Tuesday, November 30, 2010


There has been much discussion as of late in my apartment about coffee. Ever since the glass beaker on my French-press coffee maker cracked we've been in a dilemma as to whether or not we should IMMEDIATELY replace it, or opt for a stove-top espresso maker as a temporary (and well justified) fix. Luckily the daily drip-brew machine suffices, and eases the daily grind, but more and more I've been dreaming about espresso. I might just have to splurge on a nice piece of hand-crafted Italian goodness (see: espresso maker.) Given the set of perfect color coordinated mini-cups and saucers that Kolina acquired in Italy, specifically for our NEW apartment, I'd say it's a no-brainer. That being said, the first cup I make will be a-la-Frederico (one of the farmers I lived with in Italy.)
-Fill the cup with two teaspoons of plain sugar, after the batch is complete, splash a dose of boiling espresso into the cup and mix into a sweet paste. Add enough espresso to fill the 'tasse' (excuse my french) and shoot it for a brilliant start to the day. Repeat if desired. Cheers, in a coffee-loving-morning-starting sort of way.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thanks, Giving...

I've officially reached 'guest blogger' status. My amazing partner in crime has recently launched a stellar blog, TKTwincities and they recruited me to do a little piece on Thanksgiving wines. Check it out! There are SOO many posts out there about what kind of wine should go with a Thanksgiving feast, and to be perfectly honest, many, if not most, of them are complete bullshit! Riesling, Pinot Noir, yadda, fricking, yadda, fricking, yadda. I went at this one with a lighthearted mentality, not taking myself too seriously (as I try to do every time).

All in all, what really matters (in my simple mind) on Thanksgiving is the food you prepare and the people you are with. It's a time to truly take a break from your daily life, and a time when you should truly LIVE! A friend of mine living in Italy recently told me that she had the darndest time explaining our tradition of Thanksgiving to some friends. They looked at her puzzled when she said "It's the one time of year when the whole family gets together and cooks great food, eats, and drinks good wine for the entire day." Perhaps we should make this more of a priority more often, seeing as it's a daily occurrence to many other cultures worldwide? Nonetheless, my wine suggestions are simply that. Obscure, niche-y, and mine. If you have a favorite wine, then this is the time of year when you present it to your loved ones with all you've got. I can only hope you might take my suggestions for mild worth and try them with your festivities. If all else fails, go with bubbly. It's the best.
Cheers, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I'm finishing off a bottle of 2006 Ferrari Carano Sonoma County Merlot right now, which as I will say, is fantastically elegant and complex, quite a break from some of the smoky beasts I've tried lately. It's 10:53pm, the Packers just shanked the Vikings (thankfully), and I just lit the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I should be drinking a beer.

Today was a lovely DIY day. A new friend, Stephen Mance, invited me to help him brew a Pumpkin Spice ale and I'd say it was wholly a success. I met Stephen a few months back through a friend and when we got to talking about home-brewing I realized I had a lot to learn from him. He's been brewing a bit more seriously than me for about the same time, but while I was shoveling tanks of grapes the past few years, he was working night and day in a commercial brewery in Chicago (see: Half Acre Brewery). I started home-brewing a few years ago as my appreciation for craft beer grew and I was gifted a brewing kit. The batches I've done up until today were what we call partial-mash, a fairly streamlined way of making a craft brew in a small home kitchen. Stephen, however, is slightly more adept and brews at the level just below commercial brewing in using what one calls an 'all-grain' method. While both methods produce the desired output and exceptional beers when done right, the latter method is truly a brewer's dream.

The story gets a little bit more interesting when you factor in where we brewed: the basement kitchen of a Catholic church in Dinkytown at 10am on a Sunday morning. Stephen is a groundskeeper for the parish and somehow managed to score the privileges to use their immaculate industrial sized kitchen for the art of brewing. The irony, I'd say, is likened to the history of monks making wine in Abbeys. While we were hauling the equipment down the back staircase, parishioners were exiting the building with doughnuts and coffee.

