I’d like to be able tell you that I was bitten by the wine bug as a small boy and Bacchus himself stood on the shoulders of my winemaker grandfather and I as he taught me how to produce my very first Sonoma County Zinfandel. But my time in the wine business has proved spectacularly inelegant; work -- not pick and shovel -- but labor just the same.
Tasting potential wines to bottle for clients requires knowledge, discipline, time and effort, and it’s only recently that I’ve proved willing to do the necessary work: slog through all the thousands upon thousands of potential finished wines, unfinished wines and blend components requiring a home that are foisted upon me weekly from vintners and winemakers around the globe. You can read those highlights and disappointments here.
I’m a bit older than I look (tanna leaves) and when I was a young Ralph Kramden, I always had a scheme. Being a fresh young muffin good at the wine business, with OK French and an unhealthy interest in New Wave actresses (see www.corkedthecomic.com, almost any episode), the land of chateaux, cheese and churches beckoned.
Unfortunately, my need for garnering beaucoup Francs (now Euros) earned me the dubious honor of being the last surviving prisoner to be sentenced to do time on Devil’s Island. My curriculum vitae included counterfeiting rare classified Bordeaux – I still have the original Picasso Mouton label Dave Griffin painted for me, passing off Great Western as Dom Perignon, and making grand cru Chablis more accessible – the secret is blend Colombard in with the Chardonnay.
Unfortunately the Maigret wannabe that caught up with me was quite thorough, I was Guiana bound, but they closed the penal colony before my arrival and since I was an American, I was remanded to Alcatraz. Unfortunately for the justice system, my handlers, obviously children of Maginot Line designers, did not anticipate my going right around them, and I escaped into California wine country. Since they intended to put me in Northern California lock down, I worked the local wine business: bottling Gamay as Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and labeling Eastern Bloc Cabernet as Napa Valley ... "Of course Castle Dracula is in Calistoga; that’s the heart of the Carpathians."
During the everything-is-an-allocated-trophy-wine era my specialty became selling and delivering that sole only-500-cases-produced-lot to as many clients as possible. With time, I mellowed (insert every wine cliché known to man here) and anyway, they had already closed the Rock. As I got older, I decided to use my wine background to steal legally, so I took a position at the fledgling Food Network, but got caught making public appearances as Rachel Ray, Giada De Laurentiis and Paula Dean. That was after getting pinched for forging signatures of the different Iron Chefs, ending a budding (bad wine pun) career in television.
The next license for larceny was obvious, I became the Hollywood wine consultant on both Sideways and Bottle Shock. My days behind the camera are presently over, and Martin Scorsese can relax once again.
That’s why I’m here now, potentially compromising my under-the-radar status for the benefit of Geerlings & Wade clients.