I am joining a group of assorted Wine Bloggers that have taken the challenge to write an article combining wine and transportation. Our esteemed writer “The Drunken Cyclist” came up with this theme and just from the name of his Blog, the concept of transportation should come naturally.
My first thought was to piggy-back onto a discussion of the film “Bottle Shock,” but I thought this would be too easy and too expected. Then I thought about the many road trips we made to the wine country in Northern Michigan and how I would manage to pack and repack the trunk of our vehicle to accommodate our and our friend’s wine purchases plus the entire luggage that a trip requires. The more I thought about that, the more boring and prosaic a five hour road trip and lesson about maximum usage of packing sounded.
Then I thought about our first trip to the wine country in California and to Napa Valley in particular. We had a wonderful holiday in Napa Valley. We had rented a home up on the mountain overlooking the whole valley, and I might add that it was a fine vista every morning to enjoy a cup of coffee and look at this fabled valley of wine. I have written about this trip in many different installments because of the wonderful wineries and restaurants that we had the good fortune to visit during that trip.
Of the wineries that we visited were: Cain Vineyard and Winery, St. Supery, V. Sattui Winery, The Hess Collection, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Prager Winery and Port Works, Niebaum-Coppola Estate, Duckhorn Vineyards, Opus One, PlumpJack, Peju Province, Caymus Vineyards, Domaine Carneros by Taittinger, Mumm Cuvee Napa, Domaine Chandon and Sterling Vineyards.
We ended up buying cases and cases of wines, the bulk of these purchases were wines that were not readily available back home. Some of the wineries offered to do the shipping for us, and for the balance of the purchases, we were on our own and had to go to a third party shipper, one firm was recommended several times as the best for handling wine. My Bride was in agreement with this arrangement, but she was concerned about shipping some of the better wines, so I had a “Plan B.” Just before we took all of the cases to the third party shipper, I pulled several of the pricier bottles that we had purchased. I had to devise a way to repack our suit cases for our return flight, as my carry-on suitcase which was to be put in the overhead bin would now be a wine carrier. I have to mention that this trip was prior to “9-11” and liquids were allowed to be carried in your suitcases.
I have to admit, that this was the heaviest suitcase, I had ever had to maneuver around the airport and onto the plane. The worst was having to lift the bag up and place it in the over head compartment, without making it look like I was transporting dumb-bells or anvil samples. I remember that return trip, as I was a nervous wreck. There were bottles of Cain Five, Caymus Special Select, Rubicon and PlumpJack Private Reserve all over head like my own personal Sword of Damocles. What if my suitcase was too heavy for the compartment? What if the latch on the compartment came loose from the strain of the weight? What would happen if the latch and door popped open? What if the suitcase’s weight caused the overhead compartment to crack or worse yet, what if the suitcase came crashing down on our heads or someone else’s head? All of these thoughts consumed my entire return trip, and perhaps with the new rulings on air travel, I may never have another flight like this.
By the way, I am happy to say that none of the worse-case scenarios occurred, and the worst thing was trying to lift the suitcase out of the overhead compartment after the flight, without letting it crash to the aisle. So this is how I best connect wine and transportation together, and I do look forward to see how others wrote about this theme. And I may find that I am totally off on a tangent from the others, but I guess a raconteur is allowed some leeway.