Drinking Over Fredo’s Grave
At a particular spot on Lake Tahoe in a 1962 Mahogany Coronado, I and friends stopped the boat, lifted a glass of Champagne and toasted the weakest of the three Corleone brothers, Fredo, who met his demise at the hands of his brother Michael's bodyguard, Al Neri, while saying the Hail Mary and letting his fishing line sink into the depths of the lake.
The toast that poor Fredo gets is simple: "To poor, weak, goodhearted Fredo. May he rest peacefully with the fish."
Fredo's Lake Tahoe grave rests offshore from a spot where you can see the compound used to film parts of Godfather II, the more complex and intricate of the two great Godfather films. From this spot where Fredo was shot in the head and dumped overboard at the behest of Michael for his brother's unwitting betrayal, you can glimpse the boathouse where Michael stood as he looked out on to the lake as Neri, sitting behind Fredo raised a pistol, shot Fredo and dumped the middle Corleone brother's body into the lake. It's a sad moment in the film, portraying not only the deep pathology of Michael Corleone, but also the consequence of being weak willed and weak minded in a world where both these qualities are likely to lead to your demise.
We drank 2003 Mayo Family Winery Laurel Hill Vineyard Estate Brut as we bobbed up and down over Fredo's grave at 9:30am. I'm willing to admit this is a pretty strange tradition: Toasting a fictional character while bobbing up and down on a boat on a lake. But I'm pretty sure that some of the best, or at least most memorable, moments in wine drinkers' lives are when they incorporate wine into their stranger pursuits. And this is the case with the toast to Fredo.