Friday, April 30, 2010

It's So Much More Than Just a Score

While out wine tasting one afternoon in Oregon’s awe-inspiring Willamette Valley, I drove past abundant fruit and nut orchards positively bursting with spring life, so much so I could practically feel the innocent white and nearly neon-green colors, full of life and energy, oozing from the dead, brown limbs as the pristine blossoms and brand new leaves took hold, veritably spreading themselves onto the canvas. Even in Oregon (“the Green State”), winter marks the land with a barrenness—empty as an infertile womb— creating a longing for growth which only spring can fill. No matter how many times I drive these same stretches of rolling pavement, the seasonality creates a colorful landscape whose scene is ever-changing, like I’m looking at a whole new painting each time I pass by. I thought to myself, wow, if only everybody, everywhere could see this. Could a photo capture even a hint of the color or a glimmer of this mood?

I recently read something in a comment stream from Palate Press’s article about why people don’t read wine blogs. Jeff Siegel of The Wine Curmudgeon said this: Nobody wants to read about your drive up to the winery.

This remark didn’t really get me stirred up at first—not until the next time I was actually driving up to a winery. Then, I couldn’t escape the voices in my head as they taunted and teased me… Really? No one wants to hear about this stuff? People don’t want to have the scene dramatically set with an intricate depiction of the wineries, their vineyards and the countryside elaborately painted for them using only the power of creative imagery and the written word?

My fear is that next, I’m going to hear someone spouting how no one wants to read about anybody’s personal journeys through wine either.

One of the many things I’ve discovered along my travels thus far is in order to really learn about a wine, you must immerse yourself in more than just the look, smell, taste and score of the fermented fruit beverage. This immersion requires engaging all five senses, visual included of course. But I’m talking beyond what color the wine is in your glass and how viscous or thin it appears. It’s certainly a whole lot more than how that label looks and whether it’s a classic Old World or funky, kitschy or colorful modern design… and it’s clearly more than the shape of the bottle. All these things together though, along with a million other unknown influences as well, do flavor our experience; hence the argument for blind tasting (meaning you cover up the bottle so you can’t see the producer, label, varietal, etc… when you taste it).

This may sound silly to some, but studies have shown that something as simple as the color of the room will flavor your tasting experience. So unless you’re actually blindfolded while tasting that wine, your impression of a wine is even bound to be influenced by where that wine’s consumed. Think about it this way, will that glass of Archery Summit Pinot Noir taste the same if you were to drink it at say Chuck E Cheese’s as it would if it were slowly sipped from fine crystal stemware on the elegantly casual wine country deck perched high atop the Red Hills of Dundee overlooking the fertile Willamette Valley with majestic views of Mt Hood that may very well take your breath away? I doubt it.

The reason a wine sometimes tastes so much better at the winery (perhaps Robert Parker is onto something?) seems obvious, but really it’s not. It’s not simply the color and lighting in the tasting room, or that the wine has been stored properly (at its source) and hasn’t’ traveled by unrefrigerated trucks and then displayed on warm, well-lit shelves for months. It’s not just the emotions evoked when you were driving up to the winery, passed neatly spaced rows of old vineyards dripping with ripening grape clusters or that you’re drinking it with Mr. McSteamy- or Mrs. McDreamy-Winemaker, absorbing some of their passion as they divulge the deepest, darkest secrets about that wine in your glass. For instance, as you remark about the forest floor aromatics you pick up on the wine, the winemaker heartily laughs as he tells you a story about the clumsy Kiwi harvest worker who would tromp around the muddy vineyard each morning measuring the brix and then return to the winery to do punch downs without changing his boots. Well, after slipping and falling into the fermenter twice, they found another job for him, but admitted that vintage seemed very earthy.

All kidding aside, it really must be a combination of the factors I mentioned, and more, because for most, the wine tasting experience is quixotic—involving elements of romance, ideals, impracticality and mysticism that aren’t as much physical as they are mental and psychological, yet all individually unique and precisely unpredictable. And it’s all of these ingredients, which come together to create, and image and construct a more powerful memory of wine, one you’ll sincerely take to heart. Can a blind tasting or numbered score do that?

In article published on Palate Press called Wine Writing in the Time of Technology, Ben Simons of Vinotology eloquently said, "Ultimately, those of us who write about wine are looking for the best way to describe an experience that is inherently personal and subjective." I couldn't agree more. My job, and greatest challenge as the chief and only writer for Sip with Me, is to convey the complete experience to my readers so they can have a genuine appreciation of a producer, help them develop a profound relationship with that wine by understanding the setting, the history, the background, the people, the hardships…, because (and I’m going out on a limb here, though I am firmly braced so bring it) a glass of wine is sometimes more than just a glass of wine and how it tastes blind. Oh shit, Yes, I said it—publicly.

