Saturday, November 8, 2008

Stone, a friend from Denver, and I hit the North Beach bars on Friday night, so I woke up exhausted on Saturday morning after a few hours of restless drunken sleep.   Several weeks ago, Calista organized a trip to Sonoma’s wine country for multiple tastings.   The Sonoma Valley isn’t nearly as well known as the Napa Valley but the wine is equally good and you don’t have to deal with the tourists.  As I opened my eyes that morning, I immediately lost the invincible feeling often accompanying too much vodka and live music.  I was certainly not attentive to the fact that I would be drinking wine for the bulk of the following day.  I floundered about and finally made it to the meeting point where 14 of us pilled into a stretched Escalade.

On the drive out, I abstained from champaign as the others flew through four bottles.  Champagne gives me a fairly immediate headache…  Combined with the current hangover, I wanted to spare everyone the ugliness that would likely ensue.  The fact that I was the only person in the group who was not drinking before our first vineyard is a key component of what happened next.

Our first stop was Iron Horse.  Iron Horse’s simple exterior tasting area overlooked the vineyards below.  It was essentially a cement patio hidden from the elements by a tin roof.  The quaint atmosphere was complimented by a rustic set up.  A few wooden barrels evenly staggered along the patio held large cuts of wood that functioned as bar tops where our hosts served their wine.  We settled into our first few tastes and pretended to learn about the subtelties of the wine.  As we swirled, smelled and studied our wine before palating their fruits, glasses and bottles collected on these large wooden planks.  And while we enjoyed the mild weather and reminisced about the events of the last few days, I casually leaned against one of the wooden planks tabling our glasses and a few bottles.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, these wooden planks were not actually bolted to the barrels supporting them.  I was suddenly and unmistakenly made aware of this fact.  My gentle leaning caused the plank, 3 wine bottles and 24 glasses to thunder to the ground simultaneously.   An explosing of wood, glass and wine silenced the 30+ patrons (except for one woman who screamed uncontrollably).  All eyes were on the guilty party… covered in wine and glass.  It was just one of those awesome moments in my life.  Hugely embarrasing and undeniably me.

The two hosts stared in amasement and confusion.  Four people who were slowly walking toward the tasting area from the parking lot promptly turned around and left.  After an attempt to collect ourselve and assist in clean up, we bought several bottles of wine and got the duck out of fodge.  Apparently, one of the wine servers told a member of our group that, ”in the three and half years he’d been there, he’d never seen anything like i

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