Michael Bray

Wine Columnist Michael Bray

We covered a lot of ground together in 2017. I want to again thank you for engaging with my column. By design, it is meant to energize and educate. However, the real experience and growth comes from “speech and debate,” sharing your experience and opinion with others … and treating each encounter with a “beginners’ mind.” Without your feedback, I would not have had the opportunity for the personal growth I experienced — and for that I am truly grateful. To that end, I always close with my contact information and an open invitation to connect.

While I am not one for resolutions per say, I do have a ritual of creating a personal “road map” for the New Year. It can take weeks to unravel, and in it I get truthful and specific about what I want and who I will serve. Lucky for me (and you), wine is a major pillar on this map.

The wine industry is constantly learning, growing and doing! Since the mid-1990s global wine consumption has increased every year, except for 2008 and 2009. Yes, even wine was impacted by the financial crisis. With thousands of producers and farmers and from regions (terroir) as diverse as Macedonia, China, Italy, Uruguay and California — collectively producing over 10,000 varietals — there is much to explore in the world of wine!

So, what about wine do you want to explore and learn in 2018? Write it down and, better yet, email me (see below) and we will explore it together. This year, I am committed to answering your questions and only your questions. This will be your column, based on the feedback I receive.

While I wait to hear from you, I decided to check in with our region’s top wine advisors, to see what their goals are for the New Year.

Mark Callazzo, The Iron Room, Atlantic City

“Over the last few years I have been spending more of my wine drinking with lesser-known and more obscure grapes and styles. I was on an orange wine kick. I tried to see what regions could make wine as good as Napa and Bordeaux. What I came to realize is that Noble grapes and great regions are great for a reason. The wines are outstanding. For 2018 I plan on being a walking cliché and drinking more Napa Cabs, Barolos and Bordeaux.”

Joe Lautato, Café 2825, Atlantic City

“Our restaurant goal for 2018 is providing more Napa project wineries. These winemakers are not so mainstream but talented, such as Robert Foley, Tuck Beckstoffer, Helen Keplinger and Stanley Ranch. Great syrah, petite syrah, Grenache and blends from these winemakers. Getting away from the typical cab, Merlot and cab franc blends.

Cookie Till, Steve & Cookies, Margate City

“For some reason I can’t get Portugal off my mind … I would love to go this spring. Also, the Mediterranean Island of Corsica has a surprisingly interesting wine culture. I had a couple wines on my trip to Israel that I am looking to introduce to our list.”

Ryan Bray, Knife & Fork Inn, Atlantic City

“Our immediate goal for 2018 is to help Napa. With everything the families and wineries in this area have gone through, there is no better way to help them rebuild than to drink their wines. We are fortunate as the region produces world renowned wines like Sky Vineyards, White Rock Vineyards and Hunnicutt, to a name a few. Overall, we will continue to tell the stories of the World’s greatest wines.”

Well, I hope this piece has inspired you to think about your own wine goals and questions. I will await your email and look forward to the journey ahead.

Drink passionately,

Michael Bray

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