Jerry D. Mead
Jerry D. Mead, whose first wine column appeared in the Anaheim, Calif. Bulletin in 1970 and who was the 1985 recipient of the Wines & Vines Perpetual Trophy for Excellence in Wine Writing, died April 12, 2000 in Nevada from complications from cancer.

Jerry was the founder of W.I.N.O. (Wine Investigation for Novices and Oenophiles) and was publisher of The Wine Trader in Carson City, Nev. He also was a syndicated wine columnists whose work appeared, for example, in the local Mann Independent-Journal. He also founded the Orange County Fair Commercial Wine Competition, in 1977.

CURMUDGEON (kur-MUD-jin) noun
An ill-tempered person full of resentment and stubborn notions. A grasping, miserly churl.

Jerry Mead, the long-time U.S. wine writer, wine educator and wine judge who died last week after a long battle against lymphoma and heart disease, called himself a "curmudgeon," but the reality of the man was in no way akin to the dictionary definition of the term.

One of America's best known and well-loved wine writers, Mead was editor and publisher of Wine Trader magazine. When he signed his weekly columns as "The Wine Curmudgeon (TWC)," he did so with a big belly laugh, alluding to his righteous anger at intervention by government, lobbyists and the whole realm of opponents that he called "neo-Prohibitionists" into what he saw as the free-spirited, free-market world of wine.

Said his old friend, wine lover and wine writer Randy "Bucko" Buckner, "Jerry was a pioneer in the fight against government intervention into the world of wine. One of the longest running columnists in America, his articles have been followed by winelovers around the world. His New World International Wine Competition started off the year's rounds of judgings. Jerry was only 61 years old. He will be deeply missed."

In Jerry's memory, let's take one last look at a few of his curmudgeonly comments from recent editions of Wine Trader, which remain online as of this date at http://www.wines.com/winetrader/index.html:


There are still folks who do not see the constant erosion of freedoms to do business connected with adult beverages, and a wave of new laws attacking wine, beer and spirits from every side, as a neo-Prohibitionist conspiracy. But that's just what it is, folks ...
***

With credit to an organization called "Guest Choice Network," TWC will retell the perfect fable to describe the current neo-Prohibition movement, where they whittle away and visit the new Prohibition on us a little bit at a time, one new law, one new restriction at a time.

It has been said that if you place a bullfrog in a pot of boiling water, he'll jump right out. But if you place the same frog in a pot of tepid water and slowly turn up the heat, he won't notice he's boiling to death until it's too late.

Don't be a bullfrog in our currently fashionable, anti-wine, "nanny" society.

***

Airborne Express has announced that it will no longer handle any wine shipments, even legal ones to reciprocal states, trade to trade legal shipments such as between producers/importers and either wholesalers or state regulatory agencies in monopoly states.

TWC suggests that wine lovers and those in the trade stop doing any business of any kind with Airborne, and if anyone should inquire why ... tell them. Even if all your company ships is widgets, Airborne should get the message that it's customers do not approve of it refusing legal shipments.


In addition to Wine Trader, Mead wrote about wine for many publications over some 30 years. He was a founder of the Orange County (Calif.) Fair wine competition, the annual Jerry D. Mead New World International Wine Competition in San Bernardino, Calif., and a consumer organization, Wine Investigation for Novices and Oenophiles (W.I.N.O.).