I learned immense amounts today during the brew session that lasted about 5 hours, a bit shorter than normal thanks to the streamlining involved in having two people who knew what was going on and a facility that enabled such efficiency. All of the equipment we used was top of the line and slightly modified to Stephen's liking (if there's one thing I've learned in the beer/wine industry it is that one needs to be ready to improvise and build upon the equipment they use, especially when problems arise). New for both of us was the use of roasted pumpkin and FRESH, locally grown hops, which we sourced from an acquaintance who actually had no use for them and donated them free of charge. SCORE.

When I went to get burritos for lunch, the aromas spewing from the exhaust fan of the kitchen seemed heavenly (sorry for the irony). I've never been a huge fan of pumpkin ales because they always seem too manipulated, but today may have just changed my mind. With relatively few hitches in the brew process, a number of new things learned, brewing partner gained, and a top-choice ale crafted, I would chalk today up to a massive success.

It gets better though. I mentioned that I lit the stove this evening, because I'm about to bake some bread. After getting into brewing I've found a sea of online forums filled with DIY nerds who are willing to spend an hour or two here and there so that they don't have to purchase a product that they can simply make, often times for less of a cost. I'm baking a few loaves of bread with the spent grains from our pumpkin ale. I've tried it before and hope this round is an equal success; bless my bleeding heart, but there's no sense in throwing something out if you can find an immediate use for it. If the bread would last long enough to taste with the finished beer I'd be the first to do a write-up. Unfortunately our fermented produce won't be drink-able for another month or more. Perhaps at that time I'll have some other spent-grain bread to try along side the beer in time for Thanksgiving. I love brewing at this time of year because there's always an occasion to look forward to, a release party of sorts, where we can share our hard work in good spirits with good company in celebration of all that we have. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I went to a friend's home-art-gallery-music-party last weekend and brought along a few old corks with my blog address stapled to them. I figured it was a new way to broach the topic of spreading my blog along with talking to some fellow younger, like-minded people, about wine. The response I got was incredible. More than I had ever thought before, people were so insanely enthusiastic about wine and trying new things, open to suggestions and my opinions, and presented themselves as sponges as I broke out of my normal modest shell and spilled a little (wine) knowledge with them. What I found more than anything else was the emphasis on value. I realize that the economy is down and most everyone is strapped for cash, but from a demographic standpoint, I see my generation as twenty-somethings just getting into wine, skeptical to spend more than $10 on a bottle unless they really know what they're talking about or splurging for a special occasion. My mantra for the night was that $10 is more than enough for a lovely bottle of wine, especially if you are exploring your avenues. The only way to start getting into more specific regions, varietals, and price points, is by starting out with the basics, and luckily, it won't break the bank to do so.

I'm super keen on tasting groups for people who are remotely interested in wine. I've been wanting for some time now to set up a tasting group with some friends mixed with fellow wine geeks, so that those with the know how can share their experience and thought with the novice, but also so that the up and coming wine aficionados can spill the raw basics on what they think of what they're tasting. It's a win-win for everyone involved as far as I'm concerned. If everyone had a $15 budget to get a bottle of wine from the local store, even from specific regions or varietals, it would turn out as quite a successful tasting I'm sure. One can never know EVERYTHING about wine, and the newbies and pros both thrive off what one and other has to bring to the table, quite literally.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We Want the (P)unk

Last night I was pleased to be a part of a special wine seminar. Though I was technically 'working' there, along with my co-worker 'Bill the Cities 97 Wine Guy,' I felt more like a wallflower at an extraordinary show.

