As soon as you begin to study...
a language or biography, you come to realize how selective memory can be. In trying to trace my roots related to the enjoyment of wine, strange associations intervene. The chronology of this passage seems dubious even to me. Different events arise connected to wine; and some can be told here.
Well before I was of legal age, I already preferred wine. I remember being asked by people making a run what I wanted: give me a bottle of Boone's Farm Apple. In my junior high and high school days, we used to rule the U of Minnesota arboretum near Chaska, Minnesota, before it got all developed -- it was our domain. There we would commune with nature and sit under trees completing the contents of our bottles. Boone's Farm tasted OK, until it warmed up. It used to actually have some fruit in it. When I was graduated, I was also destined to move up to better wine.
During my junior year of college it was proposed that a couple of couples strap their skis on top of an old Mustang and drive to Red Lodge, Montana, for part of Christmas break. They kept talking about a red lodge in Red Lodge, and I kept asking which. As it turned out there was a red lodge in Red Lodge owned by a friend's parents, the Kleinman's. One evening, with snow falling, we left St. Peter, Minnesota, and drove all the way through to get there. Nestled in this small town in the Rockies, we avoided the touristy ski areas and spent our time on hillsides maintained by the national park service. It was great. The simple ski lodge had one huge room with picnic tables and a stone fireplace at one end. While some people can drink beer anywhere anytime, I knew that my beverage of choice was wine. I drank red wine in Red Lodge in the red lodge. One night, after we ran out, with the moon hanging over the mountains, we all hiked up town. The local on-off liquor did not care about our relative ages. I bought a large bottle of Paisano (that inexpensive Carlo Rossi plonk). It tasted pretty good back then.
Another night, Judy Kleinman said that we were going to go visit Arnold Palmer. We just had to go see Arnold while we were here! The golfer? No. Arnold Palmer, the liquor store owner. Arnold had an idyllic cabin nestled I don't remember where -- somewhere in a dream now. We arrived there stepping out of a Jack London novel, with snow blowing in the door as we entered. The main thing I remember is that Arnold had this great fire going and he had a super-fine wine open. You never tried one of these? Yeah, right. An Inglenook cask-specific wine. I was blown away. The depth of this baby, the way it stained your tongue, the long, lingering finish. As it turned out, Arnold's store was on 101 and Minnetonka Blvd, just a few miles from where I lived. I visited there often. Back then you could buy a wine like this for under ten bucks. The goodle days.
Later on, a friend named Mark Wilhelm took me to Napa to visit the old places like Inglenook and Christian Brothers. Back then on the wine trail, they were also not very concerned about your relative age.
Well, times change, don't they. But the value of reflections persists if you let them help to escort you into the future. Judy Kleinman committed suicide by gassing herself in her car parked in the garage one night. I have no idea of the current state of the red lodge. Mark Wilhelm had a whole wine collection in a climate-controlled mini-storage place in Saratoga that he turned his back on because he said once he started drinkin the stuff he wouldn't stop. He now takes one day at a time. So do I. But I also enjoy one wine at a time.
What I miss most about the old days is that almost all of these events and memories came about due to so little planning and so much spontaneity. So, this is what I associate with wine; this is why I continue to associate with wine.
Anyway, one time, not too long ago, when I lost my job, I told myself that I would start to do some things that I really enjoy. This is when I came out of the closet as The Wine Nose. One person who had worked with me asked me what I would do now. I said that I wanted to resurrect a local wine club in DeKalb, Illinois. He said, why don't you call it The Winos -- and I thought he said The Wine Nose. Sometimes I don't hear so good. Disabilities are not always liabilities.
I have been being The Nose for over four years now. This site is a partial reflection of my vision and the role of wine in the evolution of humanity.
let's move on...