Posts Tagged ‘AZ wine’

Hodge-Podge Blog

I took some time away from the daily grind last week to indulge the groupie in me and reminisce about being in the music ‘scene.’ A musician that I admire had a post offering free admission into a show for volunteers to help out on the current tour. Assuming it was to sell merch, I replied expressing my interest. Little did I know, they were more desperate for a “runner” (this is where I impress y’all with the lingo).

You see, when on tour, bands can’t exactly use the tour bus to drive around town and get to radio interviews, back and forth from the hotel to the venue, and/or out to eat. Rather than spend ridiculous amounts of money on car services or taxis at every stop, they utilize their street team and social media fan base to acquire free transportation… pretty savvy! So there I was, detailing my car, coming up with the perfect playlist, borrowing a GPS (just in case they stumped me), and even baking zucchini bread for the roadies, all in preparation and excitement to be designated chauffeur for a day.

Of course, 360 days out of the year a convertible low-rider is ideal transportation in Phoenix; this turned out not to be one of those days. A horrendous hail storm had the band arriving late, forced me to recover from a slight hydroplane incident, created a nightmare of roof leaks at the club, and caused a simple 2-minute drive from the venue to the hotel to become a 20-minute adventure down random side streets.

I think I saw genuine panic in the singer/songwriter’s face, questioning whether he had found himself in a kidnapping scenario (which I actually contemplated after he got his shower and smelled sooooooo good and we locked eyes and… WHEW, back to reality). Once he got the map on his iPhone working, his nerves dissipated and we bonded with some great 1-on-1 time. The entire band and crew were very gracious and really down to earth; I have enormous respect for these musicians, who even listened patiently to my babble about the quality of wines being produced in Arizona. Honestly, the free admission and cd of the performance were an unnecessary bonus by the end of the night.

On another note, I was providing a wine tour through the vineyards at Page Springs Cellars last week and I almost stepped on this retro-gem of a critter. Don’t let my picture fool you (had nothing to show scale), he was about the length of my index finger! Extensive Google mastery has identified him as a male Eastern Hercules Beetle (a type of Rhinoceros beetle); the largest beetle in North America and usually only found east of Texas?! Coincidence that the band I had driven around the previous day had come from Texas? It’s the little things that intrigue me, but he was darn pretty & scary at the same time.

Blood Into Wine

As many of you may be aware, a little film has been released called Blood Into Wine that chronicles the trials and tribulations of a couple Arizona winemakers. All right, so there’s a little Hollywood entertainment in the mix, but let’s not start name-dropping. As a huge fan and supporter of Arizona wine, I attended a couple of the events this week to celebrate the movie premiere and thought I’d throw together a bit of a recap.

Thursday night began with a great dinner at Noca restaurant, featuring the winemakers and their tasty creations paired with a wonderful menu. While a little socially awkward because each table had a different seating/serving time, the meal was terrific and Noca will certainly be on a list of future destinations. The film stars also made an effort to stop by each table to discuss the wines when not distracted by the news channel wanting to interview them at the door.

Friday was the world premiere of the movie at the W Scottsdale. It was more than a bit chaotic, with the only entry line wrapping around the entire hotel, the fire marshal not allowing enough seating for guests, the “hosts” only making a brief appearance from an unlit balcony, and free cigars that amazingly smoked up the outdoor venue, but it turned out to be a great time. A few of us indulged in some wonderful bites at Sushi Roku before heading upstairs. We toted a bottle of Caduceus 2008 Nagual del Marzo up to a friend’s room and sampled this wine for the first time (only available through the tasting room). It was a surprisingly light Cabernet with a touch of Sangiovese, coming in at only 12.8% alcohol; however, the fruit really came through without being jammy… very drinkable wine. It was interesting to see the drastic difference between vineyards (this was grown on Merkin East); I didn’t recognize any similarity to the Nagual del Judith. But I’m neither a wine critic nor a “wine blogger”, so I’ll stop there.

Once we polished off our own wine we were ready to hit the event. I have to admit it was quite satisfying to see our logo up on the big screen (Arizona Grape Escapes helped sponsor the premiere). But the greatest feeling was to see familiar faces around every turn, with all just letting loose and enjoying the fruits of this land’s labor! I don’t want to have any spoiler alerts, so I’ll just say that the movie was a terrific blend of the reality of the backbreaking work that goes into each drop with some good ol’ entertainment and personality. While I play a very small role in this industry, I was gushing with pride to see the accomplishments of all these friends we’ve made along the way. The film may have only featured 2 local winemakers, but it was a monumental moment for Arizona wine and I’m so lucky to have taken part.

After the screening I had a chance to meet Marshall Trimble, the official state historian who appears in the film. I love that he’s a confessed wino “I don’t know much about wine, I just really like to drink it!” And I could go on for hours about the people-watching; Scottsdale was in full force as it clashed with Tool fans. As the wine flowed, the spilling, falling, and ear-piercing voices emerged. But it was awesome to see the hard-working crew from @PageSpringsWine, @AZStronghold, and @CaduceusCellars enjoying their just desserts. Also having a chance to socialize (in person!) with @Rubee100, @RedRiverBlue, @IAmTimHardy, @eatSlow, @AZVinesandWines, @AZVineyardGuy, @PillsburyWineCo, @CiaoMari, and of course my very own @AZGrapeEscapes was a wonderful treat. Wish I could’ve taken some pictures, but alas…

I’ll leave you with one final thought: if you have any interest in wine, go see this film. I guarantee you’ll learn something and have a few laughs!