Sunday, January 31, 2010

A First for China and me: A Photo/Wine Tour

Looks like it's going to happen. And I'm getting very excited. I'll be leading a China Photo/Wine Tour September 5-16. By the way, there will be lots of selected culture sites too. First, take a look at just three of the wineries we will visit.
Are these anything like the Chinese Wineries you imagined?
Oh, you didn't know that the Chinese did wine. Yes, they do. China has more vineyard acreage than the United States and South Africa combined and produces more wine than Germany.
Let me know what you think of these wineries. And check out the winemakers.

Chateau Changyu AFIP winery in Beijing area.

Chateau Junding in Shandong Province.

Chateau Huadong-Parry in Shandong Province. That's the beautiful coastal city of Qingdao, beer capitol of China, in the background.

And check out these winemakers we will meet. Does this clash with your imagination of a Chinese winemaker?

Ruan Shilli, winemaker and vineyard manager standing on the castle wall three floors up at Changyu AFIP. (For your first Chinese lesson: the Chinese put the last name first.)

Xia Gloria, winemaker at Huadong Parry in Shandong Province.

Since harvest happens during our trip, we will opportunities to meet vineyard workers. For the dentists that join our trip, China could be a big market. Many workers I've photographed have teeth that probably have never seen a dentist's drill.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Google is more of a man than I

When I first heard the news, I twinged of guilt.

More than likely you heard that today Google threatened to pull out of China. Apparently someone in China compromised Google's system and targeted malware attacks on some gmail account holders–who just happened to be activists against the Chinese government. Obviously the main suspect, the Chinese government's heavy hand.

As the story unfolded, it brought memories of my own internet adventures in China.

For me, Beijing was no problem internet wise. I wasn't Googling or Baiduing (verbasizeation of the Chinese version of Google) "Tibet" or "free speech" and the country's anniversary celebration was still
several weeks away. But at Grace Winery in Shanxi Province, I went to make my nightly call to my wife through Skype. Surprise. On the screen appeared the dreaded "you have been redirected" to no where message. I tired again. And again. Apparently The Government doesn't always care for the freedom Skype offers.

But heck, I just wanted to talk with my wife. Now I'm not a computer wiz. So it took me several hours to figure out how to get around the block. Too late to talk with my wife that night; so I looked at dozens of blogs reporting the same blocked Skype problem I had.

Late that night, the horns of dilemma gored me.

I started to post how I circumnavigated the Skype block. Then a bucket full of cold reality splashed me. Here I was in China trying to establish relationships with wineries. And these wineries were either totally or mostly owned by the Chinese government. Obviously, they could read everything I posted.

I caved. I didn't post. I could have helped lots of people. But I kept justifying, "if I posted, the government would know the trick and me."

Now a couple of months later, hearing the Google news I feel twinges of guilt. Google didn't cave. With its actions today, Google is more of a man than I.

Part of a sculpture in the Forbidden City, Bejing, China.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How Wine Spectator made a photographer feel better

Without Kitri McGuire, Marketing Communications Director at Sokol Blosser Winery, I would never have known.

Wine Spectator magazine voted my latest book "One of the Best New Reads for wine lovers". Surprise, a photography book voted as a Best Read. I guess a picture is worth eight thousand well-crafted words after all. Makes me feel better about being a lowly photographer.

This is a revised blog. Wine Spectator suggested that if I wanted to continue working with them–which I do, I take down the entire reprint I had on this blog. Here is a small clip and link to their site. You will need to be a member to read the entire article. Sorry.

Oregon: The Taste of Wine
 by Jānis Miglavs, with an introduction by Jim Bernau (Graphic Arts Books, 128 pages, $24.95)

Travel photographer J¯anis Miglavs definitely has an eye for something other than typical vineyard and winery shots. - Harvey Steiman