These wine barrel hoops are very symbolic for this year’s Dark & Delicious event, as I know I jumped through all of them. Did I come out unscathed? Good question.

Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah® 2015, as the dust settles, I continue to think about how multifaceted and a bit challenging this year’s event was…

  • One image is from the public, as a wine and food pairing event that has offered the most wonderful of foods in high abundance.
    • We were moving forward nicely, but had to put the brakes on a lot this year, in order to satisfy Alameda County.
  • Another image is from the wine companies who have been with us for years
    • They’ve dutifully come each year and supported us, because they’re truly passionate about Petite
    • The next image is from the new wineries who joined us, who commented in high abundance that it was amazing
  • A venue planner, who had developed a lot of history with us, left two weeks before our event.
    • Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go, and the opportunity for him was an offer he couldn’t turn down.

Add new elements…

  • Another (very capable) person and I interacted for the first time.
    • She did a great job.
    • The learning curve for both of us was tremendously steep.
  • An unprecedented amount of new wineries joined the event for the very first time.
    • From the usual two or three, there were 15.
  • The Alameda County Environmental Health Department became my new best friend.
    • We had only four days to comply.
    • This is the back story to their food safety guidelines.
    • Food vendors dropped out one to two days before.
    • Those who were used to the bounty were stunned and disappointed.

At the end of the event, exhausted from the hoops that had to be jumped through, when I should have been putting a lot of finishing touches on our event, Louis Foppiano came to me and said, “I want to tell you something. ”

I thought, “Oh, oh, what have I done, n-o-w?” I had just jumped through Alameda County’s unexpected $3,000 expenditure in a two day swoop…

Louis said, “I came to your event last year for the first time and it was organized.” (Others from Louis’s staff have always attended in his place.)

I thought, “That’s nice.” I just didn’t know what to expect. “Thanks, Louis.”

Then he said, “I’m back again this year, and…”

He paused and I could only think, “Oh-oh, here it comes…”

Louis, “And it’s also well organized this year.”

I thought, “If you had only been with me for the last two days as I was jumping though hoops.”

As an organizer, I’ve never had to work with a Health Department before. I do understand what they bring to the plate, I just wasn’t expecting a crash course, so close to when the curtain went up… It was one minute before the doors opened to allow our guests to enter the venue, as I held my breath.

When it’s all said and done, water pitchers and dump buckets are now all sanitized and put away. Where it goes from here will be decided in a Board of Directors meeting. Until then, I keep wondering how to regain the momentum that we had. I imagine this is something any organizer must do, after nine years of creating the perfect ® storm…

At the end of D&D, I wrote the following, to help me stress release:

The Wizard Behind the Curtain

Pulling strings, just so high… just so.

So much to show,

And nice, like snow is a gentle dusting.

Too much to all come out at once and overwhelm…

Just a touch, not too much, just a touch.