A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

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Blake Brown
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A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#1 Post by Blake Brown » May 23rd, 2019, 7:59 am

To settle a debate about who was the first to put out a mailing list, The Prince of Pinot Noir, Rusty Gaffney, did some research and discovered it was Stony Hill in the 1950s. In his previous PinotFile article, he had stated it was Williams Selyem in the 1980s, but was corrected by a reader.

In this article, he includes some of the history of Stony Hill as well as some of the unique factors about Williams Selyem and a funny story about Ed Bradley of CBS`s 60 Minutes coercing Burt to get on the list: http://www.princeofpinot.com/article/2178/
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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#2 Post by Mel Knox » May 23rd, 2019, 8:29 am

I always thought it was Stony Hill too. Other possibles would be Martin Ray and the original Souverain. Hanzell came along a bit later. Both Hanzell and SH discovered that it was possible for your mailing list members to get old all of a sudden.

Wms Selyem put their phone number on the cork.
ITB

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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#3 Post by John Morris » May 23rd, 2019, 8:37 am

Never thought about this topic. Thanks, Blake. And thanks for that color, Mel.
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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#4 Post by Gary York » May 23rd, 2019, 8:37 am

Good. So at least now we know who/whom to blame.
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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#5 Post by Blake Brown » May 23rd, 2019, 8:44 am

Mel Knox wrote:
May 23rd, 2019, 8:29 am
I always thought it was Stony Hill too. Other possibles would be Martin Ray and the original Souverain. Hanzell came along a bit later. Both Hanzell and SH discovered that it was possible for your mailing list members to get old all of a sudden.

Wms Selyem put their phone number on the cork.
Now that you mention it, Martin Ray is a good, logical thought Mel.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
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“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#6 Post by Blake Brown » May 23rd, 2019, 8:59 am

I looked through my files and regret that I did not save the mailers I received early on in the 80s from Williams Selyem. The earliest I found was from March 1, 1994, but they show the "casual"" style that Ed and Burt had:
Attachments
WS Mailer P1.jpg
WS Mailer P2.jpg
WS Mailer P3.jpg
WS Mailer P4.jpg
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
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“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#7 Post by Al Osterheld » May 23rd, 2019, 9:17 am

I think Joseph Swan was also one of the early ones.

-Al

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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#8 Post by Douglas Breen » May 23rd, 2019, 9:29 am

It seemed to be in the late 80’s my brother and I bought a case directly from Nalle winery (Zinfandel). I had heard you could call them and get it delivered- I had a chance for financial freedom before that. And, you didn’t need to sign for it yet from delivery company!

I was on a Rochioli cruise a few years ago. I mentioned how I bought a late 80’s Pinot from a specific store in the Bay Area. He told me Rochioli never sold single vineyard wines to stores. How did they sell their single vineyards in the 80’s?

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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#9 Post by Nathan Smyth » May 23rd, 2019, 9:53 am

Douglas Breen wrote:
May 23rd, 2019, 9:29 am
...the late 80’s... And, you didn’t need to sign for it yet from delivery company!
A mere three decades ago.

We were still a Free Nation.

[Cue the ghost of Eric Blair: "I told you so."]

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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#10 Post by David Glasser » May 23rd, 2019, 12:45 pm

Blake, thanks for the link and the release letter. Both were fun reads. I remember having a bottle of Stony Hill Chardonnay at a group dinner back in the early 80s. I don’t remember where it came from but it was treated as a rarity and made a big impression.

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Well....

#11 Post by TomHill » May 23rd, 2019, 12:54 pm

Well...I still have this cuneiform tablet from Pliny the Elder announcing the release of his
latest Falernian wine!! [snort.gif]
The StonyHill mailing list was the first one I recall hearing of. Probably dating back
to the 1960's. Well before Joseph Swan or DougNalle.
Tom

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Re: Well....

#12 Post by Blake Brown » May 23rd, 2019, 1:05 pm

TomHill wrote:
May 23rd, 2019, 12:54 pm
Well...I still have this cuneiform tablet from Pliny the Elder announcing the release of his
latest Falernian wine!! [snort.gif]
The StonyHill mailing list was the first one I recall hearing of. Probably dating back
to the 1960's. Well before Joseph Swan or DougNalle.
Tom
Earlier today, I asked Burt for an original newsletter and am waiting to hear back. His tasting notes were salivatingly good and what is so amazing, some are still applicable which is also truly amazing since some of these Pinots were from the early to mid 90s.
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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#13 Post by Howard Cooper » May 23rd, 2019, 2:57 pm

Does this make Stony Hill the first cult wine? Really, they seemed like a cult in the 1980s. Something I heard about but never saw here on the East Coast. Almost like Coors Beer in the 1970s east of the Mississippi.
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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#14 Post by Marco Maiocco » May 23rd, 2019, 3:06 pm

I am not sure if this thread refers only to US, but I've recently read that Biondi Santi or Col d'Orcia (i cannot remember) in the first part of 1900 actively mailed doctors, lawyers etc.. in all Italy offering their Brunellos

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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#15 Post by Wes Barton » May 23rd, 2019, 4:53 pm

Marco Maiocco wrote:
May 23rd, 2019, 3:06 pm
I am not sure if this thread refers only to US, but I've recently read that Biondi Santi or Col d'Orcia (i cannot remember) in the first part of 1900 actively mailed doctors, lawyers etc.. in all Italy offering their Brunellos
Yeah, I doubt this was a new thing in CA. High-end producers like Paul Masson and Emmett Rixford, who priced on par with the top European wines, certainly sold direct to doctors, lawyers and the like. It's logical they would've mailed out their price lists to their regular customers. That's an era when Americans bought much of their household goods from catalogs.

