Grape goes into hibernation

Each year for many years now I’ve gone through periods – long or short – when I’ve wondered why I keep this website going. I’m not one of those writers who actually enjoy writing; in fact I often find it a wrenching and difficult process. And, importantly, I am incorrigibly lazy to boot, so why continue? True, Grape has been a sort of shop-window for me, but there so little paid work for local wine writers out there (or it doesn’t come my way); and true, sometimes I have enjoyed it. But on the whole, in recent years it has become something of a chore.

So Grape is going to go into hibernation, at least for a while. Probably I’ll continue to use it very occasionally for something I want to write (or re-publish stuff like  magazine articles), but don’t plan on any more blogs here.

But I do indeed plan to continue writing about wine and wine culture (I’m much more at ease with the latter; tasting notes, let alone the scores that so many people seem to want, are what I particularly don’t much enjoy). The least year or two I’ve been writing a blog every Monday for That will continue and, what’s more, I’ll be doing one every Friday too, as from mid January.

Why write for Winemag and not Grape? Well, I do get paid a very modest fee for that, which has a significance beyond the useful bit of income – it makes me feel obliged, and a regular commitment and a deadline are what I need, I fear, to keep me going.

Grape, in one form or another, has been around for nearly two decades now; this has been a difficult conclusion to come to and I’m sad and reluctant to put it to sleep. So I’m not administering a lethal injection, and it will hang around this space, as an archive at least. I’ve really no real idea how much it has been used by readers – I’m rather proud (I really don’t know why!) that I have never once consulted the tools that tell me about numbers of users, hits, etc – but I do believe that at least a few will miss it, though the ever-fewer posts of late will have eased the process.

And who knows? Perhaps in my old age I’ll be revisited by energy and enthusiasm, and I’ll be back here. Meanwhile I will, as I say, expand my contributions to Winemag, and I will continue to work for Platter’s; and I will continue as long as I’m allowed with the twice-yearly column I have in World of Fine Wine (the only column devoted to Cape wines in the outside world, I believe) and write occasional articles for that splendid magazine and, perhaps, sometimes for others too.

With many thanks to those who have enjoyed, and sometimes been irritated or enraged, by Grape over the years.

14 thoughts on “Grape goes into hibernation

  1. I fully understand but will miss your posts. Have read all of them the last years and enjoyed most of them.
    We have never met but I feel I know you a bit because of the blogs.
    All the best in the future and hopefully we will meet at Cape Wine or something

  2. From the other side of the pond in the US, I will sadly miss your writing. Americans have so little SA wine information and opinion.

    I wish you the best of luck and good health until we meet again !!

  3. I will miss your blog posts, but will continue to follow your writing elsewhere. Your writing has helped this American wine enthusiast gain perspective on the South African wine scene. Your excellent book, Wines of The New South Africa, has been of great value to me in planning our wine travels to the beautiful Cape Winelands. Thank you!

  4. Grape, from its’ early days in print; has been the reference for many of us. Yourself, along with your original team of Angela and Cathy are “hall-of-famers” in our industry; thanks for so much enjoyment.
    We love your work!!

  5. More sad news before Christmas.
    Truely this blog was in my top 3 bookmarks and visited daily to check ifno new nugget of information has been left. My posts were just few because most of the information was way over my head. I have learnt a lot and will continue enjoying your clips on the Winemag site.
    All the best

  6. Been an avid follower of Grape since it’s inception. Found it all extremely insightful and valuable – thanks again for all of it.


  7. Oy Tim,

    While Grape might go into (a hopefully short) an intermittent hibernation, I’m encouraged to believe that it will appear, as before, again.

    Wishing you all the success with Winemag.

    I’ll be following you.


  8. Hi Tim

    Above all else I cherished the writing; your wit and intellect were always present as was a brilliant honesty.

    All the best.

  9. All the best Tim. I’ll miss Grape, until it comes out of hibernation, which I hope will not be too long.
    Always interesting, often informative and a must read for anyone interested in an independent view on what’s happening in the Cape winelands

  10. Hi Tim, thank you for all the years of wonderful thoughtful writing… when some others have served up watery advertorial schlock. You have certainly helped to educate me, widen my tastes and fill (and empty) my cellar with some real gems.

    I have most of your print copies of Grape and as such the big question is … who is the widow?

    I hope some day to meet you and share a glass if wine with you.

    All The best…

  11. Very sorry you have come to this decision. Am still mourning the widow. Always informative, thoughtful and honest, away from the PR drivel that surrounds so much wine writing these days. I have learnt so much about South African wines – and drank so well too over the years!
    Hopefully a reappearance is not out of the question.

  12. I am sad to lose this perspective on Cape wines – particularly the enthusiasm and vigour of the reviews and interviews. Drink well Tim James, and I shall continue to look for good wine writing on SA wine

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