Friday, March 21, 2014

Red Or White, Fiction Or Poetry, I Can Help You With That

Since I am still trying to escape the clutches of this Evil Ailment, I'm having another Radical Self-Care Day. That is NurtureBlogSpeak for "lying around in my jammies and resting." I've picked up a little bit of freelance work, so I have some stuff to do, but while zipping about The Interwebs, I came across the most wonderful article title: Uncorking the City: Wine and Books. What a most wonderful combination! I read with great interest the accompanying blurb on my newsfeed: It's a brave man who chooses a life in the wine business. Or the book business, for that matter. Carlo DeVito is clearly more courageous than many, as he has actually chosen to pursue both. I eagerly clicked over to the article in its entirety on the online version of the Wall Street Journal.

And I was immediately disappointed. It was not, as I had hoped, an article about a man who ran a combination bookstore and winery/wine shop. Instead, it was about a man who used to be in the publishing business, wrote several books on wine, and now runs a winery. This was not what I wanted to read about at all. As I finished up the article, largely skimming the last paragraph or so, I started thinking about what a terrific idea a Wine and Books Shop would be. I want to own and run that shop.

Think of it. It's midafternoon, and you want a nice hour or so. You stop in and say hello. "What's good on pour today?" you might ask me. "Oh, that depends," I answer. "Do you want a red or a white? Do you want a little sparkle or still?" Let's say you want red. "I want you to try this," I say. "It's a Meritage, and it's drinking so well right now. Lots of fruit in the front, only slight tannins on the back of your cheeks, and it finishes with a beautiful dark chocolate smoke." I pour you an ounce to taste and you love it. Then, as I pour you a glass (in a crystal balloon, so that you can enjoy the aroma and so that it continues to breathe) I say, "What are you reading lately? Anything good? If not, take that gorgeous red wine and go read absolutely anything by James Wright. If you're not in the mood for poetry, grab something smart in fiction." Then we settle up and you go grab a book and a chair and spend a marvelous hour or so. If you really love the wine, you can take home a bottle. Same with the book. Maybe I'll have nibblies so that no one gets too...tipsy.

On the weekends I can do mimosas and Bellinis, but not spritzers. (I hate adding water to wine. It's criminal.) In the summers I can do sangrias. Doesn't it all sound lovely? There can be book chats, and I can set up a space just for book clubs to meet. Someone needs to set me up in this business.It's perfect for me. Pull out those checkbooks, Dearest Readers. Your future vintages and volumes are on me.



  1. Oh, what a phenomenal idea: Prose, Poetry & Plonk. I am so there. Too bad we don't live in the same city, and don't know somebody with a nice chunk of change and nowhere to spend it, lol. You could offer creative writing workshops on the side, and I could have little tertulias in Spanish. And someone else could offer painting classes...

    On a slightly different note: how come no spritzers... but sangría is OK? Hmmm. I'm not fond of spritzers, either, per se, but I do like sangría. I have never had it over here (except in private homes and once in a while in local Spanish restaurants.) FYI: In Spain, they invented sangría to disguise cheap table wine and give people a refreshing alternative during the summer. In fact, it is also referred to as tinto de verano = summer (red) wine. The Spanish version of a wine cooler, I suppose, but with more stuff in it. Basic, classic sangría over there is red wine (the kind you wouldn't mind adulterating) + gaseosa (similar to 7-up, but not nearly as sweet) + pieces of chopped fruit (typically, peach, apple, orange, lemon) + a cinnamon stick. Some people like to add a dash of cognac, but that's usually in places that cater to gringos.

    So, anyway. Let's find somebody with some venture capital and get this idea rockin' and rollin'! Because it sounds like the ideal retirement job, lol.

  2. Oooh, that does sound lovely.

    I'm not a big wine drinker, something about the tannins do something to me that makes me break out in a rash. Which isn't very attractive, to be honest.

    I love a good Beaujolais, and the best "wine" I ever had was at the Korbel winery in Sonoma, which was a sparkling Merlot.

    I think your place could be a big hit. When your place explodes in popularity, I will be your first franchisee!

  3. I have the perfect spot for you!!! Visable Voice in Tremont. I've only walked through once or twice - and it's been ages... but nothing beats a good book and a nice glass of wine or craft beer!

  4. Smart idea… that you only would have thought of because you are down with the Evil Ailment. So at least something positive has come from your woes.

  5. Ally Bean--That's probably true. Now if I could just make it happen!

    Kristin--Hey! Welcome to the Dept. So nice to see you here. I went to the link, and Visible Voice is sort of like what I want to do, but it also includes music, which I would not. But I would absolutely like to go there and visit.

    Gina--Yikes. So, do you do fine with whites? Sparkling merlot was a new offering at a winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake last fall. I had a hard time with it. It was coming across my palate as Just Wrong. I guess I'm not used to it.
    I visited some lovely wineries in the Sonoma area when I was in Cali in February. They do a very nice grenache that you might like since you are a beaujolais fan.

    If you ever see the word Gamay or Valdeguie on a red wine, that's the same grape as a beaujolais, just FYI. I think there are only 2 exceptions.

    I like beaujolais also. It can't age, so it's a good excuse for drinking a full bottle in one evening. LOL.

    Ortizzle--My justification for sangria is that you aren't adding water. You're complementing the taste of the wine with fruits. I love adding blackberries to a merlot, and pineapple and lemon to a chenin blanc, for example.

    Rick detests all of that, btw. He won't even drop a little sprig of sage into his rose. He is a wine purist.

    You know, if you lived in say, Austin or San Antonio (aren't they the hipster cities?), I bet I could talk Rick into living there and running my shop with me. (And you.) Don't you know a king or something? Have any rich relatives? Let's make it happen.

  6. Oh my, yes. Ted and I had this same idea many many years ago, back when we still lived in San Francisco. Obviously we never did anything about it, not having the kind of seed money that would be needed. Even in a big city like San Francisco, though, there are only a few good independent bookstores left in these modern times of Amazon et. al. I would like to think we would have made it work somehow, kept our clients loyal and coming back for the wonderful combination of wine and literature. Somehow I suspect the combination of bev mo and Amazon would have signaled the death of our lovely business. But a girl can dream.

  7. Roxanna10:37 AM

    Should you open such a wonder I will be a customer! That sounds heavenly!!

  8. Roxanna--Hi! Haven't seen you in a while. Nice to know I'd have a ready and enthusiastic customer.

    J.@jj--Great minds, etc.! I think with the addition of book club space, wine tastings, and book chats, it might make a go. But like you, I need seed money. It just sounds simply perfect to me.

  9. I have actually met the king of Spain, but he's got other troubles right now and likely can't help me out, lol. In this state, Austin would be the place to be. I just need to retire so we can move there...


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