Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Wine That Changed It All

I wrote my Grape Varieties mid-term exam last night, which will account for 50% of my final mark. Nothing like going big or going home. In addition to the written component, there were 3 blinded wines to taste. I nailed 2 of the 3: Chardonnay (I went with my first instinct and got it right - yahoo!) and Cabernet Sauvignon. I messed up the Pinot Noir by calling it a Merlot… although I’m hoping to get marks for my tasting notes. (as a side note, I actually made the same mistake in my very first tasting test back in January. Damn you, Pinot Noir! I liken myself to a lab rat that keeps shocking itself more than its peers before it learns NOT to do that ever again). I fully believe that I will one day come to appreciate the little PN grape that causes so many headaches for winemakers and blind tasters around the world.

Now that I have both of these recent exams behind me, I am excited about my next wine venture… this Saturday I plan to attend a day-long course on how to import wine and essentially become a wine agent. This isn’t part of the Sommelier program, but something that I am passionate about pursuing, and the history of it goes something like this…

A couple of years ago, my husband and I went out for drinks before a show. The show was David Copperfield, and in a nut-shell, it truly sucked; however, the glass of wine that I had that night made up for it all… it was the 6th Sense Syrah, by Michael-David Winery. I have put this wine up on a pedestal for the last couple of years, and only a select few wines have come close to knocking it down.

As my mind wandered through the horribly boring Copperfield show, I began thinking of how I could get a case of this wine delivered to my house. My BlackBerry searches indicated that neither the local nor the national wine stores carried it. I now had a mission. I contacted the winery directly, had them ship a case to northern NY state, in Ogdensburg, and merrily drove 20 minutes south to cross the border, dutifully paid my taxes upon re-entry into Canada, and drove like a bandit home. Then came the after-purchase assessment: $17US/bottle turned into:

$17/bottle + US Exchange + Shipping + Border Bridge Toll + Duty Taxes + Gas Mileage = $45/bottle… something I was completely willing to pay for my now favourite wine; however, I got to thinking that there had to be a better, simpler, cheaper way to get this stuff in my cellar.

After my failed initial attempt to convince the restaurant owner to “slip me a case” in the back alley, he did graciously oblige to give me the name of his wine agent. In a matter of 15 minutes, I had made the call to the agent, had 2 cases on order, and the best part was… are you ready for this? …the price came to $23/bottle, which included personal delivery to my front door. [insert game show lights and chimes] Something clicked in the mind of this lab rat. Hmmm…. Could I become a wine agent?

Enter: Debbie Trenholme and her Savvy Company:
I will be taking Debbie’s Importing Wine course this weekend, with industry expert Steven Trenholme, and with any luck will set up some semblance of an import business… stay tuned!!

I’m also adding some more wine recommendations for barbecue and back deck pairings in my list below!

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