Every now and then it’s good to zoom out and get a larger look at my life here in Sonoma County.
Driving to work in the morning hot air balloons are floating a thousand feet above my Chevy Cruz. I enjoy taking my foot off the gas to coast for a brief moment getting into that quiet space of the balloon passengers. I highly recommend everyone take a balloon ride at least once in life.
Soaring, floating, resting in the air over the vineyards at sunrise is magical. Landing in the backyard of Kendall-Jackson is even more magical. My friend Mike Kijak with Up and Away Balloons took me for a ride on a cool spring day. His wife Patty had brunch waiting for us that she served on her handmade pottery dishes accompanied by chilled champagne in crystal glasses. I remember the warm blueberry muffins.
This is not an exclusive experience I’m talking about. Anyone can do this. Book a balloon online. Eat Patty’s muffins. Drink local wine sitting on a safari truck with zebras licking the tires at Safari West. Taste and buy Dawn’s spices at Williamson Wines that pair perfectly with her husband Bill’s latest vintage and chat it up about their latest Aussie adventures. Entice Joe Battaglini to dust off a bottle of his secret stash Zin and share it with you.
Ask to see Jeff at Zin (after you eat the fried green beans) and he will happily come out of the kitchen and talk zin and lamb chops with you.
Jane Portalupi will regale you with tales about her milk bottles filled with gold medal wines and narrate the slide show of her family playing in the tasting room. Bob Meuller will talk to you about his daughter Emily who has recently graduated and traveled to China, is developing the family palate and has her name on the family label, Emily’s Cuvee.
So many things that happen here on a daily basis seem rather surreal when I zoom out and see it from a different perspective. This is not insider stuff. We share. We include and we love travelers to drop into the lifestyle here for an hour, a day, or a relocation. Beth ( Chief Corkmeister at Wine Road) and I were talking the other day about how many people living in our midst that came here for a visit, fell in love, and changed their life to be part of the wine industry.
Back to the title “Rose wine in my inbox”… There it was when I walked into the office. Anne said matter of factly, “ Robert from Merriam stopped by and left you a bottle.”
“Really?,” I squealed? “For me?”. “Yup,” said Anne. I tucked it into my briefcase next to my expense reimbursement check.