One of the many pleasurable jobs on my resume is a position of mixologist. In between two management positions, I stepped into the world of bar-tending,  to further market my 1st business venture. I was employed at a martini bar, as the first female bar-tender (and the first employee to don colorful wigs each shift!) It was in that exquisite martini bar that I further enhanced my palate, only this time for tasty beverages. I would develop recipes for the menu, a few of which were the bubble gum martini and the  Reese’s peanut butter martini-which was made with real Reese’s peanut butter.  One of my creations even made it onto a daytime television talk show, but of course the owner took all the credit for that drink-even though he only tasted each of my concoctions, during the experimental stage.

In addition to my martini and adult beverage creation, I am also a wine enthusiast. I’m not a wine snob anymore, thanks to travelling in  Gorges du Verdon (or Grand canyon du Verdon), in south-eastern France (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence). While we were heading out of the French Riviera down the  rim, we came across a little market and stopped for wine, cheese, bread and fruits. As we shopped my friend spotted a $2.99 bottle of red wine. At first glance we both dismissed it, but decided to buy one, in addition to the more costly bottles of red wine ($14.99) we had previously chosen. There were 7 of us, each of us chose a bottle of wine, all were over $14.99; except for the one bottle of $2.99 wine. After we drove off, down the canyon headed towards Castle Nans-les-Pins, we had a picnic. At that point we were too far away from the market, when we finally realized that the best wine of all was the $2.99 bottle. Each and every one of us wanted to drive back, to purchase a few cases to ship home. If it weren’t for the horrendous storm that befell us, we probably would have.

After many wine tastings and pairings I have learned that price and taste have nothing to do with each other. I have also learned which wine process causes my migraines, thanks to a Phoenician Sommelier. With that new-found knowledge, and while visiting the Sumner Peck Ranch Winery’s wine tasting salon in 2011, I asked for the age of the barrels their wines are fermented in. Neither the owner Carolan Peck (sweet lady) nor the wine maker who sat across from her knew it; but Carolan was eager to know why I was asking such a question. After my brief explanation on the effects of the barrels, which are not free of their tannin’s, on migraines, they were both enlightened. A few minutes after heading outside to the patio, to enjoy our picnic of fresh fruits, locally made cheeses and nuts; Carolan Peck came out with a box of four small bottles and explained that her 2011 Cana One Chardonnay is fermented in stainless steel barrels and asked me to give them a try. This was another very educational trip, and a tasty one to boot.