Personal Stories – Wine

Dec 192011

wine blogI call myself a “Wine Evangelist.” Most who spend time around me would agree with that moniker, as I merrily move through life aiming to convert as many as possible to the gospel of the grape. I admit I am a zealot, one who loves to speak of nothing other than wine.

My role as self-appointed Wine Evangelist is simple. I live to teach about wine as art and as an expression of passion. Within each bottle I revel in the nuance and flair created by both vineyard and winemaker. Before we get too deep here, not all good wine is expensive and not all expensive wines are good. Yes, there are wines that should be admired as art and others that are made to enhance your backyard BBQ party. The key word here is, enhance. Nothing in my opinion elevates food, friends and family like wine. Wine just makes life better.

Recently, I attended a reception luncheon hosted by an Argentinean winery and winemaker at a popular downtown Denver restaurant. The eight people sitting around our table were equally divided between 30-somethings and 50-somethings. The question came up: why wine? The younger wine enthusiasts all had a similar story to tell which included the fact that they had been exposed to good if not great wine during their formative years and wine had always been a part of their life experience.

The other four also had similar experiences but they were different from the 30-somethings. Only one of the mature guests was raised around wine and he, of Italian decent, had been raised on cheap Italian jug wine. Since my experience was not uncommon for my generation, I’ll share with you the unlikely conversion of a wine evangelist. Continue reading »

Jun 182011

As the sun came up on Monday morning, the real work, if you can call it that, for both Conch and Bacchus and Beery Wine Blog was about to begin. Conch was up and out the door shortly after 7AM to check in at Rombauer Vineyards for his first day of work and move into the intern housing.

For me, I spent part of the early morning catching up on work from my real job while waiting for Enterprise to bring a rent car from St. Helena. The week ahead was going to be busy with 15 winery or winemaker meetings over the next six days. This day however was light, two appointments with Sean Sullivan of Sullivan Vineyards and Sharon Harris of Rarecat and Common Dog Wines. Continue reading »

Jun 052011

My second day in Napa Valley was an easy going one. This is in contrast to most days, as you will see in later posts are filled with scheduled appointments, tastings and winemaker meetings. I know, you are already filled with sympathy for this strenuous job of glass tipping, jaw boning and writing.

Calistoga Roastery

We left our hotel in Calistoga and headed the 8 miles south to St. Helena for a peach muffin (the best) and a latte at Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company (The tip jar reads “Livin’ la Vida Mocha”). As we drove past Calistoga Roastery (which later becomes my new favorite breakfast hang out) who  should  jog across the street in front of us, but Bo and Heidi Barrett ( Bo of Chateau Montelena and the movie Bottle Shock fame and his wife Heidi, a very highly respected cult winemaker, Screaming Eagle & Dalla Valle to name a few).  When Conch was considering studying winemaking, it was the movie’s portrayal of Napa Valley and Bo, however inaccurate, that sealed the deal. So this can be considered a true Napa Valley star sighting. Continue reading »

May 262011

I thought it might be interesting, if not self-indulgent, to share some personal experiences, insights and emotions  over the next few posts. We’re friends, right? That’s what friends do…we share…among other things. In addition, writing in this context gives you a peek, assuming you want a peek, into a week of wine blogging travel and first impressions of winery visits. Continue reading »