Monday, February 11, 2008

For the LOVE of wine!

As you know, I am a wine lover. How did I become so enamored of the grape? I really got "the bug" in April of 1992 after visiting friends in San Francisco. We took a day-trip into Napa and visited several vineyards. I signed up for a wine club at Franciscan and happily received 2 bottles a month (1 red, 1 white) until the idiots in the GA legislature decided to outlaw direct wine shipments (see previous postings below). I am traditionally a red drinker but through this club I learned about many white varietals. I waited tables while studying for the bar (both in KY and in GA when I moved in 1993). In my hometown of Owensboro, KY I worked at a Houston's 'clone' (the owner was once a manager of both Lenox/Nashville locations) so I had a simple transition when I sought work at Houston's on Peachtree. I got to attend a few wine tastings through work and after beginning my career as a Real Estate Attorney I continued to attend events as well. I visited CA again (1998) and met a guy coming to ATL to open a tasting room/wine bar for a CA vineyard called Viansa (named for Vicki & Sam Sebastiani). After enjoying a glass or two in the shop, I ended up taking a job pouring wine on weekends for fun. In 1999 I took over as manager (it was called Lo Spuntino, which was on Peachtree) and REALLY began my wine education (Viansa had many odd Italian varietals). I was in CA 3-4 times per year! After 2 years, it was time to come back to the exciting world of real estate law!

Friday, February 1, 2008

A call to ACTION!

It's funny-I get frothy about how important it is to Vote, then I get on my soapbox to push you to contact your local legislator on something that (in the eternal scheme of things) is not "important" (like tax, school or economic reform, etc.). Today I am harping on Direct Wine Shipments. In the late 1990's Georgia made it a felony to receive wine from out of state. I received 2 bottles a month from a vineyard and was learning quite a bit about wine (i.e. I tried many grape varietals only because they sent them to me). Well, the state said that they were protecting children. Yeah, right--I'm sure your average teenager wants to spend $50 and wait a week or two to receive 2 bottles that will most likely make them gag. Nice try! I actually researched the contribution records at the Secretary of State after that and found that Distributors were the Alcoholic Beverage Committee's largest contributors! Surprised? Not so much! In recent years they've changed this backwards law to allow you to ship up to 5 cases IF you were "on-site" to buy the wine. This doesn't cut it! As an example, I love Ravenswood Zin. You can buy "Vintner's Blend" all day long at Kroger, etc. What about their single-vineyard wines that are only sold at the vineyard (such as a limited 150-300 case production)? Those will NEVER make it go GA--THAT'S what I want shipped to me. Heck, I'd even pay GA taxes if that's the issue. Click HERE to find and Contact your STATE Reps today--you need your FULL zipcode! Another great resource is FREE THE GRAPES!