Moving Taxi NYC

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How Happy is the Little Stone

How happy is the little stone
That rambles in the road alone,
And doesn’t care about careers,
And exigencies never fears;
Whose coat of elemental brown
A passing universe put on;
And independent as the sun,
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute decree
In casual simplicity.

~Emily Dickinson

Tinhorn Creek on the Golden Mile Bench

Tinhorn Creek Vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench

 

It is a time of great change in the British Columbia wine industry.  Talk of retail prices, channel implications,  markup structure, international blended wines and grocery stores dominates our conversations.

And yet, decades from now, these debates will not be remembered.  They will be only dim memories in the minds of a few industry insiders who conjure them up while reminiscing in some futuristic bar.

But today will be remembered even so.

Because today is the day that we set in motion something new that will tell a story of our BC wine industry in meaningful and positive ways.  It is something as elemental as the brown given to vineyard stones by a passing universe.  In casual simplicity, I toast to you, the Golden Mile Bench, British Columbia’s first sub appellation.

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Grow the Pie

It has been a very long time since I have blogged.  I no longer feel guilt for that.  Turns out I can’t do it all.  Today was the kind of day that changed that.  I need to get something out there–more of a vent, not a rant.

I have spent so many of my waking hours  since January discussing, fretting, planning. conferencing and lamenting the new BC liquor laws that are just 20 days from enactment.  I’m sick of it all.  Things are going to happen on April 1st and all of us in the wine, beer and spirits industries are going to sit back and watch events unfold.  That being said…

The last 24 hours have been very telling for me.

Yesterday a case of wine arrived from Marquis Wine Cellars  filled with wine I had purchased from fellow wineries who poured at the in-person #BCWineChat two weeks ago.  Right to my doorstep, hand-picked by a knowledgable person from the store with guidance from me.  The staff at Marquis Wine Cellars are some of the best in BC.  They know everything there is to know about what’s on their shelves.  Marquis Wine Cellars is a Private Wine Store.

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening with  BC Winery Owners at a British Columbia Wine Institute meeting.  We discussed the industry’s strategic plan for 2015 and reviewed, surprise surprise, some of the changes that will be forthcoming in our industry starting in April.  Every person in that room contributes to this province’s economy–over $40 to BC’s economy for every $1 of BC wine sold in the province.  These people are my friends.  My best friends.  And I want them all to thrive and succeed.

Today at lunch (at our own Miradoro Restaurant) I met with four passionate VQA Store Owners.  They have struggled to get traction for years and now that they have built up loyal customers they feel the ground shifting beneath them.  There are no bigger advocates for BC wine than these store owners.  They send customers straight to the winery doors.  They promote our concerts, events, new releases and the uniqueness that is found within each BC winery.  They do it because they love BC Wine and believe in what we do.

After lunch I realized I was hosting #BCWineChat tonight but am out of BC bubbly (the theme) and yes, I know, how can that be?  Don’t I just drink all day long?  Anyway, a quick stop in at Desert Country Liquor Store a Licensed Retail Store (LRS) and I remedied my situation.  Not only does this store carry some of the best microbrews in BC but they also carry a massive selection of BC and local Oliver/Osoyoos wines.  $34 later I had a bottle of Brut Rosé from Blue Mountain in my hand (and some sake!) and was on my way to…

…pick up my case of wine from the Oliver Government Liquor Store (GLS).  I had purchased a case of wine at the on site store during the Vancouver International Wine Festival a couple of weeks back.  Greatest service ever– buy on site and they ship to your local store anywhere in the province for free.  One case, filled with amazing Imported Wine from all over the world.

In 24 hours I interacted with, purchased from or supported every wine channel in BC and bought BC wine, imported wine and sake.  What does this prove? Certainly it proves I am well on my way to having a drinking problem, but the other thing it proves is that we need EVERY channel in BC to be strong.  They must survive–no, thrive–if we are going to be successful.  We cannot afford to sacrifice  anyone.  We all have too much riding on these channels, these wineries and these restaurants.  And so does the BC government.  If we all grow,  they grow.

Unlike the government’s mandate with these changes to “modernize but stay revenue neutral” I say strive for revenue enhancement.  I want the government to make more money because that means that we all are making more money.

