It's funny--we're in the middle of "Tiger-gate" with 24/7 coverage of Tiger Woods' fall from grace. It's a shame to see this happen to a 'hero'. I am not really into celebrities--not that I'm not excited when I see 'somebody' but I don't go crazy unless it's someone I really care about (such as the time I got Robert Plant's autograph for our Led Zepplin loving son--I must admit I could barely talk!). I also don't go crazy for athletes, especially since I lived next door to several Cincinnati Bengals players when I was in law school (we even went to the Super Bowl against the 49-ers). So having 'celebrities' for neighbors kind of made me 'jaded' towards athletes. Suffice it to say that I would be impressed if a 'major' star walked in the room (Jordan, Tiger, Michael Schumacher) but a 'run of the mill' person wouldn't do much for me.
What does this have to do with wine? I guess I'm laying out the fact that athletes aren't really my heroes. But when I was in California several years ago, Susie and I were dining in Healdsburg, CA (Sonoma County, baby!) and saw Gina Gallo. It might as well have been Angelina Jolie or something because this is someone that I think is cool--true wine 'royalty'. No, I didn't go chase her for an autograph as she was with family (much like my 'encounter' with Ben Bernanke) but I was still very geeked to see her as she was instantly recognizable as the face of Gallo. Today, if you pick up a bottle of Sterling's coastal wines, you'll see the back of the bottle signed by a friend of mine, winemaker Joe Kidd. Yes, I got geeked the first time I saw that and fired off a 'kudos' email to him. He lived here in ATL for about a year, when he was in grad school at Tech and worked part-time at the wine bar I ran. I learned a lot from him and he's very knowledgeable. So pick up a bottle of Sterling and I'll say "I know that guy" and feel geeked about that. Is he a celebrity? Maybe only to me, but here's to one of my friends and 'heroes'... Cheers, Bo