Reading List from Wine & Culture Class at Napa Valley College

I was a latecomer to the class and it showed. I brought no plate or sliverware and worse, I was full. I had already had my dinner.  Paul Wagner, our teacher had eaten dinner too, but he managed to put away a full plate, explaining "I'm a professional." 

George Sainstbury would approve. In the introduction to his Notes from a Cellar-Book Saintsbury's editor Thomas Pinney says, "To delicate and fastidious tastes, such an appetite may seem coarse and undiscriminating; but there are others who may find it splendid, even heroic. The capacity to enjoy is, after all, a virtue. Saintsbury certainly had it, and in superlative measure."

The class is A Cultural Appreciation of Wine at Napa Valley College and learnin' never tasted so good. Wine flows. Food is savored. All in superlative measure.

The serendipity of a good read is also in superlative measure. 

I probably would not have stumbled upon Notes from a Cellar-Book if it had not been the only book from the class reading list that was still available to this latecomer.  It is a gem. More about that later - for now, let me share the class reading list - I plan to read them all. 

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayles
A Small Place in Italy by Eric Newby
Decantations Frank by Frank Prial
Under the Tuscan Son by Frances Mayes
Notes from a Cellar -Book by George Saintsbury
Tasting Pleasure by Jancis Robinson
Vineyard Tales by Gerald Asher
A Season in Spain by Larry Walker
Burgundy by Anthony Hanson
Puligny-Montrachet by Simon Loftus
Wine & Food of the Loire by Friedrich
Bordeaux by Robert Parker
Napa by James Conaway
Vino by Bruton Anderson
Vintage- the Story of Wine by Johnson
Dionysis by Hyams
The Wine and the Vine by Tim Unwin
The Origins and Ancient History of Wine by Patrick McGovern





New Yorker Cover Nails It: Geezers & Social Media  

 WTF, LOL, I <3 it. This is the kind of illustration that keeps on giving. The Sept 7 New Yorker cover should resonate with anyone who has tried to help their grandmother with her Facebook page.

Check out the overachievers in the first row, there’s a guy browsing Viagra sites and in the corner, a lady typing social media slang on a typewriter,  and behind them... is that someone building a bomb? click for larger size

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Family Winemakers Tasting Represents the Realities of Wine Marketing

The cold hard facts of marketing and the wine business were on display at the Family Winemakers of California event at Fort Mason on Sunday and Monday. Over 360 wineries were gathered for two days of tasting and trade networking at San Francisco’s Fort Mason.

Showcasing wine in an abandoned military building is about as far as you can get from a vineyard frolic or a leather-bound wine list by candlelight. What the rows and rows of vintners at the Family Winemakers Tasting resembled, appropriately enough, were the rows and rows of wine that confront the end consumer, either on a website or in a store.

When I worked tradeshows as a pharmaceutical rep, we had only one big competitor and we hated them.The wine marketplace is too crowded to find a competitor to hate (unless it isFred Franzia) and anyway, the family winemakers seem like a congenial group.

But the question remains, how do those 360+ wineries snaking around a San Francisco warehouse differentiate themselves from their (congenial) competitors?


Tomato and Wine Pairing from Daniel Dawson

I LOVE tomatos and Dan Dawson at Back Room Wines is my favorite wine geek. View From the Bay hostess: "It's magic!"