By MONTE BELMONTE
For the Advocate
I suppose it is possible that you are turning the pages of this paper and reading this wine column at the same time you are drinking wine. But that seems highly unlikely (perhaps only slightly more unlikely than you turning pages and reading this column in paper form). It’s much more likely you are on your phone in the bathroom or somewhere reading about drinking wine. If you like reading about drinking wine on your phone, I thought I might share with you a few of the wine-related accounts I follow on social media.
Eric Asimov on Twitter and Instagram
Asimov is the New York Times wine writer, so it would be silly for me, a fourth-rate imitator, not to follow him. He doesn’t tweet often but he’s at the Gray Lady, making him the gold standard of wine writing, at least in a periodical that is not exclusive to the wine world. What I find most helpful about his tweets is that they are almost always a link to his most recent column. I only get the Sunday Times in paper form and his column isn’t in print on Sundays. Seeing his tweets reminds me to click the link to take me to the digital version of whatever he’s writing about this week. His most recent columns are about things like wine and cultural identity and weed wine. On Asimov’s Instagram, you’re much more likely to get a glimpse into what he is drinking via photos of wine labels. Given how much purchasing is driven by the look of a label, having a screen shot of a label that might interest you can come in handy as you head into a wine shop. To be sure, Asimov’s wine budget is much higher than mine but it’s fun and informative for me to at least see what styles of wine he’s consuming currently.
Blackwineguy on Instagram
His real name is Marvin J. Towler, but his Insta handle says quite a bit about where he is coming from. Towler’s website says he went from “a totally obsessed wine newbie to the world’s first-ever African-American fine and rare wine auctioneer.” Like Asimov, Towler’s posts are helpful in redirecting me to what I’m most interested in about him: his podcast, The Black Wine Guy Experience. On it, he talks with wine makers, merchants, and movers and shakers in the wine industry. He’s not afraid to get political in his opinions, delving into realms beyond the world of wine, like the episode from earlier this year when he hosted basketball legend Isaiah Thomas. I also love the episodes where he’s featured one of my favorite local sommeliers, Chef Michaelangelo Wescott from the Gypsy Apple Bistro in Shelburne Falls. His Instagram culls out snippets from his recent episodes, so even if you don’t have time for a whole podcast, he’ll leave you with interesting little sips of what’s he’s on about this week. Perfect length for viewing while scrolling on your porcelain throne.
Wine Folly on Instagram
As a full-time radio personality and only a part-time wine aficionado, the Wine Folly account keeps my esoteric wine trivia tuned up. Wine Folly has a weekly newsletter as well as some published books but their Instagram offers up the pithy bite-sized piece of information that can be informative to any amateur wine lover. They’ll post a reminder when it’s National Rose Day (June 10th, as if we need another excuse to drink rose). They’ll post a diagram describing what colors a varietally correct Pinot Noir verses a Malbec should look like. But I mostly love their Wine Quiz Wednesdays. They offer up hints as to what wine they are trying to get you to divine, and the aim is to guess the wine by the last Instagram slide. Some people play Wordle every day. I play the Wine Folly Wine Quiz Wednesday on Instagram.
The Instagram hashtag #sommlife
It’s not one account, but a place where wine professionals from around the globe come to both show off and vent. It’s a combination of photos of wine labels that are also mostly out of my price range, pictures of well-plated food, sommeliers sabering the tops off of sparkling wines and jokes. I’m mostly here for the jokes. It was this hashtag that brought to my feed my favorite wine meme of all time, posted by someone called frankdrinkswine. It was a picture of Bruce Lee with his famous quote “Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water,” juxtaposed with a dude dressed up like a bunch of grapes saying “Voila! Pinot Grigio!” Longtime readers of this column will know that this accurately describes my thoughts on most Pinot Grigio and also features a shredded picture of one of my lifelong heroes. In digging a little deeper into this frankdrinkswine account, I have also now decided to follow Frank. He has tons of hilarious memes. You might need to have a little bit deeper knowledge of the world of wine to get many of the jokes, but if you do, this Frank character is pretty darned hilarious. Frank is also followed by one of my absolute favorite accounts on Instagram…
Shittywinememes on Instagram
Again, the name says it all. Shittywinememes is followed by all of the accounts I’ve mentioned so far, even the acclaimed Eric Asimov. You are unlikely to discover your next favorite bottle of wine when following this account. But if you have a demented sense of humor and know a thing or two about wine, I think you’ll enjoy what they are offering up. Recent favorites: a play on the names of grapes. The meme reads “Petit Manseng? What did he sing and how small was he?” “Do you have a Semillion? Why would I be aroused right now?” These are just the kind of dumb wine-related jokes I’ve been making on the radio for 15 years. They also spend a great deal of time meme-trashing oaky Chardonnay, trashing people who serve chillable reds un-chilled and trashing Natural Wines. I’m here for this.
Chateau_Garbage on Instagram
The account (pronounced with that French flair-garBAGE) follows Emre Rende and his friends tasting garbage wine from around the globe. I’m relatively sure he is based in Istanbul, but at the time of this writing he appears to be tasting through parts of Eastern Europe like Croatia and Moldova. I have had some excellent wines from both of those countries, but I have no doubt that some of the wines from there are gag-worthy. And gag they do. If you are like me and have a perverse fascination with watching people on the cusp of yodeling groceries, follow Chateau Garbage. I’m pretty lucky that I have tasted very few wines that actually made me gag. One of them was homemade and smelled and tasted like turpentine. These wine clowns seem to find gag-worthy wines quite frequently. I am right now watching Rende try and choke down some Costa Rican wine. Just because you live in a place that can grow grapes, doesn’t always mean that you should try and make wine. It’s fun for me to watch these people masochistically taste Monastrel.