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Paul Gregutt 2.0

For more than a decade, I have enjoyed following Paul Gregutt's column in The Seattle Times, as his coverage of the Washington and Oregon wine scene has broadened my exposure to wines and wineries I might have otherwise overlooked. Along the way, I may not have always agreed with Gregutt's opinions or his approach toward covering wine, but I was better off for reading his column.

During the last few years, I started getting the sense that there was something more that Gregutt had to offer. This sense came from attending a Taste Washington 2008 seminar he led featuring the wines of David Lake, former winemaker at Columbia Winery. At this event, I sat in rapt attention as Gregutt took us through a multi-flight tasting, offering a multi-decade narrative of David Lake's approach as a winemaker which he experienced first hand in the 1980s and 1990s as a writer covering Columbia wines.

During this seminar, Gregutt seemed to be unconstrained by the editorial oversight or the text space imposed on him by various publications. In fact, there was a side of Gregutt that I did not expect in terms of his disclosure and transparency about his past experiences with winemakers and present biases toward wine.

It was a refreshing and enlightening experience, prompting me to truly appreciate what Gregutt had to offer me as a consumer of Pacific Northwest wines. I wanted more of this side of Gregutt, therefore quickly turned to his web site, where I found infrequent postings of tasting notes and other commentary, all of which seemed to be far too similar to his approach in newspapers or magazines.

And then during the latter part of 2008, it seemed as if Gregutt might be withdrawing from the Pacific Northwest wine scene, a casualty of the newspaper industry's downturn. His weekly column in the food and wine section of The Seattle Times was dropped for a period as the paper scaled back, only to reappear last February in the Sunday's magazine. His web site seemed to be in a static, stale state for months.

To my pleasant surprise, Paul Gregutt 2.0 emerged earlier this spring with a new blog, PaulGregutt.com, a site that offers regular commentary on Washington and Oregon wines and winemakers in a style unlike his previous coverage. It's as if we're seeing Gregutt unfined and unfiltered in this new setting, a platform from which he expresses his opinions in a manner that is much more palatable than the coverage previously experienced in offline media.

As a result of reading his blog, I have come to understand Gregutt's methodology toward reviewing wines and his palate preferences that influence his commentary. It's all there in his disclosure statement, something he has expounded on further in various posts including a recent entry on his approach toward covering wine as a professional writer.

With each post, I am not only learning more about the people and places behind specific Pacific Northwest wines, but am also realizing what a tremendous asset Gregutt is to our region's wine industry. Gregutt now has an effective platform to give wine consumers more of what we need toward understanding and appreciating Washington and Oregon wine.

I am looking forward to experiencing more of what Paul Gregutt 2.0 has to offer in terms of expanding my frame of reference and connecting me in ways that go beyond the bottle. Whether just becoming acquainted to our region's wines or being a long-standing fan, there is something for you to gain by reading and following Gregutt online at PaulGregutt.com.

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