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Event

Wine Spectator’s Sonoma Shindig ~ They know how to throw a good one!

I’ve been running since Tuesday night’s bash, but I need to off-load these images, and keep my stories straight. Tomorrow I’m off to the Napa Auction. That will be pretty amazing. When I was working at Robert Mondavi Winery, I was able to watch the auction being set up.

It’s a big W-O-W… What Outrageous Wares!

There’s a lot of art that comes out for this one, and it’s great “fly-on-the-wall” stuff… If you’ve never been to the Napa Valley Wine Auction, you don’t know what art comes out for this one. I was completely in awe when I saw my first one. I know that tomorrow will be another moment like a kid in a candy store for me…

I love art… I love it all; from the intricately done to defiant, raw graffiti. I was just thinking today as I drove back from Jeff Cohn’s JC Cellars in Oakland, while slugging up I-580 and having more than enough time to look at the buildings that had been tagged, “If I was going to have a wine brand, I’d like to find a tagger to create the label.” It would be catching someone young, maybe launching a career, maybe just inspiring someone to know that he or she could take that talent and energy, and turn it into profitability. And, what a cool label I’d have.

So, these pictures were taken on Tuesday night at Charlie Palmer’s Hotel Healdsburg. Yes, Charlie was in his chef’s “whites,” and he’s not afraid to carve a piece of meat, if necessary. That tells me he’s a hard worker, making his way in the world.

Mr. Marvin Shanken struck a really low profile, and gave me a new perspective of a man who’s become larger than life. He quietly just watched his party, while we all just quietly watched him. It was pretty nice to see him like this. I haven’t been in the same room with him before, so I have nothing to base this on. It’s a first impression, and my first impressions haven’t failed me, yet. Don’t think they will any time soon, either.

It was fun to be with Foppiano winemaker Bill Regan and his wife Brenda. Spending time with Kim Stare Wallace and Don Wallace of Dry Creek Vineyard reminded me of why I like them so much. I got caught up with many Healdsburg people that my busy life hasn’t allowed me to be more in contact with:

Carol Shelton of Carol Shelton wines, Hector and Juanita Bedolla (Hector was the first viticulturalist I knew who opened my eyes to the magnificence of a well groomed vineyard), Jim Caudill (Brown-Forman PRcolleague)… These are all people who make the Sonoma County world go round, and they were all “on.”

I caught Jim Laube dancing…more than once… maybe all night? I told him I wouldn’t share the pictures I’d taken of him, so I’ll be deleting those (sorry)… But, they were fun to take. I love being behind a lens, then looking back. High res brings it almost back to life. Digital cameras… took me a long time to give up my SLRs, go digital, then combine SLR with digital. If you can get your hands on one, there’s so much fun to have. Drink some wine, have a bite to eat, take a shot, and on and on….

Mostly, a really big thanks to Cheryl Lewis, who’s my Wine Spectator contact. Without Cheryl, I would’ve spent the night spacing out. Instead, we joined the whirling, dancing crowd. I say whirling, because the David Martin’s House Party was rockin’ — really.

This was one of those nights when you realize, there’s some payback for one’s “nose to the grind stone” behavior!

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