Stop and Smell the wine glass

This week, I have stopped and started with my blog writing. I've been side tracked with numerous business dealings, talking with old friends about wine distribution, consulting another on purchasing a foreclosed on vineyard, among other things. I had planned on writing about another unusual grape...maybe next week.

Exene Cervenka
Following my blog from last week, I ventured out to a local concert. Even my friend, David Wilson at Grape Encounters Radio got into the music and wine theme. I hadn't planned it this way, but last week's blog has really played out in an unusual way. I was surprised by the visit of Exene Cervenka at one of my wine tasting events. (Exene was/is the lead singer for one of my favorite bands during my college days: X). Tonight, I attended the Michelle Mangione concert, and it got me thinking.....The band members are extremely talented. They played, and people either stayed and listened, or just walked on by. How often do we just "walk on by" rather than stop and pay attention to what (or who) is in front of us?

All five members of the band have very interesting backgrounds. All of them have played with famous bands, and band members. But, you need to take the time, and observe. Last week, I had the opportunity to have breakfast with the three of the band members in Superlark, along with Exene. People walked in and out the restaurant, and probably never realized who they just passed up. I wonder how many times I have done the same thing?

So what does this have to do with wine? Everything!

How many wines have you not tasted, because it didn't get a 90+ rating by so-and-so? How many wineries have you not visited because they haven't been written up by your favorite wine magazine or blogger? How many wines haven't you tried because you had no idea what grape it was made from?

Brandon Sparks-Gillis
It is time to change the way we look at things. What may just appear to be an everyday winery trying to make a buck (or a band playing a local concert) may be a diamond in the rough. I have been guilty of this. A number of years ago, I had planned a wine tasting trip to the Central Coast of California. I had laid out all the wineries I wanted to visit, based on the recommendations of a well known wine magazine. We visited one of the wineries (whose wines were very good). They shared their crush facility with a small, unknown (at the time) winery. As we were getting ready to leave, the winemaker sheepishly approached us, and asked if we wanted to try his wines. Over the next half hour, we fell in love with his enthusiasm, and his wine. Dragonette Cellars, and winemakers Brandon Sparks-Gillis and John Dragonette have become friends, and their wines are now gaining a huge following. These talented winemakers would have been passed up, if we had not stopped, listened, and tasted. As a Sommelier, I am always looking for the next "up and comer", the next grape variety, or the next trend.

My challenge to all readers of this blog is to try something new. Don't buy the wine based on a rating. Buy something different. For the last couple weeks, I wrote about Amarone and Barbera. If you haven't tried these, you are just "walking by", and missing out on what is right there in front of you. When you do purchase the wine, stop, slow down, savor the aroma, the taste, and finish. Evaluate the wine, learn about its' background, and enjoy the experience.

Why stop with wine? As we go through life, we need to slow down and observe. You may just discover new things surrounding you. You may find a new winery, and new grape, and new friend, new community, and new band. Life is too short to do what everyone else is doing, or in this case, drinking.


  1. I hope you now know what all the fuss over wine glasses is about. If you are a heavy wine drinker, the glass can be just as important as the type of wine you are tasting.

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