Let’s raise a glass to resolutions for 2019: Uncork the Forks

By the time this column is published, we’ll already be well into January, but my gym is still flooded with lose-weight resolutioners, so I think it’s still OK for me to write about some drink-related resolutions I’ve set for myself for 2019.

Much like the droves of gym-goers this month, I will probably fail in at least some of these, but it’s always good to have goals, right?

I assume that many of you reading this have kids and if you do, you know how hectic life can get. My kids are 7 and almost 12 now and, between lacrosse for both, band, tutors, basketball, football, dance and gymnastics, there isn’t a lot of free time in the Thompson house these days. Heck, my son is even playing school badminton two mornings a week before school. It’s the greatest kind of busy — we’re very lucky — but we’re busy nonetheless.

One bit of collateral damage has been easy opportunities to visit wineries as often as I’d like. Some would say that it’s just a phase. It’ll get easier. Maybe. But when I was first starting out writing about wine, I was very critical — fairly or not — about wine writers who write about wine from their offices without ever actually setting foot in a vineyard or winery. How could they have context? How could they really understand what the winemaker is trying to do?

I hated wine writers like that. Now I’ve become one of them. 

That changes in 2019. I’m already making plans to visit more wineries — not only here on Long Island, but in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and beyond — this year. If you’re a Long Island winemaker and you haven’t seen my face in some time, please accept my sincerest of apologies. But be careful what you wish for. 

Paired with that resolution is this: Every local winery gets a clean slate with me as of today. If I’ve previously written you off as making uninteresting wine or being too focused on activities unrelated to the tasting room, I’m going to start fresh. In my position it’s important to recognize one’s biases and work against them.

I also want to learn more about spirits and cocktails in 2019. My wife and I have taken a liking to a cocktail before dinner, but because I’m incapable of just enjoying what I know I like, I have to always learn more, try more and explore as much as I can. For whatever reason, when it comes to adult beverages, I get a little obsessive. 

I’ll drink more sparkling wine this year, too. When we don’t have that pre-dinner cocktail, we have started having bubbles if we have some around. So I guess the other part of this resolution is to buy more bubbly, too. Sparkling wine is a great way to wake your palate up before a meal and, honestly, even mediocre bubbly is still fun. 

And last, but not least, I want to catch up on all of the wine- and spirit-related books sitting on the shelf that I have yet to crack open. I’m a bit of a book hoarder. I buy them because I love them, but then — for one reason or another — I don’t make the time to actually read all of them. As a creator of wine content, it’s important to consume it, too.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Lenn Thompson has been writing about American wine — with a focus on New York — for nearly 15 years. After running newyorkcorkreport.com for 12 years, he launched thecorkreport.us in 2016 and The Cork Report Podcast soon after. He lives in Miller Place with his wife and two children.