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-mémoire, 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.