Drink Me!

Dusty Bottles in the Cellar

So many wine knowledge seekers have come to me with their confessions of one wine sin or another – added ice cubes to their Merlot – created their own “blend” – had a sticky affair with a Beerenauslese after vowing to love honor and sip only complete dryness – made leftover dessert wine into a spritzer (ok, you caught me I actually did that) – DrinkMe1But one admission that stands out is a crime of time.  There are two sides to this no-no:

I drank it too early.


I waited too long.

All is forgiven.  The truth is that I really think you can drink your wine whenever you want – I try consuming some on a daily basis actually.


But I’m feeling the sense of a lot of harrumphing coming my way so I will qualify this statement.  The best time for a wine is anytime, as long as you know how you like it.

If you’re one of those S&M pain-for-pleasure punch me in the face with the tannins but caress my sore cheek with your soft fruit type of wine drinkers… then party with the Young Cabs!  Pop open some freshly released Petite Sirah and have your way with it.  Go Barrel Tasting for that matter.  And if you wax poetic about every nuance of tertiary development that whispers in your nostril – oh the cheese rind, the horse dung, the damp fungal floor of the forest – then lay that bottle down and play some Debussy while you wait for the perfect moment to arrive.

Love, with very young people, is a heartless business.  We drink at that age from thirst, or to get drunk; it is only later in life that we occupy ourselves with the individuality of our wine.  -Isak Dinesen

And how do you know when the wine will be drinking just the way you like it?  I knew there would be more harrumphing here… If you’re in the S&M camp your question is already answered – you’re probably drinking it right now while you read this.  If you are typing in a search for Debussy on your tune-turner of choice then you might need to seek professional wine assistance or reference a vintage chart because really, we want you to start by knowing your wine collection in the first place.  If you digitally organize with a wine cellar software such as eSommelier or WineBanq, advice on drinking windows might be an integrated feature for you.


If you are a hands on cellar tracker that likes to keep technology in the office but not necessarily in the cellar then it might help to employ a few simple organization techniques.  Consider the following when taking stock in your wine collection:

  • drink now – drink soon – reassess in 2-5 years
  • just myself (and someone special) – friends & family – party time!
  • category:  sparkling – whites – reds – sweets & fortified

With the Holiday season glistening in the near future, giving your cellar some attention now will pay yourself forward into the coming months.  The time is right to decide what wines to offer while you’re entertaining and which ones will make nice fireside sippers.  It’s also a good opportunity to plan ahead if there are areas of your cellar that are lacking and get stocked up.  Don’t clear out all those cobwebs just yet – they add authenticity to your Halloween festivities – but DO get started on a Fall wine audit and pop a few corks from your “Drink Now” section while you’re at it.


More Tricks and Treats for your Fall Cellar Audit:

Five Signs You Should Invest in a Wine Management System – eSommelier

What form does your “cellar” take? -Join in on the Conversation at the CellarTracker Forum

Aging Wine Revisited – “Only about 1% of the world’s wines are meant to be aged…”and WHY would anyone ever keep over 2,500 bottle of wine in their cellar? -Wine For Normal People with Elizabeth Schneider, Certified Sommelier & Certified Specialist of Wine

Liv-ex – an answer to Elizabeth’s question about holding on to wine.  Invest – Collect – Drink – All of the Above.  You decide.

Wines to Stock Your Cellar – Visit The Gallery at Falling Bright


Cultivated: Growing Our Gratitude for the Farmer

Kalon at Laguna Beach on the evening of September 28, 2015 - Total Lunar Ecclipse Blood Moon

The Blood Moon rose over Laguna Canyon as we wound our way back towards the city lights after a late September evening on the beach.  It was nearly in total eclipse with a sliver of red peeking out.  The universe gifts us with moments like these.  We take notice and as the moment passes it may fade from the memory until the next time nature jostles our mind a bit.

To be closer to the Earth or closer to the glories of nature is an aspiration for many, myself included.  But reality for most of us is that we dabble here and there in the natural world.  We rake up the leaves.  Refresh the tired herb garden.  Cultivate a small patch of veggies in our backyard gardens.  These small connections with the dirt serve to keep us grounded, both literally and figuratively speaking.  It is my trials and errors at making a better connection with the earth that serve as natures little reminder to me that I should have a greater appreciation for those who achieve this connection on a grander scale – farmers.

Lee Martinelli Sr. Farming Jackass Hill Vineyard

It’s so gratifying that our four children really like being part of a family farming operation and are dedicated to seeing it continue for generations to come.  I am so proud that our family works together in this agricultural business and plays together as a family.  -Lee Martinelli Sr.

There is no better time to celebrate the life and work of those who cultivate the earth than at the close of Harvest.  Most California vineyards are through the pick, Oregon finishing up as well.  For winemakers the fun is well under way.  For the growers, most express a sense of calm or feeling of relief that their fruit is in and the season is drawing to a close.  The calm will be but a small pause before looking forward to the next task, the next chore, and natures constant string of small nudges to jostle the mind.

For those who make their life of the land – the farmers – these nudges are taken in such stride it’s almost as if nature was but a cadence keeping the time.  They can show calm in the face of adversity.  They find peace and tranquility when the task at hand is insurmountable.  Their existence is at the mercy of nature – we all are but some of us refuse to live by that mercy – and they accept this arrangement with humility and grace.

Donnie Schatzberg of Precious Mountain Vineyard

I think what needs to be changed is the sustainability and farming practices have to be more widely accepted.  Humans are not the only creatures on this planet you know, we have to share it.  -Donnie Schatzberg

We’re not waiting until Thanksgiving to be Thankful.  We’re thankful now for the people who still find value and purpose in cultivating the land and we’re Thankful to the God who has made it so.  We will continue our trials and errors in our own gardens as well.  Perhaps these small rituals really can be big victories for the soul if we capture them and transpose them onto other areas that might feel barren.

Related Reads:

The Martinelli Family on the History of Their Land

The Legacy of Jackass Hill – 2015 Wine Spectator Video Contest Winner

Precious Mountain Vineyard

Williams Selyem Video Interview with Donnie Schatzberg

Kalon at Laguna Beach on the evening of September 28, 2015 - Total Lunar Ecclipse Blood Moon