Every so often, we receive an email from one of our great wine club members or customers that can best be described as his or her epiphany wine journey. Often, it’s specific to a particular vintage of Far Niente. Though certainly not always. Each story is unique. For some people, there was an “Aha!” moment in which wine transformed from a mere beverage into something rich with meaning. For others, wine cast its spell slowly, over time.
Inspired by our members’ incredible wine “love stories,” we decided to launch #MyFarNiente. We were in the process of gathering our first stories when, out of the blue, we received a note from @WineTravlr about his epiphany wine, a bottle of 1995 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
We asked @WineTravlr, whose real name is Mike, if he would share his full story with us. Here it is, below:
“Back in the late 90’s to early 2000’s, my dad and uncle owned and operated a private jet charter business based in Long Beach, CA. During my summer and holiday breaks, I would often go to work for them. I was a student at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo at the time, where I was studying architecture and playing for the men's soccer team.
One winter break, we flew a client from our FBO in Long Beach to the East Coast and then back for the holidays. As I helped load his G-IV with luggage and other goodies, I noticed he had a beautiful wooden box of wine. I didn't pay close attention to it at the time because I was 21 and on a college student’s beverage budget. I was dabbling in wine, but drinking what I could afford: Fetzer, Meridian, Yellow Tail, etc.
On the return leg of his trip, however, our client was so pleased with the service he received from our company, he pulled two bottles of wine from the wooden box. He gave the first to his flight attendant and the second bottle to the staff of the charter business - which that night, consisted of me, my dad, my uncle and the pilots.
To toast a great trip and the end of the holiday, we decided to have "a glass" of wine with the pilots after they had wrapped up their paper work and post-flight duties. "A glass" equaled whatever vessel we could find in the hangar: red solo cups.
As I dipped my nose into the cup to take in the aromas, I was blown away. With each sip, I couldn't help but think, just, WOW, so this is what great wine is like. To this day I remember every detail of that Napa Valley Cabernet, from the color to the aromatics, flavors, texture, everything.
I went back to school, changed my major from Architectural Engineering to Agricultural Business with an emphasis on Wine & Viticulture and never looked back. As summer rolled around, I made the difficult phone call back home to my dad to let him know I would NOT be coming home to work for the charter company, but staying in San Luis Obispo and slugging hoses, cleaning tanks and punching down fruit for the wine harvest.
It was a deliciously slippery slope from there. From harvest to tasting rooms, I ultimately decided I didn't want to make wine. Because wine had such a profound impact on my life, however, I wanted to share that with as many people as I could. I went down the path of Tasting Room/DTC to Marketing, studying for my Sommelier and CSW credentials along the way. I wanted to learn as much as I could, taste as much as I could and ultimately share and turn people on to something that maybe they never considered before.
From friends and family, to general consumers and tasting room patrons, to distributors, trade and even our own sales team, to now starting my own personal wine-related social media accounts, I want to tell a wine's story. Because every wine has one – some more adventurous or romantic than others, but all unique. The beauty of wine is found in the place(s), the people, the techniques, the fact that you can take the exact same clone of a single grape variety, grow it in adjacent vineyard sites, use the exact same viticultural and winemaking practices, and then witness how the wines express themselves in completely different ways.
With the exception of a quick sip during last April’s Pebble Beach Food & Wine Experience, it has been years since I've had the opportunity to savor and enjoy any of the beautiful Far Niente wines, but I hope to visit the winery on my next Napa trip. With a 16-month-old and a new baby on the way, that trip may be later rather than sooner. But it’s on the bucket list, to be sure!”
We cannot wait to help @WineTravlr cross a long overdue Napa Valley visit off his bucket list. We also cannot wait to share more stories like Mike’s! Over the next several months, we’re inviting people to share their Aha Wine Moments with us on our Instagram feed. Want to share your story? Tag your Instagram photos with #MyFarNiente and include your story in the caption.
Make sure your account is public, and we’ll share the most liked photos on our blog and Instagram feed each month. We’ll also pin every photo to our Your Far Niente Pinterest board.
Cheers and happy snapping!
Looking to taste and create your own epiphany wine moment at home? Our Far Niente Cave Collection is a great place to start.
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