Napa Valley Premiere has come and gone again and it really has become an event that almost sets time in these parts. With so many wholesalers in town for the event, so many vintners all together in one room and so much media scrutiny (the cherished "press pass" fully engaged), it's a major business event. In our case, it also means we get to catch up with many of our wine grape customers, as well. There's a lot of insider stuff going on and hype galore, but the beauty is one wine per winery, a special barrel sample for this event, and a minimum of marketing accoutrement to dizzy the participants.
Speaking of dizzy, I couldn't help but notice that, with such an ephemeral showcase, that there is a razor's edge of skill required for the serious wine buyers to navigate the all-important tasting aspect of the event AND have a good time in this concentrated setting. Most of the lots average out to over $1000 per case and some at astronomical figures. QPR aside, since it's all silly money, this is a chance to taste some amazing stuff. It's also a chance to engineer consuming a fair share of high quality wine and get a little blissed-out, if you know what I'm saying. Most folks here are pros and I've never seen anyone overdo it, but that razor's edge is pretty slim. The 60's were short-lived for all the wholesale changes people made in their lives to maintain their "bliss" but this event is 4 hours to immerse yourself in -- on paper, anyways -- the Nectar of the Gods.
Meanwhile, as I drove home in the driving rain, I was passed by fleets of limousines on their way to somewhere. It's a smart way to visit the area, actually, and can save a lot of heartache and confusion. It's not always a storybook ending, however, but these guys still seemed to be having fun.