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WineInks first vintage

If this column were a wine, we would have just finished our first vintage and would be commencing work on the second.Yes, it has been a year since Bob Ward, the editor of The Aspen Times, gave me the opportunity to spend, oh lets call it an average of four hours or so a week, writing a wine column.For me, and hopefully for a reader or two, it has been a wonderful experience. In the past year we have learned more and more about wine and become even more and more curious about all of the infinitely alluring elements of the wine world. In that introductory column a year ago, I wrote that the concept of a butterfly flaps its wings and the whole world changes is truer in the world of wine than in perhaps any other endeavor.I had little idea of how true those words were.Over the last 52 weeks, the stories I have written have been about subjects as diverse as the dogs of wine country, the great universities where oenologists go to study, the mencia grapes of Bierzo, the screw-cap initiative, what goes on in Spring Mountain Vineyard during the month of May, why drinking wine can be beneficial to your health and, of course, about a number of fine wines, some expensive, some not so, but almost all tasty and well worth trying. That last sentence is just a sampling of how wide and diverse the world of wine is. It is nearly impossible to wrap ones arms, much less ones mind, around all the aspects of a life in wine.As a result of this column, I have attended the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers in Napa Valley, Calif., been a student at the Introductory Course for The Court of Master Sommeliers (I passed!) and have attended numerous tastings both here and in the California wine country. I know that these opportunities are simply the result of having a byline, but nonetheless, I have relished the chance to learn and taste and have, hopefully, reported back to you with appropriate objectivity.In the next year, I hope our mutual journey around the world of wine continues. In addition to all of the elements of geology and geography and terroir and different varieties of grapes and tasting techniques and wine making technologies and marketing schemes and and other important things about the wine industry, there are oodles of new regions and new stories that come up daily.Wines from Hungary, wines from China, the growth of biodynamic winemaking, the return of some winemakers to traditional field blends, the continuing controversy over bottle closures, the emergence of new AVAs in this country. These are all things that will be different a year from now than they are today, and in this space we will try to keep up with the changes.But, undoubtedly, the best part of having a wine column is the opportunity to meet and write about the people who make up the global community of wine. From fellow wine writers to sommeliers to winemakers, the people I have met over the past year, many of whom I will write about in future columns, are salt of the earth. They have pursued passions and are living lives in wine based on their chutzpah and desire to make, serve or write about something that speaks to each of them.Looking back again at that first WineInk column, I closed by saying I bring to this endeavor an enthusiasm for learning, a passion for tasting and a desire to impart some good words. In the ensuing weeks that enthusiasm has only been enhanced. That is, in large part, due to the wines I have been tasting and my still infantile but rapidly maturing ability to understand what is in a glass.In the coming months, I hope to taste more good wine and impart a few more good words. I hope that you, and The Aspen Times, will continue to indulge me. Shall we spill some more wine? Kelly J. Hayes lives in the soon-to-be designated appellation of Old Snowmass with his wife, Linda, and a black Lab named Vino. He can be reached at malibukj@wineink.com.


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