West coast for a brit milah & CA wine shops

I returned to NYC this morning on the red eye flight from San Fransisco.  Usually when coming back from the west coast, in addition to seeing my sister and brother in law I make a trip to one CA wine region or another.  Close to my sister (in Palo Alto ) is Monterey County, a region I’ve written about before that I believe is making some great wines.  I was hoping to make a quick day trip to some Monterey wineries but this quick, family oriented trip did not allow for any wine travel.  Instead, I got to meet my new nephew JONAH!


It is my second time an uncle, and first nephew.  What an awesome little man.  I just met the kid and he did not have a nice thing to say to me yet I love the heck out of him already.  So much so that I fed the 8 day old kid some wine?  I DID…I PROMISE…I have proof…


(that is me with my little pinkie in the newborns mouth)

OK, so yes, I am a little wacko.  But don’t go calling child services, this was no form of child abuse.  I adore little Jonah and would never do anything to harm him.  I was simply following the very logical directions of the Mohel – yup, the guy with the long groovy beard.  Hey, he declared me the “Wine Guy/Anesthesiologist” – how could I not?!?! 😉

Seriously though it is all part of the Jewish “Brit Milah” ritual and all he got was a drop or two off my little pinkie finger.  I hope it helped to dull his senses ’cause seeing that nasty circumcision ceremony up so close gives a new perspective on why people find the ceremony to be barbaric.  It is said to be healthy, but boy did the little guy wail. :(

BUT, I digress.  Getting back to wine, though I did not visit any wineries while out west, one would have to lock me up and throw away the key to keep me away from wine.  I picked up a bunch of wine for the weekend with the family (even my brother from Israel came in) and along the way noticed something that hadn’t previously occurred to me.  To begin with, wine is EVERYWHERE in California.  The Walgreens pharmacy.  The supermarkets.  Even the little ethnic corner store seems to have at least a row of wine.  And of course the large wine/liquor chains.

While this may not seem unusual, coming from NYC where the state liquor authority is incredibly strict about who sells wine and what else those that DO sell wine are allowed to sell – this was a big deal.

But to me, the bigger deal was which wines they were selling.  The pharmacy and small corner store seemed to carry over 90% California wine while the supermarkets and wine/liquor specialty stores appeared to carry well over 60% California wine.

So what you say!  In France one finds predominantly French wine.  In Italy mostly Italian.  And so on…

SO, as a New Yorker, why is it so hard to find more than a few token New York wines?  True the NY wine regions are still in their infancy in terms of gaining recognition as legitimate wine producing regions.  But where is the loyalty?

Obviously NY wines must continue to improve in quality before we see them replacing their left coast counterparts.  But in recent tastings of NY wines I will say that many wineries are really getting “IT”, and I am confident that NY wines will continue to improve as the vintners learn which varietals do best in which locations and the best vinification practices for each varietal.

Happy local wine tasting!


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