The Story of Wine, One Bottle at a Time
Opening a Bottle is a tribute to the world’s most interesting wines and the clever people who make them. My weekly stories go deeper than just tasting notes and suggested pairings. Through in-depth research, winemaker interviews, vivid photography and whole-bottle reviews, readers can form a deeper connection with the wines they buy.
This site is also a tribute to breaking bread and sharing wine with other people. The act of “opening a bottle” is about more than just drinking. Bottles are meant to be shared; everyone enjoying the same thing, but experiencing it in their own way. To me, this lies at the core of what makes wine more compelling than any other drink out there.
In addition to profiles on winemakers, individual wines, and roundups of excellent bottles we’ve recently sampled, my regular features include:
Broken out by country (or state in the case of the USA), these lists offer guidance on which winemakers consistently create excellent wines. Look for these labels the next time you want to explore a wine region that is new to you. Read about the Essential Winemakers.
Your first sip of a new wine is like a first kiss; it’s memorable because it won’t be duplicated again. This series of articles focuses on Old World appellation-based wines, which are more often named after a place rather than the grapes that go into the wine. These guides share reasons to buy the wine, background information on what makes them special, and impressions from my first taste. Read our First-Taste Guides.
The most magical moment in wine happens when you can taste terroir — the subtle attributes of a wine that are tied to the vineyard’s specific soil, sun exposure and microclimate. Vineyards that can produce terroir-driven wines are exceedingly rare — that’s what makes them special and so fun to explore. In this recurring feature, we share winemaker insights, historical and cultural background, and the special role mother nature plays in crafting wines from these vineyards. Read our Vineyard Stories.
Sometimes we take a break from my whole-bottle reviews and showcase magical travel destinations where a single glass of wine in a singular place can create an indelible memory. Read about the Best Places to Sip Wine.
Like most wine writers and bloggers, I frequently accept samples from distributors, importers and other folks in the wine industry. In many of these cases, I approach them with a story pitch about the wine beforehand, so that it fits with this site’s editorial focus. For unsolicited samples, the arrangement is a simple one: If I don’t care for the wine, I simply don’t write about it. If its an excellent wine, then I do. The same policy applies to wines I buy.
Occasionally, I am invited on press trips, in which an importer, PR agency or regional organization will host a group of wine writers to explore an area’s wineries and vineyards. Before accepting invitations on these trips, I always ask what their expectation is for such generosity, and I’m always told, “we hope you’ll write about it.” This arrangement allows me to rapidly advance my wine studies, explore fascinating wines for the site, and expand my photo library of the world’s wine regions — all while maintaining editorial control of the site.
None of the posts on this site are paid for or fashioned as advertorial. Although, this may change as I look for ways to monetize the site and expand its coverage with new writers.
How I Approach Wine
I drink in moderation (for the most part). In fact, I would say that alcohol is the least interesting part of wine. Like most of you, my palate gets fried and useless after tasting several wines in short succession. I am deeply skeptical that mass tastings yield accurate, relevant reviews of wine. I understand they are a necessary evil for wine professionals — how else are you going to get a sense for all that a particular area has to offer? — but I think it tips the favor to bolder, most assertive wines, overlooking many delicate, elegant and food-friendly wines that ought to grace our tables at home.
I also don’t believe that anyone — from Robert Parker Jr. to the sommelier at your city’s best restaurant to the know-it-all in your tasting group — possesses an infallible truth on what makes a wine special. That includes me. Wine is personal. Read these articles with your own preferences in mind.
Learn more about how I rate wine, what makes a wine appealing, and how I think we should approach tasting notes with the articles below.
About Kevin Day
I founded Headwaters Content, a content strategy and development agency, and for more than 15 years I have produced content for notable travel, hospitality and outdoor recreation brands including: Aspen Snowmass, Limelight Hotel, Timbers Resorts, Inspirato and KELTY. That’s my day job, and I love it.
But I am also a devoted photographer, and one of my passions with Opening a Bottle is to create the most visually appealing wine website in the world. I do all of the bottle photos, and where possible, source images from my own personal travels. Where I have gaps, I either buy stock images, use Creative Commons (sparingly), or solicit wineries and importers for images that I can use.
My travel and lifestyle photography can be licensed through Tanager Photography.
My recent wine-related travels include: Napa Valley, the Russian River Valley, the Sonoma Coast, the Alexander and Anderson Valleys, the Willamette Valley in Oregon, Germany’s Mosel River Valley and Italy’s Piedmont. I have forthcoming trips to France (Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy, Beaujolais and Provence) and Italy (Valtellina, Piedmont and Verona).
To pitch stories or contact me about reviewing wines, drop me a line via email.
I am a professional photographer, and any image on this site cannot be reused without permission first. Here’s the scoop:
A vast majority of the bottle photos on this site are original photos shot by me. I routinely see my own images stolen via Google Image search, and in each case, those people hear from me. Please contact me first for permission before using any bottle shot online.
If you are interested in using bottle photos for commercial purposes, a licensing and compensation arrangement needs to be in place (but don’t worry, my pricing is modest).
I often use stock photos or PR photos from importers to backfill my own archive of landscape photography. I always credit PR photos and Creative Commons images (if you see any of these you’d like to use, contact them directly); stock images are purchased from BigStockPhoto.com and are indicated by a lack of credit on this site.
For my own travel, landscape and winery images (indicated by “©Kevin Day / Opening a Bottle”), please contact me directly to discuss licensing. These images cannot be used without permission.