After returning from a trip to California I found myself thinking about a few of the wine shops I had stopped into. Some very quaint and non threatening, other's running deep in wines you have never heard of with a stuffy wine snob that cant believe you missed this hot one! Then some just flat scared me to death and I ran for cover. Finally I ventured into a place that right away let me know this wasn't Tennessee any more Toto ! As my head snapped around my body went with it and I became dizzy. Taking in a visual snapshot as I went around and then.....I found a vision, a store map! How can I do this I ask, my other self say's stop whining and get walking.
So off I go, the first thing is the very finest of collectable wines, it made my wallet wince a bit. Moving on I am surrounded by 8000 choices of wine (yes, 8000 !) laid out by varietal and country. Not just a few choices but 10,500 of them including the very finest. My head is spinning again ! I make it to the back corner of the store and I find myself out side of a small classroom, it's able to close the doors and hold a private educational seminar, wine, spirits, beers and even the art of fine cigars. How cool is that, really getting to know the how what where and why of your favorite beverage.
I turn the corner and across the back wall. Half way I look to the right and in the center of the store is a wine tasting bar, very cool and large and able to accommodate a large group of folks. It's always great to taste and find what you like before purchasing. Making my way to the opposite corner I am surrounded by the brew! Lot's of brew, like 3000 kinds of beer. Organized by style and country, seasonal beers and you can even build your own six pack or case. If you cant find it here you just don't like beer ! As I swim that foamy river of hops and barley I come ashore in the cigar emporium, a LARGE walk-in humidor. My first apartment was smaller than this humidor. Now, I don't smoke but the smell of fine tobacco rolled and crafted into stogies takes me back to my Italian Grandfather, my uncles and a finer time in the past.
Moving away from cigars I venture into the world of spirits. 3,500 kinds of spirit. Remember not only am I winemaker, but a trained distiller as well, I am very impressed! Outrageous single malts, Some older than old and smooth as babies' face. Every kind of vodka, rum gin tequila that you could ask for. Never in my life have I seen such a collection of brands and styles, from the rarest to the more pedestrian.
By now I have seen more beverages than I can process, my feet are starting to hurt, I've been walking around in here for two hours! I've seen side places and grotto's containing all types of glasses, opener's chillers, gasses and so much more. But what I found next really got me......food ! Not just a box of crackers and a hunk of cheese, but real live gourmet meats cheeses, fish, pickled veggie's, artisan breads and chocolate's.....oh my.... the list was endless. All kept in the proper coolers and ready to help me indulge in the finest things life has to offer. Oh yes, one more thing. They even print a catalog with every item listed in it. You can call in your order or send it on line. Then show up and your order is ready.
Now, I've returned back home to Tennessee and I suppose I miss the shear volume of choices that the California super store had, no not really. Maybe I realized I never needed all those choices, nor the two hour walk to find my way around. I just want what I like. My favorite haunt's around town are just fine with me. Walk in, get what you want, talk to some new folks and some others you know. It's really about a sense of community, communicating with others feeling like your apart of this place called Tennessee.
So, I will remember to slow down and enjoy this life and all that is Tennessee!
It all just a Question of Balance.