What was a 1-3 times a week posting by me has morphed into the Wine 101 Magazine of SCV. When I was in Italy I asked friends, relatives, winemakers and Facebook friends to write guest posts. Then I invited non profits to send their press releases for events with wine. Of course it followed suit that I would run press also for local wine businesses and, for non-profits and businesses further out that had something different to offer readers – with an emphasis on wine.
On the left side of this blog you will notice a row of art with links for different events that I am highlighting. You can learn more about the charity each supports by clicking on any of them. Currently we have Wishes for Children Journey at Pechanga 9-18, Betty Ferguson Foundation’s Woman of Honor Dinner 9-19, Soroptimist of Greater Santa Clarita Valley’s The Wine Affair: Sip Savor and Stroll on 9-27, The 2nd Annual TPC/West Ranch Art & Wine Gala on 10-3, All Corked Up’s International Festival, Wine for Water ongoing events and awareness for KIVA loans.
If you scroll through the SCV Wine Calendar you will also find many events to choose from. If you have an event that you know about and don’t see there please e-mail me at email@example.com
So, besides events, some one-time contributors became monthly and then weekly “staff writers”. Now let’s see who they are:
Michael Perlis provides outsourced controller services to businesses that do not need a full-time controller. He balances this with his interest in wine, reading and writing about it and, of course, drinking it. He is still trying to figure out how to combine these two pursuits. Feel free to contact him about either.
Rusty Sly is a Rocket Scientist that has an insatiable love for fine as well as unique wines. Being technical with an engineering and chemical background, he is driven to pursue all aspects about wines. His studies include, but are not limited to, wine production, chemistry, etiquette, cultures and terroir. His motto to everyone is to look for and try wines that are unique and different.
Steve Lemley, from the SCV Vintners and Growers Association, sends updates on Pulchella Winery that he owns with Nate Hasper. Slated to be Santa Clarita’s first commercial winery and tasting room…could be excellent news!
Denise Lowe has been collecting and learning about wine for many years, and there is nothing about which she is more passionate. She is a certified Junior Wine Executive through LearnAboutWine (www.LearnAboutWine.com), and is now teaching classes as a Senior Educator at LearnAboutWine. Denise also hosts guided, in-home wine tastings through WineShop at Home, a bonded Napa winery (www.denisemlowe.com).
Stories in Photos Readers send one or two photos and they are highlighted on the top o’ the blog and slowly scroll down the page. If you have 3 or more they are then placed as a blog post. Some are professional photographers; some amateur. All are worthy of a view.
Guest Poster might be a wine bar proprietor, winery owner, or any reader that wants to leave more than a short comment. It’s your blog…tell me what you want or write it yourself: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eve Bushman I love putting non-profit events in the limelight, receiving your press releases, keeping up with the awesome array of tastings and talent. Seeing the wine world through my 101er eyes…well…has been an awesome ride so far. Thanks for taking the trip with us so far!
When I read a wine book, I am usually not looking for scores, ratings and tasting notes. Rather, I am interested in the stories behind the wines and the people in the industry.
American Vintage by Paul Lukacs is a very readable history of wine in the United States.
And in The Great Wines of America, Mr. Lukacs makes his case for the top forty wineries of America. You may not agree with his choices, but he makes excellent arguments to support his picks.
Finally, in The Emperor of Wine, Elin McCory writes about the man who is arguably the most influential wine critic in the world — Robert M. Parker, Jr.
There are a lot more wine books out there; in fact, I have several more at home waiting for me to get to them.
Now, when will Eve be writing her book?
Ahoy, there, mateys! There’s trouble a’brewin’ at the Canyon Theatre Guild’s Gala Fundraiser on Friday, October 2, 2009. Notice has been posted that this evening at Cut Throat Grotto will embrace the golden age of piracy. Invitations have been issued to all pirates, swashbucklers, and privateers from the seven seas to join the brethren of the Guild for an evening of adventure.
Be forewarned that the table servers are scallywags with whom ye will barter for the niceties of the evening. There’ll be tasty vittles and lots of rum punch flowing so join in on the fun and frolicking aboard the HMS Adventure. There’ll be mutinous pirates, cabin boys and wanton wenches aplenty, so plan now to be a part of the fun. Tickets start at $40 each for Buccaneers (who will have to barter with their server for the necessities of dining). The Captain’s Experience tables seat 8 for $500; Commodore’s Experience tables are $750 (for 8 seats) and the Admiral of the Black Experience tables are $1,000 (for 8 seats). All tables feature wine with other accoutrements available by bartering except, of course, at the Admiral’s tables.