Don’t get me wrong, while I support wine rating systems on most levels, I also feel that taste is always entirely subjective and even a perfectly balanced, well made wine may just not appeal to even the most knowledgeable and/or educated wine drinkers and might even taste and score differently to that same person depending on how green the room was, their own body’s pH level, what they ate for breakfast, who is sitting next to them or what past memories they might bring to the tasting table.

I’m certain there will always be those on either side of the fence; some want analytical reviews while others will seek personal accounts by someone whose passion allows them to explore a deeper, more intimate relationship with wine and values the complexity of information as much as they value the complexity of the wine they imbibe. I write for those looking for personal anecdotes, an escape from the everyday, some interesting historical morsel that makes a wine or winery more relevant or perhaps that sumpin, sumpin that just makes that wine a bit more sexy, because in the end, I believe it’s these genuine connections that enhance the wine tasting experience and make that wine utterly unforgettable.

Next time you open a bottle, pay attention to the evocative sound of the cork pop, listening to the age and the passage of time as it slowly leaks from the bottle. Pour yourself a glass, both watching and hearing the wine as it splashes against the bottom and begins to fill the glass. Hear the thick glug, glug, glug sound change in pitch and timbre as the glass fills up, triggering a sense of excited anticipation. (Mmm, did I just see you lick your lips?) If you perceive any of these things when you open a bottle, you can certainly relate to and must appreciate the enchantment each and every glass conjures up; just a little something to think about. Until we sip again…


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wine Recipe: 7 Steps to Perfection

Prep Time: Seconds
Cook Time: 30 minutes – all night
Serves: 2 or more


1 bottle of good wine (whatever that means to you)
2 people (or more, but increase the bottles of wine proportionately)
1 ever-changing conversation
1 compilation of soft music (optional)
1 delicious dinner (optional)
1 roaring fire (optional)

1. Open bottle of wine and pour two (or more) glasses.
2. Mix together moderately with titillating conversation.
3. Add optional music, dinner and/or fire and let simmer until the first glass is empty.
4. Pour second glass of wine.
5. Switch to enticing conversation and continue to cook over low heat until fully engaged (or is that engorged, I can't read my notes).
6. Stir in a generous amount of physical contact.
7. Sprinkle with additional sips (as needed) and serve when hot and ready.

When I made this recipe, it led to a night not soon to be forgotten. I’d love to know how it turns out for you! Have your own recipe to share?

One last thing, if you like this recipe, consider trying this.

Until we sip again…


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Reflections on a Glass of Oak Knoll

Driving the Oregon countryside on the weekends has far and away become one of my most favorite times for quiet contemplation, so, before I even began my wine tasting at Oak Knoll, one of Oregon’s oldest producers, I sat down at a cozy little cocktail table to download a bunch of thoughts accumulating in my brain before they flew away with the speed of a hummingbird (because that’s how quickly I forget things lately). The lovely Nadine came out from her post behind the wine bar to deliver me an extensive wine menu, providing me with tableside service while she talked me through their selections. In a nutshell… down-to-earth, gracious and friendly hospitality.

Oak Knoll Winery, founded in 1970 by Ron and Marjorie Vuylsteke, was the very first winery in Washington County. The Vuylstekes started their foray into winemaking back in the early 60’s after a bumper crop of blackberries led to the production of blackberry wines. A few years later, they were securing contracts with early regional grape growers and founded some of Oregon’s first wines, and by 1978, one out of every three bottles of Oregon wine sold was from Oak Knoll Winery. Today, the wines are crafted by the Vuylsteke's cousin, Jeff Herinckx, who joined the winery in 1984.

Their wines were certainly more respectable than I had honestly ever given them credit for. I never realized (or admitted?) how susceptible I was, but I kind of had it drilled into my head, from back in the day when I earned a paycheck from a certain winery, that a certain county’s wineries were basically subpar (with the exception of one, of course). That being said, I wish I could have actually tasted the wines blind, because as much as one’s surroundings can affect how the wine tastes, so can one’s personal experiences (in this case I was seriously trying to overcome a negative impression)—and can you ever really obtain an objective impression of a wine?

