Thursday, July 3, 2008
Pinot Days 2008, Wedding Dress Shopping
I thought I'd give a quick report of our first Pinot Days weekend (this past one), since so much is happening and I just barely got the chance to write about our Santa Cruz Mtns trip.
On Saturday we left Boonville and carpooled down to do some wedding dress shopping. To be honest, I was dreading it a bit that morning as the whole bridal scene isn't really too comfortable for me. I'm looking forward to the wedding, but I'm not one of those girls who fantasized about her wedding as a kid. I'm more of a "I'll think about it when I have to" kind of person. Well, now I have to.
As I plan to donate my dress to charity when I'm done, I decided to do some bargain shopping as, honestly, I'd rather spend the money on food or great bubbly the day of. (Yes, I'm a food and wine snob to the point where I'd scrimp on my wedding dress!)
We went to Bridal Image first - a great, friendly shop where they were super helpful. Didn't find much in the way of vineyard-friendly dresses, but some very gorgeous choices for hundreds of dollars, not thousands. My friend Heidi, Joe's mother Pam and my mother all joined us while the guys went to grab a bite to eat and find a nice drinking establishment. :)
After stripping down to my underwear and being carefully placed in dresses for an hour, I was more than ready for a bottle of Schramsberg Brut Rose and lunch at LuLu's (on the way to our second stop). A little wild mushroom pizza hit the spot.
Next - Glamour Closet, where designer labels are supposed to be cheap. The only problem - they were all samples and that's what you got. Some were pretty dirty and missing beads, etc. I did try on a few gorgeous dresses, but more of the getting married in a church kind. Not for me. I did find this hideous Vera Wang pajama-looking, pink-striped concoction that I'm going to post a photo of when I get them from Joe's mother. Ugh! I do have photos of the good dresses too, but apparently it's not a good thing to post them on the internet, superstition wise.
Then on to Hog Island Oysters (in the Ferry Building, which is probably my favorite spot in all of SF) to meet the guys, sip some Albarino, bid Heidi farewell, and then to the hotel to prep for dinner.
We went to dinner at Masa's, which was fantastic and pricey. We split wine pairings (3 for 6 of us), which they obligingly split up into separate glassware so everyone had their own, plus a few bottles of the Foursight Pinot Noir of course. We didn't agree fully with all the wine pairings, but the food was so delicious that it didn't really matter (lots of truffles, perfectly cooked fish, delicious squab and filet, plus an amuse bouche, canape, palate cleansers, etc.). It was also only a few blocks away from our hotel, so we walked.
Then on to Sunday - Joe and I left our parents early as they looked forward to brunch at the Top Of The Mark (my father used to go there when he was a kid). We headed to Ft. Mason to set up.
The number of wineries there was quite amazing. We were in the absolute back corner, near to Goldeneye, Handley, Elke, and a few other AV wineries. At first we thought it disappointing, but it turned out well as the crowds had a place to linger out in front, with tables to write notes, and we weren't doing the splash and dash all day. We had a great chance to talk to everyone who came by the table. We just poured our 2006 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir, which is the only Pinot we make, and at 400 cases.
In the beginning I have to admit we were a little slow. Being a new name, it's tough when there are that many brands. People have their top 10 or so must-hits, then they experiment with the unknowns. By the end of the day, though, we were packed. Most people who tasted recommended us to friends, or came back for second pours. We had great interest from the trade in carrying our wines in various places, and a few members of the media who praised the wines very highly.
The computer mailing list sign-up could have worked better. Most people didn't understand that they could order wine or sign up right there (we had a computer hooked up to the internet via our phones). We're trying to transition to it because, honestly, most handwriting is terrible when people have to write on the table at a tasting like that. Half the time you can't read the e-mail addresses and then everything bounces back. I just think the computer thing is something that needs a bit more trying out, although a few people were stoked to see it.
By the end of the day, our voices were hoarse and we were exhausted! Joe and I had been there for 7.5 hours. As soon as 5 p.m. hit, we were instructed to pack it up and get out. It was actually pretty rushed. They had US Park Police patrolling to make sure people were behaving and packing up. Honestly, it felt a bit "thanks for pouring, now LEAVE!" But, we did as told and left promptly, getting us home before dark, which was nice.
All in all, a very successful event for us and one we'll definitely repeat. The next one on our radar is Family Winemakers, again at Ft. Mason. Apparently it's twice the people and wineries, which I can't even imagine, so we'll see how it goes...