Sunday, October 17, 2010

Serendipity while wining...

Serendipity is a propensity for making fortunate discoveries while looking for something unrelated.

I am often amused at how often serendipity takes me to unexpected places. Like yesterday. After a fairly quiet week, during which JD and I were actually able to stay home, catch up on some DVRed shows and drink our own wine (after an unusually busy summer of wining), we found ourselves with no wine plans for the weekend. It made me nervous and restless.

Luckily, our friendly winemaker (winemaker friend?), Shawn 'Shai' Halahmy, turned up on Facebook responding to something I posted, and we agreed to get together - somewhere - later in the day. Around noon, I called him and he told us about a candy store for adults in Northridge: Total Wine (click here for location). He said we HAD to go there, that it was amazing. We replied, 'OK, we're heading west. Talk to you later.'

OMG. This store is AMAZING. It will blow other wine and spirits stores out of the water. It's huge. The wines are organized in one area by Region, in another by Varietal. They have everything - from the cheapest (under $2) plonk to the most expensive Bordeaux and Burgundy. The employees are all trained and knowledgeable about wine and spirits (oh, yeah, there are spirits, too). And they do wine tastings, for which they charge a truly minimal amount of money, so that you can actually taste without bankrupting yourself.

We were wandering around the store in amazement, stopping every few moments to exclaim about some find or other, and got to the back of the store where there was a separate tasting/classroom. There were a couple of winemakers pouring their own wines, and there were surprises. As we tasted our way thru the wines, Wine Manager Joyce Zizzo greeted me. Then we both looked at each other and said, 'Wait a minute - how do we know each other?' We were in the same Spanish wine certification class earlier this year! And so was another TW employee, Brian, whom we already knew from working with him at various LearnAboutWine events!

We talked for a while about what we've been doing, and I'll have more on that in future posts, but in the meantime, it looks like I may have found a venue for my Wine 101 classes. Just gotta work out the details, but stay tuned.

After a while, Joyce and Brian returned to work, and we turned back to the wine, and another young woman suddenly said, 'Hi, Denise, right? And John?' Yep, another known person - this time Jeridan, a wine lover and sommelier we met at a WineShop at Home tasting that I did last year. I won't bore you with the details, but we talked for a long time about our similar goals and dreams in the wine biz. We'll see her soon at some upcoming events at Total Wine and K&L in Hollywood.

We finished our tasting, wandered around the store for another hour, until Shawn called and we agreed to meet at a wine and tapas bar in Encino named Vino. We sat on a comfy leather couch at a low stone table in the front, while other customers sat a small tables or at the attractive bar or out back behind the restaurant, where the small patio has a Mediterranean feel to it with small fire pits, chairs and couches under colorful fabric tenting.

Our server, Ron - who seemed more like a host - was fun and knowledgeable, and brought us some interesting flights of unusual wines from all over the world. We paired the wines with delicious tapas - empanadas and sliders and lentil 'dip' and more. A guitarist showed up just before 8 p.m. and set up near the front window. We chatted with the couple who sat down across the table from us. And then we finally went home, happy and tired and grateful for the serendipity of the day.



Eve said...

What a wonderful day - so glad for you! Hope to see you tomorrow if you come early and I leave late!

Goddess of Wine said...

JD and I will be there around 5:30 to work the door and help out where needed. If not tomorrow, then Sunday morning for sure!