The event was, 'The Black Wines of Southwest France,' with special guest speaker Chris Osgood and his partner Adrienne (sp?). Mr. Osgood's name was put on my radar a few years back by a colleague who suggested I meet the man, for we might have a lot in common. It wasn't until last night that I finally had the chance. For those of you who don't know the name, Chris Osgood fills the pages of Minneapolis folklore, some might even call him a local legend. (See: The Suicide Commandos, Springboard for the Arts, Star Tribune Article, McNally Smith). Though he's woven thickly into the fabric of the local arts scene he's also quite a staple in the Twin Cities wine scene as well. As you can read in the S'Trib article, he and his partner are importers of some crafty (big) wines from southwest France. Hence, the reason he was leading the tasting last night.

Malbec is hotter than Hades in New World wines right now (See: Malbec) but if it wasn't for Cahors and the grape formerly known as 'cot,' Mendoza wouldn't mean squat (See also: Negrette and Tannat). Without expanding on personal tasting notes and wine-rating-rants, I can simply say that the wines we tasted were big, and oh so funky. Huge and natural, dark and luscious, herbal and fruity, they gave perhaps one of the best representations I've tried to this day of the definition of 'Terroir'. Chris and Adrienne are passionate about the wines they represent and the people who make them. They boasted about dinners past with their lovely French neighbors, pairings with cassoulet and mushrooms, homemade apple pastries and coffee. I could barely subdue my jealousy of their stories, travels, and gastro-experiences in France, as I felt a yearning for the days I spent in Southern France a few years back. I was awed and inspired, introduced to new wines and new people. When I'm turned on to new wines and regions in France I can't help but dive into the books and resources that surround me, soaking up every little piece of info I can get my hands (and palate) on.

Though I might never be a total French wine geek, I'm excited to be on the beginnings of my way there. At present, I can say that I love the FUNK that I smell in many of France's coolest little wines, and thanks to an old PUNK, Mr. Osgood, my palate, mind, and senses are a whole lot more informed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My New Place in the World

This week marks my 'debut' as the 'wine-guy' at our northern Twin Cities stores, Northgate Liquors, in Blaine and Andover. Though I've already been there for three months now, which feels like much shorter, I have finally settled in and started to grow with the company. Doug's Dozen is the theme of our weekly email that comes out tomorrow where I pick 12 of my favorite wines we carry in the store. I will be pouring and talking about them at a tasting on Friday and Saturday nights. It's quite flattering to have the responsibility and respect that I've been given and I'm gracious to the ownership and management for that opportunity. I picked wines across the spectrum of price, flavor, and location, from a cheap Portugese Vinho Verde, to a Tarry French Vacqueyras, a fresh box of Italian Garganega, and a pricier Oregon Pinot (Penner-Ash where I got my winemaking start). I'm really excited to get people's opinions and showcase some unique and value driven wines that many people are unfamiliar with. It's been great getting to meet many people who have been in the local industry for years and share stories on our experiences; many of my friends who have relatively little experience with wine have also enjoyed the abundance of wine open at our place and the conversation and learning that comes with it. I don't quite know how I fit in to the bigger picture of the wine industry yet, as I am STILL getting a foothold, but as each day passes I thrive on the new experiences and opportunities that come my way.
As my Brazilian neighbor would say, Saude!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Harvest Time (again)!

I've always enjoyed fall. The changing of the leaves, the cooling of the air welcoming old thick sweaters and comfy jeans, reflections of the summer past, and the excitement of the first snowfall just around the corner. My midwestern roots ring true in my appreciation for four distinct seasons but I think my full yearning for autumn was solidified only through my participation in numerous wine harvests during the last few years.

I feel a bit nostalgic now as the last time I donned my Carrhartts and Blundstones and prepped a bucket of per-carb and citric to go clean some tanks was now one year ago; I've most recently traded in my paisano lifestyle of making wine for a dress-shirt-and-tie position of selling the stuff, but the winery is where my heart lies and I'd give anything to have perpetually wet feet and dried-out-purple-hands for three months.

