I. Giants!

First off, congratulations to the Giants for sweeping the Tigers in the World Series.  I will be the first to admit I didn’t see it coming especially after counting them out twice during the divisional and league championship series. But being a long-time suffering Giants fan I have to tell you that it’s both bizarre and wonderful to see them win it all not once, but twice in the last three years.  If you’re mystified at their strange and steep trajectory at the end of the season, so am I.  But I’ll take it any time.

II. Travel Glam

The last few weeks have been all airplanes with the big trip a 29 hour door-to-door jaunt to Bento Gonzales in Brazilian wine country for the ASI Americas competition.  Congrats to Veronique Rivest for winning the finals and kudos to Ian Cauble for taking third.  As I write this post on yet another flight back home from the East Coast I’m reminded of the necessities of flying.  If I have everything below I can entertain myself for an extended period of time:

·Aisle seats: a necessity—and an exit row aisle seat is the Holy Grail.

·Noise canceling headphones: a must-have not only for the quiet factor but also because when you put them on everyone leaves you alone.  And that’s a good thing.

·Water: for much needed hydration.  A half-liter for every two hours of plane time is about right.

·Cliff Bars:  inexpensive good snack food because airline food will always suck and you almost always have to pay for the privilege.

·Chocolate: 3.5 oz. Valrhona 70% bars—the best $2.99 spent at Trader Joe’s.

·iPad: for movies, tunes and typing notes like this.

·Books and magazines: to keep the brain pan frying.

III. Champagne reminder: drink sparkling wine and Champagne more often and for no good reason.

Last week I was reminded not once but twice about how amazing the Champagne experience can be.  Both bottles were Krug—a half bottle of Grand Cuvee as a belated birthday toast with Carla and then a simply heroic bottle of ’89 Krug Collection—one of the great Champagnes I’ve ever tasted (thanks Ian Cauble for sharing).  I think it’s altogether too easy to forget that many vintage and some prestige cuvée Champagnes are great wines that remain almost affordable when compared to the likes of classified growth Bordeaux and grand cru Burgundy.  Treat yourself with a great bottle of bubbly at least once a year—for no good reason.

IV. Vitamin “P”

The best meal of the Brazil trip?  Roasted whole pig accompanied by sparkling wine and Caipirinhas.  Is there anything better than vitamin “P”?  I don’t think so.  It’s intense immediate gratification in the same league as good chocolate.  If there isn’t a national vitamin “P” day there should be.  I’ve also dubbed Caipirinhas pirate drink as they can all too easily reduce one’s vocabulary to “arrrrrr.”

V. If Not Us, Who?

                                    “A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations”

Dirty Harry

Finally, a quick thought about responsible consumption.  The last leg of the flight home from Brazil was Atlanta to SFO.  I somehow managed to land the middle seat in exit row.  On the aisle next to me was a guy in his early twenties from Atlanta traveling with a business colleague just across the aisle.  Take off was at 8:30 AM and we hit turbulence as soon as we were airborne so the beverage/refreshment/we’re-going-to-charge-you-for-everything cart didn’t make its rounds until well after an hour into the flight.

When the fun cart did show up both guys from Atlanta proceeded to order a cocktail, but not just a drink to start Friday off right–they both ordered two minis of bourbon with a can of gingerale.  I remember looking at the him and then at the two minis of bourbon and saying a simple “wow” out loud.  It was, after all, 9:30 or 6:30 in the morning in terms of west coast destination time if you’re keeping score.  After looking at spreadsheets on their laptops for the better part of the next hour they both ordered another round with the guy next to me switching to two minis of Absolut and a can of pink lemonade.

While I certainly don’t know the back story here the thought of having four cocktails before 11:00 in the morning is completely screwed up.  Even though it was Friday and the end of the week one has to wonder how these two guys were going to function the rest of the day and if, god forbid, one of them was going to be driving a rental car.

What am I trying to say here? I guess that we as beverage industry professionals have more access than most non-industry people and because of that we need to consume wisely and try to influence the people around us to do likewise.  More importantly, if we have kids it’s incumbent upon us to educate them about alcohol before they leave home.  If we don’t teach our kids about alcohol how will they learn? The consequences of not doing so can be tragic.

Dirty Harry was right.  A man has indeed got to know his limitations.  But he’s has to learn them from someone.  And that’s his parents.  That’s us.