Recovering after the Wine Star Awards
Sleep deprived, recovering from a surfeit of wine and food, I fly home to sunny California in a few hours to refuel and refresh myself after a long, grinding but glorious few days in the events prior to, during and after Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Star Awards ceremony, held last Monday night at the 42nd Street Public Library in midtown Manhattan (which was having eerily mild weather). I will say what a great success it was. To be nominated for a Wine Star Award is one of the highest honors that can come to anyone in the wine and food industries. To actually win must be a very great and memorable experience for those lucky enough to know it. I sat at the table of the Jackson family: Barbara Banke (the late, great and immortal Jess Jackson’s widow), her children Chris, Katie and Julia (such lovely, sweet people), Don Hartford (the proprietor of Hartford Court, who must be the world’s greatest dinner companion) and various friends and fiancés. Barbara had asked me to be at her table, which honored me to no end. Otherwise, I’m sure I would have sat with Bob Cabral, Wiliams Selyem’s great winemaker, whom I had nominated as Winemaker of the Year; of course, he won. Bob gave an amazing speech, and was crying at the end. He is fundamentally a little boy from a hardscrabble Central Valley family who cannot believe how blessed his life has turned out to be, and gives credit at every stretch to his parents and family.
On Tuesday, the magazine’s staff all could have used another 14 hours of sleep, but there was important work to be done, so we gathered early at the office and did all the things that need to be done to produce a successful magazine, one that counts in the industry and that people look forward to reading. That was all day long; then it was off to a well-oiled dinner. Back at the hotel, of course, the traveling editors and staff did not go straight to bed. No, we gathered in one of our rooms, with a couple bottles of wine, and extended the fun, recapping the days events and having plenty of laughs. I can truly say how lucky I feel not only to respect my co-workers but to like and even love them. The great Roger Voss, from Bordeaux, Monica Larner, who so brilliantly covers Italy from her perch in Rome, and our two “sales ladies,” Denise Valenza and my old buddy, Allison Langhoff. They keep me sane.
And so back to California. I will return in full force Thursday. Be well.