Martin Ray (Masson's protege and former stock broker) was reportedly the first to sell wine futures.
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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#16 Post by Markus S » May 23rd, 2019, 5:54 pm

I always thought it was Stony Hill circa 1950's as well. Tom Hill should chime in, as I am sure he's followed them from the very start! neener
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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#17 Post by Richard Albert » May 23rd, 2019, 6:08 pm

Doug, Rochioli did not have single vineyard wines in the 80's.
I signed up after getting the 1991 "Reserve" Pinot.
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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#18 Post by T Welch » May 23rd, 2019, 6:11 pm

Markus S wrote:
May 23rd, 2019, 5:54 pm
I always thought it was Stony Hill circa 1950's as well. Tom Hill should chime in, as I am sure he's followed them from the very start! neener
See post #11.
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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#19 Post by Blake Brown » May 24th, 2019, 7:15 am

David Glasser wrote:
May 23rd, 2019, 12:45 pm
Blake, thanks for the link and the release letter. Both were fun reads. I remember having a bottle of Stony Hill Chardonnay at a group dinner back in the early 80s. I don’t remember where it came from but it was treated as a rarity and made a big impression.
and David, I remember my first exposure to Stony Hill Chardonnay also in the 80s and I was like, ughhh! It was full of flint, steel and graphite. My palate was conditioned for oak, butter and vanilla. I got over it after a few Chablis and Meursault.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
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“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#20 Post by John Morris » May 24th, 2019, 7:46 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
May 23rd, 2019, 2:57 pm
Does this make Stony Hill the first cult wine? Really, they seemed like a cult in the 1980s. Something I heard about but never saw here on the East Coast. Almost like Coors Beer in the 1970s east of the Mississippi.
"Almost like Coors" is an insult to Stony Hill.
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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#21 Post by David Glasser » May 24th, 2019, 7:55 am

Blake Brown wrote:
May 24th, 2019, 7:15 am
David Glasser wrote:
May 23rd, 2019, 12:45 pm
Blake, thanks for the link and the release letter. Both were fun reads. I remember having a bottle of Stony Hill Chardonnay at a group dinner back in the early 80s. I don’t remember where it came from but it was treated as a rarity and made a big impression.
and David, I remember my first exposure to Stony Hill Chardonnay also in the 80s and I was like, ughhh! It was full of flint, steel and graphite. My palate was conditioned for oak, butter and vanilla. I got over it after a few Chablis and Meursault.
Yes! It was an eye opener, Blake. I came from the opposite direction. My first Chardonnay exposures were Macon, Meursault, Puligny, Chassagne, etc. I was not a fan of the typical California style. Stony Hill made me realize they were not all big, buttery, oak bombs. Unfortunately, I was unable to find them in the Baltimore/DC area, but the experience motivated me to seek out others like Hanzell and Kalin. Still, Burgundy remained my go to until the mid-90s and premox. Now we don’t drink much Chardonnay. Champagne and German Riesling have replaced it.

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Re: A historical perspective of the winery mailing list- Who was the first?

#22 Post by Blake Brown » May 24th, 2019, 8:06 am

David Glasser wrote:
May 24th, 2019, 7:55 am
Blake Brown wrote:
May 24th, 2019, 7:15 am
David Glasser wrote:
May 23rd, 2019, 12:45 pm
Blake, thanks for the link and the release letter. Both were fun reads. I remember having a bottle of Stony Hill Chardonnay at a group dinner back in the early 80s. I don’t remember where it came from but it was treated as a rarity and made a big impression.
and David, I remember my first exposure to Stony Hill Chardonnay also in the 80s and I was like, ughhh! It was full of flint, steel and graphite. My palate was conditioned for oak, butter and vanilla. I got over it after a few Chablis and Meursault.
Yes! It was an eye opener, Blake. I came from the opposite direction. My first Chardonnay exposures were Macon, Meursault, Puligny, Chassagne, etc. I was not a fan of the typical California style. Stony Hill made me realize they were not all big, buttery, oak bombs. Unfortunately, I was unable to find them in the Baltimore/DC area, but the experience motivated me to seek out others like Hanzell and Kalin. Still, Burgundy remained my go to until the mid-90s and premox. Now we don’t drink much Chardonnay. Champagne and German Riesling have replaced it.
I like your path much better David and share your current preferences, especially champagne.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

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