All photos:  (c) Elena Galey-Pride


« Your BEST bottle of wine »

When I took my very first wine course, it was designed for marketing professionals wishing to enter the wine industry. The perfect choice for instructor was Dr. Linda Bramble. In one of our very early classes, Linda asked each of us to talk about “the best bottle of wine we’d ever had.” We then went around the room, and heard story after story. When we were done, Linda pointed out what is now obvious to me; that none of the stories had really been about the wine at all – in fact, only one person named the wine, producer and vintage – but rather about the experience around the wine. Her lesson was made in spades! Sometimes a disheartening thought for a winemaker, but a core belief of every good wine marketer.

Thanks Rick VanSickle of Wines In Niagara for this great collection of stories. I particularly love Thomas Bachelder's story (extracted below), maybe because I know him and Mary best.

(And this is a particularly lovely photo of the two of them, don't you think?)

Thomas Bachelder, owner/winemaker of Thomas Bachelder Wines, winemaker of Domaine Queylus

Mary Delaney and Thomas Bachelder. Photo by Elena Galey-Pride"I worked for Quench (then Wine Tidings) at the time.

"Mary Delaney and I left Canada an unmarried couple: we eloped and got married in Venice after a pre-marriage honeymoon trip that saw us visit Paris, Burgundy, Milan, Cinque Terre and Tuscany.

"Despite our lack of money, we had love — and chutzpah — we somehow managed a fair bit of great food and wine …

"The most memorable wine came right at the end of the honeymoon: we were back in Paris, and we went to see the legendary Jean-Baptiste BESSE in his crammed wine shop behind La Sorbonne.

"We had almost NO money left, but I made it clear I was a real wine lover. BESSE understood the desperation of the situation — he rummaged and rummaged (thousands of wines of different types were piled seemingly willy-nilly on others of different types, right there on the shop floor) … and he eventually found me a Côte de Frontonnais (made from the Negrette grape) with a couple of years’ age on it.

"I shared it with my beautiful young bride on the banks of the Seine, on a wooden bench in a green small park cantilevered out over the river, along with some ripe Camembert and a baguette. I can still taste the deep brooding fruitiness of that southwestern French wine … I remember it even after all the Burgundies and Super Tuscans that I had somehow managed to try while travelling on a 'Beer Budget.'

"I ‘got’ that wine — it made me see that that terroir was everywhere — not just in the top appellations. I had my beautiful Mary to hold, but also got to meet and put my arm around Jean-Baptiste BESSE!

"I wondered, ‘imagine if I could just get into the wine business someday … but how?’

"All these years later, I remember the wine … and I still cherish the most beautiful girl in the world …"

Read Rick's full article here. Stories from Lydia Tomek, Mike Weir, Sandra Oldfield, Donald Ziraldo, Allison Slute, Angela Aiello, Paul Speck, Brad Royale, and Terry David Mulligan.

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