While working in the wine sales side of the grocery industry once in a while a special training opportunity comes my way. This trip was to the Bealeiu Vineyards The BV house was amazing it’s a 1920’s bungalow style mansion 10,000 square feet of living space. It was built for George and his wife owners of BV. We had a wonderful tasting of Chalone wines and of BV wines as well. We were shown how the glass the wine is served in could change the entire experience of the wine. George Reidel once said to me that “ perception is everything!” How the wine is placed on the palate is also the perception of the product. I was not a true believer of this concept until I sat with the German glass master himself and tried the wine from his hand blown glass. The difference was life changing. Pure elegance flowed across my tongue where before only red and wet wine flowed before. That moment in time convinced me to try to drink the correct wine from the correct vessel.
Setting has something to do with wine tasting as can company present at the time. These factors leave lasting impressions good or bad in the mind when experiencing a great glass of wine. Like I have said before wine is a lifestyle and it should be experienced fully. Sitting in a room of quarter sawn oak surrounded by100 years of history in the wine dynasty made me think at the end of the day did the farmers really know what they had created. As we were toured around the diverse wineries on this trip I realized that the bread the water and even the cheese tasted better. Perhaps it was just my imagination or over developed sense of gourmet coming on line. Call it what you will, everything I encountered be it wine or culinary delights was just better! This strange thing happens when you’re sitting around these lush gardens of fruit meticulously maintained by farmers and wine makers. A feeling of humility overwhelms you as you walk down a row of perfectly trained vines this is California history in the making. Living growing history from the early days of the Grapes of wrath to the Mondavi ‘s and the Beringer, and Sterling and countless names clearly recognizable to Napa Valley’s history in every drop of juice squeezed.
So the next time your wandering through a cool vineyard set by a moving river in the Russian river valley or a high mountain vineyard sloping to a bowl shaped crest atop Mount Veeder, take a moment to realize you’re in the heartland of a thriving rich industry built on the backs of humble farmers and creative immigrants trying to live out their share of the American dream, And to them we hoist a glass of the Napa’s finest and say Thank You to the dreamers and visionaries in the wine world of Napa Valley.
See you tonight 5-8 PM at Ralphs Downtown for a very special tasting.
Mike The Wine Guy