Today, well, sometime this week, this website will turn fourteen, according to my hazy calculations.
Happy fourteenth birthday Australian Wine Review!
What a distance from those beginnings it feels like now…
Way back in early May 2008, I was eager. Pumped. Writing about wine was what I wanted to do, and so there I was, churning endless mini notepads stuffed full of tasting notes, background info and stuff. I was channelling that passion – via my unintelligible handwriting – into reams of paper. So, finally, I went looking for a digital place to put my tasting notes and decided a blog would be the way forward. It solved a problem, but it served as an inspiration – blogging was cool, and I could see the potential.
A new digital world was dripping with opportunity!
Then, a year later, I had my first published article (I’m a real boy!), and the blog organically grew from there. People started commenting, the wine world was eager to talk about blogs (and Twitter! The tweetups of the early 2010s were epic), I went back to uni to do my Masters, and this website morphed into a constant in my life.
Over the years, Australian Wine Review (or ozwinereview if you like) became an outlet. I would (and still do) go home, open a few wines (and usually beer) and then start writing. It’s cathartic, fun, brain-flexing, non-work work, and has been for many years – especially when my wine/beverage day jobs have required a very different sort of penmanship…
Heck, I ran a website devoted to wines under $10 for a while there (where I polished many turds), which made coming home to talk about great wines feel like a life reset button.
In 2022, finding time for this website is much more complicated. There are three people in the Graham household now who don’t want to sit around watching me taste, and my ‘daytime’ projects are both more rewarding and more time-involving than ever. I can flex that writing muscle and get paid for it now, although freelance wine journalism pays so poorly (if you ever get paid. Don’t get me started) that it’s barely worth mentioning.
As a result, I find myself updating this site on the bus, in the middle of the night, or not at all.
Still, every time I sit down and start uploading into the dumb WordPress app, it feels right and good. Oh, and the wines and beers that underpin everything? They’re just as restorative.
To bring things back to Australian Wine Review, I need to say thanks.
Thanks, firstly, to my loving and patient partner (hi, Jime), who has endured me staring into my phone/computer over a glass of wine for years. To my extended family, thanks for leaving me a glass of wine in the bottle (mostly). Thanks to the proofreading friends who help when I write illegible things in the middle of the night (cheers Reags).
As the great Jeff Fenech said, I love youse all.
Thanks to all the winemakers, marketing managers, PR representatives, regional associations, wine show hosts and random wine people who help drive this site. You send me samples, invite me to dinners, fly me around the world and generally provide the oft-forgotten support that has helped this site kick on for fourteen years.
The final person I have to thank is you. The readers of this site are what drags me back to the keyboard every time. Your comments, donations (love your donations! Legends!), emails, letters and spammy Linkedin messages are endlessly great.
Actually, the Linkedin messages are mostly shit.
As ever, please say g’day (contact me here), and DMs are open. So now let’s all kick back, empty a glass of something delicious and cheers to another fourteen years of Australian Wine Review!
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