Are you in Seattle, or close by? This is an event for you. First, how it happened that I’ve written this one. You can also jump to MAIN ATTRACTION below.

There we were, meeting in Cousteaux Bakery in Healdsburg, CA, for the first time. We’ve know each other over the years, as compatriots in wine PR and marketing; but, our physical paths had never intersected. Michelle McCue, of McCue Communications, suggested that we meet for lunch in Healdsburg, after I had told her that her San Francisco event’s timing and an event that I was going to be producing were just too close to each other. This would mean that I couldn’t blog about her event. For me, if I haven’t met someone or if I haven’t attended an event, I simply can’t write about it.  I don’t endorse what I don’t know or have no personal history attached to it.

So, in her valuable down time – this was her fist day off since she couldn’t remember when, as it was also my first day off since I can’t remember when… There we were, having lunch in busy Healdsburg, as tourists filled the bakery with their wonder, their financially sustaining the small rural wine town, and their happy lunchtime chatter. Something just snapped… a moment with a perfect stranger. Yes, Michelle McCue was that perfect stranger… I started by telling her about my one “McCue” story, a high school American History teacher who was similar to the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons for me, except my teacher would start this way.

Welcome to class, today we’re going to start by discussing the American Revolution. The American Revolution began in ~~~~~~~~~wawawa~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~. The war was fought for ~~~~ years, over ~~~~~~~wawawa~~~~~~~~~~~~~. The war was won when ~~~~~~~~~~wawawa~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~. The result of this was was ~~~~~~~~~~wawawa~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~.

The entire time, I nearly slept through class, eyes blinking furiously to stay awake but she still gave me a passing grade. I told her that the name McCue was positive for me, but thankful that she has no McCue relatives in the state of Maine.

Then, we talked about producing events. The benefits, because we love doing it, and the challenges that are put before us. I’ve just down-sized from Dark & Delicious; it was an extremely painful decision, but in retrospect, it was the very best decision based on past challenges to any growth. Now, it’s about quality over quantity, and I’ve found a formula that will work well for everyone involved.

Michelle is in the thick of it. She’s traveling from one town to the next, like taking Barnum & Baily on the road, and putting up the tent, managing the tent and all of its personalities, then taking the tent down to move on to the next town is thrilling, yet exhausting. And, she’s not done yet. She’s now headed to Seattle for her final showing. I admire her immensely. She’s also inspirational. It will be with these words that I’m happy to turn the wine trade on to her next wine tasting. She’s a class act and you’ll all benefit, if you’re going to be in town. I wish I were. It would have been a good one. I can hardly get enough wines to taste from around the world. It’s simply tasting Old World history, and the good lord knows I could still learn some world history lessons… from this darling Ms. McCue.




January 27, 2016; (LOS ANGELES)—The wait for Tre Bicchieri Week is almost over. Gambero Rosso, the world’s foremost authority on Italian wine, food and travel, launches its highly anticipated annual U.S. Tour next Tuesday, February 2 in Miami, and continuing through five states with a final stop in Seattle on February 16. (States: Miami, Feb. 2, Chicago, Feb. 4, New York City, Feb. 9, San Francisco, Feb. 11, Seattle, Feb. 16)

Since the only event left on this tour is Seattle, that’s the focus of it. The next time she has an event, I’ll find the time to make it. And, I suggest that if you’re in the wine trade, you find the time, too.

Seattle, Feb. 16 – Top Italian Wines Tasting; Seattle Center

SEATTLE IS still open to currently employed members of the wine trade ONLY

Seminar seats may be requested by emailing Chelsea Kurnick at

Wine trade and press are invited to see event and registration details at; the events are for industry professionals only. Winery participants are viewable for each event, with nearly 200 Italian wineries joining the New York City event.

In addition to the walk-around tastings, each event will feature special seminars.

In Seattle, guests are invited to Marco Sabellico’s intensive Masterclass workshop, featuring top wines from each of Italy’s major wine-producing region.

