WineSpirit Celebrates Your Unique Tastes...Through the Ages!
On occasion, people new to WineSpirit activity express relief that it isn't about something one associates with religion, when we use the words spirit and spirituality, sometimes in the same sentence. So what is WineSpirit exactly if not about religion, it's more how people come to celebrate life, and how wine sometimes helps lead the way inside.
On September 27 at Black Stallion Winery, we celebrated the essence of WineSpirit. Liz Thach and Sondra Barrett showed us the insides and out of wine's unique character, and how that applies to each of us. A WineSpirit full house , i.e. 30 people, which is our limit at these programs, enjoyed Sondra's photos of wine's unique character and beauty, under the microscope, followed by Liz's guiding people to experience their own taste changes, showing how sweet and sour, salty, bitter and savory, each alters our experience and taste of wine. Plus, we discovered our individual taste preferences . While quaffing Black Stallion wines and tasting the changes in the wines, as we alternated between taste treats, cookies, lemon, salt and more, we learned how by applying varying tastes from our foods, we can change our pleasure or dislike of a wine and savor our differences. Bravo, Liz and Sondra! ...for a fascinating and fun visit enjoying noshes and tastes of wines in the process of discovering deeper ways of appreciating these times together, and lessons we can apply at the dining room table.
On Sunday, November 15 at 2PM, is our next gathering, with a change of subject. Paul Wagner will be sharing one of his great presentations, Wine Toasts & Poetry, which I still savor from many years ago. Be sure to reserve your spot on EventBright or MeetUp for this presentation of:
Wine Toasts & Poetry – The complete history of wine and culture (abridged). From Babylonia to James Bond in an hour. An irreverent, fast-paced romp along Vitis Vinifera’s long and winding road. Join Paul as he imparts the grand story of wine, from wild vines and quevri in Georgia to amphora in Atlantis to barrels in Burgundy and cement ‘eggs’ in Oakville. You will laugh and learn, while your guide sips and whines his way through ancient wine, Old World, New World and Other Worlds wine. All 10,000 vinous years in 60 minutes!
About Paul Wagner:
A member of the WineSpirit Advisory Board, he has been an instructor for Napa Valley College's Viticulture and Enology department for the past twenty years. In addition he teaches at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, and is a guest lecturer at universities and conferences throughout the world on wine business, communications, public affairs, wine, wine tourism, and wine marketing.
With Liz Thach and Janeen Olsen, he authored a book: Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market by The Wine Appreciation Guild, which won the Gourmand International Award in 2008 for the best wine book of the year for professionals. He has been a columnist for Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine for the last ten years, contributes to Allexperts.com in the field of wine and food, and served on the board of directors of the Society of Wine Educators for many years. With Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio, he hosts “Bottle Talk” athttp://www.rickandpaulwine.com/ a weekly conversation about wine.
Paul Wagner has judged many international wine competitions, is a founding member of the Academy of Wine Communications, a member of the nominations committee of the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintner’s Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Spadarini della Castellania di Soave in 2005. In 2009 he was honored with a “Life Dedicated to Wine” award at the Feria Nacional del Vino (FENAVIN) in Spain.
A Magical and Memorable Visit with Paul Dolan and So much more!!!
We are so grateful to Paul, to John and to the folks of Frog's Leap for their warm and welcoming hospitality and as an extra bonus, some wonderful wines tasted during the program and made available to all that were interested for a 30% discount. In addition to enjoying the wonderful wines of Frog's Leap, and the delicious taste treats that WineSpirit organizing intern Laina Carter provided, the group was serendipitously treated to a field trip accentuating Paul's presentation by Frog Leap's Owner and Visionary John Williams as we learned from him about the magic and potency of dry farming, even as we were treated to peaches and plums also grown on the property. The day was magical in so many ways: the 30 participants came from wide and varied backgrounds, ranging from winery owners to happy consumers...all interested in learning from Paul about the latest insights in biodynamics of farming as pertains to grape growing and respectful treatment of the vineyard. Paul made it so easy to understand. As we digested how nature works in tandem with itself, when we humans allow that to happen, it made it conducive to pondering how people treat each other and how much better the world would be when we celebrate diversity as is the key to a healthy vineyard. Sunday, June 28 was an amazingly memorable experience for some 30 people that gathered at Frog's Leap Winery to enjoy Paul Dolan's presentation that demystified the mysteries of the vineyard. Even before it began you had the sense of something special about to happen in that two of us responsible for WineSpirit arrived from totally different places in the Bay Area after negotiating challenging driving conditions due to the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco and the annual race at Sears Point. What was remarkable was that the two of us arrived from different directions, at exactly the same instant, after an almost 2 hour drive. What are the odds of arriving at the same instant?
