8.56pm Wednesday 14th April, Hilton Garden Inn Business Centre, American Blvd, Bloomington, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
We’ve made is through our first day up here in “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” that is Minnesota, one of the northern US border states with Canada.
Little known fact #4537: There are 11,842 lakes of 10 acres or bigger in Minnesota!
We – Dave the happy Kiwi who lives over here and looks after the Midwest region for us and I – were in downtown Minneapolis tonight, which is one half of the Twin Cities, with St Paul. We were doing a consumer tasting with the “Sip & Swirl” club at the Zahtar By Fhima restaurant in the beautiful old Grand Hotel – “Modern American cuisine with Mediterranean flair”. In this part of the world, we are represented by World Class Wines, and their lass Rickie “No I’m not related to Julio” Iglesias organised the tasting here as part of the club’s ongoing program of trying great wines and food at various great tables.
Just on the side, this is my third trip to Minneapolis, and I have a terribly serious emotional attachment to the town. My first visit was in 2001, to launch Yalumba with World Class Wines, which at that stage was to be our new distributor. Everything was planned out, then there was that tragic moment in New York September 11th 2001 – a Tuesday, and I got out of town on the Thursday, lived on Amtrak for four days, and got in to Minneapolis at 2am the following Sunday. Then Monday we went ahead and launched, as at the time, the overwhelming thinking was to keep battling away as normally as folks could manage. So it was a very emotional time to even be in this country, let alone try and keep going with “business as close to usual as possible”.
The folks at World Class looked after me like family, and there has always been an especially strong bond between us, forged mostly through a difficult moment, and here we are again – trying to do “business as usual as possible” through adverse times. And they say things aren’t cyclical!
So it’s nice to be back in town – for the first time it’s not snow and ice! – and I’m looking forward to catching up with a lot of old mates.
Tomorrow we have a big job with Jason from WCW where we’re putting on a Viognier Breakfast for the local trade, then going off to the new Twins baseball park, Target Field. And just around the corner is possibly my favourite bar in the world – Lee’s Liquor Lounge – so there’s every chance we may drop in for one there afterward – just to check and make sure the Elvis shrine is still there. Every chance.
See ya when it’s rise and viognier shiny!