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I looked away for a moment and this week was just gone.  Easter Sunday was just a one-stoplight town on the highway of life this week, as I spent most of it on the injured list.  Tennis elbow, I guess can happen even if you don’t play tennis.  And of course it would be my right hand (my wife told me, “there goes your sex life!”)

Ah, marriage.

At times I can be a real complainer, just bitching about whatever.  I’ve no idea why I have the compunction to bitch.  I’d say it was inherent in human DNA, but my Dad never did.  He was really, really sick, and I don’t ever remember him complaining about it, ever.  My wife is like that too.  She is usually six degrees of miserable and she rarely even lets me know she’s remotely uncomfortable.  But me, I am singing infinite choruses of bitchiness on an almost-daily basis.  Sometimes I find myself doing it just to plug up the unending processions of silence around here (hard to believe, right?) but most of the time, I just forget to turn on my inner dialogue filter and the bile just explodes from my pointy little head.

Yet between my injury and the muted jocularity of the Easter Bunny’s arrival, I was reminded of Dave Chappelle’s belief that the Internet is a dirty place when hackers became squatters to the depsfinewine.com website, conducting their clandestine raids on unsuspecting virtual neighbors, doing so for some time.  The dirty sumbitches – I wish someone would invent a boomerang bug, one that would infect the infector ten-fold, maybe even go as far as reaching out from their laptops and servers and painfully removing their naughty bits from the rest of their scummy animated corpses.

Ah, the World Wide Web.

Wine Reviewed: 34 + 1 beer.

Wine of the Week: HARVIESTOUN OLA DUBH 16 YEAR ALE AGED IN WHISKY CASK.  Gotta give it to the beer this week!

Good news in the wine biz: Friends from Kentucky wineries Stonebrook and Atwood get a little love in the latest article about Kentucky wines.

Bad news in the wine biz:  Budweiser and MillerCoors merging?  The rumor mill is heating up even more.

Disturbing news in the wine biz: Francis Ford Coppola gets the KNOB OF THE WEEK award for going after people using the word “Tavola”. How in the hell can you trademark the generic Italian word for table?  What an a-hole!  Proof positive lawyers rule the world and they want to own your ass and then ruin it.

On the homefront: I’ve often thought about giving up the wine biz and becoming a children’s book writer, using the 8 cats my wife and I shepherd as inspiration.  Whether it is my recluse 16-year old Sera – named after Elizabeth Shue’s character in LEAVING LAS VEGAS, my 12-year old walking teddy bear Kosmo, the miniature yeti that is my 9 year Moonshine, or the fiercesome twosome, 5 year old Wiley, our anointed King Baby, and the rescue, 3 year old dog-like-a-cat Phineas.

Whenever anyone says cats have zero personality, I look at them like they are quite possibly the most idiotic human beings on earth.  I have often told my wife we should just get rid of DirecTV and just watch our cats until bedtime.  They are positively hilarious.

Phineas alone does things that have us laughing for hours.  He sneaks around the house, running at you sideways, cocking his head to the side like a dog hearing a dog whistle.  Or Wiley, announcing his entrance into each room with boisterous squeaking noises (not meows).  Watching them all stalk a bug is fascinating.  They inevitably corral the poor insect, encircling it and playing a bit of hackeysack with them before their inevitable demise.

I always think that whenever my wife and I go somewhere, they turn on the TV, empty the fridge, crack open a few bottles of my wine, and get absolutely hammered watching The Ghost and the Darkness or Cats & Dogs:  The Revenge of Kitty Galore.

What is on my playlist?: Old Kate Bush.

What wine(s) is (are) impressing me right now at the store?: Dunham Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007.

Recommended reads, blog or otherwise:  I’ve just been reading blogs, CNN.com and the Sunday paper recently.  All the things to make a person really depressed about the world.

What’s on tap for this week?: It is so far up in the air right now, I can’t even see it.


commentary recap


This week has been nothing short of what I believe warp speed is like.  For all you non-Trekkies out there, warp speed is what the starships travel at to get through large expanses of the universe in extremely short amounts of time.  It was as if I blinked once on Tuesday last week, and one more blink – BOOM!  It’s April 3rd!

