Memorable Wine Stories Recalled Over 500 Grapevine Columns

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Nick Antonaccio
Nick Antonaccio

Life can present us with opportunities at unanticipated moments and under unanticipated circumstances. So it is that I came to write the “You Heard it Through the Grapevine” column for the Examiner group of newspapers.

A chance conversation with publisher Adam Stone at a gathering in the summer of 2007 gave rise to my column in his start-up weekly newspaper. From its initial edition of 2,000 copies, the Examiner Media group has grown to a chain of four editions, with a combined circulation of 25,000 copies and about 70,000 readers each week.

This week’s column is a milestone for me: it marks my 500th column.

Many thanks for your support and the support of Stone and Martin Wilbur (editor-in-chief) for these rewarding years. I hope you have enjoyed reading these columns as much as I have enjoyed creating them. It has truly been a labor of love, as I draw my inspiration from each of you.

Consumed with nostalgia and fond memories of the past nine-plus years, I thought I would mark this occasion with a brief retrospective of my body of work to date. Thanks to reader support, I have been inspired to write columns on numerous topics that I hope provide a modicum of insight and/or education as you walk the virtual vineyard trails of the wine world.

  1. From Wine 101 Through a Ph.D. Dissertation Defense. In addition to the science of winemaking – terroir, biodynamics, wine glass size and shape and the health benefits of polyphenols – I have also spent a considerable effort on the “art of wine.” From lessons on food and wine pairings, to the prop er way to smell and taste wines, to nuanced guidance on honing one’s appreciation of the nectar of the gods, I hope you have gained a more sophisticated palate.

In addition, I’d like to believe that you are drinking new and different wines since you have been reading this column. Numerous columns have presented alternatives to the tried and true, including wines produced from grapes you may never have heard of before perusing this column. A glass of Albarino anyone? Hopefully the overly complex world of wine has been somewhat demystified for you.

  1. Virtual Tours. Oh, the places we’ve been! From our backyard in the Hudson Valley and Long Island to an exhaustive 13-part series in Spain, with side trips to France, Italy, Austria, South Africa, Chile, California, Oregon and Washington. Each trip was presented as a travelogue, tooling around the countryside in a supercharged Ford Mustang or wearing out shoe leather along vineyard trails – always with the intent of capturing the essence of the locale.
  2. The Provocative and the Scandalous. The French provided vast amounts of fodder for the darker side of wine. Do you remember French rabbits that feasted on grapevines, wiping out wines to pair with hare stew? Or billionaire Bill Koch being duped into spending millions on counterfeit French wines from prestigious auction houses? Koch’s purchase of counterfeit wines also created fodder to report on convicted independent counterfeiter to the stars, Rudy Kurniawa, and a documentary following his nefarious exploits.
  3. Not-your-typical Wine Pairings. These were fun columns. Pairing wine with Oscar-nominated best pictures, Super Bowls, the Tour de France, soccer World Cup teams and major music genres.
  4. Emerging Trends. From the global to the hyperlocal, each trend was accompanied by wine recommendations from the many wine shops to which I am eternally indebted for matching bottles to concepts. Beginning with the impact of the Great Recession (higher quality wines at lower prices), then moving on to the world class offerings of today’s value-priced wines from nearly every wine-producing region (including all 50 American states).

I look forward to enlightening and entertaining readers in my travels on the local roads and establishments, responding to the greeting “Aren’t you the wine guy?” as I happily pen future columns.

Nick Antonaccio is a 40-year Pleasantville resident. For over 20 years he has conducted wine tastings and lectures. Nick is a member of the Wine Media Guild of wine writers. He also offers personalized wine tastings and wine travel services. Nick’s credo: continuous experimenting results in instinctive behavior. You can reach him at or on Twitter @sharingwine.




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