It means we are not just carving up the pie so some win and some lose.  It means we are making the pie bigger.  That’s the trick, folks. It’s not about you getting one thing and this guy over there getting a different thing.  It’s about making the pie bigger.

And do you know where I did not visit today?  A grocery store. But I leave that for another blog, and for my husband, who does the shopping.

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Thar She…Is!

Humpback Whales IMG_0138

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Wine Sayings of My Uncle, 1839

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In a scan of primary sources tonight I came across this gem of a book from the European Library.  From “Every Man His Own Butler” by Cyrus Redding, 1839 which is so wonderful my new goal is to own a copy. The entire book is fascinating, but at the end the author lists pages of sayings from his uncle about wine.  Progress sometimes means listening to the past.  Here is a sampling:

1. Bad wine is never worth good water.

2. Never believe the wine good because the owner tells you so.

3. Red wine poisons oysters.

4. Repentance is a home-made wine of our own brewing.

5. Never drink bad wine out of compliment; self-preservation is the first law.

6. Wine makes the soul go naked.

7. Of wine and love the first taste is the best; no second sip equals it.

8. Take care of the bung, and the wine will mind itself.

9. If you find your wine go too fast, put a second lock on your cellar and keep the key.

10. Good wine should drink smooth, like liquified velvet.

11. The best wine of all kinds is not that which costs the least,but that which costs nothing.

12. The bouquet of wine comes like a sunbeam, and must be enjoyed at the moment.

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Thoughts of Dad on His Birthday–In No Particular Order

Dad 2012

Walking close next to me on a snow-covered sidewalk in downtown Salt Lake City.  In front of me my husband carrying our newborn in her little carry car seat.

Outburst of uncontrollable laughter  in the bedroom next door every time Mad Mad Mad Mad World would air on TV.

Calmly, methodically sending the brush on its long pole carefully down the side of the pool.  Working his way slowly around its circumference.

The inevitable, yet always expected, “Hoooome Sweet Home” as we crossed into our driveway returning from a family trip.

Dancing in the winery amphitheater for his anniversary party.

Holding my mother’s hand in the church pews during service.

Standing beside me, walking me through the backyard he had cleaned meticulously on my way to be married.

The spontaneous hug for my Mother at the sink after dinner.

“I’m really proud of you” or “Your Mother and I are so proud of you” after graduation from UC Davis.  No doubt from Sacramento State, Santa Rosa Junior College and Marin Catholic High School as well— but I don’t remember those.

Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline blasting from the stereo

Fixing everything. Everything.

Sitting back, stirring his coffee and taking in the Christmas dinner conversation around him. Catching my eye and sending a laser wink in my direction.

“How’s my girlfriend?” asking about our daughter, across the miles.

Washing, scrubbing car grease off his hands before meals.

Fishing off the dock.  Feeding the ducks. Relaxing on the deck. Putting the boat into Clear Lake.  Taking the boat out of Clear Lake.

Teaching me how to water ski.  Circling. Circling. Circling the boat until I popped up out of the water…or gave up for another day.

Letting me drive the boat on his lap.  The yellow floaty boat key swaying, jingling as we bounced along the surface.

Year after year, as we both grew older, the back of his head, the right side of his face, from my vantage point in the back seat of the car.

Quickly, quietly pressing some money in my hand after a visit before returning to college.

Sitting on the back of a red Honda motorbike, hanging onto his middle on a winding road to church.

Lifting the storage door, De Soto peeking out from below, “Do you want it?” sheepish grin he could barely contain.

Easy chairs throughout the years, Scarlett or Kelly on his lap.  Reclined.

The now-frequent, not forced, often preceding mine, “I love you” that he drops at the end of a conversation.

Lingering images like dust specks.  Definable with shape.  Tiny wisps of fleeting moments.  Swept together from all corners and across the floors of my mind into one discernible pile of overriding feelings of Love, Gratitude, Honour, Respect and Awe.

Happy 87 years of living Dad.

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10 Reasons to Free My Grapes

I wrote this article, Top 10 Reasons to Free My Grapes, for the September edition of Orchard and Vine magazine.  All views are my own, of course.

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