Anyone in the wine industry will attest that harvest is the most stressful, yet most rewarding time of year. The months following revolve around selling hard and the summer preceding entails strict vineyard management and lots of nail biting. Harvest itself, as I've written before entails the blurring together of late nights and early mornings, fueled by plenty of beer, coffee, and worldly socialization. I'm surprised more hasn't been written on the global wine harvest culture in a scholastic setting. Perhaps I have a graduate thesis in the works. I still have yet to spend a full year seeing the pruning of vines in the winter all the way to barreling down at the end of the next harvest. Someday I say.

For now I'm stoked at the wine-buying position I have been blessed with in the Twin Cities. I've already learned so much and have so much more room to grow and excel. I'm nostalgic for the harvest, now one year out, I spent at Siduri wines in Santa Rosa, with Adam and Diana Lee making my time oh so worth while and Ryan Zepaltas making each and every minute of the day just a little bit more intense. What about my southern hemisphere harvest preceding on the south island of New Zealand pumping out some fresh wines for Woollaston Estates? How could I forget the people who so graciously welcomed the midwestern-boy with no experience to come make wine with them at Penner-Ash in 2008. Hopefully I'll be able to score a few bottles of that output and soon have some write-ups to show for it.

What I'd say right now to those of you who drink wine is: get on the interweb and find your local winery. Take a weekend in the next few months to go out and see what their harvest is all about. Even if you don't like their wines per-say, you'll have a much greater appreciation for what exactly goes into the wine-making process. You'll be more informed, aware, sensually stimulated, and perhaps even inspired. I recently did a tasting of some Minnesota wines and have to say that I was blown away by the potential of some local producers. The large production wines will enable you to expand your palate on a budget, but the small scale, local, producers are really the ones who make drinking wine exciting year in and year out.

On the eve of many northern hemisphere harvests I raise my glass in honor of the many sleepless nights ahead that will lubricate many unforgettable social get togethers and fill our glasses, wine columns, and blogs for the years to come.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010


What do your taste-buds crave? It's a pretty straightforward question and I'm willing to bet that the answers would vary greatly from city to city, country, to country, and even from continent to continent. I'll be the first to admit that I often times crave a greasy pizza with spicy Italian sausage, mushrooms, and jalapenos (with a ranch-sriracha dip on the side) or a fat burger and fries, a fatty mexican burrito, or a fresh baguette. What about fresh basil, tomatoes straight from the garden, or garlic after it's been in a frying pan for about 20 seconds? It always amazes me, the range of flavors that exist in our culinary possibilities, and also how mainstream American cuisine is relatively limited to the salty, processed, mundane. It IS getting better but still, I find myself falling back on the unhealthy crutches. I feel like when I pick out a wine to have with a meal that I am a hundred times more likely to prepare something from fresh ingredients. We always hear people throwing out wine descriptors like 'dill, soy, blackcurrant, and lavendar' but how often do you hear someone say that a wine would go perfectly with a McDonald's double cheesburger and fries? I'd like my eating habits to err on the side of healthy and fresh, but I also think it's cool to recommend wines for the simple and mundane situations in life; When's the last time someone told you to have a glass of Viogner while you dip a steel spoon in a jar of honey, or drink a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc while you're mowing the lawn?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Good Morning?

Like most people, a cup of coffee is practically essential to my morning routine. This morning I was lucky enough to wake up early to my lovely lady already having brewed a pot of the dark water. I scored some fresh-local-roasted-fair-trade-organic-freshly-ground-breakfast-blend (wow what a mouth-full) coffee at the co-op the other day. There's nothing better than having a few hours before work to take my time winding up for the day. Unfortunately after I had read through the morning news and sipped through my first dose of daily fuel, my stomach pains overtook me as I simultaneously noticed the curdled cream stuck to the sides and huddled at the bottom of my mug. Bum bum bummer! Apparently the half and half from a week ago expired far sooner than I anticipated, and upon inspection it's aroma resembled that of the moldy provolone cheese I discarded yesterday evening. Maybe I should just start drinking my java black; it would save me a lot of (stomach) pains.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fuori Roma...