In my professional life, I am trying to mend fences as it were, and putting to rest a lot of low-self-esteem demons.  I ran into a former colleague and still, good friend at the store over the weekend, and squashed the tales from certain folks that this person moved on because of me.  Now, I realize I can be a royal pain in the ass most of the time, but knowing that this person quit because of something I did has really haunted me.  The reason for this person’s departure was in fact, what makes most of us move on – money and opportunity.  A huge sense of relief hit me all day after talking with this person.  I have felt like a world-class prick for what has been going on 5, maybe 6 years.  And come review time, it has been eluded to me that I made this person head for the door.  Which has made the current situation with my current partner in the department all the more problematic.

Now, I have talked about how rough I have been on Shannon, and indeed it’s true.  It has been a really difficult adjustment.  I’ve worked in family businesses before, and have never seen them go anywhere but down.  Yet my attitude has become a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, and quite frankly has made me pretty tired of it all.  So I have made some considerable efforts to meet Shannon half-way, and with any luck, I think we will finally start making for a good team professionally.

Sometimes I can be a real stubborn prick (just ask my wife).

Wine Reviewed: 39 + 1 bourbon.

Wine of the Week: TIE:  Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva Finca Ygay 2005 and Vina Ventisquero Cabernet Sauvignon Grey Single Block 2009.

Good news in the wine biz: The folks over at VinTank have compiled the list of the 9 most important wine bloggers at this very moment – a list I am fairly certain will never boast my name.  Big cheers though for the mention of my West Coast wine brother, Jameson Fink, who was singled out as the one to watch.  Check out his blog at http://jamesonfink.com/.

Bad news in the wine biz:  The vine shortage in California may mean higher wine prices.  But then, this news story may be the product of a Republican writing staff, I don’t know.

Disturbing news in the wine biz: Actually this doesn’t fall under DISTURBING so much as SURPRISING, Banfi Vintners is expanding their international wine empire with the announcement of their impending acquisition of Kenwood Vineyards of Sonoma County.   After having been at this so long, this merger shouldn’t really be that much of a shock, but like a five-year-old at Christmas time, these news announcements never fail to surprise.

On the homefront: It seems like every morning, my wife and I talk about the same thing – what she did the night before in her sleep.  For those of you new to the Grape Tree, my wife deals with a number of health issues, and as part of her treatment, she has been prescribed many pills.  This in conjunction with a lifelong problem with sleep (sleep walking, apnea, fitful dreams, talking in her sleep, etc., etc.) makes for quite the interesting night on an almost-regular basis.

Last night wasn’t particularly event-filled; about all she really did was carry on as if to be in an argument with individuals who, in her words, “had British accents.”  99% of every night at the Keith house consists of only my wife and I, and the high energy play of 6 hyperactive cats (as well as our office, which hosts our two “old lady” cats who no longer like to socialize with their brethren).

She has seen doors that aren’t there, heard partying that wasn’t ever there, had conversations at length with people from all over the world, and tried to wander around the house as if she is foraging through the forest.  At times, it can be downright hysterical.  Other times, like when she has fallen down the steps (I’d estimate 10 times, half of those ending in a concussion, broken bones, or in one nasty case, 15+ stitches in her mouth) as well as falling in the bathroom and breaking the toilet once.

I sometimes think I am constantly being tested by the Man Upstairs on my endurance and patience, because though I project myself as being a patient man, sometimes I am far from it.  My wife has so many bruises and scars from falling down between nocturnal restroom visits, or falling off the bed in fits of unconscious panic, yet when I recount her bedtime shenanigans, she almost always finds them hilarious.  And she has given me carte blanche to retell those tales to you.  I think she’s gonna be sorry.

What is on my playlist?: I heard this band Halestorm on the radio the other day and I have become an instant fan.  They are simply awesome!  And I’ve been listening to old Flatt and Scruggs; reminds me of my Grandpa Keith playing banjo on his patio, which was on the other side of the lake from my house growing up.  The sound of summer coming…

What wine(s) is (are) impressing me right now at the store?: Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2009 (I am just as surprised as you are about this admission) and Roederer Estate Brut Rose Anderson Valley NV (a gorgeous pink sparkler from California).

Recommended reads, blog or otherwise:  Picked up FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS by Hunter S. Thompson again.  Just started rereading it.  A truly hilarious read.

What’s on tap for this week?: I have absolutely no idea, but isn’t that for the best?

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