Today is my first day back in the tasting room in about two months! I didn't believe it at first, but we were closed in January and I was on hiatus for the Alsace Festival for the past month, so it must be true. It's been great, actually, to get back in tough with our customers and friends and chat with visitors today while we watched it POUR outside.
The weather amazed me today. Right now I see patches of blue sky and just a few hours ago it was pouring, with wind gusts that knocked down a tree just down the road and blew over all my signs and a riddling rack we have out front. It's the hardest rain I've seen yet this season and of course I showed up to work sans raincoat. By the time I picked the signs up for the third time I was SOAKED. Luckily I dried out a bit before the next tasting group.
Last weekend's Alsace Festival was fantastic. We moved to a new building, which had these great big windows, letting in a lot of natural light. Very different from our past years, which were beautifully decorated as well but not as bright and airy. We had 35 wineries from MI, CA, OR, WA, Alsace and New Zealand. We ate fresh oysters, duck wontons, coconut shrimp, wood-fired pizzas, gourmet cheeses, and a lot more. We listened to music from The Two Blue Dudes (actually four blue dudes this year). I predict (without having the final count tallied yet) that we upped last year's attendance. Hooray for us! Other events included a welcome dinner with some delicious cassoulet, a technical conference with late-harvest wines tasting, and a winemakers dinner on Saturday night at the Boonville Hotel (yum). Another hit, I think. Kudos to all our wineries and volunteers, and those wineries that traveled very far to be here.
To relax after the past few weeks Joe and I escaped to Kirkwood for a few days. We stayed on-site in a studio that looked straight out of the late-80s, early 90s (very rental apartment chiq). ;) We skied for two days and ate out, slept in and enjoyed watching the snow fall. The skiing was great - more than a foot of fresh powder - and I'm only slightly crippled today. The only bad part about Kirkwood is the lack of dining options during the week. Without wanting to drive into South Lake, we tried the Kirkwood Inn (steak house, good food), then we ate at the local pub. The "fine dining" option wasn't open during the week, but I guess it just saved us some money. And we lucked out -- my first day lift ticket was free and the second was only $49 because Joe's a pass holder. Yowsa.