We look forward to seeing you at our next WineSpirit program on Sunday September 27 featuring our Vice President of Operations, Master of Wine, Liz Thach and Advisory Board Member Sondra Barrett, Author of Wine's Hidden Beauty:
Wine Palate & Shaping Taste– Curious about how genes impact your ability to taste or how the molecular universe of wine affects your experience of wine? As we explore the colorful expressions of wine and the five tastes (sweet, bitter, sour, salty and umami) photographed with a microscope, we discover clues to our language, intuition about wine and what shapes our taste of wine? Will the patterns unveiled in this molecular world match how they feel in our mouths? Discover some roots for your inner experience and pleasure of wine. Looking forward to seeing you then!
What Scales Do You Use to Evaluate Wine—and People? - Sip #2
Over 30 years ago, Robert Parker created a quality ranking system that made wine increasingly accessible to more people. His numbering system, now broadly applied, gives some consumers the confidence to make their choices. Parker’s 100-point scale opened up the world of wine to those who, without that guidance, shied away from wine altogether.
Yet the scale reflects Parker’s palate, not everyone—or anyone—else’s. The apparent precision of the measurements, and the impact of Parker’s judgments on consumers' choices, tempt winemakers to aim toward such standards, but his ratings can contradict the elusive, individual quality of wine. What is most important in a wine is whether you enjoy it.
Educators and executives seek effective and accurate ways to measure people and their abilities, achievements, and character. The 100-point grading system, used in many schools, is but one of many flawed assessment alternatives attempting to distinguish one person or group from another. What makes it challenging is that people are unique. Precise measurement is not easy—if it is possible at all.
Wines, like humanity, are multi-nuanced and difficult to define. Each wine, like each person, is unique, subject to change over a span of time. With so many to choose from, it is no wonder that we turn to measurements and standards to help make the selection process more tenable.
The human desire for a rating scale—and the reality that such scales are flawed— accentuate the human-like characteristics inherent in wine, reflecting life in all its complexity. Beyond generalities and numbers is the reality that what you have in your glass is unique: a combination of a particular moment, a friend with whom you share it, and the taste of the wine in that context.
Wine is not math. One person’s grade of 83 may be another person’s grade of 92, whether evaluating the same person or the same wine. That is what makes life, and enjoying it with a glass of wine, so special. You are right about what you are drinking, and Robert Parker is right, too. Yet, your scores may be very different.
REFLECTION QUESTIONS FOR SIPPIN':
- How much do you rely on expert input in selecting books, movies, wine, and other things?
- How do you allow for human factors, variations, and flaws in choices you make?
- What ways do you find most useful or rewarding to help you discover wines you love, and how does it compare to ways you evaluate people?
How Does Sustainability Extend from Vine to Glass? - Sip #17
One of the earliest adherents of “sustainability”—recycling as much of the harvest of nature as possible—was the wine industry of New Zealand, inspired by the pristine beauty of its unique and relatively isolated island nation. Since 1994, New Zealand wineries have moved in the direction of ecological balance in the interplay of working the soil and growing their wine grapes. Most New Zealand wine land is subject to sustainability regulations. The industry also encourages its members to keep such balance in the running of their businesses and in their financials.
You could also apply sustainability in personal and interpersonal ways: not only commitment to recycling, but also to time taken to regain your balance. It manifests in stopping for a moment, or a day, or a week: to relax, unwind, and be yourself, the self you would like to be, among those who share your journey. In stopping to relax and reflect, you allow yourself to consider all that you do: How much of it is important? Do you make time for what and whom you value? Such questions could help you examine and appreciate your life balance, or what you would need to do, to address wellbeing: physically, spiritually and emotionally.
A glass of wine, raised in a toast, provides an opportunity to regain your balance and connect good people, good times, and life’s manifold blessings. Raising your glass invites you to notice and appreciate more: where you are, with whom, and all that is special and precious.
With a lot happening in your life, it can be difficult to practice personal and interpersonal sustainability. Under too much pressure, you can lose your balance. Toasting helps you savor a moment, and, in so doing, regain a measure of balance.
Sustainability is not just for wineries and vineyards; it’s for everyone.
REFLECTION QUESTIONS FOR SIPPIN':
- What connection do you make between sustainability of the land and in your life?
- How might people who practice sustainability gain in productivity and success?
- What impact could commitment to sustainability have on your work?