T'was the Night Before Limiteds . . .


Five little slices o' heaven

I'm so very excited! Limited Edition 2010 is finally here! The five varieties are

  • January:
    • Shiraz/Viognier blend
    • Pacifica White, a blend North Coast California Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, British Columbia Chardonnay, and Australian  Semillon
  • February: Italian Primitivo, from Puglia
  • March: Austrian Gruner Veltiliner
  • April: Portuguese Douro Tinto, a red blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca

I've been tasting these wines since late spring, helping with formulations and it's been killing me. I want to make them now, the Pacifica to drink right away, the Puglia Primitivo (the Italian word for Zinfandel) for pasta, the Gruner Veltliner for seafood, the Shiraz/Viognier for lamb and the Douro Tinto, a dry table red made from the grapes that go into Port, just for drinking.

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Conference Calling

Kevin Graff, talkin' the talk

Another whirlwind weekend for Captain Chaos (me). After getting back from Toronto and New Jersey I just had time to hit the office, catch up on emails and submit some reports when Saturday popped up again and it was time for Winexpert Retail's annual customer appreciation barbecue. Gadzooks!

I love the barbecue. It's pretty low-key: we grill some burger and hot dogs and have a wee sale to show our customers that we know why we're here--them! Just like last year the weather threatened all Friday, dawned cloudy and by the time I got to the office with the last of the supplies, it was beautiful.

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Pasta Perfect, Future Tense

Who doesn't love noodles? Crazy people, that's who.

Pasta is the food of my people. Looking at me, blond and blue-eyed and rather strapping, it's obvious that I enjoy pasta on a regular basis, but I assuredly don't look very Italian in the classical sense. This is because no matter what they say, Italians don't have a monopoly on good pasta. Every culture that has access to wheat (or rice, or beans, or buckwheat, or spelt, or anything) makes noodles of some kind.

No, my people (on my mother's side anyway) are Mennonites. It's a complex and deeply weird religious sect based on Christian Anabaptism, worthy of a bit of study if you're into cultural anthropology (and who isn't?) but if you don't have time to do research, it helps to think of them as part of the 'plain people'--think Amish, but not so telegenic. While I'm not religiously observant, I find quite a bit to admire about Mennonites and their funny little ways, from being peaceniks to their views on disaster response, and their ability to enjoy themselves and laugh loud and long at life, despite looking a bit dour to outsiders.

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Thumb's Up

That's as normal as I get

Shame on me. I've been meaning to update the opposable digit situation for over a month now, and in the last couple of days for different people who saw me in a gigantic brace earlier this year asked me how my thumb was coming along.

For those who missed it, last May I had a little accident, wherein I severed the tendon that allows me to bend my thumb. It was a messy accident, but in the end it could have been much worse: one inch lower and I'd be one mitten too many, as the bottle that did it would have cleaned the digit right off.

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Off to the Races

Whaddya know, it's a small world after all

Funny how this time of year always seems to sneak up on me. You'd think that after a decade it wouldn't be so much of a surprise. But here we are in the middle of September and travel season is upon me. First up are Winexpert's Retailer conferences. There was one last weekend in Quebec, but I didn't make it this year--while I don't miss the travel, I really miss the people. Quebecois know how to enjoy themselves!

Saturday morning, very early, I'm off to Toronto to catch the Eastern Canadian conference. I'll be doing a Q&A event that night, so Air Canada had better get me to the church on time! Sunday I'm introducing some new retailer tools (searchable database, social media stuff) and talking about the upcoming Limited Edition season. It'll be good to catch up with all my Eastern friends and my co-workers. We can talk on email and conference calls all we want, but there's no substitute for face time.

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Tick, Tick, Tick

Is it just me, or does that second hand look crooked?

Gotta get my old tuxedo pressed

Gotta sew a button on my vest

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Human Doings

The remains of Hobbes' remains

A bunch of stuff to round up at Tim's Blog since I last posted. Things are getting into gear for the fall: we typically hold three conferences every September, one for Western Canada, one for Central-East and one for Quebec. I'm prepping for that, finishing the very teensy-tiny last little edits on the Limited Edition 2010 DVD presentation, grinding through the middle-ish edits for the Winemaking Excellence 101 video and on-line presentation course, finishing my research on product development strategies, working on my barrel-fermenting program, planning my Gamay Nouveau Party for the 9th of October (making my wine tomorrow!) and trying to stay ahead of my fall gardening and little things like my wedding anniversary (thirteen years married, 26 as a couple, go figure) and this weekend I'm covering the GCBF in Victoria. Whew!

Sorry kids: as usual it sold out in 90 seconds

If you recall my coverage from last year, you're a better man than I am. I have to look at my flickr photostream of the event to confirm that I was even there. In every writer's life there should be at least a little gonzo journalism, and this is definitely my hurrah. Okay, I'm kidding: I learn a lot about the industry and the state of the business, and it's good exercise for my beer palate. Ahem.

So, a few things to tidy up before more discretely organised blogs. I sent off the remains of my faithful companion Hobbes to the very deserving Kenton Foster. I'm going to publish his story and pictures when he torches Hobbes to a very touching end. I'm not sure when that will be, however: it turns out that sending zero dollar-value scrap wood to the USA is a very tedious and time consuming process. Every piece of wood had to be weighed, numbered and catalogued for US customs. I had to find my certificate of origin for the barrel, the manufacturer and the location of the forest it came from, and declare that it would not be re-sold or used for commercial purposes.

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My Neighbour

Not out, but up

I have a little linguistic quirk that pleases me to indulge. When I meet someone new for the first time I almost always greet them with, "Pleased to meet you, neighbour!" This can sow confusion: "Do you live next to me?" Of course I don't live next to all those people. But it helps me keep perspective that as the world I live in becomes more connected and I'm able to talk to people anywhere on earth, see news of them and where they live, live 24 hours a day and to travel there on a whim at nearly the speed of sound, all people have become my neighbours. And after all, isn't that the way things should work? If I remind myself that strangers are just neighbours I haven't met yet, then I'm more open to learning more about them and making them my friend.

With that, I have a story about some neighbours of mine. They're going through a very bad time right now. Many of them have lost everything, including family members, their homes, their livelihoods and everything they knew before. In fact, things are so bad they can't help themselves right now, and things could get a lot worse.

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And the Winner Is . . .

That isn't his usual cat basket

I've chosen a winner for the great Scrap Wood Give-Away of 2010! Here at Timsblog World Headquarters we enlisted the help of a basket and a mostly disinterested cat to choose from the entries, and came up with a deserving individual. Thanks for everyone who entered--it's nice to know that Hobbes had so many admirers.

The winning submission came from Kenton Foster, and I have to tell you he had a real edge with his submission. He wrote:

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