8.15pm, Sunday 28th March, Pleasanton, CA, USA
Wow, what happened to the last 48 hours! I dropped off the edge, that’s what. I got back “home” yesterday afternoon from Los Angeles, put a stack of washing on, went down to Chevy’s Fresh Mex and got their chicken salad and sweetcorn soup – ploughed through that – then hit the sack at 7.30pm, and went out like a light. Must have got at least 10 hours sleep on and off, so ready to pick up back where I left off last Friday in my Starbucks “office” where I started the blog on our LA tasting at The Beverly Hills Hotel.
Let me finish that bit off – this is the run of that day – third of three tastings:
Our first visitor once the doors were open was the owner of Valentines Restaurant in Bakersfield – home of country singing legend Buck Owens. Then it was on, and again the HWG team did a magnificent job of making this event such a “must visit” day for such a large and varied chunk of the LA area/Orange County trade. In the first couple of hours we saw:
All Corked Up, Cost Plus Pasadena, The Palms Restaurant Downtown, Zazou Restaurant, Chaya Restaurant, Vons Pavilion Store, XIV, The Little Door Restaurant Bistro and Gift Baskets, Michaels, Whole Foods Markets (3 stores), Bev Mo, Winestyles Torrance Town Centre …
1.55pm – I looked up. That went fast. And hey, isn’t that Emilio Estevez? He’s tangled up with Kaena Vineyards, and a lass making a small volume of Viognier, so we went through that variety at length – tasting all of ours. Time to grab half a sandwich that we picked up on the way in this morning from Starbucks, and back into it.
… Bristol Farms Long Beach, Albertsons Huntingnon Beach, Cost Plus World Market Sherman Oaks, Wine Cask, more Bev Mo folks, the new young folks joining the HWG corporate sales team …
2.34pm Big crowd here! It’s noisy now – lots of pouring and talking.
… Wolfgang Steakhouse, Eclectic Wine Bar & Grill, Total Wine & More, Naked Grapes Consulting, Cut, Abbon Danza Restaurant Newport, Brittas Restaurant Irvine, Hi Time Costa Mesa …
3.50pm I didn’t get everyone down, just got so busy. About now is when I’m starting to hate the sound of my own voice, but folks keep coming and are really interested in what we’re doing, so you have to keep pouring and talking – because the next person to the bench is hearing it all for the first time.
Another hour! Then we can take a deep breath and regroup, and get Di out to the airport, change the car over to my name, and I can get back to the hotel in Beverly Hills and get set up for the presentation to the Southern Sales Force down in Newport Beach tomorrow.
… Bottleworx, Pacific Dining Car, Andres Wine & Tapas Bar Ventura, Erewhon organic food and wine store, Bristol Farms, Nicks Liquor Market, Bobs! market, Vino 100, Lakeside Golf Club …
And that was the end of it at 5pm.
Fast Forward to Friday afternoon 26th March – Fairmont Hotel, Newport Beach
I had a half-hour presentation at 1pm for the Southern Sales team, who were really holding up well after the massive day in LA Thursday. I wanted to show the new Y Series labels “in the flesh” as they’ll be coming into the market very soon, and for my second flight of wines, I chose to put the Cabernet Shiraz blend in perspective with the new 2008 Scribbler, 2004 FDR1A, and 2004 Signature – how the Scribler is the “declassified” barrels from the vineyards earmarked for the 2008 Signature; and how the FDR1A was a forward and velvety juicy fruit set of barrels from the 2004 Signature vineyards; and the 2004 Signature is settling – in a pretty stellar fashion – into its stride as the classic “in style” Cab Shiraz blend for that label.
After thanking the HWG folk for including us in such an ambitious but outrageously successful project as the “Triple Tasting”, I filled the team in on as much of the news from home as I could think of – especially with respect to how the vintage 2010 is travelling – and then my time was done.
Back onto the freeway at around 2.30pm, and I kid you not – into the WORST traffic I have encountered in this country EVER! At times, it was 5 lanes each way flying along at 70 miles per hour, but more often than not, it was 5 lanes each way at a complete standstill. How folks survive doing this every day – I just have no idea. It’s not surprising that people plan stuff around the traffic flow – or lack of it!
Old school pool
It took 3 hours to get back up to Beverly Hills, and by that time, I was just about nodding off. So I took the smart option, went to a little diner down the street – the original downstairs corner coffee shop and restaurant for the Beverly Laurel Motor Hotel. The motel is still running and is as neat as a new blue-and-white pin, with the “tropicana” style pool garden in the centre of the courtyard. The diner is called Swingers now, but has the old juke box, original tartan vinyl counter chairs and booths, and I took the jerk chicken, beans & plantains.
Then I’m sorry to say folks – packed up all the gear from the tasting week, and went to bed at 8 o’clock on a Friday night in Beverly Hills! I can’t believe I did that. Should have gone to Whisky A Go Go, The Viper Room, The Troubadour! Thing is – I’m old! This is proof!
Just for the record. I did not do a lot today, and I won’t have to start setting up our VIP tasting scheduled for tomorrow evening until 4.30pm, so Monday is credit card reconciliation day, and catch up the schedule for the last two weeks of this California job – as things have shifted and changed a heap, and we’ll be back down to San Diego again. So we’ll need wine, flights, and accommodation for all of that – so a pretty full day ahead. But … not an early start, so that’s a win. Also, if there’s a spare evening over the next two weeks, I’d like to try and get a ticket for the new Alcatraz by Night Tour. That would be a treat.
So here we go, as we get set for the last couple of California weeks – seems like the last six have just whizzed by. See ya tomorrow night when we’ll be working in Berkeley.