People always say 'when in Rome' to excuse indulgence in guilty pleasures. Well, I'm not in freaking Rome, and though I wish I was there right now, or in Italy in general (I miss it dearly) there's little I can do. I haven't had much for pizza since being back stateside for the last few months but tonight I decided to indulge in a bachelor dinner and order me up a fatty pie from the local Pizza Luce. With jalapenos, mushrooms, sausage, and red onions, it was thick with grease, and the style was different from the Neapolitan pizza I so favored while 'near Rome,' but I pigged out in all my glory. Beverage accompaniment was tough. I'm all for wine and pizza, especially a lighter California Merlot (Alexander Valley Vineyards makes a HOTT merlot these days) or an acidic Chianti to complement tomato sauce. Needless to say, I wasn't about to open a bottle of wine on my own tonight (though I would likely finish it solo anyway). I chose some beer tonight that I've never tried before (not knowing I would be having pizza), but it worked out alright. Le Merle Saison from North Coast Brewery in Fort Bragg CA tried its hardest to pair with my greasy spicy pizza (and the sriracha/ranch dipping sauce I concocted on the side). I've never actually tried a saison before. The sour and slightly sweet palate of the Belgian styled 'farmer's beer' bothered me at first and has yet to win me over, but I'm confident after trying a number of different styles from different producers will bring me into line. Since it was a new experience I hate to hate on the beer, but I'd have much rather preferred an American Lager or something more familiarly pleasing. Pizza and beer is still my pairing of choice, though for those of us looking to please a date, wine might be more in order (though personally I think a pizza and beer night in is as good as it gets). TGIF!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pee No.

I love Pinot Noir; it's quite likely my favorite wine. I'm probably pretty biased, as the three wineries I worked at all specialized in Pinot, but maybe it was just a 'fate' -like happening. It's such a delicate grape and the spread of possibilities of what the wine may turn into is giant across the globe. Tonight I'm sipping a Penner-Ash 2007 Rubeo, a budget-end blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah from a reputable Willamette Valley producer. I had it with dinner, a spicy pork-sausage and tomato cream sauce pasta dish, but it's elegance graces my stemware as it opens up more and more after dinner starts to digest. The 'Oregon Funk' as I like to call it, a good 'funk' in my opinion, like a James Brown grove or George Clinton on his A-Game, is a synthesis of decaying evergreen forest with the liveliness of a fresh cranberry bog and ripened cherries. The touch of smoke from some french wood aging adds a welcomed layer. I haven't really written any bad reviews of wine yet; perhaps that's a reflection of my general optimism or I'm not drinking enough wine or taking enough risks (like the 2004 Vernaccia di San Gimigniano I bought last night knowing 99% that it would be bad but wondering what it would taste like anyway). My blog is also pretty juvenile. Penner-Ash was my first harvest gig and ironically the winery that taught me how un-romantic winemaking can be produces some of the sexier wines I've had the pleasure to drink.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I'm listening to this band: The Avett Brothers, and drinking this wine: 2006 Novy Nebbiolo, as I watch an utterly beautiful mid-summer sunset over Minneapolis. I couldn't ask for more.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer in the city

