It's time to lose your mind and let the crazy out.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Longest Post To Date

I have returned, very fresh and vitalized and very happy to be home. I had a wonderful trip. Want to hear all about it?

I started in Santa Rosa, which is the major town in the Sonoma Valley, to judge at the National Women's Wine Competition. This was the first year for this competition, and it had its ups and downs. The best part, by far, for me, was my panel. So, during the competition you are assigned a panel of three of four people that will taste all the same wines as you, and together you decide if a wine is medal worthy, and if so, what medal it should receive. My panel consisted of Cynthia Goddeau who is a sommelier at a Mario Batali restaurant in New York City, Diane Teitelbaum who is the wine buyer for American Airlines, and Ann Noble who was the dominant professor of wine in America and who invented the Wine Aroma Wheel which revolutionized descriptions of wines. I had met Ann Noble when I went to UCDavis to check out the school. She seemed intimidating and stern there. She was anything but at the wine judging. I had a fabulous time with her. She is very high energy and brilliant. She and I went on a hike together overlooking Santa Rosa on the first day.

There were parts of this wine judging I didn't care for (some of those women were so uptight they stressed me out)(plus Gina Gallo wasn't even there) and since it was the first year they kind of made up the rules as they went along, but it was all worth the opportunity I was granted to hang out with Ann Noble. She said she thought I was decisive but nice about it, and that I would have been one of her star students had I attended Davis, but understood why I chose Fresno.

This is my panel; myself, Ann (holding her glass upside down), our two volunteers in the middle (I don't remember the guys' name, but the girl's name was Vicky and she is holding the Wine Aroma Wheel), Diane, and Cynthia.

From there I headed down to the Bay Area to hang out with Melissa, John's sister, and her family. Their son looks a lot like John, I think.

We had a really great day at Half Moon Bay, I even got a little sunburned. (Not too bad, Christy) It felt so good to get my toes in the sand, and the sun on my back. Plus, their son, Will, is a doll. There is a tide pool there, and Melissa taught us all about the sea urchins, and anemones, and snails, and starfish.

We saw a real live starfish!

From there I spent the night in Santa Cruz with Ron, and Tyler, and Eleni and her husband (could be long term boyfriend) Chris.

Myself, Ron and Tyler at the Santa Cruz lighthouse

These are all old Fresno State classmates. Good times, good memories. Ron and I are still really close, he accompanied John and I in Europe to see Susanne. Tyler and his family are starting their own winery, Grace Patriot Wines. Santa Cruz is probably the most libral place I have ever been, it even surpasses Berkeley in my mind. Everything is organic, and they are very focused on the enviroment there. California in general is much more "green" minded than most people I know in Missouri. We had to get something small for dinner that they forgot, so Chris and I headed to the corner store, which was exactly like a tiny little Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Made me realize today when I was grocery shopping how full of crap and things that are bad for us our grocery stores are. Gross.

Last but not least I headed to the New World International Wine Competition, where I have judged 7 times before. My Red Raspberry won a Gold and Best of Class, which is very exciting. (I don't have the results back from the Women's judging.) I had a very enjoyable, quick panel that consisted of the head salesman for Gallo, who promoted and sold wine in Europe for 14 years, (he is retired now) and a man who owns a Wine bar and was a wine broker in Salt Lake City.

Don't think for one second that there aren't more pictures of my trip to come in the next few days. Now, after all that wine, I must go have one of my wonderful husband's marvelous beers. ;)

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  • At 9:48 PM, March 21, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sounds like your trip was tons of fun and the pics are awesome!! Congrats on your award winning wine!! It's almost spring break and I get to go to Florida on Sunday!! :)


  • At 6:08 AM, March 22, 2007, Blogger happylaney said…

    Have fun in Florida!


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