Poetics and the personal when it comes to gin, vermouth, and bitters.

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When you write about drinks for a living, people in your life eventually ask you to teach them how to make a martini. Sometimes they ask you to show them a “real martini” or a “proper martini” or a “gin martini.” But it all means the same thing. Even though your nerdy friends on Drinks Twitter spend a lot of time arguing about Negroni variations, the normal people in your life never really ask about a Boulevardier or an Old Pal. Even though you’ve written about dozens, hundreds, of cocktails, your friends usually don’t want to hear about your favorite…


Thinking too deeply about pairing food and drink is ridiculous. But no more ridiculous than life itself.

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I’ve been thinking about pairings. Well, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things during what was a disheartening holiday month — thinking too much, to be honest, along with talking too much, and creating too much useless drama. Wine pairings seemed a safe thing to ponder. I’ve always considered the topic of what to drink with what you eat to be one of the dullest in wine (Potato chips and Champagne! Olives and sherry! Sauternes and lobster! Asparagus and grüner veltliner!). Dull seemed to pair well with my mood. …


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Photo: Amber Janelle Brown

Hello there. I realize most of you haven’t heard from me in a while. Launching Planet of the Grapes at the beginning of this terrible pandemic probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do. And so, as you’ve surely noticed, we’ve gone into deep hiatus/hibernation since early summer. But I’m planning to reboot and relaunch Planet of the Grapes in early 2021, with a broader focus than before. We’ll still talk about wine, for sure, but the content will expand to include more pieces about other drinks, food, and travel. I hope you will keep an eye out for it.

Among…


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Hello dear readers! Yes, there’s been something of an evolution over here. As you can clearly see, we’ve changed our name from Planet of the Grapes to Everyday Drinking.

The reason for the change is twofold. First, to acknowledge that we are expanding our coverage beyond just wine and into other realms of spirits, beer, cider…and whatever else one imbibes: coffee, sake, hard seltzer, kombucha, etc.


A new wave of France’s famed brandy embraces innovation

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“Welcome to the turn of the 20th century,” said my guide, Marielle Chopin-Pascaud, as I entered the tasting room of Bache-Gabrielsen, on a quiet street in downtown Cognac. As four generations of Bache-Gabrielsens stared down at me from black-and-white portraits, I sipped the double-distilled brandy that bears the name of this city and region. Blended from spirits dating as far back as World War I, the drink offered a complex taste from another era: rich, unctuous, with evocative aromas and flavours of well-worn leather, dark tobacco, antique furniture. …


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I feel sheepish admitting this, but I have a longtime love-hate relationship with “Under the Tuscan Sun.” Since first reading the book, in the nineties, when I was in my twenties, its success as a cultural phenomenon has haunted me, teased me, and tortured me as I’ve forged my career as a food and travel writer who occasionally does stories about Italy.

Still, I revisit the book every once in a while. I did so on its 20th anniversary in an essay for The New Yorker. …


Some thoughts on the 25th anniversary of Frances Mayes’ memoir of the good life.

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I have sat on Tuscan-brown sofas surrounded by Tuscan-yellow walls, lounged on Tuscan patios made with Tuscan pavers, surrounded by Tuscan landscaping. I have stood barefoot on Tuscan bathroom tiles, washing my hands under Tuscan faucets after having used Tuscan toilets. I have eaten, sometimes on Tuscan dinnerware, a Tuscan Chicken on Ciabatta from Wendy’s, a Tuscan Chicken Melt from Subway, Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden, and Tuscan Hummus from California Pizza Kitchen. I’ve watched my friend fill his dog’s bowl with Beneful Tuscan Style Medley dog food. This barely merited a raised eyebrow; I’d already been guilty of feeding…


A time for celebration, but also for reflection.

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Instead of Champagne last night, I opened a weird dry Oregon gewürztraminer. It seemed a fine way to toast the strange times we live in.

In 2018, I published a very long travel feature in the Washington Post Magazine, in which I visited a number of the Trump vacation properties around the world — including the hotels in Panama and Vancouver (both no longer operating), the golf courses in Scotland, the ruins of the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, the winery in Virginia. The editors wanted me to draw some sort of conclusion “through the eyes of a travel writer”…


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The latest from Planet of the Grapes, on the little lies we tell one another to soften the blow on the judgement of taste.

“Why do you dislike Santa Margherita pinot grigio so much?” This was a text I recently received from an ex. Not a recent ex, mind you, but one from half a lifetime ago. I was with M during grad school, when I was 23 and she was 20.

“Santa Margherita?” I replied. “I don’t hate it!”

“You wrote a whole article about it! How it was the typical basic wine to bring to someone’s house lol”

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AND TWO RELATED STORIES

One Plus One Equals Cocktail


It’s one of those little lies people tell one another.

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“Why do you dislike Santa Margherita pinot grigio so much?” This was a text I recently received from an ex. Not a recent ex, mind you, but one from half a lifetime ago. I was with M during grad school, when I was 23 and she was 20.

“Santa Margherita?” I replied. “I don’t hate it!”

“You wrote a whole article about it! How it was the typical basic wine to bring to someone’s house lol”

It’s true that I have written negatively about pinot grigio. First, like, a decade ago. Then, in a book, I wrote the following: How…

Jason Wilson

Editor, Planet of the Grapes. Author of Godforsaken Grapes, Boozehound, & The Cider Revival. Series editor of The Best American Travel Writing. jasonwilson.com

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