Sunday, February 26, 2012
Embracing the Muse in Napa Valley
One of the marks of a successful and fruitful trip is the reluctance to get on the plane and head back home. There is still work to do. And because of the work this past week, in Napa Valley, under the most amazing weather, we really didn’t want to come home. But the work goes with us, whether we do it in the present or we dream of the memories awaiting us in the future.
To be around writers and editors who are heads and shoulders above you is a great thing. Michael Jordan once said something about playing ball with better players to bring one’s game up. And while it can be a humbling experience, it is filled with unlimited opportunities for growth on a personal and a professional level.
To surround oneself with the wines of California and to see and taste the evolution, as we did last week, going back 50 years, one can always claim to prefer other wines. But one cannot deny that California has made giant strides in their quest to make the world’s greatest wines. There is so much pride and power and passion in the wines from my home state. I feebly sputter, from the bottom of my heart how proud I am to be living in this moment and to witness it. And while my path has taken far from my native state and back to the homes of my parents and grandparents, I miss my home, the California of my memories and my youth. The good news is that California is doing just fine without me. It is alive, it is moving forward, it is progressing, it is hopeful. And I am so very proud to be a son of California.
And while I am also a son of Italy and a son of Texas, California holds a special place in my heart. It is where so many good things come from. And after a week of absolute blissful conditions for work (and a little play) I find myself longing for it now more than ever.
2012 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley, Jim Gordon, Toni Allegra, Michael Gelb, Meadowood Resort, Napa Valley Vintners, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Leslie Rudd, Kelli, Eric, Louise, Wink, Antonio, Guy, Samantha, Ron, Gilles, Peter Mondavi Sr., Kim and many, many more.