Friday, January 11, 2008

Introducing Jim Hammond

Wine has been a passion of mine for over forty years. Early on I became the guy who ordered the right wine at a restaurant. My wife would often comment that I could remember the wine, vintage, and price better than any of the chores she wanted completed. Well, I guess passion does improve memory recall.

Later after my thirty years as a technical trainer in Silicon Valley, I became the wine columnist for the Albuquerque Journal in mid-2006. That once-a-month column was not enough, however, as there was too much to comment about that would not fit the Journal’s space requirements and editorial needs.

A blog was the obvious answer, even though everyone and his brother now seem to have one. But with so much good copy, why add another one?

I’m glad I asked. I think there is always room for another informed opinion on wine, particularly if it can be done with a little humor. That was something I learned as a trainer specializing in data communications and networking, my specialty for over 25 years. By the time I’d covered layer three of the OSI model, I’d noticed most of my students had that glazed over look one sees in zombie movies and information-overloaded students. That’s when I’d interject a humorous comment and get them back on track.

Of course wine is a heck of lot more interesting than computer technology for most so I’m really not expecting glazed-over blog readers. While I don’t plan to open a winery as many of my Silicon Valley alumni have done, I do immerse myself in everything about wine.

In my long tenure as a teacher and writer, I always strive to be accurate and focus on what is important, at times condensing a complex topic into a simpler and to-the-point synopsis. I will endeavor to that here, too. I also expect to hear from my readers when I get it wrong. Paraphrasing my opening remarks to my classes, “If you learn as much reading this as I did writing it, count yourself lucky.”

My main bias: Life is too short for drinking bad wine. I prefer to be positive so most of my comments will be about good wine and wine making techniques. Nonetheless, when a scathing comment is required, I can deliver those as well.

I hope you enjoy my blog and I encourage your comments.