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Good Grape Goes on Hiatus

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” said a very wise John Lennon and that’s exactly what has happened with me.  My life has kept apace, even as I’ve made plans to be a respected wine writer.

By most standards, 2011 has been a very good year.  I was a three-time finalist in the Wine Blog Awards, earning notice in the Best Overall Wine Blog, Best Industry Blog and Best Writing categories.  I started contributing a wine column to Forbes.com.  This site was named the 2nd most influential blog (and most influential wine blog) out of 4,000 blogs in a 2011 Wine, Beer and Spirits study by eCairn, a software company specializing in community and influencer marketing.  I was a panelist at Vino2011 in New York City, I won a scholarship to the Wine Writer’s Symposium in Napa Valley, and I turned down enough worldwide wine trip offers to fill a two-month calendar.

Yet, wine writing has exacted a toll.  I approach anything I do with a zeal and fervor that ensures me the success that I want and I’ve treated my wine writing as a full-time second job, to go alongside the job that I already have that requires 50 + hours a week.

Balance isn’t something that I’ve ever been very good at—possessed of an unassuming mien, a Midwestern work ethic, and a mental make-up whereby I cast myself as the underdog means that I am continually trying to prove something to myself, often times at the expense of real, true priorities.

Even more challenging is the fact that my standards for myself have been raised even as I’ve honed my writing chops.  Instead of figuring out a system to find time shortcuts, the amount of time it takes for me to write has become more deliberate and expansive while my interest in writing has become more professional in nature – less blogging and more credible journalism requiring more work to exceed the bar that I’ve set for myself.

The net result of this, after full-time job plus wine writing, is the rest of my life has received scant attention for nearly seven years and I’ve created a nearly untenable situation for myself, a set of internal expectations that I can’t live up to, requiring a time commitment that I can’t manage.

However, most importantly, the expectations and time commitments that I have assigned to my wine writing isn’t fair to the other people in my life – notably, my incredibly supportive wife, Lindsay.  She has been a saint the past six years, my blogging encompassing nearly the entire duration of our 6.5 year marriage.  But, she is long overdue a husband that takes the trash out without prompting!

I’ll be around the Internets – commenting on wine blogs, doing the Twitter thing, staying connected on Facebook and I’ll probably start engaging more actively on CellarTracker and on the WineBerserkers message board, but I’m taking a hiatus from wine writing to recalibrate, shifting my time to the things that are the most important to me:  Family and career.

Jeff



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Posted in, Good Grape Daily: Pomace & Lees. Permalink | Comments (45) |


Comments

On 12/06, Tom Wark wrote:

Wow….

...Nothing like seeing someone muster the courage to do the right thing. Congrats, Jeff. Well done.

However, the loss of this wine blog leave a gaping hole in the world of #wine-#Blogging-#smart.

Stay in touch!

On 12/06, Renee wrote:

Jeff,
I have enjoyed your blog for the past year and it will be missed.  However just like Tom said, it takes courage to do the right thing and I applaud you!  Good luck with your new freedom and whatever the future brings!

On 12/06, Yossie's Corkboard wrote:

Wow - sorry to lose the daily insights and many a time profound analysis but clearly the right thing to do. Realizing what’s truly important in life and making sure you have the right time and resources for it takes precedent over all else.  Good luck and god speed!

On 12/06, Jason wrote:

Jeff,

I grapple with many of the same issues you denoted (right down to the Midwestern work ethic) that have led me to take some extended breaks.  I’m sure you don’t need anyone to tell you that you are doing the right thing so I won’t.  You’ll be missed here but we’ll be seeing you around.

Best,
Jason

On 12/06, Howard wrote:

Jeff,

It’s sad to see you go. You have indeed been a great literate voice with insight and balanced opinion in a whacky blogging world. My very best wishes.
Howard

On 12/06, Adam Japko wrote:

Jeff,

Who could ever question your time commitment when your work is so clearly a product of its intensity.  You can take a pause with a sigh of super accomplishment.  You hit it out of the park….not something everyone gets to do in their lives.  Will miss your missives, but have a hunch you will be back again.

Good luck with next steps and stay in touch.

Adam

On 12/06, EVO wrote:

I can only imagine how tough it is Jeff.
Best of luck getting it all in order and hopefully we’ll see you around.

