Amateur Wine Watching

I mentioned that we went to my kids’ godparents’ big Holiday Bash this past Saturday, where birthday girl Jane was serenaded by 300 of Marguerite and  Demitrius’ closest friends.  That was neither exaggeration nor sarcasm —Marguerite is one of the warmest, most gregarious people I know and is constitutionally incapable of having a small, intimate dinner party for fewer than twelve.

So where would one hold a celebration for three hundred?  In January?  Supposing none of the guests are sardines or quite that well acquainted?

Did I ever mention that Demitrius owns a wholesale wine business?  With a warehouse?

The moment you enter the front offices of this place, it’s obvious that you’ve entered Wine Country, where Pinots and Merlots, Zinfandels and Moscatos  roam free.

Here are a few labels they corralled in the tasting room for the occasion—as you can see, the first two rows are gone:


I usually designate myself the driver during this particular Bash, so my husband (who will take his turn during Demitrius’ birthday party) can sample without worry.  Luckily, driving under the influence of a metric ton each of tiropita and baklava isn’t a crime, yet:


 This year, Sunny was old enough to join the pack of feral kids running through the festivities, my husband was off somewhere, and I was between conversations with people I recognized from other Marguerite events, so I thought I’d take the time to go Wine Watching.

I’m new to this noble sport, so I’m not always sure of my vintages and I still haven’t picked up the habit of carrying my binoculars with me.  But I did have my camera, so I moved away from the partygoers and crossed the border from the public area into the warehouse Preserve.

At first, it can be difficult to spot Wines in their natural habitat—the ones who have had prior contact with oeneologists and sommeliers can be especially timid:

But just beyond a formation of Grigio cartons, I spied a small gathering of what I took to be California Reds—see them to the right?  At the time, I thought they might be Masked Rider Gunsmokes, but I tripped over the corner of a skid trying to get closer and spooked them.

A little deeper in, I encountered some Brouilly Reds keeping watch for the rest of the clan like bottled Meerkats, only fruitier:

To my surprise, they didn’t raise the alarm—once heard, never forgotten— and I was allowed to pass.  I was watched carefully from all sides, though, particularly by a small herd of Cloverdale Pellegrini , huddled together under the cold air intake.  Several Pomegranates also stopped what looked like a preliminary mating ritual to stare at me—I felt like the world’s worst voyeur:

Soon though, I was accepted as part of the landscape and was able to get some good shots—just look at that brilliant plumage, shining under the fluorescents:

The mountain Wines were out prancing among the stacks as well, the more adventurous looking down their corks at those who preferred not to risk a sudden drop:

I even managed to get a look into a nest of slumbering Burgundies.  Don’t they look peaceful?

Other vintages, well away from the vents, preferred to bask on top of the stacks in reclaimed bedding that their caretakers had spread around the area—I did see a squabble over the wooden box, which I’m told is a favorite napping place of a large bully of a Moscato, though he didn’t win this round:

And I finally got my Gunsmoke Red photo!   I would have preferred an action pic, but I’ll take what I can get:

This image makes me think that the Wines in that first image may have been Merlots . . . but I’m afraid I may never know.

After scoring this last shot, I wound my way back to the baklava tray and rewarded myself with a glass or two of the finest diet Pepsi (best by Mar 19 12) just before my newly nine-year old was feted.

Marguerite really does throw the best parties.

18 thoughts on “Amateur Wine Watching

  1. oh my goodness…wine as far as the eye can see. what a sight.

    this reminds me of what i recently learned about prohibition…that if you could still drink whatever booze you purchased. so the really, really rich bought up alcohol warehouses, distilleries and breweries so that they always had cocktails available at any given event.

  2. That was brilliant. Who knew you and Jonathan Franzen had so much in common? He’s a birder too!

    Okay, so to go to that event and not even have a sip…holy cow. I’d be done for. The idea of throwing a party that big…I’d have the first case gone before the guests arrived.

  3. Wonderful! You know this adventure is right up my alley. Did they have a big ol’ trash can to spit in? I always find that part the most ridiculous. I’m surprised Tina Fey hasn’t capitalized on it and done a scene where she accidentally spits on someone.

    • This was a holiday party, not a tasting one, so no spittoons, except for the children who decided after one bit that they didn’t like spanakopita.

      But you’re right—Tina Fey should have been all over that one already.

    • Hi, Duchess! I love baklava almost as much as you-know-whats. I’m not saying I went to town on those platters, but I was a bit self-adhesive by the time we left . . .

  4. Your Dad would be so envious. Your tour makes Jungle Jim’s look like a trip to Mc Donald’s Playland. I agree their parties are the greatest. We’ll have to do better planning of our trips to see you.

    • Dad would turn Tarzan the second he crossed the threshold. The Chardonnays would hark to his cry . . .

      Oh! I need to do a photo safari of Jungle Jim’s! Expect me in the Spring!

      And you can visit any time, you know that. Marguerite would love to see you—in fact, she’d probably throw a party . . . bring the genius baby nephew and she’ll throw two!

  5. Is this some kind of torture party, where you get to see the wine but you can’t drink it? (ha)

    I hope you got to eat the baklava — lordy it looks dee-lish. And really, it looks like one hell of a good gathering.

    P.S. I have my copy of The Hobbit on my desk. My daughter picked it up while she was home and said, “I loved this book!” So when I told her I’d never read it, she was first appalled, and then quite pleased with herself. 😉

    • Yes. Yes it is. 🙂

      I had my share. And my husbands. And Sunny doesn’t like it because it’s sticky . . .

      PS. Tell your daughter she has excellent taste and to nag you for me.

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