The alarm was set for 3am yesterday morning. That much seemed normal. But instead of slipping into my boots and work pants and heading out for a pick, I was packing my white pants and heels and heading off to the airport. Now I sit looking out over the Tampa bay at the causeway to St. Pete’s, the thatched-roof cabana – empty after last night’s revelry – cormorants perched on the pilings below, and a rainstorm blowing in from the Gulf,while I sip my coffee and prepare for a very different kind of day.
I am in Florida meeting with a potential new distributor here. My guides in this venture are two fantastic guys who are wine brokers. They will be my “boots on the ground” here – working the market, keeping in touch with the salespeople, and being ambassadors for Ancient Oak Cellars. Last night we had a fantastic dinner at Charley’s – a local restaurant with the kind of impeccable staff and service you only get in some old-fashioned steakhouses. We shared a bottle of Laurel Glen Sonoma Mountain Cab. Next time I hope we’ll be able to enjoy some wine grown just next door to the famed Laurel Glen vineyard, on our estate Berger Vineyard..
Off I go to this different kind of harvest – gathering in a team of salespeople to help me bring our wines to the people of Florida. Although I resisted taking time away during harvest, this has been a good break, where I am reminded of the pleasure people have in learning about the hard work of our growers, our vineyard workers, and our winemaker and cellar staff, and then enjoying the liquid results of that labor.