Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Headline Writer Tattoos J Winemaker

When I visited the progressive J winery in Sonoma County this spring with some other wine journalists, I was surprised to hear head winemaker George Bursick tell us to come back in two years and J would be making the best Pinot Noir in California. Normally, winemakers are as bland as football coaches in saying anything truly quotable. So Bursick's willingness to paint a bullseye on his chest for other winemakers to shoot at woke me up after a morning of sipping wines. The statement was especially daring as Bursick, formerly wine chef at Ferrari-Carano, had never made Pinot Noir commercially.

When I got back to my desk, I wrote my column for The NewsJournal in Wilmington on Bursick's pronouncements. Many readers don't know it, but writers don't write the headlines for their stories. Fortunately, I have good headline writers, and my column on Bursick and J appeared under the headline:

"Audacious Winemaker Shoots for the Top with His Pinot Noirs."

I was not surprised to find out that the folks at J did not go all spastic on me or George. A few days later, veteran PR head Tony Lombardi sent me a note with a link to the J blogsite ( There was a picture of George with a faux tattoo that says "Audacious Winemaker" that Lombardi had a local tattootist whip up.

Which goes to show you that Bursick, unlike the grape he plans to take to new heights, is not thin-skinned.

Until next time...

Roger Morris

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