the real world, in an imperfect setting, with no objective other than to seek enjoyment from the experience, and to sometimes be disappointed. Full Pour was our taste, perception and intelligence on the line, published because we think wine matters enough warrant honest reflection.

Cut to 2012, five years later: 1022 posts, innumerable comments both kind and not quite so generous, some spectacular wines, a lot of less than spectacular ones, a few intellectual battle lines drawn and, I hope, a contribution of some integrity to the dialogue about wine. Full Pour isn’t a wine site for everyone, just as Chris and I will never please every person we meet, but I’ve connected with enough wine writers, thinkers and drinkers through our efforts here to suggest what we do holds, at least, some interest.

There are, naturally, a lot more sites about wine in 2012 than there were when we started in 2007, especially in Australia (and I’m pleased to note the best of the Aussies then (Wine Front/Winorama, Wino sapien) continue to delight today). Moreover, Twitter has happened, and the zeal with which wine people, including me, have taken to it continues to amaze and amuse me. The democratisation of wine has truly arrived, even if the excitement of self-publishing often burns brightly and even more quickly for many, and even if the conversation has, in some ways, become shallower as it has sped up.

I wonder about Full Pour’s place in all this, about the role of a conversation about wine that demands a level of engagement many may not have the time or patience for. That will, no doubt, sort itself out in time. What hasn’t changed, except to perhaps deepen, is my sense of wonder, my yearning to understand more and taste better, and my need to write and read things that make me think.

So, after five years of realising how little I know about wine, here’s to the people whose company matters to me: to Full Pour’s co-founder Chris, to wine writers who care about getting it right, to our readers who do me the honour of their time and attention, and to producers who respect both their product and their customers. I don’t know how things will look in five years’ time, but I hope to be accompanied by these excellent people as we, together, find out.

17 thoughts on “Five years of Full Pour

    • Thanks Stu! I really appreciate the kind words.

      I couldn’t resist linking to the Sandstone Cellars post. It amuses me to this day, although I’m sure emotions were running a bit high at the time. I was actually camping when Chris posted his article, and it was only a couple of days later that I came back into mobile range and saw my email going nuts with comments. One of the more colourful moments in Full Pour’s history. πŸ™‚

  1. Five years! And somehow I missed the Sandstone Cellars post… until now.

    Your blog is one of my favourites, not just on wine, but on any subject. Thank you for the letting us in on your wine experiences. One of the things that makes Full Pour enjoyable is the detailed and personal perspective offered. In recommending this blog to others I often tell them that even if they’re not so obsessed with wine, it’s worth reading just for the writing.

    I’m looking forward to continuing to read along.

    • What wonderful feedback, Keira — for a very public activity, publishing a Web site can feel like a veritable echo chamber at times, so it’s deeply meaningful to know that people are reading, and enjoying, the site.

  2. Well done for 5 years of consistently high standard and well written wine commentary. Like you it is extraordinary to see how things have changed in the online wine world, all the more so when you have seats and tickets to the show, by virtue of your own active involvement. Though I can feel myself looking for the exit, like you it is the wine and learning more that keeps me glued.

    • Lovely to hear from you Ed, and thank you so much for the kind comments.

      Yes, it feels like wine blogging has gone from somewhat clandestine to almost passΓ© over the past few years.

      I hope you find the motivation to keep doing what you do — I reckon Wino sapien has never been better. You are the wine blogger other wine bloggers wish they were. πŸ™‚


  3. Full Pour, Wino sapien and Winorama/The Wine Front were three of the main reasons I started my own site. Whether that’s a compliment of something you don’t wish to take credit for is up to each of you.

    Your comment on Full Pour’s readership and place reminds me of Brian Eno’s comment on The Velvet Underground:

    “only about 1,000 people ever bought a Velvet Underground album, but every one of them formed a rock ‘n’ roll band.”

    A sincere thank you is in order.

    • And a sincere thank you in return for your comment, JP. I’d be entirely happy for Full Pour to be considered the “wine blogger’s wine blog,” if that is indeed what it is. πŸ™‚ Either way, the credit for your site rests entirely with you.

  4. Perseverence and talent. That’s the ticket. All those mentioned above have plenty. Thanks for keeping on. Labour of love. Winosapien, Full Pour, WWEI etc. are more interesting than most of the ‘traditional’ wine media to me. Clearer perspective and more original, largely. Julian is a lovely bloke too.

    • That’s very kind of you, Gary. With all the sites that have come and gone over the past few years, I think we all deserve a little pat on the back for just being here, still.

      Things have a habit of cascading – just as Jeremy was perhaps cheered on by the existence of your site, mine and Ed’s, so my own start was significantly influenced by Winorama, which I found quite the most vibrant and exciting wine site at the time.

      Long live a diversity of wine writing!


      PS For those wondering, Gary is a lovely person too. πŸ™‚

    • I can confirm that Jeremy is lovely, thoughtful and deeply engaged in the manner of Camus (which he will probably hate hearing). Suspect that Ed, however, does mean things to kittens while no-one is looking. πŸ™‚

  5. I’d written my love letter to Full Pour, then pressed submit, and remembered that there is one bugbear – I’ve lost so many replies πŸ™

    But I digress – happy birthday Julian, and what he and she said above. It’s all remarkably true. The one point that I reflect upon from time to time that while there is plenty more bloggin’ and tweetin’ going on, my go to sources for good wine writing have not altered.

    I love the passion of my faves, as much as I love the moments when they falter, seem to lose hope, but overcome again. And yeah, Ed is still the uncrowned king, we’re in agreement there.

    One thing puzzles: what’s up with Chris? I recall the days of nearly alternating writing, I liked that.

    But cheers to you, it will be an 08 Sorrenberg gamay tonight in your honour.


    • Simon,

      I really must do something about this darned blogging software! Sorry about the lost replies. Thank you so much, though, for the very kind words. Faltering and losing hope seem to go with the territory of long term blogging, so I’m glad those moments provide pleasure too. πŸ™‚ I promise there will be more.

      Chris is well but has a travel and work schedule that makes blogging of this sort difficult, alas.

      I hope the Gamay is good! I have a bottle of it (can’t remember the vintage) at home that I must try one of these days…


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