EVO

On 12/06, Jo Diaz wrote:

Good luck with your life, Jeff. You’re great at what you do, and being a family man and dad (along with being that supportive husband) is going to be your best yet creation.

Have fun commenting on what the rest of us are writing. It doesn’t (usually) take as much time and attention.

My greatest joys in life are my husband, children, and grandchildren… writing is what I do in my spare time. So will you, some day,  fill your life with these greatest next generation joys. Go get the rest important stuff done, and it’s been a joy and inspiration interfacing with you!

On 12/06, Melissa Dobson wrote:

I admire your life decision, Jeff. Professionally, I have learned much via GoodGrape and will miss your content. Personally, I’m lucky to have you as a friend and wish you every happiness.

On 12/06, Jim Caudill wrote:

Perspective is everything, and yours seems right on.  Best of luck and great good wishes.  We’ll all be here with a ready glass if and when you would like to hoist one.

On 12/06, Blake Gray wrote:

I like to look on the bright side of things. Next year’s wine awards look easier to win now!

I’ll miss your writing, but your perspective is smart. Life matters most.

Cheers,
Blake

On 12/06, Sam Folsom wrote:

I’ve enjoyed your wine writing very much and will miss your thoughtful pieces, but I admire your decision. Best wishes!

On 12/06, Julie Ann Kodmur wrote:

Jeff: ‘bon voyage’ as you sail (not too far away) on! My colleagues above have touched on the key points, left for me only to continue to congratulate you on the great work you’ve done and know that we’ll be in touch in the future!

On 12/06, Jim Kimmel wrote:

You have been a good friend the last few years. I assume we will still have you to reach out to and get advice on attaining the balance needed in life. Very happy for you.

On 12/06, Kovas @ 50 States Of Wine wrote:

It’s been great reading you - always good to see people work to get balance into their lives. Good luck!

On 12/06, Antonia Muir wrote:

All the best Jeff, have always enjoyed reading your blog and your candid insightful posts. Take care and look forward to seeing you around the interwebs.  Take care and happy holidays!

On 12/06, Jason Kallsen wrote:

Good for you, Jeff!!  A decision like this is not easy, especially with the hours you’ve put into a great website—one of the best in the business.  But even with all the work you’ve done already, I’d put a big bet on the table that the next couple months will be a period of even more personal growth.

Congrats on having the guts to do what you’re doing.

On 12/06, Dan wrote:

Jeff -

You are and have been an inspiration. Your perspective on life balance truly resonates with me and apparently many other folks in the biz. I am glad I had the opportunity to become friends with you and hope now we have more time to keep in touch. And you are still young so enjoy the many memorable moments with your wife and family. Take care and talk to you soon!

On 12/06, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Jeff,

You’re clearly going to be missed, as evident from the posts above; however, for those of us who get to see you often, we’re excited for your new journey and couldn’t be happier for you!  Cheers!  -L & R

On 12/06, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Jeff,

    I will also miss your blog - it has been my favorite internet wine blog for some time now.  I respect your decision and wish you good things in the future. 

Cheers

Gabriel

On 12/07, Lindsay Ronga wrote:

Wow, that is the sweetest thing. We’ll miss you of course. Yet so entirely profound to prioritize and end your post like that. Thank you for sharing something so personal.

On 12/07, Thomas Pellechia wrote:

Jeff,

I won’t miss you, because we will keep in touch the old-fashioned way, won’t we?

What this does to the wine blogging world—well, that’s another issue entirely.

Your friend,
Thomas

On 12/07, Graham Strong wrote:

While every blogger makes the conscious decision to start blogging, few make the decision to stop—their blogs just fade away (I’ve been guilty of this too in the past).

Make no mistake, you will be missed. But kudos for actually being honest with yourself and making that decision.

Good luck Jeff.

~Graham

On 12/07, Jason wrote:

I think I am following the same path you are, albeit 6 years behind. All the best in your next endeavour!

On 12/07, 1WineDude wrote:

:-(

On 12/07, Jeff wrote:

To one and all,

Thank you very much for the kind words, the thoughts and the well wishes.  It’s truly appreciated.

Thanks go to all of you for reading over the years if even sporadically, or more frequently (Thomas - you the man!).

Never goodbye.  It’s til I see you again.

Jeff

On 12/08, Fred wrote:

Jeff, you’ve made a dent in the universe—our small slice of it, anyway—and we are richer for it. Thank you for all the research you’ve done, the thoughtful analyses you’ve provided, and your steadfast sense of community. I hope to catch you in other venues.  F.