One of the wines I truly enjoyed was Oak Knoll’s 2007 Pinot Gris ($14). With a nice, rich and creamy mouth feel, the wine made it’s entrance with the typical apple and pear you’d expect at the surface, but underneath I detected entrancing layers of melon and tropical star fruit notes while the mouth offered additional exotic flavors of grapefruit, mango and a spicy, zingy ginger finish; it was a delicious, intriguing and complex white wine, great for summer with a nice acidity and a moderate price point.

Another stand-out wine was the 2005 Pinot Noir Vintage Reserve ($29). It’s light ruby color tinged slightly brown hinted at a touch of age opened up as slowly and surely as a hare in a race to reveal surprising depth and unexpected characters of leather, sweet red cherries, ripe juicy strawberries, violets and an intriguing spicebox finish of spicy clove and sexy cinnamon—ooo la la.

While meandering about outside, soaking up a bit of spring's welcome but early sunny offering, I savored a bite of dark chocolate with Oak Knoll’s 2006 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which was all dark fruit and pepper in a glass, and thought long and hard about my own predilection for the unpretentious that often directly competes with an equal desire for high quality; it’s not easy to achieve both, yet Oak Knoll continually strives to do so and that’s probably why they continue to remain such major players in this wild game of Winopoly. Until we sip again…


Friday, April 23, 2010

Guest Blogger Rates Four Oregon Wines… Another Rating System?

I'm delighted to extend a very warm welcome to Bernard and Eva of Portlandoregonwine on the very first ever guest blogpost for Sip with Me. My first connection with the couple was during a Twitter media lunch for St. Francis's winemaker Tom Mackey, where I was immediately impressed by the presence they commanded. I was very pleased when Bernard reached out to me to guest blog about my Top 10 Oregon Value Wines and I am honored to have been able to participate in such a great partnership; I hope you enjoy their piece. Until we sip again… cheers!

We met Tamara at a clandestine affair, a top-secret "need to know" status (unknown even to us!) event, otherwise known as the infamous "Meet the Winemaker Lunch." We received the cloak and dagger email from a New York PR firm requesting our presence at lunch for an unknown wine tasting itinerary. Fortunately, we had great company, and the St. Francis wine tasting was well documented in great reviews by Tamara here, The Wine Cyclist, and Mary Cressler from Vindulge.

This guest blog features four of our favorite Oregon "QPR" (Quality-Price-Relationship) from the winter of 2009-2010. We have rated the wines on a hybrid system consisting of a standard 100-point rating as well as a rating relative to price. For example, if we felt a wine was a "90", and it cost $10 less than it tastes, we gave it a "90/+10", which is a great QPR score and ranks in the top right of the QPR chart:

We love to find wines in the upper right quadrant

Now, for the Wines!

Haden Fig 2008 Pinot Noir - You are hard pressed to find an under $20 Oregon Pinot that you would feel proud serving at a dinner party full of wine geeks, and the inaugural vintage of Haden Fig tastes much more expensive than $18. They are getting tons of press, so the secret will be out soon. Plus, they have a very cool label.

Score: 90/+10, retails for $18

Ferraro Cellars 2006 Mista Rosso - Perhaps the first wine with grapes grown in the Dalles, Oregon that we have enjoyed. It is very Italian in style, easy drinking with finesse, perfect for pizza or any pasta dish. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and held it's own compared to the Sineann and Medici wines at the Dark Horse Tasting Room in Newberg.

Score: 90/+6, retails for $20

Arterberry Maresh 2007 Pinot Noir - Jimmy Maresh, the "prodigy" winemaker from Dundee is the next west coast wine superstar. Yes, you heard it correctly, not just in Oregon, but perhaps Washington and even California. His chardonnays will be released within weeks, and will be priced around $75. Guess what? They are worth it! So, no surprise here at his second label Pinot Noir retailing around $22, a light, perfumy pinot with great finesse and a $45 taste. Enough said. This is the "Great Find" of the year, snap it up if there is any left.

Score: 91/+13, retails for $22

Soter Vineyards 2006 Mineral Springs Pinot Noir - It's challenging to call a $45 wine a "QPR" wine, but the Soter Pinot qualifies due to the spectacular "This is really great wine" impression you get with the first taste. Strong bouquet of Burgundian Pinot Noir, full-bodied, complex, with a looooong finish. I originally thought it was too expensive for a QPR wine, but I've revised the early review since it tastes like a $75 wine.

