Sunday, October 31, 2010
So 40 years after my college Mogan David period, I'm writing about Chinese wine. Check out pages 79-83 of Wine Spectator's latest issue (Oct 31) to see the Chinese winery story I did–writing and photography. Who knows, in another 40 years I might be ready to do an article on Myanmar or Ethiopian wine.
Regardless, the article's China wine facts, culture, personalities and predictions of the future will surprise (at least entertain) even hard-core Asian wine lovers. After all, I personally drank a boatload of wine in China as background research.
(A quick thank you shout to Thomas Matthews for long-term faith and Mitch Frank for gentile editing.)
Sorry, the WS magazine folks would frown if I posted the entire article here. So if you don't want to spring for a copy, head to your local bookstore magazine rack. Or you can swing by the studio here to read it while looking out the window at our neighbors' vineyards. Just bring a bottle of blackberry wine.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I've done a layout with the title as a sample, but those PDF cover photos are dull.
Need your help with the cover. Which would you choose? Why?
(Note that the numbers and titles are below the photo.)
Photo #1 Morning light on Five Mountain Vineyard and Mt Hood
Photo #2 Sun streaks on Red Hills Vineyard
Photo #3 Breaking storm at Sunset
Photo #4 Morning light after storm on Red Hills vineyards
Photo #5 Sunset over vineyard
Photo #6 Stormy light on Napa vineyard
Photo #7 Sunrise after storm Napa vineyard
Photo #8 Foggy sunrise over Red Hills vineyards.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
When I travel to China, I don't want to be responsible for quarantining the entire airplane for 7 days. But the nice shot lady didn't even give me a band aid with pictures on it.
Monday, October 25, 2010
While working on my Masters degree in drawing and painting, often we would strengthen our ability to see by closing our eyes and drawing while touching the subject, or drawing models without looking down at our paper. With practice and trust, amazing results happened.
Now, after some 30 years as a pro photog, I find myself doing two different kinds of photography: 1) documenting the subject 2) looking for the magic in the subject. There's a world of difference. Zillions of photographs cluter our planet. Only a small percentage have magic.
What do you think? Would you see more with a pencil than a camera?
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
That's why, when Zhang Bishi decided to build his own winery–which he called Changyu Winery–in Yantai in 1892, he found only a few edible grapes in China. So he first brought 2,000 plants from the United States, but few bore fruit and were not sweet enough. Then half of those vines rotted before harvest. Being persistent fellow and a Chinese ambassador to other countries, he bought 640,000 more from Europe. Unfortunately these plants too found difficulty growing in China, with only 20 to 30% of them surviving.
Changyu's first winemakers. Check out the foreign influence.
In order to save his venture, Zhang Bishi brought back wild plants from northeast China that produced a bitter fruit but were hardy. They were grafted to the foreign vines and planted in the Shandong Province vineyards. The new vines survived, granting fruit rich in sugar with good color and were insect, disease, and cold resistant.This is the main Changyu winery's huge factory-like facility.
Each of these Changyu factory winery fermenting tanks holds enough wine to fill a Southern California swimming pool.
All day long this beautiful Chinese woman imprints the Changyu logo on corks. My Chinese was not good enough to ask her if she counted her work.
Chinese wine security is tight in the Changyu cellar. These guys look as if they traveled the 2000-year Chinese time warp from the Han Dynasty. But they aren't as stoic as the British Royal Palace guards as I could get these Chinese guys to crack a smile. Just in case you were wondering, they are not allowed to drink on the job.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
If you were Noah, you would plant a vineyard and become a winemaker. Why? That Bible story in Genesis 9 always amazed me. I picture a waterlogged earth covered with flood mud much as the Willamette Valley was covered with silt brought down from Montana and Washington by the Missoula floods some 40,000 years ago. Then I picture this old bearded guy–some 600 years old–with the foresight to have taken grape cuttings with him on the boat, stepping off the arc into the gooey flood mud to plant a vineyard. What are the priorities here?
Then Noah's after-the-flood vineyard story continues as a drunken affair where he curses one of his sons–Canaan–to become a slave, affecting the rest of human history. Now that's a vineyard story that's hard to match.
So why do vineyards and wine take on so much importance in Biblical history? Any ideas as to what varietal Noah planted?