Over the past couple of months I have sampled two versions of wine tasting, one differing widely from the other. The first came in the region of El Dorado, Apple Hills to be precise where the other was located in the not so picturesque town of Lodi.
LODI, Watts Wines.
Dave kindly invited me to a evenings worth of work at a winery owned by Craig and Sheri Watts, a very hospitable couple. Craig is a fidgety conservationist, a man who seems to have 4 sentences to spill at the same time, resulting in a red face and a nonsensical waterfall of speech. His openness was commendable and his detail intriguing. Sheri on the other hand seemed to keep a little more to herself, shuffling around after people ensuring the night ran pleasantly and ensuring Craig didn’t make a grape out of himself. The reason I was at Watts to work at a charitable event, raising money for young people with blood related cancer.
Craig and Sheri somewhat seemed to over compensate for the nights demand with a myriad of ages competing to deliver food to the 80 or so guests. Dave had worked at Watts for near on a year and was highly aware of what waited him. His job was a non declared handyman, wine specialist, waiter and conversationalist, while I followed in his wait with awkward splutters of English charm and with the opportunist view of finding and sampling what Watts Wines had to offer. Due to the mass of ‘helpers’ this seemed no problem and soon after a three course meal, eat whilst standing, I was led into the wine tasting area.
The tasting room was being led by a husband of a wife, neither of which had much to do with the winery however much they would liked you to think so. They seemed suspicious of our sipping demands and soon singled me out as a taker, although under the demand of Dave and Craig I was welcome to indulge. I took this opportunity and did what any man should do and ran directly to my two seniors to dob the man in. Craig’s winey response, resembled something along the lines of the fella behind the counter being a prick. Craig proceeded to me serve me by himself. I could tell the server looked upset and disappointed by this so I sipped away smugly whilst watching the most awkward, disappointing and cringe worthy comedy then magic show. These looked as if they were performed by a republican dictatorship and pleased the audience but disheartened my soul.
One of the workers and I spoke for a while about the UK. His aged nativity was intriguing and I enjoyed telling him of the nations positives and negatives. After thirty minutes of this aged fellow being missing, he returned with a book of Lodi, made by the people of Lodi, signed and commented on by the people of Lodi. He passed it over to be and requested for me to ‘sign it’. I didn’t want to offend him so I signed underneath a picture of two middle-aged men with cowboys hats, who were holding grapes. I felt this accurately represented my strange evening at Watts Wines.
APPLE HIlLS, Eddie’s leaving…
Eddie left and people cried. I didn’t I was pleased as it meant I had a place to go for New Years. Bring on Mexico City.
Cool fact though, the Horse Whisperer was filmed in these hills. Now everyone can sleep well on Christmas eve with this in their knowledge.