It’s April Fool’s Day – but this is no joke.
I just wanted to give thanks and appreciation to many people I’ve met during the past years involved in the world of wine, or – really – just the world. I’m including a few brief descriptions and links about people dedicated to their craft, not on a large corporate scale, but on a scale that’s dedicated to providing quality to those they work with. That, after all, is the theme of the book Vino Voices.
Robert Baumann lives in Sonoma, often works from his home (which has a small vineyard for a front lawn), and pays detailed attention to each of his projects. The one I visited was the Gundlach Bundschu Winery. He obviously puts a lot of time and attention into what he does. Last June I spent time with Robert, his wife Tiffany and their children while at a reunion in the country of Turkey. I learned how Robert would take off hiking in the morning for hours to make sketches and take photographs of whatever aspects of city life he found intriguing, and inspirational. Great way to vacation! (Also, see an earlier post from this web log about Tiffany’s craft – Corner Lot Wine.)
Bed and Breakfast Entrepreneur –
I’ve written about Les Kellen a few times on this web log. Three years ago I took a vacation to Bordeaux and stayed at the Villa St. Simon Guest House in the town of Blaye, Bordeaux. An hour after arrival I was drinking wine with the owner, Les, and soon came to the conclusion that for a thesis (which I had to write for business grad school), I would make a marketing plan for Les’s proposed Eco-Village on a chunk of nearby land he owns on the Gironde River. So was born the thesis named ‘Water and Wine.’ Although that project is on hold, Les and his partner Clarissa have since managed to open an art gallery and coffee store, to make the town of Blaye more accessible to visitors, and to turn that flood of off-the-beaten-path visitors onto the merits (and price) of ‘right bank’ Bordeaux wines in France. If you want a place to stay, or a tour of Bordeaux, he’s the man, and this is the place. (See other posts about Les from this web log at Serendipity in Bordeaux, as well as Blaye.)
My sister, an avid traveler and watercolorist (is that a word?) has produced some enticing imagery of places visited throughout the world. She also put me in touch with Richard Sheppard, an artist who lives near Sonoma in California. Check out his watercolors of wineries and wine destinations at the above link. The images are vibrant, and the text takes you right along into the world of his many travels.
Mr. Money Mustache has some lively articles on how to, and how NOT to go investing (his logo is – “Financial Freedom Through Badassity”). Whether you want to invest, or just read good short stories about life’s various roller coaster rides through the world of finance, check out his page. Intelligent entertainment. He assures me that despite the two million hits his site has had in the past two years, he still has time to contribute to the wine industry through his regular purchases of red vino.
It’s all about straw bale construction – really! No you won’t sneeze, no your home won’t attract rodents, and no, there is little fire risk (straw bale houses are actually LESS combustible than normal wood frame houses). Why straw bale? Because the building requires that you have a ‘baling party’ where your friends come for a few days to help put the bales in place. Talk about fostering community spirit. And energy efficiency? Big time. And smooth corners and a warm interior feel? Straw bale has it. What a dream – a straw bale house with – yes! A wine cellar below. (Another post on this web log that includes architect Julie Jones – who is now constructing a straw bale house designed by her own company – is at Straw Bale Wine.)
Rugs? What do rugs have to do with wine? Well, my sister owns this business and I’ve downed several bottles of Zinfandel with her, that’s what. Check out the lively patterns. I mean, I lived with her when this business began many years ago. It involved driving around places like desolate back patches of rural Texas during scorching hot summer days – wearing a suit and tie and sweating like a hog – and trying to sell rugs to stores out of the back of a van. Times have changed in a big way. The business is solid and has been flourishing for a long time.
Kreso Kerestes produces maps on demand. His work is excellent, his price is right. He puts thought and effort into the quality of his work and adjusts the result to make you a happy man. What does this have to do with wine? Kreso recently produced a custom map of the Arno River for me (including only selected cities and topography) – which wends through Tuscany in Italy. Tuscany? Wine country. Sangiovese Central. You want a custom map? Contact Kreso.