Thursday, July 31, 2008


Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to a tasting show in Louisville. (I know, it was such a hard day at the office). While there I got to try some really incredible wines, and a few that we carry in the store that I had never had before. But one of the most interesting things that caught my attention while I was there was what seemed like a common trend: Man and Wife Wine Estate Owners/Winemakers.

Among some of the few: Christian and Dany Berthet-Rayne, who make Chateauneuf-du-Pape, (when I asked them how the weather is in Avignon, Christian responded, “Ah, it is very, uh, hot”) Elizabeth Pressler and Spencer Graham from Elizabeth Spencer, (whose wines were my favorite on the day from California) and finally Peter and Deanne Franus from Peter Franus.

Each couple was so generally sincere and excited about wine that you could tell how much it meant to them, and each couple was so excited and comfortable with their spouse that you could tell how much they meant to each other.

I left each couple’s booth and asked myself the age old question, “What comes first, the chicken or the egg?” Meaning, does the love between a couple come first, or the business relationship?

Surely a career as wine estate owner and winemaker is a time-intensive, emotionally trying career, but doesn’t that go for a marriage also? (Not that I’m an expert, I’ve never been married…but my Mom and I have been planning my wedding since I was 5. But I digress.)

I don’t know how these couples do it, and I have no way of explaining the seemingly high number of couple winemakers out in the world. All I know is that if these people are as passionate about each other as they are about their grapes, those are some seriously loving people.

I think the Franus’s described it best. Peter poured me 2005 Brandlin Vineyard Zinfandel, and, nodding at his wife, said “Here, have some love wine.” It was exhilarating, refreshing, and delicious. Hey, a lot like love.

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