Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Part II: Days 2 & 3: How Far Calistoga really is, and the Dry Wine Tour seminar


Tuesday was a bit of a blur. What I remember is that after that really nice dinner at Gary Danko Monday evening, I had a restful sleep back at the hotel, and began to feel more human. That meant, I wanted to get right to work. So I got up early and began working - I had 8 customer accounts to see - and I didn't get back to my hotel room till 11:00 pm that night. Nope, there was no fine dining for me that night - dinner was a plate of Mexican food from Via Corona in St. Helena in the Napa Valley, a place that I went to once before, and that dinner lasted from about 9:00 pm to 9:20, when I had to hit the road to return to my hotel in San Francisco. At that point in the evening, I had to wonder why I didn't book a place to stay in the Napa Valley instead of driving all the way back into the city, 1.5 hours away from my last appointment.

But that would have involved perfect planning.

Instead, I had a day where I used up a tank of gas getting to appointments all over the East Bay, from Walnut Creek to Danville to Napa to Calistoga. (Yes, I had to go to the Napa valley again on Tuesday - because there are buyers that work Monday but don't work Tuesday, and buyers that don't work Monday and work Tuesday.) And that's when I found out that Calistoga is a looooong way from Napa, even though it in the Napa Valley. Who knew it was like 30 or more miles from the "bottom" of the valley?

The account I saw in Calistoga was Solage, a beautiful resort nestled in the mountains, a spa retreat, with a beautiful restaurant. Here I met with two managers who were super nice, and made my long drive worth it. They loved the wines and promised to bring them in. That helped my mood that evening.

That appointment was at 8 pm at night, and it made me remember why I don't like to work that late - it does not feel good... I was out of there close to 9, and that's when I headed down the 29 highway to the restaurant where I had dinner in record speed.

Wednesday morning I woke up and had to see 1 account before heading to the Dry Wine Tasting. The account turned out to be a tiny market in a neighborhood. It was so small I missed it several times driving by. It is so interesting to me, these little neighborhood markets all over San Francisco - so different from Los Angeles, where there aren't so many of these since no one here walks. In a more walking-focused town, these independent markets seem to thrive, and their customers have a strong loyalty to their local place where they can walk to.

Next was the Dry Wine Tasting. I got there a little later than I had hoped, found parking, and arrived at the front door just when Rudi Wiest, the 6 growers, and Laura Williamson, the newest member of the Rudi Wiest team showed up with all their luggage. They had arrived from their Tuesday tasting in Chicago, which followed their Monday tasting in New York City. So they probably weren't going to be very sympathetic to how tired I was feeling! Their Tuesday, I heard, was brutally long and hard, with a flight in the morning from NYC to Chicago, a tasting in Chicago, followed a flight from Chicago to San Francisco.

I was nervous before the tasting - all these winemakers were there, and Rudi, and others, and we had to fill the room with good customers ready to taste the top dry wines of Germany. Getting buyers to attend the tasting was a challenge because most are too busy to get away for several hours to attend a tasting. But in the end, many good customers did attend, and enjoyed the tasting. Whew!

At the end of the day, I was exhausted. I returned my rental car (after getting lost a bit finding the rental car place again), barely got on my flight back home on time, then took the hour long flight home, only to find that my checked luggage didn't make it. Fortunately, Johan picked me up and we went for dinner, got a call from the airport folks, and were able to return to the airport to pick up the luggage shortly after 9pm, which had made it on the very next flight. So all was not lost. And the bottle of wine that Gunter Kunstler gave me after the tasting, which I had carefully wrapped in a bunch of clothes, stayed intact, which was good, because it was a nice bottle, a 2007 Franz Kunstler Kirchenstuck Riesling, an elegant dry Riesling that Gunter recommended to go with a nice piece of "white beef" (which I translated to mean veal) in a mushroom & cream sauce, on noodles, "topped with those expensive things from Italy" he said, while making a motion with his hands that looked like grating cheese, to which I asked, "cheese?" and he said, "no, no, not cheese," and I guessed, "Oh, truffles!" and he said yes.

So when the occasion, strikes, I will make a veal chop with a mushroom cream sauce on a bed of homemade noodles, and buy some nice Italian truffles and grate them on top and serve his lovely dry Riesling with it.

4 comments:

Samantha Dugan said...

I admire your drive lady. Of course I always knew you were a hard worker!

Nancy Deprez said...

Thanks Sam, that's sweet! I like to work hard, it's fun, and keeps me from getting bored. :)

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