On 12/08, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Jeff

I was catching up omy blog reading during my last night of a Japan trip.  I am delighted I was able to enjoy your blog and look forward to enjoying your writing in the future.  Good luck and Happy Holidays.

Ranndy Kellogg

On 12/08, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Please leave the blog up. There is a lot of good info here.

On 12/08, Ron Washam, HMW wrote:

Hi Jeff,

Welcome to the Retired Poodles Association! Your RPA dues are waived your first year. Nice to have you with us.

I walked away about 18 months ago, and I still think about returning. But it is grueling work, especially the way you went about it, professionally and articulately.

And much wiser to leave, than to be left.

I’m just sore I never wrote my parody of your blog, “Goofy Grape.” But add me to the list of people who find your departure understandable but sad. You are one of the talented ones.

Best of Luck,
Ron

On 12/08, Alder wrote:

Jeff,

Enjoy the freedom now that you’ve thrown the shackles.

Hope to see you soon, online, or elsewhere.

On 12/09, Hardy Wallace wrote:

To a job well done! 

You’ve been the benchmark for wineblogs and an inspiration.

All the best!
Hardy

On 12/09, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Jeff, you know I’ve been a fan for several of those 6.5 years. Kudos to you for having your priorities straight (another admirable Midwestern trait) and the courage to support them. Perhaps your relationship with wine writing will evolve in a way that isn’t yet clear, but as so many have said here, your “real life” is everything. Looking forward to you besting the Hosemaster in quips from the peanut gallery!
Best wishes, Mia

On 12/10, Ed Thralls wrote:

Good Luck, Jeff!

On 12/14, jayne wrote:

Jeff,
We will miss your great insights via the good grape, but wish you the absolute best! And I’m sure we’ll see you around.
Best,
Jayne at V&T

On 12/15, Evan Dawson wrote:

Jeff -

Just wanted you to know that I’ve been thinking about you and your decision, and it leaves a mark in many ways. Obviously it’s a huge loss for the blogging community. Also, it has caused me (and certainly others) to ask the same kind of questions you’ve been asking. I applaud you, and I admire you, and I’m proud to call you a friend. You have carved out a sterling resume, and we’re all wiser from it. See you soon, I hope.

On 12/17, chris wrote:

Good fruit comes from a balanced life and vine. 

Thank you for your wise words, they will not be forgotten.

On 12/22, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

go for it!

On 01/01, Darby from Vinodiversity wrote:

Blogging is a treadmill that is hard to get off. Unfortunately you build your content serially, rather than cumulatively.  The richness of your content slips into archives rather than creating a framework for a long lasting resource.

We all hope a refreshed good grape will remerge in some form or other. In the meantime have a rest recharge and enjoy the bigger picture.

On 01/07, Goblets and More wrote:

I follow you on twitter and really enjoy your writing skills. Working two jobs can really take away from your enjoyment of life. So live for the moment! life is to short to wast any time that you truely value. It’s Like George Harrison said, it all swings on what you value in your motor car!

On 01/07, WineDineDivas wrote:

We will miss your inspiring posts Jeff, and wish you a fulfilled and happy life with your family.
Cheers:)
Judit & Corina

On 01/22, Kenneth wrote:

You have a wonderful balance in life with your family.  Inspiring. Kenneth Gibbons LLC

On 02/10, Sunshine Mountain Valley Vineyard wrote:

This blog has been really great for us wine enthusiast! Hope you still do a couple of articles about your wine encounters in the near future! Kudos to you sir!

On 02/12, Wine'dUp Matthew wrote:

I totally feel for you Jeff; balance is sometime very hard to attain and is possibly the most important concept in life. I too write my wine blog in my off time while working a full-time 50 hour a week job. I’m also studying to be a CPA and own another business. I pretty much have dropped down to having 1 friend, because I only have time for one. My hobbies and passions take too much time. Wine writing is something we do for joy, and we all forget sometimes to give ourselves time for the rest of our priorities. I’ve been following you on twitter for a while and glad to see you are still active there, best wishes!

On 11/30, Eric wrote:

Man, I just want to commend you on choosing your wife and family, over money and notoriety. I know it can’t be hard, but you have your priorities in order.

Best of luck,

Cheers!


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