Another day, another week in lockdown. The news will strike each of us differently. I am personally happy about it but it did beg the question: What would you give up if life under lockdown continued indefinitely? I was pondering this question when the mail arrived, bringing my copy of the latest Guardian Weekly.
Can I really afford to continue this indulgence, especially now I need gloves on to be sure not to touch a plastic wrapping that somebody else may have touched?
Immediately, I realised that I can’t afford not to afford to support independent journalism. It’s one of the touchstones of freedom of speech and a healthy society and all that jazz. It’s been a harrowing month for journalists in New Zealand with the retrenchment out of this country by Bauer Media which owned such stalwarts as The New Zealand Listener, North & South, The New Zealand Woman’s Weekly and a raft of other well known publications. I once worked for this company in one of its previous guises as ACP Magazines, traversing my way across a vast number of publications over several years, including FQ Entertaining, NZ Home & Entertaining, Your House & Garden, She, Cleo and others.
The demise of these magazines is the end of an era not only for the readers but for the journalists working in them; writers who now have a significantly smaller market in which to ply their trade. I know just how that feels, having once had the long term wine column for The New Zealand Herald followed by a smaller column in The Herald on Sunday and then a syndicated column for years in The Dominion Post, The Waikato Times and The Christchurch Press.
I was absolutely devastated when I lost those columns, due to editorial decisions that were never discussed nor even vaguely touched on with me. There never seemed to be an opportunity to have my say or to say how great the loss was. When one door closes, another opens, but it never seems possible to believe it will be a positive one at the time. It’s very much like the times we’re living in right now and the reason I write every week day about life in lockdown, usually based around a wine theme because it’s my specialist area these days. Just as writing is.
No matter what each of us is going through right now, wine has been deemed an essential service and a moderate amount can certainly feel like an essential part of a happy life. The taste, style, quality and price of New Zealand wine has never been as good as it is right now, so I’m extremely thankful that wine has been deemed an essential service so that our country’s winemakers can continue producing and selling.
I am also thankful I can support independent journalism with a sub’ to the weekly newspaper that I regard as one of the best in the world.
Here’s my wine of today.
2009 Forrest The Valleys Riesling $25
Marlborough winemaker Dr John Forrest is one of New Zealand’s biggest Riesling fans and he makes a wide range, taking his style cue from the vintage. In 2009, Marlborough was close to ideal. Dry, warm and with a long autumn, without too much rain. This provided fully ripe grapes without high amounts of botrytis; excellent for dry Riesling and this 11 year old wine is bone dry, full bodied, complex and super refreshing.
A great white that highlights the greatness of the Riesling grape – and its versatility.