September 2015
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Month September 2015

The Written and Video Word of Wine – James Melendez / James the Wine Guy

The Written Word to Video in the wine world reminds me that it is just like the subject itself complex.  Complex because wine no matter how much it is talked about is still a complex subject due to many variables.  Being a wine writer and videographer is needing to be in both camps.  The metrics I look at have demonstrated that both medias of the written blog and video and even mixing them up still have different audiences.  There are those in my audiences that prefer the spoken and visualized experience versus the written word.  I think the written word is about uncovering more details and sometimes this audience member seeks all media types.


I have devoted considerable time to both medias and have not found one which has an overwhelming audience instead it is both.  When I am overweighted in one media I am missing another audience.  Now if I only had the time to do that much content creation and output I would be excited–who isn’t hoping for a lotto winning?  I am.  It is hard to do both especially if your paid life is another industry where do you come up with the time to do both video and written pieces?  

I have part of my audience who thinks I have this amazing life and that all I do is drink wine, eat amazing food, travel and that is it.  I do remind those people that I still work in addition to writing and creating videos.  While I have experienced great food and wine, amazing dinner and sojourns the amount of work required is considerable.  Please don’t read into this that I am complaining.  If I was complaining I wouldn’t do it.  I do love the art and science of wine and love to talk about it.  Sometimes it is important to give behind the scenes details.  I know many people who are video creators or wine writers say something similar to finding enough time to do quality work.  


Since I have a great love for wine and video I attend VidCon and in doing so I still advocate for this media and wine.  I find comfort and excitement to develop my love for video and what I do can be expressed in the 24 frames per second format.  It is dynamic and sometimes what is communicate is more than the sum of it’s parts–that is the dynamic of video.  When I attend VidCon I find that my experience is similar to many YouTubers as it relates to expectation and performance of video.  What I hope to be successful in terms of clicks is rarely the case and that which I expect a small interest of clicks to be more successful.  Here are two video examples:

Schott Zwiesel Pure Collection – 9.5 – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

I never expected this video to get to over 3,800 clicks—my number one video in the wine world in general this is a rarity–I thought for certain it would have been a specific wine and not the vessel from which to drink.  While I would have expected a well known wine to be my number one wine subject matter video; here are some simple thoughts on this videos success: well known brand, a desire to hear about wine and wine glasses and a short format with a rating.

Also, the slow performers are those that I took a risk in doing–risks sometimes don’t pay off.

This video on bitters shows low performance but it is not without trying do you understand.  Many of my fellow YouTubers do make videos to expand horizons and possibilities.  It is risk to do the same thing as it is to try new things..  

The Beverage Arts: Drinks Bitters – Episode #1888 – James Melendez

I have experience with technology videos on my technology channel and those though are much fewer my number one video was I guess I could say ‘not by plan’ but a need that was out in the YouTube audience that needed a solution to a problem.

As much as I pontificate about wine and video I still believe there is room for a greater audience development.  I am continuing to be a brand who believes it’s there to be developed further.   I am also trying to add many more written pieces like this one to my authorship of being James the Wine Guy.  Stay tune for many more to come!


Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2015 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

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Hybrids and Other Vitis Species – A Struggle for Me – James Melendez


I have struggled with the topic of Hybrid grapes for sometime.  I didn’t think it fair that I dismiss this wine grape category summarily.  But on another hand I haven’t found a producer or even a variety that I loved let alone liked.  I was concerned that if I liked hybrids my view of pure play Vitis vinifera would be in question.  But I have thought through the subject carefully and I now feel comfortable to talk about this with some learning and education and experience.  

I can say that I have tried other wine grape species like Vitis aestivalis and Vitis labrusca and cannot say that I do not care for these wine grape species–depending on the grape–foxy certainly is an accurate description and in other wine grapes can be too linear and even too heavy.  Speaking of foxy flavour characteristics–I have been asked what that taste like.  I’d say-it’s as if a fox’s tail had dipped into a vat of wine–the foxy flavour can live on for an annoying long period of time.