Dead men tell no tales, so plan for a lively evening of fun, food and fabulous entertainment. Dress in your best pirate garb for there’ll be season tickets won by the best dressed pirates and wenches! Exciting auction items, including a pirate’s treasure chest filled with treasure, also jewelry, trips and much more! Call now to reserve your berth on the HMS Adventure – leaving port on October 2 at 6:00 PM and returning at midnight. The ticket office number is: (661) 799-2702 and is located in the lobby of the Canyon Theatre Guild at 24242 Main Street, Old Town Newhall. All proceeds benefit the Canyon Theatre Guild, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.
In an effort to change the perception of this emerging spirit in the United States, Cabana will sweep brand differences aside for one week and give cachaça the recognition it deserves, exemplifying the developments that have been made in the spirit’s production and distillation. Ambassadors at accounts like Cantina in San Francisco, Isla Cantina in Los Angeles, The Drawing Room and Sunda in Chicago and Gold Bar in NYC will be behind the bar, striving to educate consumers about cachaça by stressing four main points:
· Cachaça (pronounced kuh-shah-suh) is the National Spirit of Brasil and is the 3rd most distilled spirit in the world, although 98% of the consumption takes place in Brasil.
· Cachaça is distilled from fresh pressed sugarcane juice and differs from rum which is distilled from molasses, a byproduct of sugar production.
· The most common cocktail is the caipirinha (pronounced kai-pure-EEN-yuh) and is traditionally made using a barspoon of sugar, 2 ounces of cachaça and one lime quartered and muddled. Other fresh fruits can be added to make caipirinha variations.
· Not all cachaças are the same. The primary differences occur from the source and quality of the sugarcane, the method of distillation, the mellowing process and of course the art of the master distiller.
After Brasil won independence from Portugal in the late 1880s, cachaça became so ingrained in the national identity of the country that it was recognized as the national spirit of Brasil, with the caipirinha becoming the country’s national cocktail. The Portuguese are said to have introduced cachaça to Brasil during colonial times when plantation owners served the drink to their slaves to make them more productive. As the drink became more popular, distillers began cropping up all over Brasil during the 16th and 17th centuries. The spirit gradually became more palatable and eventually developed into liquor that was consumed by everyone. Now, native Brasilians like Cesar Cestari, master distiller for Cabana Cachaça have refined the distillation and production process to the point that cachaça has come to be considered an artisanal spirit that can stand up to other spirit categories in terms of quality and taste.
“Utilizing an innovative production process developed by our master distiller, Cabana’s versatility and quality has led it to be embraced by mixologists and sophisticated consumers in the most exclusive locations, places cachaça would never have worked before,” says Cabana founder Matti Anttila. “We are excited to honor Brasil’s national spirit and celebrate the country’s independence while working to educate Americans about cachaça, a spirit that is still new and unexplored by most people.”
To honor Brasilian Independence Day, Cabana Cachaça has made it its mission to satisfy any curiosity about cachaça. They’re encouraging everyone to reach out and ask someone about cachaça.
About Cabana Cachaça
My husband announced his intention of returning to a real fire station recently. He has had a varied career as a firefighter these past twenty years. Some of which was spent in fire fighting and some, thankfully for me, have been spent doing other fire department related jobs.
My husband started out as both a firefighter and paramedic, and as a rookie fought many a hi-rise (including rappelling from a helicopter to the top of burning downtown buildings.) as well as delivered many a baby (his most eventful being the breach in a sputtering helicopter over Catalina.) He has programmed LA city’s computers, moved up the ranks to captain and became a member of the swift water rescue team.
Albeit dangerous jobs, excluding computer programming only if you don’t have an impossible budget for approval, none so dangerous as riding a fire truck into anywhere.
My initial, and continuing, reaction to his move has not been good. You see if you’re a firefighter, know a firefighter, are related to a firefighter, or even just kept up with the news you know that their mortality rate, for at least this year, stinks.
It’s difficult not to share your worries with your loved ones but you force yourself not to because you don’t want to jinx or worry them in their day to day tasks. Because for firefighters day to day tasks usually, eventually, include a degree of danger.
In the early days my husband shared stories like war wounds. Now that we have a family his stories are edited for content. Kind of like bringing an R rated moved down to PG for all audiences. And it’s not my three-year-olds ears that he’s concerned with; it’s mine. He can almost feel, like a racing pulse, my sentimentalities as a new mother. My little family is so precious to me; just walking out the front door puts any one of us in jeopardy. He can understand, and sometimes even sympathize with how I feel but he handles it differently.
