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It’s What’s Inside The Bottle (or Tasting Room) That Counts . . .

I do a lot of tastings for my label throughout California, and I’m always amazed at what draws people over to my table. Sometimes it’s my sad puppy eyes when no one else is willing to venture over to me. Sometimes it’s the Erlenmeyer flasks that have become part of my ‘signature’ at these tastings. Sometimes it’s my ever-present iPads showing pictures of me working, my kids playing, vineyards etc. And sometimes it’s the beautiful labels that adorn the bottles of tercero (shout out to my nephew Jimmy Giokaris for the beautiful work!!!).

I’m also in the process of opening our tasting room off the main drag in Los Olivos. It’s exciting, expensive, challenging, expensive, aggravating, expensive, time-consuming . . . and expensive! That said, I really am excited to have a place that I can call ‘home’ for tercero, and a place I can be assured will have my wines presented in a manner that I want them to be.

The title of this blog refers at this point to the fact that my tasting room is currently in shambles . . . and I’m okay with that. The walls have just recently been primed, but nothing else has been ‘done’ – it’s just all been planned out. There is no bar to taste from, no personalized glasses to taste from, no wine fridge to pull white and rose bottles from.

At this point, my tasting room consists of borrowed glasses, two folding tables, a cooler, some paint cans, a few extra light fixtures, blue painters tape, a bunch of cases of wine . . .and not much else. That hasn’t stopped me from being open the past two weekends, nor will it stop me from being open this weekend.

I understand and appreciate the need for a ‘finished’ tasting room and for creating the right ‘ambience’ from which to share my wines with others. I understand that some will poke their heads in and walk by, thinking why in the world would anyone want to taste in a place like THIS.

To me, this is no different than my grandpa Lou asking my dad not to have me attend an event in his honor when I was 15 because I had long hair. My grandfather was worried with how others would react to this. My father told him that if I was not allowed to attend, neither would he. He reminded my grandfather that I was the same person I had always been – but that I simply had longer hair that I used to. It’s what was inside that mattered. The next day, I got to help celebrate my grandfather’s big day, and I was honored to be there – and thankful for my father.

Sorry for the rambling, but in this case, I think the analogy holds well. So next time you are tempted NOT to go into a place or try a bottle because you do not like the label or package or the fact that they use screwcaps (!!!), please reconsider . . .


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