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Sixty pounds of wine and smooth glass . . . what could go wrong?

Just back from The Winemaker conference and a few days in California, to a deskful of paperwork and a million messages. Fortunately for me, Joanne, one of Winexpert's Customer Service people gave me a dandy entry for the blog--and an timely one for any winemaker over the age of . . . well, let's just say none of us are getting any younger, and there are mornings when my body seems to wake up about half an hour after I do.

Don G of Kamloops wrote in to our customer service department with a pertinent question: more

Posted by Joanne Harris AT 3:40PM 3 Comments Comments Post A Comment Post A Comment Email Email

California Dreamin'

No, it wasn't foggy or blurry that night. It was probably the wine.

I'm at the Winemaker Magazine 2011 Conference, having a great time in lovely Santa Barbara. This is the fourth event we've done, and I've been to every one of them as a guest speaker. They continue to get better every single year, and it's great to see old friends every time I show up--good to see all of you, Rex, Mike, Ed, Gib and the whole crew.

Harder than what? Not trying at all?

We did have a little tussle getting here. Avis, a company I normally think pretty well of, dropped the ball completely. They had some kind of wildly popular deal on rentals and we stood in line to get in line to line up for the line-up for the counter for 2-1/2 hours, which dropped us into LA rush-hour traffic--thanks, Avis! But once we got out of the 5 kp/h zone the drive was spectacular. We went up the Ventura Highway with the tunes blasting. We played 'California Dreaming', 'Ventura Highway', 'We Love LA', 'California Uber Alles', 'LA Woman', and four versions of 'Hotel California' that are on my iPod, while the beautiful hillsides, canyons and the winding seashore streamed by our windows. We've settled into the Fess Parker Doubletree (if you don't remember Fess Parker, all my jokes about coonskin caps are going to fall flat) across from the beach and have been enjoying mild, sunny weather--you should see my sunburnt nose!

Actual concierge uniforms at the Fess Parker Doubletree

My seminars have been going very well. I did 'Wine Kit Adventures: Barrels, Blending and Yeast' for a very sharp crowd (lots of good questions!) and then did a Q&A Panel with Peter from RJSpagnol's. We had a great time doing what we do most of the time: answering questions about our stuff. I also had time to hit the trade-show area and do some meet 'n' greet.

Demented, but happy

We had time for a lovely dinner at the end of the pier at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company, where a 3-pound crab made a very fine dinner. The chowder was a bit strange though: there was so much sage in it, it tasted as though someone had accidentally tipped a can of sage powder into the pot! But, a few good local beers and some sunshine and good views make it a very nice spot.

Afterwards was the tasting party and wine swap, where everyone brought out their best wines to share with others. I was very busy pouring our Mosel Valley Gewurztraminer, Italian Pinot Grigio, Sonoma Dry Creek Unwooded Chardonnay, New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma Pinot Noir, Italian Sangiovese, Australian Shiraz and Napa Stag's Leap Merlot. Quite a few grape winemakers were mighty confused as to how on earth I got so many grapes from so many countries, and when I explained, they looked at their glasses in disbelief, "This is from a wine kit? But it's good!" That was pretty gratifying, I must say. I also took time to taste a few wines from other folks, including a spectacular Elephant-Heart Plum wine made by my friend Rex--It tasted like the best, fresh apricots you've ever tasted, with a dash of plum and raspberry. I could drink a gallon of it, but fortunately for my head, I didn't more

Posted by Travellin' Tim AT 11:17AM 2 Comments Comments Post A Comment Post A Comment Email Email

The Only Vacuum is Between My Ears

Does anyone hear an echo in here?

Did you ever do something that at the time seemed innocuous, yet later came back to haunt you as a trainwreck of your judgement? Sure, that happens to all of us--a simple lark or a careless statement that goes sideways on you and you wind up backfilling and apologising and trying to mitigate the effects for a much longer time than the original event took to pass? Sometimes it's an easy trap you could have avoided ("Yes, those pants do make your butt look big") but others are much more subtle, where you don't even know you've opened a can of worms until it's all red wigglers all the time.

Man, the Chef Boy-Ar-Dee has seen better days

It's much worse in print, and super-ultra worse on the internet, because in print your words are there in black and white, un-nuanced and easily read by folks who may not have the same agenda as you, and on the internet all time-lines compress: something you wrote 15 years ago (yes, I've been internetty that long) is as fresh and snappy as the day you wrote it, no matter how much your understanding of your topic has improved, or what your  intent was all those years ago.

So what is my foible? What pecadillo is back to haunt me? Whose cornflakes have I curdled? more

Posted by Bubblehead Tim AT 10:18AM 5 Comments Comments Post A Comment Post A Comment Email Email
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