Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Big Bash for the Arts

Okay, so if you go in for this sort of thing, I hope you didn't spend all your money at The Auction of Washington Wines. I just got my invite to the Big Bash by Poncho scheduled for October 2nd at the Sheraton. Frankly, like most of you, I can't afford the fees, let alone the wines at these big bashs. I stopped attending the Poncho wine auctions several years ago, when the cheapest silent auction item was more than $500. At one time, I used to donate to the Poncho Wine Auction. Don't get me wrong, if you can afford it, these "black tie" events can be a lot of fun and raise money for worthy causes. Frankly, though, I think the best auction and most worthy cause is the wine auction for Farestart which raises money to train the homeless in culinary arts. Not only do they provide training in culinary skills, they offer training in crucial life skills. Eighty and eighty means that 80%  graduate and 80% have retained their job one year later. Of course, with these hard times, these figures may have changed. For years, I was on the procurement committee for the Farestart wine auction and donated wine to the cause.

Poncho supports some  forty plus arts organizations in the Puget Sound Area - Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony, Intiman, Seattle Rep - the list goes on all the way to the most important part of the arts at the Fringe. It seems to me that the Arts and the down and out are suffering much more in this economy than those in the health care system and wine education, so while Children's Hospital is a worthy beneficiary of the Auction of Washington Wine, the hospital has had the support of its well organized guilds for years and wine education gets funding one way or another. Frankly these are all just excuses for a big party for rich people anyway. As I said, if you can afford it , it is fun, but in this day of 9% + official unemployment and 17% real unemployment it seems a little obscene. So if you must, I would say, support the Arts which are suffering the most in this economy. Layoffs, furloughs, take backs and unemployment plague our most developed citizens who bring us spiritual elevation, inspiration, and beauty in a world run by heartless politicians and corporations. One hundred sixty-five million dollar bonuses for CEOs who brought this country to its knees, and nothing for creative people who represent the apotheosis of society? Where are our values?

Much as I love all of my winemaking friends around the state,  if you've got the bread and the inclination, devote your wealth and energy to the Arts and the homeless, rather than fat cats like Children's Orthopedic and wine education

Monday, August 09, 2010

Love Potion #9

So I'm sitting there on my favorite bench (quick get away, good breeze and all that) at the Olympic Music Festival and I see these two middle-aged couples smooching away. Then I spy the ostensible cause of all this lovey dovey behavior - a bottle of red hooch, so I says to myself, I gotta find out what dat is. So I goes up to the couple, tells them I'm a wine writer, and ask them what they drinkin' . From the bottle shape I woulda guessed some kinda Napa Cabernet. Got the Cab part right, but one of the guys, Patrick Coleman by name, tells me he made the wine himself and been doing so for some thirty odd years. So he offers me a taste, and it's really good stuff. So is the Syrah. Name of the 200 case unbonded winery is Desperation Ridge. Not sure if that is quiet desperation or the noisy kind. In any event, hey, man why you keeping it to yourself. I know why. Same reason, my expert winemaker friends in Sebastapol, King & Bim don't go public either. They don't want to ruin it! Try to commercialize your passion and you acquire a whole bunch of headaches. Who needs it, especially when you own "homemade" wine doesn't give you a headache.

I'll let you in on a secret. the Olympic Music Festival @ Quilcene is a major wine event, each of eight weekends in July and August. Picnics to the right of us, picnics to the left of us. all the way from a blanket on the lawn to an elaborate over the top baroque/ rococco groaning board elaborately tricked out with damask  and colorful wine glasses. I'm tellin' ya, these retirees and retiree wannabes, know how to do it.
Ahh, wine and music, somebody once said, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." Well writing about wine is like writing about music - like a Beethoven Symphony, like a Mozart Quintet, like a Chopin Polanaise, like you should get yourself to the Olympic Music Festival. Support the arts, enjoy the arts, drink wine, enjoy wine! 
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