still working on it

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


The cleaning continues. And though it's not as physically taxing as this tank of Pinot was (I cleaned this thing out a few weeks ago -- it's my annual harvest tradition -- nothing like wearing a banana suit and entertaining the cellar guys with my lack of upper body strength), it's still rough.

I've accumulated an insane amount of magazines in my cubicle over the past three years. Because of my job, I have subscriptions to pretty much every food and wine publication out there. And while this is great and very helpful when it comes to pitching, the pile of magazines resembles a small mountain and is actually a health hazard because anyone who comes to my cubicle runs the risk of tripping over a Sunset or a Decanter or a Wine Business Monthly and sustaining a serious injury.

I've also collected a bazillion other random items. Need the Auction Napa Valley program from 2006? What about a gold medal from the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo wine competition? Or maybe a photo that Arthur Elgort took of the assistant tasting room manager's dog with model Anya Hindmarch?

I even have a boomerang with my name on it. And an origami set with instructions on how to fold paper into little Australian animals. And there are two unworn berets. And some fake grapes, both red and white. And a box full of branded spatulas. I have holiday cards from my favorite media contacts. A paper cutter. A regular stapler and an electric stapler. Seven boxes of paper clips, two boxes of plastic sheet protectors and one very large insulated wine bag.

I swear, I should have a garage sale.

cupcaking, cleaning

Monday, October 27, 2008


Spent yesterday with the apron on, baking up a batch of pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. They were absolutely delicious, even if I did cheat a little and used canned pumpkin. (Jeff once told me I could substitute with butternut squash and it would taste the same, but to be totally honest, even though I love butternut squash, it is a pain in the ass to slice open.) Anyway, the cupcakes were fantastic -- really moist and not overly sweet. And I topped them with candy corn, since Halloween is just around the corner.

I brought the cupcakes to work this morning. It's my last week at the old job, and I'm getting a little sentimental. If only I had the time to bake cupcakes for my coworkers every day this week just to show them how much I'll miss them! I swear, I almost cried at lunch today when Laura gave me a going-away present -- a bag full of chips and cookies (she knows!). And at Saturday's harvest party, I got huggy with the winemaker -- you know, the One Who Doesn't Hug. And I've been spending hours burning CDs of all the personal photos I've uploaded onto my work laptop over the past three years, and looking at all those pictures again makes me so nostalgic.

Oh, old apartment in San Francisco with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge! Oh, very first CDV holiday party, where Todd had the most amazing haircut he has ever had during the whole time I have known him! Oh, miss Mari as a tiny little kitten!

But just when I start to get carried away on a tidal wave of lovey-dovey emotion, I look at my cubicle. Seriously, I have been cleaning it since I put in my resignation about two weeks ago. And yet it is still a complete disaster area. Today while going through files, I found a total of three very disgusting dead bugs, and one of them was a spider that looked like it had an egg sac attached.

the break

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


A big part of why I have been so vague lately is because I was interviewing and didn't want the whole world to know. But since I spent yesterday and today telling people at work that I am leaving, I guess it's OK to blog about it now.

So: I am leaving to work for a much larger wine company that has 35 domestic brands, including an awesome, cool-climate Zin from Mendocino, a super high-end Napa Cab, the gorgeous property in the photo above, and yes, what may very well be the country's most popular Chardonnay. My last day is Halloween, and I start the new job immediately after. This is exciting -- a great next step for my career. I am happy.

And so sad!

I told our winemaker this morning, and halfway through what I was hoping would be a very brave speech, I started crying. And I couldn't stop. I sort of blubbered my way through why this is such a great opportunity that I can't pass up. And then I babbled something about how he is my favorite person at CDV and I'll miss him and hopefully we can still all hang out and go to dinner. And then -- yes, it gets even dorkier -- I announced that I hope the next PR person will make him famous because I really believe he should be famous and if he ever starts his own label, I want to do PR for it. And then he hugged me, which of course made me even more emotional because this is a man who never hugs. And then I went back to my little messy cubicle and sat there and cried some more.

I know I can't stay at CDV forever -- I don't want to, and I know it's not right for my career. But I learned so much there and I love so many of the people and I have such good memories.

I think I am going to need to carry a box of Kleenex around with me for the next few weeks.

play hard

Sunday, October 12, 2008


What to say about this weekend ...

Friday night blended into Saturday morning because we were drinking Sauternes with lavender ice cream (one of the Absolute Best Pairings Ever) and suddenly it was almost 3 a.m.

