"Love by the Glass" - Printable Version

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- Innkeeper - 12-31-2006 07:19 PM

I received this book by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, the wine writers for the Wall Street Journal, for Christmas. I’m a slow reader but breezed though all 316 pages in two sittings. It is a well written autobiographical book about love and wine as you might imagine. Together they bounced back between Miami and New York several times in their journalistic careers before ending up in their current position. As will happen in any well documented trip through two lives there is much to laugh and to cry about, and they do a good job in presenting this.

There are two points worth mentioning here, and one pertains to questions that come up around here frequently. They both had good position at the WSJ when the brass decided to come up with the weekly Weekend Edition which added a fourth section on Fridays. A good friend of theirs was named editor of this section, and she wanted them to do a wine column. With much reluctance they submitted a couple of draft ideas, and she summarily rejected them. This took some spunk, since she technically worked for John. She told them that people did not want to learn the genetic history of Zinfandel, but wanted to know what to pick up on the way home for dinner.

So they started with this format in early summer of ’00. It was a success from the getgo, and they immediately started getting fan mail, much of it saying things like “we found a bottle in grandma’s basement” or “we have a bottle that we received for our wedding 20 years ago.” Sound familiar? Well, they were getting into the August doldrums days at the Journal and they were trying to get away on vacation. So on August 20 they proposed an “Open That Bottle Night” for September 18th. They ran the 8/20 column giving excerpts from the letters they had received that gave rise to the idea, and left on vacation. They came home and opened one of their own long overdue bottles themselves. The next day they received a few letters. The following day it looked like the scene from “The Miracle on 34th Street” when they proved there was a Santa Clause with bags of mail sent to him. They received over 1,000 letters (not including email) on the subject. This was more mail than the WSJ had ever received on any other subject.

Afterward the big boss called them and asked them to quit their day jobs, and write the column full time (presumably at no cut in pay). They accepted and the rest is history. I love their column myself, as they tend to recommend things I like and can afford.

The second point to ponder, regards how they ended the book. Without spoiling it for you, I’ll just say that a significant event occurred in their lives involving one of their children. It was positive, not negative. It did cause them to admit that there was more to life than wine. And this is from a couple who make their livings writing about it.

Highly recommend this book to all who are interested in love and wine.

- hotwine - 12-31-2006 07:40 PM

I've enjoyed their column since the first. Don't think I've missed one yet. May have to get the book now, given IK's review.