From my wine exam study guide:
In order to legally qualify for the term “Estate Bottled”, 100% of a wine must come from grapes grown on land owned or controlled by the winery. In addition, the winery and all vineyards used in the production of an estate-bottled wine must be located within the same AVA. The 394,088 acre Northern Sonoma AVA, which includes large swaths of most of the county’s northern AVAs, was proposed by Gallo of Sonoma, who may now blend across pre-existing AVA boundaries for its estate-bottled wines.
Regulatory capture! This is actually sort of brilliant.
It probably won’t surprise people that my idle escapist fantasies mostly involve fleeing to lead a life of solitary isolation in the wilderness, but occasionally I rethink things:
The greatest nightmare for the single-handed sailor is falling overboard. In fact, this may be the greatest danger for any ocean sailor, given the slim chance of recovering a crewmember lost overboard in the open ocean, particularly if the rest of the crew is asleep at the time (as will usually be the case for small crews). However, the nightmare scenario of floating in mid-ocean while watching one’s boat sail away under auto-pilot makes many single-handers very cautious. Staying on the boat (by careful and thorough use of handholds, lifelines, and tethers) is undoubtedly the best approach for any sailor, but some single-handers tow a rope astern, as a last desperate chance if they should fall in.
(not to be confused with Columbia Room bartender Matt Ficke)
No, J. Crew, I will not wear a denim jacket under a suit.
Reading Narcopolis. Addiction literature looks different from this side of the bar.
Only the rich can afford surprise and/or meaning. The rich crave meaning. The first thing they ask when faced with eternity, and in fact the last thing, is: excuse me, what does this mean? The poor don’t ask questions, or they don’t ask irrelevant questions. They can’t afford to. All they can afford is laughter and ghosts. Then there are the addicts, the hunger addicts and rage addicts and poverty addicts and power addicts, and the pure addicts who are addicted not to substances but to the oblivion and tenderness that substances engender. An addict, if you don’t mind me saying so, is like a saint. What is a saint but someone who has cut himself off, voluntarily, voluntarily, from the world’s traffic and currency? The saint talks to flowers, a daffodil, say, and he sees the yellow of it. He receives its scent through his eyes. Yes, he thinks, you are my muse, I take heart from your stubbornness, a drop of water, a dab of sunshine, and there you are with your gorgeous blooms. He enjoys flowers but he worships trees. He wants to be the banyan’s slave. He wants to think of time the way a tree does, a decade as nothing more than some slight addition to his girth. He connives with birds, and gets his news form the sound the wind makes in the leaves. When he’s hungry he stands in the forest waiting for the fall of a mango. His ambition is the opposite of ambition. Most of all, like all addicts, he wants to obliterate time. He wants to die, or, at the very least, not to live.
Sherry, variations on a theme.
The most notable risk that Francesca takes is encouraging patrons to drink sherry with dinner instead of wine (one waitress joked, “It’s not your grandmother’s sherry,” as if that were a selling point). There’s nothing wrong with simplicity or grandmothers, of course, but suggesting that diners forego wine in favor of the sweet stuff bespeaks an eagerness bordering on impatience to show off what Francesca knows about Spain.
Haters. I don’t really know anything about Spain, but come by the bar for some baller sherry if you’re curious. It’s really good.
Our job, we were told at frequent intervals, is about making people happy. An unremarkable and not particularly unique aspect of the business we have chosen, but it’s a useful reminder. Being away from everything for a week probably helps it stick.
There was a panel, “Bringing Service Back”, that was not much more than five people telling everyone for an hour and a half that the key to success is “don’t be a jerk”, and I don’t know what it says about me that this was the most important insight I took away from a five-day conference, but they’re not wrong. It’s not even service, really; that’s a technical skill (promptly refilling your water glass, refolding your napkin before you return from the restroom) which, not unlike making a decent drink, is not particularly difficult to learn and is ultimately tangential to the overall experience.
Hospitality is closer to what we’re really talking about, a sort of formal warmth and stylized intimacy that I imagine is not unlike throwing a large dinner party at Downton Abbey (fewer cravats, though.) It’s easy about 3/4 of the time. That last bit is the trick.
All of which is to say that the half hour we spent in an empty bar at 1 in the afternoon on a Sunday with a bartender who spent most of the time sitting on a stool smoking a cigarette telling us about the weird party she went to that weekend was probably the best time I had the whole trip. So who even knows.