Score: 93/+5

Bernard and Eva love wine tasting and finding wines that taste more expensive than they cost.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dragging the Folks Along: JK Carriere and Barron-Wahl

With my parents in town for their coveted semi-annual visit, it seemed the perfect opportunity to drag my whole family along on my escapade tasting wine at every Oregon tasting room in a year… mom, dad, husband and son. Why not? After a brief stop in Sherwood at Rose’s Deli (because no family outing of mine would be complete if it didn’t include food—we are Jewish after all), and with the use of my dad’s handheld GPS, we leisurely made our way along the relatively unsigned roads through the nearby hills of Parrett Mountain; it was as if we were out for a Sunday drive… on Saturday.

Sunshine, blue skies and volcanic views set the stage as we meandered the mountainside where we located the rustic tasting room of Barrron-Wahl Vineyards. Barron-Wahl Vineyards, owned by Gordon Barron and William Wahl, is a very small producer on Oregon’s grand scale, with a mere 350-700 cases dependent upon vintage. As we mosied up to the bar of the seasonally open tasting room, Gordon brought their resident mouser, Kitty Guy, in for my mom to pet. Although Mom doesn’t drink wine (except the occasional sip of late-harvest dessert wine I might be able to talk her into if I’m feeling exceptionally patient), she is a good sport and she does like to pet every animal she can get her hands on. Though I too love all the furry friends, I thank you Dad for passing on your preference for wine.

Barron-Wahl planted their Pinot noir vineyard in 2001 and Joe Dobbs of Dobbes Family Estate and Wine By Joe has been making their wines since the first vintage in 2006. Marketing Manager Mickie Riverman poured us through the past two vintages and then sent Gordon off to find a rare bottle of 2006 for us to sample. While the wines where all quite good, I actually really took note of their 2008 Pinot Noir which showed unbelievable depth for a wine of its youth… sweet black cherry pie and vanilla balanced out with lovely savory notes of truffle and mushrooms. The tannins were firm yet already approachable and the vibrant acids, which would play well with food now, also indicated it would hold up with a little time too. Shayden (age 3) passed on the basket of toys in favor of a wine glass full of vintage 2010 H2O, sniffing and swirling like the rest of us, certain his wine smelled like strawberries—that’s my boy!

Mickie told me a bit about Gordon’s diverse background as being a professional car racer (hence the Porsche photos on the wall) and how he even invented some sort of blood separator, but when I asked about the Marilyn Monroe photo over the bar and the old Ms. Pac Man and Donkey Kong games in the corner, she took me aside to quietly explain how the tasting room used to be Gordon’s “Man Cave.” Ah ha… now I get it, but with Pinot like that, I’ll stress the words “used to be” because no man’s keeping me out!!

We returned to our vehicle where I marveled in the splendor of having both a driver and a navigator (if only for just a day) and programmed ourselves for J.K. Carriere Wines, also located on Parrett Mountain in the Chehalem Mountain AVA (American Viticultural Area). As I expressed exuberance at not getting lost for a change, my brilliant mother saw it as a cue to tell my dad he really needed a new GPS and should give me his old hand-me-down (as if—but you gotta love my mom for trying!).

J.K. Carriere’s located in a brand new facility, after producing and selling their first 10 vintages out of a hundred-year-old hazelnut drying barn in Yamhill County. In 2007, Jim Prosser purchased 40 acres on Parrett Mountain’s ridge, where the family has since planted two-acres and, as you read this is, gearing up to clear and plant more to vine. They’ve recently opened their modern and state-of-the-art winery production facility, barrel cave storage, sprawling grounds and sleek yet comfortable tasting room to enjoy it all. 

The name on the label is a melding of family names: J.K. Prosser and Paul Carriere and the wasp graphic serves as a very personal reminder to the owner about both his deadly allergy (not a good for a winemaker… have you ever seen a winery during harvest?) and also about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.

J.K. Carriere makes a white Pinot noir produced using the same techniques as turn-of-the-century French Rosé Champagne and though it didn’t have any bubbles, it had a lot of zest and perhaps even a slight spritz which lifted the watermelon flavors to new heights. At $20 a bottle, their 2009 Glass White Pinot Noir is an absolute steal and one of those wines I wish I could have brought home by the caseload for an entire summer’s worth of sensational sipping. Their flagship wine, the 2007 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, is a blend of some of Oregon’s best vineyard sites and showed a lot of personality. I’ve heard the average nose can only detect and distinguish four aromas at one time. I must have a really big nose, because I smelled at least five smells—cherry, strawberry, violets, cedar and allspice, just to name a few. In my glass, the wine showed equal presence with cherries, raspberries, currants, gamey meat and licorice… very complex and clearly a cornerstone wine, but the meatiness turned me off, as I tend to seek out more fruit, floral, earth and spice components (it’s just a personal thing).

