Friday, February 20, 2009

So You Wanna Be International like Jay Beezee, eh?

Believe me, (and no one does) it's not easy being a professional pig. Everyone says, "Ohh, tough job you have there, jetting around the world, drinking wine everyday, eating in great restaurants constantly. Where do I sign up for that?" Well, all I can say is, "Be careful what you wish for."

Do I love my job? Absolutely!

Would I trade it for any other profession? No way, Jose! Unless I can be a professional golfer or poker-pro, but they've got drawbacks too.

So what is so difficult about what you do? Well, ya got a minute...

No one wants to hear me whine and I swore this blog would be a no whining zone, but here goes nothing. If one wants to be a true connoisseur of gluttony, you better have the constitution for a day like this....

7am - Wake up
7:45 - Breakfast in lobby of hotel. Usually the local goodies, croissant, cafe noir, yogurt and pain. If in Spain, maybe a little cortado and tortilla. If in Italy, stick to a great coffee and a less stellar croissant. They suck at breakfast.
8:15 - Drive to vineyard
8:45 - Arrive at vineyard. Oh and I forgot to mention that we always travel in January/February. The producers have time, the importers have $ and we are slower during those months making it easier to block the time. So suffice it to say that it's freezin' ass cold out.
9am - Walk the vineyards.
10am - View the winery (yes, that was one hour in the cold)
10:15 - See the cellar and taste barrel samples. Sometimes up to 40 samples, many times the same wine from differing tanks and casks. Often they are in the middle of malolactic fermentation, so it's like having a little bacterial science project going on in your stomach, even though you're spitting every drop.
11:30 - Lunch -- oh, not just a little sandwich, but a spread of 4-6 courses over a 3 1/2 hour span so you can test drive the producers wines with food, quite honestly, the way they should be. It's the way the end user (you) will enjoy them so you want to see how these puppies perform.
3:30 - Drive to next vineyard
4:30pm - Arrive at vineyard and stand outside for another hour among the vines, see the winery, taste another 40 or so samples and arrive at...
7:30pm - Dinner. Where you will indulge at somewhere between a great local haunt to a gorgeous Michelin starred restaurant. The food is always outstanding. So much so that it is often difficult to stop eating until all 6 plates presented are clean. Don't forget the cheese course and dessert. The best meals are those at producers homes when you get a great classic home cooked meal of an indigenous nature. Often there will be back vintages of the producers best to enjoy as almost all of them are a generous lot. One caveat, if this is Spain you must shift two hours ahead. The Spanish refuse to eat before 10pm, but they do take a siesta, those cheaters!
11:30pm - Head to hotel
12:30am - Back in hotel room.

Sounds fun, right! Ok, now go back to the 7am part and repeat this schedule for six to nine days in a row and then roll (and I do mean roll) yourself to the airport, fly back home and make the adjustment to eating like a normal human being. This sound like vacation, but if I'm a bit tired on day 3, I can't say, "I'm gonna skip Domaine Du-du today and catch up with you guys tomorrow." I owe it to my boss, the importers and the producers to be "on" at all times and give the attention to them and their wines that they deserve for providing me with these experiences that I can in turn share with clients and paint a picture that's as vivid and vivacious as the people who make these great wines.

Don't forget that there are three tasting appointments on the day of your return to the shop.

Yeah, booyyee!

JCB the 4th

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