Defending Odedi (Randyjw; with corrections 04/28/2016)
As it happens in the internet world, one person’s expertise in one area might lead you to the discovery of interesting facets of another subject. So it is with writers for web sites and information researchers, as well as it is for purveyors of fine reading materials in leisurely pursuit.
Thus it was that hard-working Odedi, by happenstance, ran across my WordPress blogsite, NewsNotes1. He is a wine reviewer with an ever-expanding corpus of followers engaged in kind reparte’ about wine at his blog: https://winesipping.wordpress.com/, with the exception of one commenter, who chose to unsubscribe from his website.
Apparently, he does his homework beyond the expectations of any casual commenter about the subject. By proactively seeking out every little reference regarding wine that he can unearth, he uncovers new avenues and gleans additional information supportive of his knowledge base. That’s how he ran across my website, due to my mention of a charoset preparation for Passover I made utilizing Manischewitz Concord Grape wine.
And, I’m glad he did, because it gave me the opportunity to peruse his website in kind and to read several articles he had recently written about several white Californian wines he had sampled, and his reactions to the same. I found his reviews engaging, highly knowledgeable, and well-written, to the extent that I commented whether he had written professionally for wine magazines, and if he were not — at least yet, at this point in time — that he, indeed, should be doing so for the forseeable future.
Better still was the engaging commentary supplied by wine lovers, distributors, store owners and others, who lent his wine site an authoritative and approachable forum in which to communicate one’s passions and experiences, or lack thereof, in the subject.
Now, I’m not an oenophile, and I have no raging passion for wine: I actually can’t stand dry, white wines and decidedly reason to differ why anyone would prefer such a wine, over, say, a nice, Concord grape with plenty of sweetness and full-bodied, fruity flavor. However, I do recognize the passion for grape-growers, and all that entails.
I share, though not latently, an interest in that passion. I secretly admire the heritage of grape cultivation and the arboreal-horticultural similarities to the studies of botany, geology, soil and earth sciences, climatology, grafting, and other aspects that go into wine production that the end result must ostensibly cover. Equally interesting are the wine producers and their vineyards — their so called “stock”-in-trade.
Though I haven’t researched it, it stands out firmly that some, if not the earliest, mentions of grapes comes from the Holy Land, in Israel, found in the pages resident of the Old Testament, related as the foundation of the Jewish religion described within its pages therein. The fruit was so large, it required another to bear it between them, and the iconic image became emblazoned on all communique’s emanating from the Israeli Ministry of Tourism for such a long time, that, eventually, they have been changing the logo continuously over the past few decades.
Nazirs were ones who abstained from the grape products, and our King Solomon emoted poetical on the pleasures of its essences. The Psalms of King David and friends speak of the desire to be able to rest, each man, beneath his fig and his vine, without the need to war for our existence on earth. These first known odes to the grape originate among the Jewish tribes of Israel. The stuffed grape leave has long been a staple of Middle Eastern and Greek cuisine.
Wine-making goes back thousands of years in Israel. Huge vats and presses, as well as the amphorae, the vessels of clay made for the storage of other items, as well as clay seals and stamps, have been excavated from Israeli soil, attesting to the veracity of its thousands of years of production original to Israel.
Why anybody, especially in today’s day and age, would attack a wine reviewer for including numerous Israeli wines among his reports, is beyond me. Such a commenter showed up at Odedi’s “winesipping” website and proceeded to comment, rather vociferously, about Odedi’s lack of a personal biography attesting to his related credentials at the site. Another additional comment, seeming to require and, almost demand, it of him again was made. The commenter, traderbillonwine, seemed rather intimidating, to me. That is why I am writing this post about it. He also made his displeasure of his reportage on the many Israeli products at his site seem like an offense for taking a more prominent place among his listings than he felt was deserved.
Pardon me, Sir. Perhaps the Minnesota weather has had you snowed in for a time and you haven’t realized that Israel’s award-winning wines have taken top billing in international judging competitions worldwide, and that boutique wineries in Israel’s emerging new wine markets are gaining top prizes and are finding their way to tables in fine-dining establishments and into the dark holds of winecellars everywhere.
In fact, Israel saved France’s wine industry, as France saved Israel’s, long ago — or so I’ve been told. I don’t know. I only worked at a wine and liquor store for a few weeks as a subcontracted individual helping people with their carts, and occasionally leading people to their selections, or to added help from the store personnel more qualified to answer their inquiries. It did give me an opportunity to read the wine industry magazines in the lunchroom while on my breaks. I do notice the similarly-styled descriptions found in these trade sources matching the nuanced descriptions found in Odedi’s views. I don’t know why this one gentleman would take such offense, as such.
Perhaps he’ll blow it off as a blowhard commenter and let it pass, the steam of its negativity spiraling itself to nowhere. It’d be a good idea. As for me, I’m gonna do what I do, whether I do it “well” or otherwise; I am going to comment on its inappropriateness, as a seemingly thinly-veiled “stab” (to use a poor choice of words, but which carries its weight of significance well) on an individual who deals with Israeli products made from (*gasp!*) Israel.
The fact that he does or doesn’t post a personal biography with his personal details in it for the eyes of all, sane and insane, to see in a public space in no way refutes his abilities to continue to post his reviews online for the mass public to enjoy. That he can wrest the industry, much like Israel has done, away from its cartel-like vice around the industry might grate at the “fine sensibilities” of those who have tried to hold its closely-guarded secrets against the vest.
I do feel that opening it up, being more transparent, has actually revived an old-heritage institution. It might be time, Sir, for you to see the light… or the rose’… or the red… or the Syrah…