It's HOT here in Minneapolis. Luckily the thunderstorms that ravaged the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area this evening have lowered the temperatures a bit and I am blessed not only to have a sealed apartment to call home but also a fully functioning air conditioning unit to cool my abode. Needless to say when I got home from an extended day of work today, the refresher I grabbed was an ice cold beer. (Before I came home I was at a wine seminar put on by one of my associates, the very mythical Bill Abrahamson (look him up), that covered the Tempranillo wines of scorching Spain). Readily available in my fridge was a can of "Back in Black" Black IPA from 21st Amendment Brewery. Though these guys hail from the city by the bay (San Francisco) they have been brewing some beer for the Minnesota market at the relatively local Cold Springs Brewery. Unlike anything I've ever tried before, this beer is brewed with dark malts instead of the lighter fare that is typical to the IPA style. I was not a fan upon first sipping, but to be fair, the ballsy beer has grown on me. Its 6.8% ABV is something to remember, or rather help you forget the day past, but the hop profile is nicely rounded and balanced and is an interesting complement to the heavier body of the innovative beer. The packaging is pretty sexy too. It lacks the citrus finish and dazzle of many hoppy IPA's but it's something different and is definitely worth the $10 for a six pack. Sometimes beating the summer heat doesn't always mean light and fresh!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Why White?

I can't believe it's almost August. Being back in an old city with new and old friends alike as well as earning wages at a new wine job means that I've had plenty of opportunities for some social beverages. Picks of the summer have been French and Italian whites, with a Pichot Vouvray topping the list. I had it last week with a Lake Michigan salmon my dad caught cooked in a honey/orange marinade. Sweet viscous citrusy bliss! Yesterday I had a sexy pint of Rush River Amber Ale from nearby River Falls Wisconsin. If you can find it I'd advise buying a few six packs. I can't wait for the weather to cool down a bit so I can throw on my favorite wool sweater and uncork a bottle of some Zepaltas pinot noir. Sorry to say I will not be joining Mr. Zed in Santa Rosa this year on his winemaking team. The retail business has a hold on me and I'm stoked to be called the new 'wine guy' at a liquor store here in the cities, even though I miss my Carhartt and Blundstone workdays. Go find a patio and raise a glass!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

a few things

I'm not usually one to rant, but here are a few recent thoughts that have been bugging me:

If you're going out for a glass of wine, please keep the lipstick at a minimum. It's quite frustrating washing glasses that look like someone doctored them with oil paints.

A corkage fee exists for a reason: to cover operating costs and the deathly low markup that restaurants make on a carry in wine. It is also not waived with a 'twist off' cap or a tetrapack. If you have a problem with that, then opt for water next time. If you still have a problem with that, I can't help you.

If you're from my parent's generation, don't call me man, dude, or buddy, and proceed to talk about bongs, beer bongs, or anything else of the sort. Just because I'm young or have long hair doesn't mean I'm an idiot.

White wine has more sulfites than red. It's not the sulfur that's giving you the headache.

Don't feel ashamed when you get a sample of wine and swirl and sniff it in front of your friends. That's what you're supposed to do.

If you fall off your chair, knock over the water, or break a wine glass, don't be offended when I cut you off. Your slurred argument to me will get you nowhere.

Don't complain about the size of my pour. I measured it, twice.

If the price of a glass of wine offends you, then don't order it. I don't set the prices, so don't complain to me. If you're gonna be so damn cheap, then why are you dining out in the first place?

A wine bar is just like any other bar. Tipping is appreciated.

(Guys) Don't feel the need to tell me, with your chest puffed in the air like a mating duck, that you're not a 'wine drinker' as you chuckle expect me to think more of you. I love wine, you just offended me, and I'd actually love to pour you a glass or two that you will love. Open your mind for once.

Please don't pretend like you know everything about wine. You don't, neither do I, and you never will. Get over yourself.

Ask questions. The person in the wine-shop is there to help and would be thrilled to share some suggestions with you. Don't be shy, really. Unless you treat me like your insubordinate, I won't judge you.

If I had it my way, I'd be serving you in a flannel shirt and jeans. You'd be drinking wine from a tap in the vessel of your choosing (even a plastic cup if you wanted). You'd be sitting on a couch and the music would be loud and probably live. Maybe someday. I really am not a wine snob and I want to make drinking God's finest nectar enjoyable and easy for you. If you like it, drink it; It doesn't have to be expensive. Try new wines, especially when they're offered to you.

