A Life Described Through Wine and Books

Despite the transition to a digital age, I’ve never left my books go. And there are lots of them. There are many reasons I want books on display in my home. First, I want Henry George surrounded by them. He needs to know that you can go anywhere, be anything, know anybody through books. But on a more personal note, having a home that is filled with books reminds one of where they have been, marks the intellectual paths down which they’ve wandered over the years, and provides one with a literary autobiography that is constantly on display.

Wine provides the same benefits. I know this because I’ve been unpacking boxes and boxes of wine as we ensconce ourselves in our new home in the Willamette Valley. And each wine I pull from the boxes reminds me of where I’ve been, who I know, what I love, who I love, places I’ve been and adventures I’ve had.

Stony Hill Chardonnays from the 70s, 80s and 90s
In the late 90s, I went on a tour of ageable California white wines. I was in the middle of an intensive wine education that put me in contact with odd wine collectors and auction houses, among others. I went on a quest to find as many Stony Hill Chards and the search took me all over Northern California. I’ve drunk most of them.

1993 Laurel Hill Chardonnay
No friend I’ve ever had has been as important as Jeffrey Mayo. We met in 1996 after I moved to Sonoma County and returned home to Sonoma from a short career in real estate in Southern California. He would go on to build a remarkable winery and business: Mayo Family Winery. This was his first wine. Few things in my life have been as satisfying as having Jeff as a friend and watching him build his winery and brand.

Charbay Port, Terra Valentine Cabernets, Signorello Estate Cabernet, Failla Pinot Noirs, Morlet Cab, Alpha Omega
The first day I met Kathy Berez at the bar at Press in Saint Helena in the Napa Valley I knew I’d court her. It worked out well. She married me, then gave me a son. She is without question one of the finest hospitality professionals in wine and the above wines in our wine racks are a testament to the places that benefited from her expertise. The next one will be in Oregon.

1998 Adrian Fog Pinot Noir
Pinot insiders and collectors know this wine and this small winery. They have for a number of years. I’m not a collector. But I have been deeply affected by my friendship with Adrian Fog’s owners, Jane Farrell and Stewart Dorman. I met them through an old girlfriend. She is gone, but they remain. I spent the best and most enjoyable celebrations of my life with these two people…as well as drunk so many of their beautiful Sonoma Coast and Mendocino Pinots.

Eola Hills Wine Cellars Pinot Noir
This wine awaited us in our new Kitchen when we walked into our new Willamette Valley home for the first time four days ago. The 2016 Eola Hills Wine Cellars Pinot Noir was a gift from our realtor, Gina Ott. For more than a year this remarkable woman stuck with us as we continually watched for potential homes. She drove us around showing us homes. She remotely toured homes and emailed us videos. And she eventually found us our home in Salem. Oregon Pinot Noirs will be with us for a long time to come. This one, now sitting in a prominent place in our cellars is symbolic.

Wine and Books. They are for me the most visible symbols of who I am and where I’ve been. They both provide meaning. They are representative of my life. And I suspect I’m not alone.


4 Responses

  1. Don Prial - February 4, 2019

    Eola Hills pinot, eh? Let’s move it to the top of our new arrival Salem shopping list, just ahead of shower curtains at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Thanks for the guidance!

  2. George Ronay - February 4, 2019

    Books, wines – and I’ve kept signed menus of dinners we’ve hosted in our house and have over 200 now, with names and in some cases the labels of the wines we drank. Oh, and don’t forget – I still have all my record albums! They’re in the garage, but I still have them and a turntable to listen to them….

  3. Tom Wark - February 4, 2019


    I love that you have all those menus. What a great idea. What fun to look back on those evenings.

  4. Helena - February 5, 2019

    Books, Wines and Liberty’s beautifully bound Guests-and-Menus books. There is not a room in our houses which does not have books. It’s about touch-and-feel as much as the words. Ditto the wine caves…memories of past, and making new friends. Anyone for Chateau Ripaille (Thonon) or Delalex Clos du Pont (Marin)?

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