Napa: Come for the Wine, Stay for the People

semageddonTo my right there’s a woodsy looking guy in plaid who supplies hives to numerous grape growers in Napa Valley and he’s getting pretty darned excited about hatching queens directly into his hand.

To my left is a table of food that holds a plate of chopped up blood sausage that is to die, but also a four-inch high moose (as in the big antlers) pie that I’ve arranged to get the recipe for.

Across the table is a gentleman with a semi-vintage soviet carnival hat on his head who also happens to make some of the best wines I’ve tasted in a while.

Behind me is a table with more live and dead bottles of Semillon from around the globe than I’ve ever seen in one place.

Across the way I spot a tall and lanky former philosophy professor discussing the meaning of “oily” in wine. And she’s excited.

That one is talking to a cherubic, “natural” wine maker whose wine I could drink all year long.

Meanwhile, I’m in a vinious haze because I can’t decide between the Chateau Climens, the 15 year-old Aussi Semillon that blew my mind, the “natural” wine that keeps tugging on my palate, and a brand new Semillon that has a homemade label on it and might be the best of the bunch.

Up on the porch is a bearded attorney with a spatula in his hand and a slightly fiendish look on his face in charge not only of all the meat being grilled up but also of this gathering that is called, “Semaggedon”.

And the little event even has its own official tee shirts!

Also, it’s early May, we are in short sleeves, and there’s not a Cabernet in sight!

Now tell me that Napa Valley isn’t just about the best place on earth.

Posted In: Personal, Wine Places


12 Responses

  1. Semageddon 2013: the party | Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews - May 6, 2013

    […] Check out this great write up on Semageddon 2013 by Tom Wark over on his blog, Fermentation: […]

  2. John Trinidad - May 6, 2013

    Thanks, Tom. Totally agree with you — there is an amazing community of people here in Napa who are open to sharing and learning about wine, willing to try new things, and happy to bring everyone and anyone along for the ride! And that was a lot of what made yesterday so memorable. Glad you could make it!


  3. Harold Boquist - May 6, 2013

    Is monoculture of such intensity ever sustainable?

    • Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka - May 6, 2013

      It’s funny, Harold. Between the bee keeper, the attorney, the writers, the winemakers, the commercial fisherman, the computer start up employee… the Australians, the French, the Alaskan, the Peruvian… the moose meat, the smelt, the many many types of sausage, all that kale… and wines literally from all over the planet… what struck me about yesterday was how precisely what that event showed was *not* a monoculture.

  4. Terroirist: A Daily Wine Blog » Daily Wine News: Yeah, Science! - May 7, 2013

    […] Wakawaka and Hardy Wallace write about a party they threw this weekend, #Semageddon. Tom Wark confirms that it was […]

  5. Aaron Epstein - May 7, 2013

    A compelling write-up of what looks like an incredibile Sunday afternoon… so sad to miss it!

  6. Robert - May 7, 2013

    Funny, I know another Napa Valley. A collection of people who–in their incessant greed and need to maintain their lifestyle–have decimated the notion that somebody might embark on a career as a wine salesman in the state of California and have a realistic expectation of making a decent living with some minimal benefits.

    Instead, they have ruthlessly enforced a model where the people who sell their wines are commission only, 1099 contractors lacking any basic health insurance, security, expense reimbursement or pension/401.

    • Tom Wark - May 12, 2013

      You’ve described what has been the new normal for the past decade. It’s not just Napa or Sonoma or Oregon or Wasjington. It’s what the current economy allows.

  7. Shae Kinsman - May 8, 2013

    Long live Semillon!!! Stoked to hear of such an event celebrating this mighty, and often underestimated, grape variety. May it be an annual gathering!

  8. Wine Shop In Singapore - May 9, 2013

    Widest selection of red beverages, white bottles of wine in Singapore bottles of wine shop or bottles of wine company. Select your own combination of wines from Wine Shop in Singapore.

  9. Whiskey Stil - May 12, 2013

    Really nice one! Seems interesting. Hope you can share more of this. Thanks a lot! 🙂

  10. Fredric Koeppel - May 12, 2013

    Tom, 1st, you need to monitor the comments and get rid of the spam, and 2nd, I would like to see some responses to Robert’s post from May 7.

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