Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How Did You Get Into Wine?

"How did you get into wine" is a question I am asked quite a lot, especially from someone who is new to the shop and curious. It is never really the same exact story but more of a narrative that gets me to the place where I am today. But this morning I thought of one experience that I had that is representative of the thread that connects the multiple stories and that encapsulates my feeling about the discovery.

The year was 1993 and I was still in my twenties. I was on tour with punk rock group Jeff Dahl Band. We were playing 58 shows in about 62 days and all over Europe. It was my first trip to Europe and I got to go to just about every country I ever wanted to, in one fell swoop. Our regimen was; find our tour headquarters in each country and then meet up with our road manager. From there we made our way to each venue. Met with our sound crew. Set up. Did some sound checking. And then we usually had some time before the gig. If it was still light out we could check out the city center or some sights, if we had enough time. Generally we would be taken out to dinner around that point too or the club people would arrange something. Then a few hours later we would rock. Break down. Load out. And repeat 58 more times.

By the time we arrived to Italy about 3/4 of the way through the tour we were all pretty wrecked. It was a grueling tour. A lot of miles. But I remember we arrived in the little beach town on the side of the Adriatic called Cesenatico in the Emilia-Romagna region. We were to be playing a sort of water park gig. Odd sounding yes, but consistent with some of the odd venues we had encountered from time to time. After our usual sound check the club people were excited to take us out to dinner at their favorite local trattoria. We sat down to a humble meal of local delicacies, wine and beer. Of course everything was delicious but I remember distinctly my first experience with Tortelini en Brodo. A simple but satisfying dish. The pasta had a great bite to it and the broth was flavorful and nourishing. With that came our carafes of white and red wine. Not important what they were but how good they were together. The idea of "local" took hold as I looked around the table. Everyone was having a great time and everything at our table was crafted within a stone's throw of where we sat.

Since those days I talk a lot about "if it grows together then it likely goes together" and of course other people have thought of that before me, but on that day in Cesenatico, in 1993, the "how I got into wine story" was germinated.