Health weirdness (aka getting older sucks), day jobs, and how a thing called #winestudio kept me sane & in the game

Hey there, readers. If you follow me on social media you know I’m alive and well, but blog subscribers may be wondering where on earth I went for the better part of a year.

Well, let me tell you (or rather, let me overshare). Not only was my day job a bit more demanding last year thanks to a couple of time-consuming copyright cases (I work at an entertainment law firm), but I got my first sober reminder that we’re all mortal and sometimes things go sideways.

It started with a ruptured disc in my neck (which is every bit as fun as it sounds) and ended–almost literally!–with an asymptomatic, out-of-the-blue blood pressure reading of 280/160. If you want to see a room full of medical personnel spring into action REALLY fast, getting a reading like that will do it. Long story very short: after two days in ICU and every test under the sun, it turns out I have the (unlucky) genetics for high blood pressure, but everything else is pretty much fine and dandy–which was actually a very good thing to find out! The BP is under control with meds, and life is now going on as mostly normal.  Needless to say, my extracurricular pursuits (i.e., writing) were backburnered for a bit.

But I’m back, baby.

And getting back has been made much easier by something you’ll hear a lot more about in the coming couple of months as I do some catch-up on blog posts. About the time things started to get crazy, I found my way into a wine education group on Twitter that holds weekly seminars using the hashtag #winestudio. This is a project started by Tina Morey, “a wine education and grassroots marketing program” whose “message is interactive wine education, thus a better understanding of our world through wine and our part in that world.”

winestudioTina is a hero and a genius. She works with producers (domestic and international) in a way that combines marketing and wine education into a program that is (1) really fun, and (2) legitimately educational, and in a way that maintains integrity–she has a knack for finding wines for the group that are of impressive quality, so the group’s enthusiasm for the wines we talk about is authentic. That kind of authenticity is really important to me, and I have had more fun discovering regions and varieties that are brand new to me–and probably new to you, too.  So I’ll be telling you all about those in subsequent posts.

I know Tina is currently restructuring winestudio and some of its objectives, and I know whatever changes she comes up with are sure to be exciting. I can’t wait to follow along.

I’ll showcase the wines and regions we’ve covered over the past several months, and also will be catching you all up on some fun small producers in the Paso Robles area, as well as updates on my favorite Lodi winemakers. Lodi remains one of the most exciting wine regions in the country, and continues to produce amazing quality for value. I’m feeling a whole lot of “I told you so!” lately; if you’re not seeking out these wines already, you owe it to yourself to do so.

One thing I have kept going over the last year is continued work on my Year in the Life of Wine project; I have a veritable MOUNTAIN of images I’m working into the “year in the life” narrative and will start sharing those soon.  My work on that continues into the foreseeable future, and I’ll be writing about that as well.

Finally, I’m aiming for an official announcement in early June, but watch this space for the launch of my Wilderness & Wine Tours, which will combine nature photography and wine education into weekend excursions. I’ve been combining the two for years in my own travels, and it’s a wonderfully synergistic way to discover the wines and natural beauty of so many great locations. I’ll be offering tours in Paso Robles with photography along the gorgeous central coast and coastal hills; southern Oregon with photography along the scenic beaches with private wine tastings in the Applegate Valley region; Mendocino and Sonoma Coast wines with photography in the stately redwood forests; and Texas wines during bluebonnet season, with lots of wildflower photography in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. And those are just the first few! You’ll be hearing more about this as I continue to scout locations and launch the website for the tours, and I hope some of you will sign up and join me on the road!

Things may have been quiet here for a while, but I’ve been working on some pretty fun things behind the scenes and I can’t wait to share them with you.

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