December Wrap-up and Into the New Year

The view from the road. Taken in Oregon, December 2012

'Twas the Season to be jolly, and I hope you all had a fine and satisfying Saturnalia/Christmas/Hannukah/JØl or however you choose to celebrate this festive time. 

Astute readers of this blog, if there are any left, will have noticed that I haven't posted for over a month. Usually it's due to extreme lethargy, being very busy on the road, or just lacking a head of steam big enough for my usual narcissistic blather (as a pal once told me, 'Your blogs are as self-involved as a tween girl on Facebook'. Hah, he's completely wrong: there are plenty of really cool, self-aware tweens on Facebook!)

In this case it has been due to a serious illness in my family. It's slowly resolving, but it has taken a lot of my time, and a lot of my emotional energy to manage. From one perspective, it's an inevitable chapter that comes to every human life. From another, if life is a journey, then there are going to be times when the road is hard and long. Thank-you to everyone for your kindnesses, and your patience with me while I've been terribly distracted for the last two months. I'm back on my game, more-or-less and I really do appreciate all of your good wishes.

LE 2012 was an enormous amount of fun. I did events promoting our Limited Edition release all across North America, from Nanaimo, Vancouver, Kelowna, Portland (Oregon), St. Pauls/Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Calgary, Denver, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Baltimore and a bunch of others that have meshed into one giant, happy blur of seeing good friends, meeting new ones and sharing the story of our wines and then drinking them all up together. It's a pretty long slog, now stretching from the middle of September to the second week of December. It actually pretty much represents a third of my year here at Winexpert, between planning, writing marketing/technical stuff, shooting a video, developing a PowerPoint deck and then training other people to use it, and finally going on the road to tell the story. 

But I love it, really. It's not something I could do if I didn't really enjoy the program, and all of the wonderful people that make this business so refreshing--I could be out selling cars or running a plumbing store, and rarely see a truly happy face. Instead, I meet people who are making their own wine and loving every minute of it. Now that's a privilege. 

There's been a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff here at Winexpert as well. We've done a soft-launch (the phrase always makes me think of a Nerf rocketship or something) of our brilliant new Eclipse kits. If they're not in your neighbourhood yet, be patient, they're coming, and fast! The kits were actually delayed while we developed and implemented a couple of new production strategies and new phenol management technologies. They also threw kind of a monkey-wrench in everything, because they are such a departure from our previous 'best of the best' wines that we needed to jump on a product improvement program for absolutely everything in our line-up, to make sure everything measured up to 'the best in the industry'. 

The program has come to World Vineyard, Vintner's Reserve, Selection International, and we'll be doing to to every one of our table wine kits over the next year--they'll still be the kits you know and love, but they'll be better than ever. 

But enough about business. I usually use this blog to share little bits of my world (there's that self-involvement again) and what I'm up to, and although it was a quiet and sometimes solemn holiday season, we did manage to capture the spirit of thankfulness, mindfulness and the change of the seasons and the coming of the New Year. 

There were some fine walks on the beach

Gorgeous late winter sunset. Chilly, yes, but achingly pretty.

I bought a new hat

Fits like an iron glove

I took up hunting

Muddy, cold, wet, no luck shooting geese--and a perfect day

We had a nice brunch

Frosted fruit! What will they think of next?

And we managed to have a few nice dinners ourselves 

My favorite restaurant. The waiter is a grump, but the food is excellent and the company even better

I'm going to be blogging again, sooner than next month: my ire is risen with some shocking developments in the world of wine and beer (news flash: wine critics are dishonest shills, Robert Parker takes the title of worst person in the world for the second consecutive time, and beer is falling prey to fools with money) so I've got a pile of stuff to get off my chest. 

But until then, I'd like to leave you with a thought that I've been chasing around for a while now. There are many distractions in everyone's life, and not all of them are important. If I ever could give useful advice, it would be this: take time to tell the ones you love exactly how you feel, to make a connection with them, to cherish your time, to forgive wrongs and to find your peace with each other. There can't be anything more important than that. 

Thinking of you, Papa
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