Author Archives: Diary of a Winebuyer

About Diary of a Winebuyer

About Me: Thirty years ago, I graduated with a degree in political science from the College of Letters and Science at the University of California at Berkeley. Having grown up at the height of the Cold War, I still have vivid remembrances of being instructed to hide under our elementary school desk, covering our heads. The young, white, female teacher, training us without explanation, to face away from the windows. I suppose it is not all that surprising that I had a particular interest in the realpolitik of international relations. My fascination grew with the discovery that certain conditions almost uniformly exist where all revolutions ferment. Did this mean that the revolutions which had occurred in the first half century were revolutions which had been usurped by Marxists who were in the right place at the right time? Probably. A favorite professor was A. J. Gregor. This was a man who, while rakishly wearing a Gestapo-styled black leather motorcycle jacket, exuded expertise on fascism (which he looked the part) and Marxism. Improbably, he did it with a significant swagger. Then in my last semester, I had the blind luck to take a class on Asian Marxist revolution, and the professor, who just happened to be visiting that year while he worked on some unnamed project, was Chalmers Johnson. In retrospect, I should have known his name, as he was a luminary in the political science community but at that time, I did not. It was a remarkable opportunity to experience the ivory tower, but I seem to remember being anxious to get on with life. After college, I drifted through a few of jobs that were of interest to me. One of my former high school teachers said to me. "If I were in your shoes, I'd get a job as a flight attendant." So in order to be young while I could still afford to, I accepted a job serving chicken or beef at Pan American. With that airline losing money faster than it could sell its routes, I got a job doing cellar work at David Bruce Winery. This was the beginning of my wine career. All during this period, I wrote a still unpublished novel about homegrown terrorists the U.C. Berkeley campus, attempting to use some of what I learned in school, weaving in the Vietnamese political and military strategies of Dau Tranh as professor Johnson had lectured years before. Since the early 1990's, I have been involved in the wine industry, selling fine wine in both the retail and wholesale arenas. I have approached learning about wine, by always challenging myself to question how I know what I think I know? And in an effort to try to find answers I've turned, with varying degrees of success to wine books. Overall, I've not been happy with the quality of most wine writing, finding the authors either to lack any deep knowledge, or unable to move much past what I consider to be superficial information. I recognize that wine writers have to monetize their work, but I believe this has dramatically held back our knowledge and understanding of wine. I have set out to add to our industry's base of knowledge where I can. My first series, 'The Terroir of Burgundy' (which I should probably re-edit and complete some kind of conclusion, but I got involved in this project), can be viewed here. I currently work as a sales and marketing manager for a Burgundy and Bordeaux importer based in Atherton, California.

The Battle for the History of France: Fortune Favors the Bold, Part IV

A war of words As Lucien Lebvre and Marc Bloch launched their influential historical journal, Annales d’histoire économique et sociale, in 1929, Febvre was expressing concerns within l’Encyclopédie Française that France was in the midst of a “crisis of the state and a crisis of … Continue reading

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The Battle for the History of France Chapter 1, Fortune Favors the Bold, part III

By Dean R. Alexander                                                                          … Continue reading

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The Battle for the History of France Chapter 1, Fortune Favors the Bold, part II

By Dean Alexander                                                                            … Continue reading

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The Battle for the History of France Chapter 1, Fortune Favors the Bold

By Dean Alexander A war of scholarship The political, societal, and personal circumstances behind the formation of the world’s most influential historical journal Just as the annals of historical thought serves to explain the content of written history, the history … Continue reading

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The Battle for the History of France, Prologue: the complexities of perception

The Annalists, the Revisionists, and the Quest for the Truth Marc Bloch believed, Lucien Febvre posthumously wrote of his Annales Journal co-founder, that “good history” has the ability to inspire others to challenge and augment its thinking. Bloch had argued … Continue reading

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