As expected, it has been hectic at the store. The weather didn’t cooperate for the 4th of July, but that didn’t stop people from coming to visit our beautiful island. Every year, I get caught off-guard with specific categories of wine that take-off during the summer months. You’d think after all the years I’ve been doing this, I would have things dialed in. Who knew that everyone and their uncle would be buying sparkling wine for the 4th this year. That section got wiped out almost immediately. I prepared for red wine to sell since the weather, which was forecast to be cooler and rainy, would favor Cabs and red blends. But no; everyone seemed to be in a festive mood and wanted to pop the bubbles or have an Aperol spritzer. One thing is sure; people can be unpredictable!

Another thing I didn’t take into consideration is the price of gasoline. Boaters were not in abundance as they usually would be this time of year. At six or more bucks a gallon, I don’t even want to think about how much it would cost to fill up a good-sized yacht. Therefore, the boxed wine sales waned (yes, even people with yachts buy boxed wine), which I did not anticipate. Needles to say, I have enough boxed wine left over after the 4th to get me through the next couple of weeks. Even a seasoned vet like myself can’t think of everything.

My wife Susie and I are getting very excited about our upcoming trip to France, which includes a stop in Paris and then on to the Rhone Valley. We will head to Lyon first, then on to Avignon and ending in Nice. Neither of us has been to the heart of the Rhone Valley, although Susie has been to Nice in the past. Of course, there will be some winery visits involved. It will be very close to harvest, so I don’t expect to chat with any winemakers. Most likely and hopefully I will have a tour guide who will show me around the winery. Good enough for me! Susie is fervently planning our itinerary, she is the best.

I have been quiet on my YouTube channel lately. I appreciate how important it is to put up fresh content on a regular basis. However, it is always difficult during the summer months due to the increase in demands on my schedule. I did shoot an interesting episode on vegan wines with Mike Sharadin who owns a vegan restaurant in the heart of Friday Harbor. I also put out an episode featuring Greek whites. Greek whites (sans Retsina) are starting to gain in popularity, and the two I reviewed are quite interesting.

In the next few episodes, I will focus on wines from Portugal, one of the most misunderstood wine regions in the world, yet they produce some of the best values you can find. Of course, Port and Vinho Verde are well known, but that is just scratching the service of wines Portugal produces. I have a feeling it’s the grape varietals that throw people off. What the hell is Fernao Pires, Roupeiro, Arinto or Loureiro? Those are a few white varietals that come out of this country. For red varietals you may see on the label Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Castelao or Trincadeira. Consumers sometimes avoid buying something they are uncomfortable with, mainly because they don’t know what it is. I’ve put out a few stacks of Portuguese wines at the store with measured success. I love it when people experiment with new things, especially when it comes to wine. The cool thing about Portugal is the wines are, in most cases, priced right. It will be fun to feature them on my YouTube channel and hopefully pique people’s interest to go out and purchase a few bottles and expand their palate horizons.


Stan The Wine Man

About Stan The Wine Man

I am a blue collar wine guy who has been in the biz for over twenty years. I work at a store in a tourist destination stop. I work hard at finding the best wine for the money. I love the challenge of learning my customer's palate so I can find the best wine for them, whether it is Petrus or white zinfandel. Cheers!
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