Thirteen hours later, I found myself miraculously not fast asleep in a corner but instead having a blast at a winery event in the gorgeous Bennett Valley, where there were Jeep tours and Kobe beef steaks and media flying in on a helicopter. (Yes. Helicopter. How hot is that? Maybe I need to suggest this to my work.) And after that, there was beer, sake and sushi with Jonah, and we actually stayed out late enough that Todd was able to meet us after his shift.

And today: Atwater for Shara's bridal shower, where the showering involved chocolate martinis, engagement ring-shaped cookies (adorable!) and tons of food. (And of course, even though I had stuffed myself silly at the party, I still couldn't resist stopping for a big bag of Del Taco on the drive home.) Fueled by the Del Classic Chicken Burrito (yes, here we go with the chicken obsession again), I did some speedwork this evening and got my 5K time down to the fastest ever -- which really isn't that fast, but it still made me happy.

And now I am sitting in my pajamas, sipping some Emergen-C (you know, just in case) and watching old seasons of "Angel" on Netflix and waiting for Todd to come home.

And wondering why weekends have to be so damn short.

waiting

Thursday, October 09, 2008


I really have to do something about this sleeping issue.

Or maybe I should call it a not-sleeping issue, since it involves staying up way too late in an attempt to wait for Todd to get home from his nightly punchdowns at his work.

I swear, the first time we've had dinner together in a very long time was last night, because he got the day off and the two of us were able to go to Pete and Sylvia's wedding dinner. (Congrats to them! They are fabulous!) We talked and talked and talked like we hadn't seen each other in ages. (Which is pretty much true.)

I miss him.

for the young'uns

Monday, October 06, 2008


So I am supposed to be working on a project about marketing wines to Millennials, all those young people who are 21 to 30. (Actually, the group is even younger than that, but I'm not really legally supposed to be marketing toward people who are under 21.) I've been thinking about this, and it's tricky. I mean, look at that age range. Someone who is 21 most likely has very different interests from someone who is 30. And very different incomes. And very different ideas of how that income should be spent.

But the marketing can be done. Case in point: Pink Party, an annual event put on by one of our Napa Valley neighbors to raise money for breast cancer research. Everyone wears pink (yes, boys too), spends all night drinking pink bubbly (brutal the next day, but fun when you're in the moment) and dances like mad.

Never have I seen so many young people at a wine event. Never. Hell, I didn't even know young people existed in Napa, but there they were in full force. And this was not a cheap ticket, either -- admission was $50 a pop! But those tickets sold out, and everyone had their dancing shoes on. And to be honest, the crowd was so young that I felt like I was an old fart, and I'm only 30. It was an exciting way to get people interested in wine.

Unfortunately, once they're interested, they may not be the best at actually holding their alcohol. (Note to self for marketing project: Always make sure Millennials drink enough water and eat enough food.)

My Pink Party revelry ended with me witnessing some poor girl barfing and collapsing next to the toilet in the winery's restroom, while her three friends tried their best to haul her out of the stall and hold a trash bag up to her face. And then when the music stopped and it was time to go home, security herded all of us partygoers down a walkway, where we found yet another poor girl peeing right next to the sidewalk -- right there in the pretty winery landscaping, just as absolutely everyone who was at the party was walking past. And then as we were trying to catch a cab to go home, some drunk guy accosted Laura and insisted he would drive us wherever we wanted to go, declaring: "I'll take you to Jack in the Box! I'll take you anywhere!" Awesome pick-up line, man. Truly awesome.

Perhaps I'll include the Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger in my marketing plan.

to sum it up

Sunday, October 05, 2008


October is off to a busy start. There was Pink Party this past Thursday (and the brutal -- and I mean excruciatingly so -- hangover that followed), LoveFest yesterday and a media tasting for Shane's wines tonight (Todd used to work for him at KB, and I'm helping him out with a little PR -- 2007 is Shane's second vintage, so he's a yet-to-be-discovered talent, though if tonight's meeting is any indication of how things are going to go, I'd get on that mailing list fast because these wines are going to sell out like crazy).

Anyway, I will try to post some photos from Pink Party and LoveFest soon (hooray for being a drunken idiot in public!), but don't hold your breath -- we all know I haven't been the best blogger lately.

In the meantime, this is the quiche I made today. True, it may not be as exciting as pink boas, gold hot pants and men in assless chaps dancing on top of parade floats, but I can bet you a bazillion dollars that it tasted a whole lot better. In fact, it was pretty damn good -- the filling was sweet red and orange bell peppers, fresh basil and Monterey Jack cheese. And when I served it, I topped it with the gourmet lettuce mix that I got at the farmers' market, drizzled that with extra virgin olive oil (which I refuse to call EVOO, thank you very much), freshly ground pepper and a pinch of truffle salt (I really must write an entire blog entry about truffle salt -- to say I worship it is an understatement).

Best part: No hangover.
 
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