Need help choosing a Tuscan wine? Then you've got to pay a visit to the Tuscan Vines blog, which was recently nominated for a Wine Blog Award in the Best Single Subject category.
Blogger John M. Fodera, who is an accountant by day and blogger by night, founded Tuscan Vines back in 2011. He's traveled extensively throughout Europe and Italy, learning about wine and writing about his disoveries along the way.
FDL reach out to the New Jersey native to congratulate him on his nomination and discover more about his passion for Tuscan wines.
Image courtesy John M. Fodera
What's the history behind Tuscan Vines?
The official blog started in June of 2011. Prior to that however, I'd been active on various wine discussion forums for almost 20 years. For the last 10 years or so, I've been a moderator on a friend's website: West Coast Wine Network. I participate there, but it seemed natural to accumulate all my notes and recipes in one place and given the surge in social media and technology (iPhone/iPad) it was very easy to do.
Your passion for wine is evident in your blog, how did you decide to become a blogger?
It's funny - my passion for wine and food has several key moments rooted in my past. Initially, I would see my parents cook - especially the few dishes my Dad used to make. So that always made the idea of a man being in the kitchen seem natural to me. When I was 13 or 14, I was at the house of a friend, who's mother had a copy of Bon Appetit laying around. The cover story was about Naples (where my Mom's family is from) so I picked it up and started reading. That kind of cemented the food and wine bug.
As I got older, I used to watch Mario Batali and Gordon Ramsay constantly. Seeing is the best way to learn how to cook and I feel as though I've been schooled by both of those premier Chefs. Finally, in my mid 20s, I picked up yet another copy of Bon Appetit. The cover story was "Why Build a Wine Cellar" by Anthony Dias Blue. It was as though someone turned on a light switch. I was instantly hooked, and have been collecting ever since.
If you had to pick a favorite, which wine would top your list?
There are so many. Within any given wine type there are so many great producers that I love. My favorite wines are clearly Italian - Brunello, Barolo, Barbaresco and numerous "Super Tuscans". Specifically, the Casanova di Neri Cerretalto Brunello, Castello Banfi's Poggio All'Oro, Sassicaia, Solaia, and Barolo from Scavino, Sandrone, Pio Cesare and Aldo Conterno. I wrote a piece on my blog about Aldo Conterno after he died last year. Such a sad loss.
How would you celebrate if your blog won an Wine Blogger Award?
Well, I think I'd have to get myself to the Wine Bloggers Conference this year for a start. Maybe take the family out for a special dinner in New York - and likely buy a special bottle of wine! But more importantly, the pride and satisfaction I would feel from being recognized would be great. I get my content published on my site and push notifications out over Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Just being "announced" as a winner would amazing and incredibly humbling given how long ago I started doing this.
The finalists for the Wine Blogs Awards will be announced at the end of the month. We'll keep you posted as we learn more about the nominees...