Friday, April 9, 2010


It's now been 3 weeks since I stopped smoking. Notice how I said 'stopped' and not 'quit.' The harsh realization came to me that I've been a 'smoker' far longer than I'd like to admit, and though I've tried 'quitting' before, I've never been as serious about it as I am now and I don't want to jinx it. So I stopped. Three weeks and counting without gnarly, burnt taste-buds has opened up my palate to a whole new world of flavor. Even though my palate has fallen out of shape since the daily blind tastings I endured last harvest, I am finding new complexities I never knew existed. Ironically the first time I really realized my heightened sense was when I was able to pick out 'leather' and 'tobacco' in a burly California Cab, two flavors that I must have tasted in just about every wine when I was smoking on the regular. Now I know quite a few people in the industry who are heavy smokers (cigars and pipes count) who have way better palates than your average punter, and if I'm not mistaken, even Robert Parker is a smoker, which probably explains why his obnoxious taste shies away from subtleties. More than anything else, I'm all the more inspired to keep 'not smoking.' Besides being healthy and cheap, it makes my wine taste exponentially more interesting.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I recently returned home from a 3 month 'vacation' to Italy. While there are numerous stories and posts that could be produced relating to the topic of wine and my journey, I am feeling an overpowering writer's block and will have to save those goodies for another time.

One of the first things I did in the days after being home was go through my personal wine collection. I have amassed quite the stash, at least compared to anyone else I am close friends with, and it's always fun to go through and find the goodies hiding in my parents basement. It's also crazy to see some of the bottles I was gifted, bought with an industry discount, or on a whim; I'm definitely not on the same budget now as I was even 6 months ago! Needless to say there are a few bottles that should probably be opened before too long so they don't turn to garbage water. The prospect of creating a menu to go with some stellar west-coast wines makes my mouth water, though I don't know who of my friends would give a damn about what goes better with what. I'm also hoping to maybe start a tasting group, something I've wanted to do for some time now but never had the opportunity because I've been on-the-go for the last two years straight. Hopefully I can find some inspiration in all that I have bottled up.


Saturday, January 2, 2010


My how time flies! With the dawn of a new year we find ourselves looking back at the year past and on to the one coming. I can honestly say I am nostalgically shocked with where I've ended up in 2009, with great thanks to my opportunities in the wine industry and the fantastic people in my life who support my nomadic habits.
Since last posting I have not only finished my stint in New Zealand and traveled the South Island in a little Van for 3 weeks (with my lovely Kolina of course), but road-tripped to and from California to work the 2009 Harvest at Siduri wines in Santa Rosa. But wait, it gets better. I write this post while sitting on a comfy little couch in Kolina's rustic Italian apartment set quite literally in the center of Florence, Italy. The church bells outside ring five times as the day's last rays of sun set behind the ominous wintry clouds. Voices chatter on the street below as the diverse population of tourists and locals traverse the narrow streets on this holiday weekend.
As of now my stay here is solely a vacation, a two month vacation. In committing to a serious relationship with a fellow travel-maniac I willingly brought upon myself the travails of distance but spurred some fantastic travel opportunities in the process. On Tuesday we are leaving for a few weeks to meander through Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, and who knows where else. Look for some stories to come. I hope to resurrect my postings, hopefully still with a focus on wine but also heavily influenced by my travels. For example, within hours of landing in the tiny Florentine airport Kolina already had me carrying empty wine bottles to be filled at the tiny little 'Enoteca' down the street. The two wines we got (a fresh white blend from Sicily and a light Montepulciano d'Abbruzo) were a steal for just over 5 Euro. It could have just been the emotional high of having arrived in this charming city (which I'm still riding more than a week later) but the wine tasted damn good to me. Since I'm on a travel budget I have a feeling the stuff I try from here on out will not be anything flash but that's just fine by me. It can't be too hard to find some decent juice in the places where the juice has been produced for thousands of years. Stay tuned.
Cheers to a happy and prosperous new year!