I remember I was at a dinner in Italy one time and I was so looking forward to dessert and the dessert wine until I tasted it.  Full on foxy-sweetness; one sip I looked at my dinner companions and we knew no Vitis vinifera were harmed in the making of this wine.  I asked those around if they knew the grape utilised in the wine–had to be something I had never tasted before Vitis rotundifolia maybe?  I felt the need to brush my teeth and tongue.  

The past two years I have spent in wine countries where there are population of hybrid wine grapes: Quebec, Ontario, Okanagan Valley, and Finger Lakes.  My first experience with hybrids several years back and I recall thinking them un-remarkable or if there is something else available–namely Vitis vinifera I would prefer that.  I was in Quebec in May of the year (2015) and tasted several producer from the province where there were hybrid varieties blended with Vitis vinifera grapes and it was at this point I thought these were successful wines.  The hybrid to vinifera grapes were in support.  Hybrid varieties for me don’t tend to  have a long finish–it can be a bit too brief for my liking. Vitis vinifera were not just a back up partner to the hybrids but accentuated for a fuller experience on tongue and scent.  

One of my favourite wines tasted in Montreal was Solinou, Domaine Les Pervenches which is a combination and a very interesting red/white blend: Frontenac, Chardonnnay, Zweigelt, and Pinot Noir (I not know the breakdown of varieties).  I think the play with Vitis vinifera and a hybrid made a very unique and compelling wine.  So nicely pairing with the glorious food I ordered at my favourite wine bar in Montreal Pullman.

I also tasted a pure play hybrid wine that I thought was successful by producer Vignoble d’Oka Mystère Rouge 2013 a blend of Frontenac 60% and Sabrevois 40% which are more highly regarded Hybrids–this was not a gamey or foxy wine but a much ore fruit forward wine that I enjoyed.  I imagined pairing this with a fine plate of charcuterie.  I was glad to see this being poured at the Vino Volo at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Aéroports de Montréal.

I was just in Finger Lakes which still has a large number of Hybrids and I tasted a number–I didn’t dislike but I didn’t fall in love with any particular hybrid grape, wine or producer.  But I have to point out that while I was in the Fingers Lakes the majority of wines available for tasting were Vitis vinifera – a bit more difficult to find the hybrids.

My friend Todd Tzarkos is a winemaker and blogger that I first met at the Virginia Wine Bloggers Conference several years ago.  I had the privilege of seeing Todd at the Wine Bloggers Conference latest edition in Corning, New York this past August.  And each time he comes to a WBC he is the Ambassador for All Things Vermont – wine, beer, and cider.

Todd is holding Lincoln Peak Limestone White Wine Vermont 2014 – this wine is a blend of Frontenac Blanc and LaCrescent.


Todd also brought his own wine–he calls it North Country Ferments Arctic White Blend 2013 which is a blend of Adelmiina, St. Pepin, Aromella, Petite Amie, and LaCresent, The only grape I had ever tasted before in this blend was LaCrescent.  I double checked making sure the other wine varieties were in my wine grape taxonomy and they all were–even Adelmiina.  I found this white wine blend pleasant, refreshing on the hot New York day I was tasting.   I was delighted to taste a wine from the soil of Vermont.  I look forward to tasting many more wines from Todd in the future.

I think many hybrid producers in the US and Canada are generally working very hard to bring their wines to the market place and honing in on good, better, optimum hybrids–hybrid grapes just like Vitis vinifera have wine grapes that dominant and that can be said for many hybrid wine grapes.

I remember hearing Indiana Wine Grape Council Executive Director Jeanette Merritt speak several years ago at a Wine Bloggers Conference and she said with respect to lesser known wine grapes and wine regions “Keep an open mind.”  I think that is a great comment.

I know that I am passionate about Vitis vinifera and I have sought to learn and experience hybrid grapes and to keep that open mind.

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2015 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse: