It's just as important to keep your eye on what's behind you as what's in front of you. Profound wisdom from an existential truth-seeker? Or a simple thought from my high-school driver's ed teacher that still sticks with me today?
This is one of those times when the calendar signals a change in time and many reflect on the past year, or in this instance, perhaps the past decade. I caught myself writing a note to a friend yesterday, ending with see you again in 2010, startled a bit on how fast the past year and decade had gone.
In many respects we now know where we are in the wine world, after a whirlwind decade of exciting wines. Today I wonder if some of the wine excesses of recent years—riper, oakier, pricier wines in supersized bottles—have set the stage for the correction that many call the new normal and, hey, get used to it. One thing you can count on is change, even as it manifests itself in many different, unpredictable and unimaginative ways.
There are many ways to size up and dissect the major trends of the past decade (and your thoughts are welcome) and certainly the World Wide Web has been key to one of the main engines that drives the market: consumer education and enlightenment.
When I began writing an Internet column for WineSpectator.com in 1996, the term blog didn't really exist. At times it seemed as if I were writing into a vaguely defined cyberspace vacuum, and then slowly I met new readers, and longtime readers caught up. For wine lovers, the Internet is an essential venue for the dialogue and exchange of opinions among us, allowing (for the most part) a civilized discussion among hobbyists and professionals alike.
Two weeks ago I was in Mexico on vacation and after only 40 minutes on the ground and 10 in a rental car, I had my first traffic ticket in 30 years (and the first ever for allegedly running a red light; sure my driver's ed teacher would have been proud). I paid the Federale $40 for my freedom (he said it would only cost $20 if I came back the next day when the police station opened). Where was I going in such a hurry? Looking for a wine shop, just out of curiosity (and found a nice selection of Argentine and Chilean wines in a big-box store called Mega).
My thoughts today turn also to cleaning my offices, and I'm sure I'll find something more exciting to do than that. I always do. This time of year most of my colleagues take a break of sorts and then we'll return in the New Year. And for some of us, we will ask ourselves about our lives and the future and perhaps contemplate what else we might do with our lives and careers. And then most of us will decide that we'd rather be doing this more than anything else.
Enjoy the holidays. 'Tis the season of sharing, so share your best wines with your best friends. 2010 is just around the bend.