To put to rest the notion that the job of planning wine tours is as easy as 1-2-3, I’ve
decided to share what we tour planners do in the way of background knowledge. Since contacts are the most important part in crafting a tour, we have to constantly be on a quest to make new contacts. Yesterday was one such day- and a very productive one! I’d like to share it with you.
5:30Am- The alarm goes off and I get my tired bones to the shower, have a quick breakfast, check my email and dash to the train station to catch the 7:00am to Grand Central
9:30am-I attended the seminar “Master Class on Zinfandel” sponsored by the Society of
Wine Educators of which I am a member. The panel had 3 people, a Zin winemaker from Napa (Duane Dappen- D-cubed Cellars),one from Sonoma (Carol Shelton- Carol Shelton Wines) and one from Paso Robles (Doug Beckett- Peachy Canyon Winery) We were to taste 9 wines blind and try to decide which flights came from Paso Robles, Napa and Sonoma. Each winemaker talked a little about the styles of Zin from their respective areas and one piece of information was crucial- Napa Zins are more austere with more structure; Sonoma Zins are fruitier and Paso Robles Zins are the fruitiest of all. After 15 minutes of silent tasting, the identities were revealed and yours truly had correctly identified the 3 different flights. I was so proud of myself, because it doesn’t happen too often. Then we sat down for lunch. I made sure I sat next to Doug Beckett because our next tour to California will be to Paso Robles. By the way, the venue was Tony May’s new venture- SD26. He’s the owner of the Four Seasons and the former San Domenico. We had a very nice lunch of homemade fettucini with baby lamb ragu, beef cheeks braised in wine and chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream. All 9 wines were on the table and they were pretty much the same style with no big alcohol bombs. All went very well with the food.
1:30pm- I left SD26 across from Madison Square Park and went to 27th Street for a
tasting of the VINTUS portfolio. They import Guigal, Montelena, Tommasi, Telmo Rodriguez, Bruno Paillard Champagne, Sandrone Barolos, the list goes on and on- and the winemakers were at the event. I made some great contacts for future visits, including one missing piece for our Bordeaux tour next month.
2:45pm-And if all this was not enough, I was able to walk to W. 36th from E. 27th to take in the Spanish Wine Cellar Trade Show. Compared to the other two events, this one paled in comparison. But I did make one possible contact for our 2013 tour to Valencia.
4:07pm-Back on the train to return home after a tiring but productive day.