Oh how I miss the days of not spending money on anything but good wine. While I was working on yachts in the Caribbean there was never any room for personal items, so I would  treat myself to something special I could consume. That my friends was good wine. I’m a little embarrassed to say the type of wine I began drinking back in the 80’s is what my boyfriend introduced me to. It was called Sutter Home White Zinfandel. It was a sweeter wine and was what everyone at the time was drinking in restaurants. It never really caught on with me. It was a bit like drinking cool aid.

I am so glad those days are long gone and am happy to say I was introduced to Red Zinfandel’s later in life. One of my favorites is a Markham Vineyards Red Zinfandel. Not an easy find on the east coast. This was a great place to do tastings. The staff there was so fun and really helpful with their suggestions. The very first winery I ever toured was Charles Krug. It was beautiful and so was the surrounding countryside.

Charles Krug Winery is where I believe I started tasting red wine and getting a feel for what wine really is. I will just say it now and get it over with, California does wine better than anyone else in the world. Just my opinion. I will always be a California wine girl…always. I have had tasted wine from most countries and I always go back to where I know the wine will be everything I expect it to be.

For me there is so much more to a bottle of wine than just the the wine itself. There is a story behind every vineyard and winemaker and the family that started it. It takes a village so to speak. Lets start with the decision on where to plant the grapes so as they grow they will pick up hints of the environment they are nurtured in. Then take the energy of the people that touch every vine to get them started and how those vines are protected by the caretakers. They are watered and cared for so that the grapes themselves begin to grow and then they too are cared for.

Then there is the harvesting and the crushing, followed by the storage and fermenting. The bottles are specially chosen special as well as the artistic labels. There is so much heart and soul that goes into each bottle before it gets even close to your table. Only to start again the following season. Its a beautiful thing considering all of the challenges that the grapes have to fight off to become that bottle. Diseases and weather among other things. I have a great respect for wine or as some of us call it “Nectar of the Gods”.

While working in the Caribbean I had a favorite fall back when I wasn’t sure what I wanted I would always choose a bottle of CakeBread Cellars. It didn’t matter if it was the Chardonnay or the Cabernet. I have never tasted a bad bottle from CakeBread Cellars Winery. I have visited their vineyard for tastings and had a blast.

In 2007 I was living in Venice Florida and used to go to wine tastings at a little place called the Venice Wine and Coffee shop. The owner is a bit of an ass but the staff are great. Every Tuesday was a social tasting and get together. Lots of fun and everyone brings an appetizer. I was introduced to Stone Street Wines from the Alexander Estate region. The wine they produced called Fifth Ridge is a Cab Merlot blend and one that will bring good memories for me. I loved this wine. I guess I could go on and on about all of the different types of wine and my favorites over the years, but I wont bore you to death with that.

What I will say is honor the next bottle you buy. Whether or not its a 3.67 Shiraz-Malbec blend from Argentina or the friggin 235.00 bottle of Opus One . Take the time and give attention to all of the little nuances about that bottle you chose. Remember that it went through so many hands before it came to share its richness with you. Rock that glass and give a toast to the winemakers who cared enough to bring you such a beautiful experience.