Your West Coast Oenophile did not own a television during my time in grad school. One wonders how, or even whether, Sostevinobile would have evolved if I watched Monday Night Football instead of reading Nikolai Gogol’s Dead Souls for Victor Terras’ Russian seminar. And so I didn’t hear of John Lennon’s murder that fateful evening until I got onto the elevator at Rockefeller Library.
Nonetheless, I still reflect on Lennon every December and hum tunes like Jealous Guy as I type. For sure, GenXers and Millennials will be familiar with The Beatles and their vast musical catalogue, together or separately. Few, I suspect, will know of John’s books like A Spaniard in the Works or In His Own Write. These books may seem a tad jejune at this stage—what 26-year-old writer wouldn’t see but were considered avant-garde when they were published. A memorable play on words, derived from one of the short stories in the latter volume, A Red Lettuce Day, is a term I have borrowed on multiple occasions.
And as December and 2018 drew to a close, such a day coalesced. For starters, my longheld desire to relaunch a trade association for local producers of Italian varietals is finally underway. Our organizational meeting for Risorgimento takes place in Healdsburg on January 27, and with some 668 wineries in our database so far, this promises to be quite a dynamic presence in the West Coast wine scene.
I am hoping that Risorgimento will sponsor its first Grand Tasting for the trade and public later this year, especially now that I can offer this and any major wine organization a first-rate venue. Astute readers will recall that Sostevinobile and its partner, The Midway, hosted Family Winemaker of California Grand Tasting last August as our inaugural wine event. After setting up the Risorgimento launch, I fired off invites to over 90 trade organizations and wine distributors to produce their trade events with us. Responses have been trickling in ever since, and—sorry, Fort Mason—I feel confident that we will now have the premier destination for trade tastings in 2019.
And, of course, I am cautiously optimistic that, at long last, Sostevinobile will be launching San Francisco’s premier wine bar in late 2019 at our soon-to-be-revealed NOPA destination. This past year has had much frustration in negotiating a deal for our three-story building with our angel backer, but, with a successful phone conference that same day, we are back, seated at the table and ironing out parameters.
I shudder to think it has take me close to a decade finally to get this underway, but the prolonged process has had its benefits. Our databank now includes some 4,300 sustainable wine producers on the West Coast, with well over 150 distinct varietals, plus a vast selection of blends, Meritages, fortified and sparkling wines. Plus, the new premises and design allow us to include a full retail shop and Club SVN, a members-only salon and wine club for serious wine aficionados—details forthcoming.
And then, of course, there is this little deal in China…