I have neglected my wine blog because I often simply repost a piece written for the Ukiah Daily Journal weekly wine column I write, and because I had a big work event – the McFadden Wine Club Dinner at the Farm – on my plate.
Dinner done, and it was a terrific success, owing mostly to people not named John Cesano. Guinness is the perfect host and has the perfect venue for a party. Judith Bailey, who makes Guinness happy, which makes me happy, took on more work than she expected, and my son went from volunteering to help to straight up working, and together they put some finishing touches on what wasn’t getting touched. Fontaine, Guinness’ daughter, an accomplished chef, and a team of chef friends cooked up a storm of yum. Kelly McFarling and her band added the live music polish that put the night over the top. Hal Wagenet kept the music going late for our guests. My tasting room crew opened and delivered bottles for a vertical tasting of 2007-10 Coro wines from McFadden. We threw a party and our guest had a great time, which was their job.
In the next month, columns will run about Brown Family Wines, Albertini Vineyards, Crispin Cain, Nelson Family Vineyard, Coming events: WineSong and the Testa Wine Club Barn Blending BBQ, and Rosati Cabernet Sauvignon.
Every story meant time spent with folks passionate about what they do, so each was a blast to experience so I have words afterward to share.
Saturday, I get to go to Saracina’s Salmon and Pinot Feast. I won a ticket in a haiku contest. I am the Jack Reacher of writing. Not the midget in the movie, but the giant in the books. I may not be graceful, but I can overwhelm with words. I submitted 10 poems a day for four days, 39 haiku and a limerick. Sheer blunt word count will see me spending time with people I enjoy, at a place I cherish, drinking wine I adore, with food I love. Not bad.
Tomorrow, the folks at A Taste of Redwood Valley are giving away an assortment of goodies to the winner of a photo contest. I’m not as good at photography as I am at wordsmithing, but I sent a link to about 100 pictures from their event weekend. There were a handful of good images in the bunch. If I happen to win, I will definitely keep the XO Brandy (Cognac) and Absinthe from Germain-Robin but give the wine bottles away (even though there are some delicious wines in the mix, I get to taste wine freely) in a future newspaper column giveaway of some sort.
Speaking of the future, I have so many unwritten pieces I want to write. There are people, places, and wines I adore that I haven’t visited but dearly want to…and will. Yvonne at Terra Savia for a piece about wine and the best place for olive oil, Victor Simon to enjoy wine and lunch – we did it before but need to do it again for a column, Denise at McNab Ridge to talk about the area’s most successful ongoing monthly wine event and Rich’s wines, Hoss Milone to talk about Brutocao and Bliss wines, Cesar Toxqui about winemaking and biodynamic farmed grapes, the crew at Graziano and their near endless list of affordable and delicious wines.
I want to write about Bernadette at SIP! Mendocino and Mark at the Mendocino Wine Shop, and I want to write a story on the other wine friendly restaurants in the area – the ones not named Crush.
Speaking of Crush, I was in yesterday, and saw they posted a copy of my column about their first Chef’s Winemaker Dinner Club event. That was kind of odd for me. Odd, but nice. The next Winemaker Dinner event will feature Barra wines and is scheduled for August 21. I will be there; I tried to buy a ticket yesterday, but the price has not been set yet. Food was great at the first one – seriously, you want to do this.
Another funny thing: I get to write whatever I want online. Sort of. Fuck. See, I wrote that because I can here but not in the paper. I also have a ton of readers online, but you live all over the place, and even though I just wrote that you want to go to the upcoming Crush dinner, I know most of you can’t. I am also freer in style, more conversational, online, and I can go on – like now – about nothing but spend as many words as I wish doing so.
In the newspaper, what I write has an impact. Not a huge impact, but an impact. I write about wines in a small area, an area roughly the same as the newspaper’s circulation. My words actually reach folks and some of them are inspired to try a wine after I write about it. I sold wine club dinner tickets because I mentioned the event in a column. Wine too. I had readers go next door because I wrote about the neighbor’s shop. In town, at dinner, or at events, people recognize me. For my writing. Thanks to a great picture taken by a friend, Diane Davis, that accompanies my pieces. That is novel for me. I’ve written for years, but the relative anonymity of online blogging – my name’s attached but almost none of my readers know me personally, meant I could mostly write what I wanted. Now, in columns, I have word count limits, so I try to engage in brevity. I also will never write negatively about a wine, or a winery, or a person at a winery, because I learned that lesson a couple of years ago when a thoughtless comment caused a ruckus. I live in a teeny tiny fishbowl where everyone swims in the same small amount of water and so I simply write about places I like. While I live in the area, working in the wine industry, everything will be rainbows and bunnies. And Chardonnay, the wine equivalent of rainbows and bunnies.
After writing a string of columns, it was nice to ramble. Thanks for reading.