A postscript: this really occurred after completing a chapter of “Celebrating Stags Leap District: Decoding the people, the punctuation and world Disruptive Wine” so it literally represents writing after.
You cannot make this stuff up, only record what proved a splendid encounter. Writers in the throes of a project are even more attuned to incident or dialog or sheer coincidence. There are two disparate things that presented themselves within several hours. I find myself seeing more the less my eyesight cooperates. They follow in narrative order as the second instance seems more the icing on this chapter and the first is the “Eureka” cherry to top this off. Thus the reverse order of events.
In his 2002 book on the English imagination, Albion, Peter Ackroyd calls his 32nd chapter “A Short History Lesson.” Its main point that unlike the factual analytics or theorizing of continental historians, the English mix the record of time and place with anecdotes, characters, and narrative enhancements, blending myth with the reporting. Further, citing the great mid-century critic, CS Lewis, whose work was at the Big Bang for my Oregon book, this authority strikes home. The reader of history passes over events, of course, but mattering most is this: did he learn the story.
I contend my account of the Stags Leap District AVA, in no small way aided by Richard Mendelson’s account of its origins, amply demonstrates my approach that mythology in all its richness cannot be divorced from the lineaments of the actual property we know and is recognized by the Tobacco Taxation Bureau and the Department of Agriculture. Further, the “About us” link on every winery website likely posts a microcosmic variant of some shaggy stag tale, building its brand on its stories. That distinguishes its wines even before we take more than several sips.
The other encounter occurred when the beverage manager of an upscale supermarket in the Pearl neighborhood of Portland worked to set several dates for book signing Oregon Wine Country Stories Decoding the Grape. The manager knew of me from that tome. The discussion ensued at the wine bar—an amenity many large markets have yet to install—when I learned that S. worked for years at a famous department store selling women’s clothing. The fashionable schmatta scene finally achieved escape velocity. The retail experience served her well; within six months selling wine, sales rose 30%.
S, explained her general wine ignorance has been improved upon through the anecdotes and observations of her wine buying customers. Supermarket wines average about $10-$20 with plenty of incentives, but she carries more boutique wines that round out display inventory.
Her Damascus moment happened like this, a perfect ending here.
“I really was indifferent to wines though I drank them. Then I went to a trade tasting and was poured a taste of Artimis.” POW!
What flag does this sobriquet for the goddess of the hunt fly?
Stag’s Leap Cellars. More than a half century after Warren Winiarski’s sensibility altered with a Norman Fay Cabernet Sauvignon from just akimbo to the Palisades, my interlocutor paid the tribute that an explorer pays to discovery. And when this goddess, aka Diana, was caught bathing by the unlucky Orpheus, she transformed him into a stag, torn to ribbons by his own hounds. Some stags have better coverage or sleeping dogs.
Did I mention, too, that my collaborator, Amber, sold wine at at a Seattle store in the same chain?
You cannot make this stuff up. It happens because we’re surrounded by good stories, especially if you pull your snout from your mobile device. Sings Linda Ronstadt, Love is a Wheel.