I got my Spring wine festival circuit kicked off with a wine seminar at Great Grapes Wine Fest in Cary, North Carolina on this past Saturday, April 17th. Over 30 North Carolina wineries were pouring their wines and all in all, there were some really delicious wines! I brought the book “I Drink on the Job” with me to sell, and even though there were about 100 people seated for my wine seminar from 3-4 pm, I only sold a handful, so lesson was learned – selling a book at a wine festival is going to be tough..On the other hand, it was a really special weekend for me because it was the first time I had ever spent real time in North Carolina. Yes, I had stopped a few times in the past during long drives, but I had never stayed there for a few days to get a sense of the place. And I’m a serious BBQ lover, I even own a Big Green Egg in my backyard in Georgetown, so I had to try some examples from the State.
During my stay in Cary (which is basically an upscale suburb of Raleigh), I decided to go into downtown Raleigh a few hours before my speaking engagement to see what it was about. I just happened to walk right into a few thousand dogs that were frolicking (and pooping all over the place!!) with their owners on a 3K dog walk through the city, below is a short video (less than 20 seconds).
(The guy almost got bit by the 3 dachsunds!!)
So of course, I started to get hungry for something to eat, and there just happened to be a BBQ and Blue Grass Festival a few blocks away at “The Pits” CueGrass Festival so I enjoyed me some ‘cue!
I had the pulled pork BBQ sandwich, and it was really good, definitely a keeper.
After that I headed back to the Cary Wine Fest to taste some Carolina wines and include them in my one hour seminar with “I Drink on the Job”.
The audience was very responsive to my message, but as is true with alot of these events, there were many different levels of knowledge and interest in attendance. My goal is to reach those who respond to my message – that wine shouldn’t be put on a pedestal, it’s something you enjoy to make a meal taste better. I really think my message is reaching the audience and possibly influencing more wine purchases, it’s very hard to tell. Unlike cooking and chefs, wine is poorly represented on TV and by the media in general – it just has a stodgy/academic air to it, and frankly most people get bored pretty fast when a wine professional talks about wine – you can tell by their glazed over faces. On the other hand, I think I’m on the cutting edge of a new world of wine entertainment where exciting new ways to approach wine are just evolving. Wine has often been associated with the arts such as Jazz and painting, but what about going in a completely different direction – what about introducing wine with magic or yoga or even hypnosis? I think if the stage drama-level is increased, then people might associate wine with more pizzazz in their life. I’ve seen enough photos of Chateaux, oak barrels, vineyards and grapes on the front labels of wines and their associated media to know that that is way too trite. I think I’m on to something, and I think if I stick with it, the audience will catch on, the media will follow and eventually more wine “entertainers” will appear in many guises.
And who knows, maybe even wine as comedy – it seems like wine and tragedy have already been covered – Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler