This past spring I joined the Alexandria Nicole wine club. The sales pitch went something like this "You are purchasing six bottles of wine, that automatically puts you in our wine club if you would to join." I replied. "Yes, sign me up." Tasting room employee says, "Wait, don't you want to hear what you get?" I say "Sure while I'm filling out the membership card." A month later I got a thank you card saying I was the easiest new member sign-up ever.
Actually, joining Alexandria Nicole's wine club was a super easy choice because I love pretty much every single one of the wines that they make, and two when I heard all of the benefits of joining their club I was all in. Those benefits include really awesome release parties – like the last one with themed food pairings where I was inspired to make crab dip. Another that I especially like is the annual members only wine blending contest. The winner of the blending contest gets their name on a case of wine.
I got the email about the wine blending event about a month ago and signed up myself and a friend as an onlooker and paid for the tickets. When the day came neither my original or my back-up friend could go, but I couldn't let this curious event pass me by without the experience just because I didn't have a social safety blanket. So off I went to Woodinville through Seattle commuter traffic on a Thursday night to learn how to blend wine. I stopped at the Dairy Queen on the way because it was Miracle Treat Day (all proceeds from Blizzards go to participating children's hospitals on the day) and I'll use any excuse to eat a Blizzard.
The first thing I learned at the blending party is that bending wine is not easy. Not that I had any belief that it was before – I just learned how hard it actually is. First I had the hardest time pouring wine into a what is essentially a test tube. I got wine everywhere and couldn't pour very accurately. I also could not figure out how to use the pipette. Then there is the guessing at the flavor. When you blend you have young wines, so really you are guessing at the final flavor. I am now in awe of my favorite wine maker's palettes.
I got knocked out in the first round because the crowd was very Syrah biased. As I talked to my fellow losers we found that Grenache heavy was our thing in common, thus determining those who made it to the second and final rounds were into Syrah.
My table gave me a round of fist bumps when they learned that I came solo just to play with the wine. I noted that everyone else came with a significant other or friend. But I made friends and found the crowd to be very talkative and desiring of conversation. Way different than when one dines alone, this actually felt like a club. Imagine that, social people in the Seattle area talking to each other?
In fact, people were so talky I used up all my time and only drank a single glass of real wine. It was good though as I had to drive all the way back to Seattle by myself. All in all it was a fun and educational event and I'm glad I went.