Saying goodbye is never easy. Sadly, this week, I had to say goodbye to John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter’s wine column in the WSJ.
John and Dottie (as she is affectionately known) had a love affair with wine, and it was infectious. A few years ago, I received a copy of Love by the Glass, a personal history of John and Dottie’s life together and the wines they’ve shared — on their first date, at their wedding, and to celebrate the birth of their kids. What made these bottles special to them was the memories they evoked. I could almost hear their giddiness and excitement come through the pages of the book as they recounted these stories and described the wine. And I couldn’t help but fall in love with this husband-wife team.
But more than anything else, I appreciate their dedication to making wine fun. Not only did they eschew the point rating system for more down-to-earth review categories (“Delicious” and “Delicious!” were the top two ratings a wine could get from J&D), but they created one of the best holidays of the year: Open That Bottle Night. The thinking behind this is simple:
“Whether it’s the only bottle in the house or one bottle among thousands, just about all wine lovers have that very special wine that they always mean to open, but never do. This is why “Tastings” columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher invented Open That Bottle Night, the world-wide celebration of friends, family and memories during which all of us finally drink that wine that is otherwise simply too special to open.
On OTBN, which is celebrated on the last Saturday of February every year, thousands of bottles all over the world are released from prison and enjoyed. With them come memories of great vacations, long-lost loved ones and bittersweet moments. ” (from the WSJ)
Even though I’ve never met John and Dottie, I’ve admired them from afar for quite some time. While I’m sad to see them go, I wish them only the very, very best, and hope they know that I’ll be raising a toast to them on Open that Bottle Night.
UPDATE: Here are some other thoughts on John and Dottie’s last column.