Sunday, September 27, 2009

By Appointment Only

When a winery or vintner states that tasting is “by appointment only,” GO! For years this turned me off because I assumed the winemaker pretentious. Growing up in an open-door policy lifestyle, I didn’t understand why they were closed to the public when all the other wineries were open. I changed my mind in the spring of 2000.

My husband and I were on a quest to taste ALL the wines of the California Central Coast before we moved to Germany. We had only a couple of weeks to hit all the wineries, including those that were “by appointment only.”

We discovered these to be quaint mom & pop set ups with a small inventory. We called on a winemaker located on the outskirts of Paso Robles. His wife was most friendly when we called and set a time within the hour. Just enough time for her to bake us a loaf of bread to enjoy with our wine.

When we got there her husband, a man in his 70s greeted us on the driveway. He was a retired engineer from Italy turned winemaker. After showing my husband his prized Alfa Romeo we were invited into his home to enjoy the fresh baked bread, wine and listen to stories from Italy to America. It was their story that brought the flavors of the wine to perfection.

I never looked at my watch. It didn’t matter that we had many more wineries on our list. By Appointment Only: “Wherever you are, be there.”

If you could schedule an appointment for somewhere special, where would that be?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Arbor Mist Bubbly White Zinfandel at a Wine Tasting?

When I moved to my new neighborhood my husband & I hosted a BLIND wine tasting party to meet our neighbors.  We sent out formal invitations and simply requested they bring a white wine.  I mostly drink RED wine but it was a summer time (think hot).

So anyway, my neighbor, Trish, said she didn't drink wine and wasn't sure of what to bring.  Immediate response:  What?  She said, she had tasted wine on occasion but did not like it.  Follow up response:  What!  After the initial shock I told her to pick ANYTHING at the Wine & Spirits store and I added that expensive did not mean better.

The whole idea of the event was to meet neighbors and share my favorite pastime: wine tasting/ consumption.  At the party neighbors tasted a variety of wines and were surprised to discover that one Chardonnay tasted different from another. Or that Pinot Gris tasted a lot like grass (the kind you walk on). And so on!  We played down fancy industry terms.

Back to the whole Arbor Mist experience.  Trish brought the one wine she knew: Arbor Mist White Zinfandel.  When I said, "pick any white wine" I should have added, "And White Zin does not count."  Can you imagine how funny it tasted after a sip of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc?  I was like, "Okay who brought the Bartels and Jaymes wine cooler?" No wonder she said she did not like wine.  Maybe if all I ever tasted was Arbor Mist Bubbly White Zin, I'd consider beer a better option too! 

LEADERSHIP TIP:  When you're asked for guidance by a newby, keep it slightly more specific and include absolute no no's.

What's the oddest or most surprising wine ever brought to one of your gatherings?  Do you have a similar story?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ready To Start Your Business?

Do you have the right stuff to start a business?

  1. Did you franchise your lemonade stand when you were 8 years old?

  2. Do you have "entrepreneurial" genes?

  3. Are your spouse, children and parents loyal?

  4. Is wealth a better reason to start a business than riches?

  5. Do you love your better mousetrap?

  6. Do you know when to replace passion with pragmatism?

  7. Ever doubled down in Vegas?

  8. Are you honest, trustworthy and committed to avoiding evil?

  9. Do you know a spreadsheet from a bed sheet?

  10. Do you have the tenacity of a pit bull?

Count your "yes" answers and see how you did ... Scores