Since J.K. Carriere’s all about the “family element”, Jim’s niece Jen Reynolds happened to be the wine slinger on the day of my visit. When I asked her to tell me something funny that’s happened there or something I can’t find out on the internet, a grin immediately spread across her face as she recalled the time when her uncle Jim (owner and winemaker) scared away all the nieces. He had just returned to Oregon after being in the Peace Corp in the Far East and was completely unrecognizable to even his family with a full beard and Fu Man Chu mustache. Thankfully Jim’s shaved since then and isn’t scaring anyone away anymore because you really wouldn’t want to miss his wines.

After tasting at just these two wineries, my parents were completely spent so we retired to the comfort of our leather couch to lounge and recover a bit before dinner. Dinner that night was enjoyed in the private wine cellar at Portland’s Veritable Quandary where I was put to the challenge of figuring out how the cellar was ordered. Being teased with the promise of a prize, I took the task seriously and wagered my winning guess. Unfortunately, there really was no prize except the weird but immense sense of satisfaction I got from actually figuring it all out.

I noticed Veritable Quandary’s featured wine that night was from Apolloni Vineyards and I couldn’t help but recall my blogpost about Apolloni Vineyards where I refer to their winemaker Anne Hubatch’s Rosé as my veritable quandary of the day. A bit too eerily prophetic perhaps—it gave me chills! After a day’s tasting, two bottles of Oregon Pinot noir with dinner and a lovely late-harvest ice wine with dessert, my dad proclaimed he’d never drank so much wine in a day before. Oh Dad, welcome to my wonderful and very tasty world! Until we sip again…


Friday, April 16, 2010

10 Things I Hate About You

1. Sometimes you fool me with your fancy packaging and cleverly worded label and then you turn out to be nothing like I thought you were.
2. I have to pay 400% your value to enjoy you in a restaurant.
3. We have way too much fun when we’re together, yet I always feel like shit the next day.
4. You're never around when I really want you most.
5. You’re so difficult, you even require a special opener (unless of course I’m feeling particularly talented or sufficiently motivated).
6. You absorb my entire entertainment budget.
7. Even when you’re bad, somehow you’re still so good.
8. When you’re gone, I’m always left wanting more of you.
9. You always steal my thunder. I spend days slaving over the menu and cooking the meal, yet all they notice is you. All they talk about is you. All they remember is you.
10. You’re so damn irresistible… I always indulge, even when I know I shouldn’t.

Until we sip again, because you know we will…


Friday, April 9, 2010

A World Beyond Saké Bombs… Finally!

“Kanpai,” we shout a little too loudly as we joyously clink our baby teacups together shooting the warm yet slightly bitter rice wine quickly to the backs of our throats and down to our waiting and eager bellies. Another,” Kanpai”, followed by the token glass clink, but this time, the mini teacups full of steaming hot wine are dropped into our ice cold, tall glasses of Japanese beer (we called it a Saké Bomb), which we guzzle as if we’d been wandering a dry, dusty desert for days, our mouths parched with thirst. Our livers swollen with alcohol, we always added a bit of rice, seaweed and fish to the mix, just to keep things from sounding liked a badly dubbed Kung-fu movie where nothing moves in synchrony, and ultimately, to keep things down. Yes, those were my early experiences of rice wine—gloriously long high school and college meals of cheap sushi, saké and beer that typically got a bit out of control and were never much about food or wine appreciation. Such is high school and college, I guess.

Flash forward nearly 20 years and I’ll be honest, I haven’t consumed much saké since those earlier and more reckless days. Recently however, my good friend and winemaker for Anne Amie Vineyards recommended I try saké and encouraged me to specifically visit Saké One in Hillsboro to taste both their wines and their imported specials. So as a part of my quest and journey, I set out for the education of a lifetime; Tony from Saké One gave me my first and very valuable lessons.

Lesson #1: Drink your saké room temperature to slightly chilled. The piping hot saké served in sushi restaurants is served that way to mask the flaws, making it more palatable.

