The Reluctant Writer: Something Else to do When I Should Be Writing

May 3, 2009

Wine snobs not allowed

Filed under: aging,beer,beer book,not writing,wine,writing — cynthiaboiter @ 22:59
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Instead of writing yesterday, I spent most of the day working in what Bob and I surreptitiously call our “wine cellar.”  Don’t worry though, when we say it we look at each other and snicker like South Park characters.  What our “wine cellar” (nheh, heh, heh) consist of is several shelves in the pantry, a wooden wine box, a cardboard box and two wine fridges which we purchased from Lowe’s and stacked on top of one another in the mudroom.  So, though not technically a cellar — we don’t actually have to go down stairs or anything —  we do have to squat a lot to see what we’ve got in there, and that counts for something.

I’ve always wondered a lot about wine.  It’s fascinating to me how the taste of the earth and weather and fruit can be transformed into a liquid indulgence, and that people devote their lives to perfecting the ability to detect and evaluate these ingredients in a bottle of wine.  There’s also the cultural history that wine imbues, going back way beyond Jesus; wine has always been a lifesource, but only recently a source of controversy.  Both revered and reviled, wine has been a part of every known culture.  And then, of course, there’s the taste, the ritual, and the buzz — three of my favorite parts about being alive.  No wonder I’ve wondered about wine.

A few years ago, Bob and I decided that life was getting short, just as our parents had promised, and that if we were going to truly embrace and learn deeply about some of the things which we’d been yearning to learn, then we would need a plan.  Bob’s 50th birthday was approaching and, given that he has been both a beer aficionado and brewer for quite a while, we came up with the concept of the Year of Beer.  We would spend his 50th year reading about, traveling to, and tasting as many of the greatest beers in the world (and some not so great as well — see Lisbon, for example) as possible.  It is from this research that our upcoming book, Bob, Beer and Me, springs.  “The Year Of” was such a personal success that we decided to adopt the plan indefinitely.  So when I turned 50 this past November, we kicked off the Year of Wine.  (Future “Years Of” might include anything from castles to Dickens to Ireland — anything that we have an interest in and that allows us to learn and experience and travel.)

The economy being what it is, I’m not sure we’ll be able to travel quite as much for the wine year as we did for the beer year, but we have spent some time in Napa and Sonoma, (see my previous post on how to break your nose in wine country), and we’ll be leaving in a few weeks for a combination anniversary/wine trip to France.  And we’ve drank some wine. And bought some wine.  Hence our new wine cellar (nheh, heh, heh).  I just got up from the computer to get another Diet Pepsi, (coke is for dopes), and counted the bottles of wine that we have managed to purchase over the past few months, and it made me dizzier than if I had sucked down the whole bunch in a setting — there are one hundred and sixteen bottles of wine in there!  And that’s not counting the case of chard sitting in the corner of the kitchen for the graduation party next week.  

So if you’re out Muddy Ford way and feeling a little parched, please stop by and let me take you on a little tasting tour of our brand new wine cellar (nheh,heh, heh).  And if you have any empty cardboard boxes laying around, we’re taking contributions for the cause.



  1. Hope you won’t find me a “wine snob,” but I enjoyed your post (as well as reading elsewhere on the blog about Bob, Beer, and Me. A great adventure!

    Had the pleasure of meeting (and being helped by) Bob last Sunday night. Let me know if there are ways I can return his kindness. I’m a Certified Sommelier (Court of Master Sommeliers). Also a beer enthusiast, though far less knowledgeable than the two of you! A couple of beer publications I follow include About Beer, by Bryce Eddings (, as well as the trade side of the industry, Street Talk, by Distinguished Brands International (

    Finally, if you haven’t visited us in Greenville, please be sure to let me know when you are coming this way. Because I most of my business development and staff wine education work takes place during the day, I’m not usually in the restaurants at night. But I’ll be sure our staff takes good care of you! And having read about your Southern roots (“Southern Childhood”), don’t miss Soby’s New South Cuisine Cookbook (description here,

    Cheers, and many thanks to your husband!

    Comment by Richard Peck — May 6, 2009 @ 13:32

  2. PS: Re-reading my comment after it posted, you’d think I have randomly hyperactive parentheses keys! Apologies. I miss Twitter’s and Facebook’s option to delete and repost, when you see that what you wrote is absolute gibberish. Clearly, the medicine hasn’t had its full effect.

    Comment by Richard Peck — May 6, 2009 @ 13:47

  3. Hi Richard. It’s always nice to hear good things about the spouse — I’m glad he was of service. And it’s great to cyber-meet a Certified Sommelier! I have all kinds of questions about wine — as you read, wine is the object of my obsession these days — so I’d love to be able to bug you every now and then with a few of them. (My greatest preoccupation lately is trying to discern whether or not there is a scheme to determining which wines to age and for how long. Also, we have in our cellar a 1988 Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino that our dear friends Rita and Tim brought back to us from Italy over a decade ago — Hi Rita and Time if you’re reading this! But I fear we have let this lay too long. Your thoughts?) Finally, (my friend), never apologize for punctuation — parentheticals are what makes the world go round.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope to see you again. Cheers!

    Comment by cynthiaboiter — May 6, 2009 @ 18:50

  4. Did you get my thoughts about your “preoccupation” (discerning whether or not there is a scheme to determining which wines to age and how long)? No response needed; just hope they were helpful. But if not received, update me with a current email address. Too long to post here! 🙂

    Comment by Richard Peck — May 20, 2009 @ 14:09

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