There are a number of things I am great at, and am old enough to be good at a number of other things.

My iPad lets me take decent pictures and post hem to the Internet, so I consider myself a decent picture taker.

I love to cook, am better than average, no where near Top Cheftestant good but better than several clowns on Hell’s Kitchen.

It is a joy to know people who are great at the things I am good at and be able to benefit from their different skill set.

Yesterday, I had a wine club member share a new way she used the wild rice from our farm that we sell in our tasting room. Kirsten Turner was with a Bay Area dance company, and perhaps her artistic nature extends to the culinary arts, or maybe she is just a much better cook than I am, but I would never have thought to cook our wild rice in he same manner that I cook risotto like she did. Simple, but brilliant. I am excited, and grateful, for the terrific tip.

Also yesterday, I had a visit from terrific professional photographer, personal friend, and really friend to the entire local wine industry, Diane Davis. DI Davis offered her photographic art to accompany the writing that will appear in my weekly Ukiah Daily Journal wine column, an offer I gratefully accepted. I love that we have the opportunity to work collaboratively, each doing what we do best. We have talked before about such opportunities, but this will be our first big project and on ongoing one.

Di came to my tasting room to take a portrait for the weekly column, a kind and generous act, but one which I was not wholly comfortable with. I make for terrible photos. I am short, fat, bald, and have terrible teeth. Occasionally someone captures a good pic by accident, but many times I just cringe seeing pictures of myself.

I had actually sent almost three dozen head pics, randomly snipped from photos ranging from childhood to current, grainy to hi def, so my UDJ editor could rotate pics in and out because there isn’t really a picture I like enough to want folks to have to see each week.

A professional is a professional for a reason. Di got me out from behind my tasting room bar, cleared off a table, set me up with my laptop and a bottle and glass of wine, and before you knew it, she was telling a story with hr camera. The portrait pictures looked great, and it was clear that I was a wine writer at work. Simple, but something I would never have thought of in a million years.

NOTE: I’ve added a copy of Di’s work below. I’ll move it up here when I get to the magical laptop in the portrait.

I am grateful for the people who come into my life, knowing things I do not, with a willingness to share the gifts of their knowledge and skill.

Since I write a wine blog, and purport to report on the goings on in my area of Mendocino County, here’s some news: Weibel Family Winery & Vineyards tasting room will be shutting down the day after Easter. Weibel wine club members will still be served, but shipments will come from Lodi. The tasting room will be reopened on May 1, just in time to participate in Hopland Passport on May 4 and 5, as Ray’s Station.

Ray’s Station will be the Mendocino County presence of the growing Vintage Wine Estates empire, which includes Windsor Vineyards (where I worked over 8 years and have friends still), Sonoma Coast Vineyards, Girard, Kunde, and more. Weibel had good wines. I have tasted many great wines from VWE brands.

Margaret, Ashley, and the rest of the current tasting room crew will transition with Ray’s Station, and the future is bright with a promise of increased wine quality and a mighty marketing machine to support it.