When visiting at the fire station there is a little thing they do to let everyone know there is a civilian in the station. They call out the words, “Soda Pop!” over the PA system. I used to think that was so they watched the profanity, cleaned up the bathroom and stopped the shoptalk. Through the years I’ve come to learn that firemen don’t need to use profanity; the rookies keep the bathroom floors clean enough to eat off of (don’t ask; they’re not getting hazed anymore) and all that’s left is shop talk.
That’s what is edited because most of the visiting lay people haven’t ever fought a war. We don’t have nightmares about bodies. We’ve never delivered a crack baby. Never burned our ears. Been swept down into a net during swift water rescue training. Had city cutbacks lessen our ranks at the same time we are facing brush season. Been woken up by alarms and bright lights in the night. And the unspoken grisly parts, that we are left only to imagine, are for their eyes only.
So why does my husband, your friend, son, daughter, husband, wife, etc. etc., have to push the edge of the envelope? Because that’s what they do. And can you imagine for a moment what kind of “spunk” it must require to do this?
For my husband the most I can get out of him is that the morale of the department is low right now. My husband is just one captain out of thousands across our city, county and states that may be feeling the same way. All members are irreplaceable. All members are never forgotten. All members are prayed for. Those that are lost and those that continue to carry on.
And fighting fires, alongside other members, is probably the best morale booster there can be. He would never suggest that that was his personal reason. He would never allow himself that credit. But if your husband wants to get back on that fire truck or helicopter you can only standby. And I think that’s what all the members are “Soda Pop” -ping about right now.
They are by nature, driven to do it. Daring rescue attempts don’t appeal to me any more than entering a burning building does. But then again I’ve never been a hero.
Consider an athlete being told that running is bad on his knees. Does he stop running? Probably not. Does he find another sport? To do as well, yes. Does he get another opinion? No, he doesn’t take the time. Does he just quit? Never.
He continues the competition. Because no matter what the feat, no matter what the price, the athlete, and fire-eater, is eager. Eager to live life to the fullest.
Eager to be our heroes at our price.
A Firefighter Funeral
The fire captain’s funeral procession was the most beautiful thing I’ve witnessed in my entire life. The wives were asked to walk behind the LA city members and the members from other cities fell in behind us. My friend Sheryl remarked that she would have liked to see more wives. Silently so did I.
It was a long procession. Within a few blocks our heads were suddenly pulled to the right. We continued to walk in this cockeyed manner until we could no longer see the end of fire trucks winding down Western Avenue from the 405 exit. It was a momentous contradiction to see them proceed slowly and silently to join alongside of us. The only reminder that they active actual fire trucks were the bright and constant flickering of red and white lights. As well as the grandeur of their united strength.
When we reached the fire station we got a glimpse of very young explorers finishing up on the last minute touches. Another glimpse and we saw the frozen looks of young members standing at attention over their lost father figure, their rescuer, their mentor, their captain. This man was leaving more than one family behind.
We couldn’t hear what was being said when we halted at his station. The only break to our silence was the sound of sniffling and then slowly, a constant rumbling that seemed to be approaching. Like a wave our heads began to turn again first to the right and then upwards to the sky. The helicopters were flying overhead in formation. One of which, including it’s crew and victim, we were going to be forced to bear the loss of in just a few more short days.
We then continued our walk to the huge church in south Central that would serve to house so many mourners. I couldn’t help myself then to sweep my head back and forth as rapidly as possible to acknowledge all of the members that had now left their fire engines and lined our processional on either side. Luckily most were wearing sunglasses; I couldn’t have borne to see their eyes.
Once inside the church I could only imagine my husband hunting for me, silently with his eyes, as I did for him. Sheryl found her’s. I was ushered in with the other members and took my seat while holding one open. I never gave that seat up, and strangely, no one pressed me for it. I still thought that I would be fine but that was before the service began.
“Too many similarities” I was thinking as the women that were working the funeral silently strode up and down each aisle offering Kleenex. The music was too beautiful, the photographs too real and the chief’s eulogy much too painful.
When I left the church I felt like an alcoholic leaving my first AA meeting in search of fresh air, a cocktail, a smoke and someone that I recognized. I hurried back to the red department car we had driven in. Apparently I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. As firefighters strode past me faster than they had before, some were telling jokes while some were undressing; it was a clear attempt to lighten their loads.
Then I saw my husband, pulling off his captain’s coat and smiling at me. “Paul is schmoosing some chief. He says he knows a great place around here for Mexican food. And you can have a margarita.” Without words, and during a long hug, I whispered into his bad ear, “ I missed you in there, it was too hard.”