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about nikitas Print

Nikitas MagelWhile in graduate school, I began to explore more closely my growing interest in wine, eventually leading me to avid reading on the subject.  On the mere suggestion of a good friend, I decided to fully indulge that interest and, after some inquiring, was hired at the Clos du Val winery in Napa, voyaging out for the first time onto the vast and exciting landscape of wine production.  The experience provided me with a depth of understanding for Northern California wines, but lacked the breadth that I eventually sought and found by managing a small wine shop back in the city, where I tasted and learned a great deal more about world wines.  I eventually decided to pursue formal education in the subject, by enrolling in the London-based WSET diploma course, an intensive internationally-taught curriculum in wine education & business.

Although there's a whole lot of wine snobbery out there, I try my best to be humble in my discovery and appreciation of wine, realizing that the more I learn, the more I have to learn.  Wine is simply something I grew up around, and now as an adult I see it as adding an entirely new dimension of indulgence to the enjoyment that food can already bring.   I also see it as a way to bond with nature: while some find excitement in the sights and sounds of the outdoors, what thrills me is the infinite array of tastes and textures found among wines of the world — as elevated, articulated, and elaborated by talented viticulturists and winemakers alike.  Vinterviews serves as my conduit through which I can share with you — whether you're a casual wine drinker or an experienced professional — everything I find stimulating about wine, presented informally and devoid of pretense.

Having worked now for a number of years in the information technology sector, I've applied some of what I've learned along the way to present my personal passion for wine in what I hope is a compelling and engaging way.  Combining that with my penchant for the written word, I have taken to wine-writing in the hopes of sharing my enthusiasm with readers. v

 
mission of vinterviews Print

As I've evolved in my admittedly rather recent foray into the world of wine, I've forced myself to think hard about what is it that I'm trying to do.  It's a question that I feel everyone, in fact, needs to ask themselves.  My own short answer to that question, in the context of Vinterviews, is simply this: to uncover what lies at the root of what I feel is wine's metaphor for the human condition.  I've come to feel that wine is a vehicle... for connecting and communicating with our natural surroundings, for inspiring and communicating with one another, and for celebrating and exalting that which makes life so precious.  Of course, different people in a myriad of capacities in this industry have their own ways of tapping into that experience — the ones who open themselves to the process, that is.  And it's with them whom I'm most curious to interact.  Because in learning about people's unique perspectives on wine, I learn about myself and ultimately about humanity in general.  After all, the way the see it, wine is but a means to a much more significant and powerful end.  And until I, for one, can truly grasp or comprehend that 'end' (which I doubt will happen in my lifetime), I content myself with attempting to learn a language that resonates with me, and which in many ways allows me to come closer to it all: the language of wine.

How does my philosophical view translate into practical reality?  In short, I've chosen to engage in meaningful conversation with the people who've dedicated so much of their time, energy, and love to wine.  I don't, per se, rate or review wines or their producers.  I'm no good at that — in large part because I'm simply not interested in it.  I'm far more driven to discovering and relaying the stories behind those wines.  And so, when I sit down with wine industry professionals — winemakers & viticulturists, merchants & marketers, competition judges & event directors, prominent writers & media contacts — my role is neither that of a curious consumer nor of a traditional journalist, but more of a wine-knowledgeable envoy whose intent is to discover and then convey what I've experienced, ultimately in the form of a published Q&A containing some contextual narrative.  I see what I'm doing as something far more organic than goal-driven: I'm interested in focusing on the artisanal, and therefore human, aspect of what winemakers do.  And though I welcome the chance to learn the more pragmatic details of a producer's choices in wine production, overwhelmingly I prefer the thrust to be primarily in the telling of their story.  In doing so, I find that the wine's true depth and dimension come to life. v

 
design of vinterviews Print

Occasionally, I come across websites that pique my curiosity as to what's going on "under the hood."  In those cases, I often wish the site owners would share at least some of the information behind what it took to build those sites.  So, in the interest of indulging those who are so inclined…

The Vinikitas intro page was designed in Adobe Flash using film footage of vineyards in Slovenia, that I procured from iStockPhoto.  The music I chose is a track called "Above The Clouds" by Cell from their 2006 recording on the Spanish island of Ibiza, called Live at Kumharas.  The core of the main Vinterviews site is comprised of the Joomla! content management system, showcasing a front-end theme template acquired from RocketTheme, which I tailored and color-customized myself.  After having graduated from the powerful, yet limited, WordPress, I felt Joomla! was a perfect fit, empowering me to publish my writing and mediate other externally-sourced content in the most efficient, effective, and frankly stylish manner.  Portraits on this page were taken by Nicolas Smith, a freelance photographer working and periodically exhibiting in San Francisco.  Photographs accompanying Vinterviews articles were procured primarily from the photo archives of respective wine producers or service-providers and from iStockPhoto.

For the foreseeable future, tangible copy will be the dominant platform for disseminating information.  But, in my opinion, there will come a day when online content management systems will allow the internet to surpass the prominence of physically printed media.  In the meantime, I'm choosing to indulge that distant reality by presenting my own content only online… for now. v

 
about guest writers Print

Vinterviews will occasionally feature pieces from guest writers on various topics, medical directly or tangentially related to the world of wine.