From a press release:

Gambero Rosso 30th Anniversary

This year’s tour celebrates Gambero Rosso’s 30th Anniversary. In 1986, Gambero Rosso took its first steps as a weekly supplement in the daily newspaper Il Manifesto. The year after, the first Gambero Rosso wine guide was printed. In 1999, the company founded the first thematic television channel in Europe, followed by the Città del Gusto, the schools, the master program, and recently, the public stock offering in November 2015. In the meantime, fascination with Italy and its authentic products swept the world, with wine events around the globe the natural consequence. Tre Bicchieri Week includes the most anxiously awaited Italian wine events in the States, and more than 5,000 wine professionals take part.

The first event in the United States was in 1993; today more than ever, this yearly wine tasting moves the marketplace, starts the buzz, upends orders and established rankings. In terms of value, the American wine market is Italy’s most important, amounting to 21.7 percent; 1.1 billion euros out of a total of 5.1 billion.

The starting point for the events is the enormous work behind the Guida Vini d’Italia: 45,000 wines are tasted for every edition and twenty thousand are reviewed. Vini d’Italia 2016 bestows over 400 Tre Bicchieri awards. The latest edition saw a few classic terroirs come to the fore, such as Montalcino, with great 2010 vintages, or Chianti Classico with its excellent Gran Selezione wines. Barolo is still King of the Langhe with over 30 wines earning an award. The northeast of the country submitted some fine 2014 whites, Veneto reds are in great form, Marche and Campania whites are rising in quality, while general improvement among southern wines and the ever more dynamic Lambrusco means there is always plenty to write about, from both large- and small-scale denominations.

Special awards from Vini d’Italia 2016

Red Wine of the Year ~ Etna Rosso V. Barbagalli 2012 – Pietradolce

White Wine of the Year ~ Collio Friulano 2014 – Schiopetto

Sparkling Wine of the Year~ Franciacorta Dosage Zéro Noir Vintage Collection Riserva 2006 – Ca’ del Bosco

Sweet Wine of the Year~ Valle d’Aosta Chambave Moscato Passito Prieuré 2013 – La Crotta di Vegneron

Winery of the Year ~ Allegrini

Best Buy ~ Falanghina del Sannio Svelato 2014 – Terre Stregate

Grape-grower of the year ~ Giulio Grasso – Ca’ del Baio

Up-and-Coming Winery ~ Guado al Melo

Award for sustainable viticulture ~ Manincor

About Gambero Rosso

Gambero Rosso® is Italy’s publishing and training leader in the field of wine and food. It is the only multimedia company in the sector that offers magazines, books, guides, a website, smart phone applications, and a television channel – Sky 412. Since 1987, Gambero Rosso has represented Italian-made food and wine, testing and certifying the quality of products, telling the stories behind the flavors and traditions of the Bel Paese. In Italy, Gambero Rosso offers Città del Gusto® training courses in five cities. Gambero Rosso has developed a rich, worldwide network of partnerships with prestigious culinary institutes to promote authentic Italian culinary traditions and products.

About Vini d’Italia 2015

“Vini d’Italia” is the worldwide best-selling guide to Italian wine. In its 28th edition, “Vini d’Italia” presents the top Italian wines available now. This year, 60 experts tasted 45,000+ wines, reviewing 20,000 labels from more than 2,400 wineries in 21 regions. “Vini d’Italia” has always followed the same method: rigorous blind tastings, evaluations made by a panel, and the classic rating by bicchieri (glasses), from one to three. This year, there are 423 Tre Bicchieri winners–fewer than 1 percent of the wines reviewed. Among the Tre Bicchieri wines, 108 are wines that retail for less than 15€ in Italy. Gambero Rosso is proud to showcase this excellence at more than 30 grand tastings organized around the globe. Committed to sustainability, “Vini d’Italia” 2015 lists 80 green Tre Bicchieri, connoting wines are produced by means of organic or biodynamic viticulture. Additionally, the guide contains an overview of past vintages, as well as contact information for each producer, personal anecdotes and more.