I then learned Lesson #2: Current leading experts agree, using a wine glass instead of a thimble is the preferable way to imbibe. Men, you’ll be pleased to know you don’t need to feel like you’re at a child’s tea party with your dainty pinky finger hanging out in Nowhereland. Wrap all of your manly digits around a real glass and enjoy. Saké stemware is available for sale and if you’re hosting a sushi party, it can add that fun level of authenticity (kind of like chopsticks verses silverware, I suppose), but it’s not necessary and any old white wine glass will really do.

Tony went on to teach me how saké is made with only four ingredients: water, rice, yeast and Koji-kin (a mold which helps convert the rice into fermentable sugars). Saké One uses domestic U.S. rice with Japanese yeast, while more traditional Japanese sakés use different varieties of rice to produce different flavor profiles. The water is another key component, brewers look for both purity and mineral content to impact sake’s flavor.

Although called rice wine, it’s probably a closer relative to the beer family since it’s made from fermented grains instead of fruit. And like beer, saké is best when consumed fresh, while in its youth, as opposed to being aged.

Saké One offers a food pairing flight, which I highly recommend. Similar to wine (and beer), the saké tasting experience is enhanced by thoughtful and complemented food pairings. I personally tasted through their portfolio without the food, but I wonder if my experience might have been different if I had tasted the different sakés with their suggested combinations. Would I have come away a saké convert?

Sake One is the only American owned sakery in the world. Their wines are bottled in eco-friendly glass, with bamboo labels, making them an excellent example of the Oregon wine industry’s commitment to being a part of the environmental solution. In addition to their Ginjo Junmai (pure rice) sakes, they also make fun infused sakes of Asian pear, coconut lemongrass, raspberry and plum. They encourage fans to experiment with their elixirs, and invented a series of Sakétinis adding a whole new dimension to mixology.

If you’re ever anywhere in the vicinity of Hillsboro, Oregon, I emphatically encourage you to visit Saké One —even if you don’t like saké… and sadly and admittedly, I don’t even though I enjoyed every minute of my stay. So, after visiting and tasting the real goods, I can wholeheartedly say, sorry Thomas, I’ve still yet to acquire a taste for rice wine. I did equate it to what it would be like drinking a real, handcrafted ale for the first time though—discovering there was a world beyond MGD—and I will certainly try saké again. With sakery tours daily, Saké One is a must-visit… look forward to both an education and an experience you won’t soon forget. Until we sip again…


For more information about Saké and a great read (except for the wisecrack comment about wine being made by monkeys) check out Joe's SixPack.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Guest Blog: Sip with Me’s Best-Kept Secrets Revealed – Top 10 Oregon Value Wines

When I hear the words “value wine”, some of the first visual images that pop into my mind are those of jugs and boxes (no I’m not talking sexual innuendo here, sorry Clive). Value wine doesn’t have to mean cheap or unpalatable, but it should mean good wine at a good price. When Bernie Gehret of portlandoregonwine asked me to guest blog about some of my favorite Oregon “best values”, I was both honored and challenged. But I'm not going to tell you my 10 Oregon value wines and best kept secrets here, if you want to know you'll have to read the rest of the story here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sip with Me Takes on the World!

In either a momentary fit of insanity or a wicked hormonal surge, I’ve decided to ditch my initial mission of trying to visit every Oregon tasting room in a year and have set my sights on an even higher cause. It’s true, I’ve determined that I haven’t given nearly enough of my time, energy or money in this project yet and at this point, I know I just have to step it up. It’s time to stop thinking so small; I’ve been way too locally centralized. At first I thought about tackling one of my neighboring wine states too, California or Washington. But then it occurred to me that I really should be thinking more globally. So, yes, Sip with Me is giving up on Oregon and taking on the world instead!

My new quest will take me to every winery on the planet, and I’ll still be doing it in just a year’s time. Follow me as I journey through each of the wine-producing 50 U.S. states before I’m off to Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Africa and anywhere else wine is being made.

If it sounds like I’m going to be a busy lady this next year, you’re right. But I’ve also decided that averaging five hours of sleep a night is far too much for one person, so dedicated to taste it all, I am willing to sacrifice those hours to the cause too.

Of course traveling around the world is expensive, and without a job my bank accounts aren’t exactly as padded as a fancy push-up bra, but I know it’s just a small challenge to overcome in this wild scheme I’ve hatched. The simple solution occurred to me while searching the job ads on Craigs List… I need to find myself a nice little sugar daddy. So alright, I’m taking applications. Anyone want to take me around the world? I promise lots of crazy times and more great wine to drink than you can ever imagine! To my faithful readers, until we sip again, in France, Italy, Germany, Spain…

Cheers and April fools!