Wine and Friends

Danby 75 Bottle Wine CoolerOne of my favorite things about wine is its ability to encourage a very communal and sharing atmosphere. Yes, the alcohol in wine can, of course, kick the social aspect of a gathering into high gear, but I’m speaking more about the inclination for wine lovers to want to share their favorite bottles with friends and family.

I have many great bottles in the “cellared” portion of my Danby 75 bottle Wine Cooler and many others that are ready in the near-term, yet I rarely open those bottles on a normal weeknight. People save bottles of wine for special occasions all the time, it’s one of the main things you read about around the holidays in all of those adds for Champagne and nice Napa Cabs or red Bordeaux’s.

Yet I’m speaking more about the people at a particular occasion, not the “occasion,” itself. The reason to open a special bottle is provided by those loved ones that are present, they make the occasion special. I save these bottles that are nice and ready to go for the people that I like and that I know will enjoy them as much as I will enjoy them. A lot of my friends enjoy wine across all levels of interest from finding it an enjoyable quaff, all the way to the obsession that grips me.

I know which varietals and which producers they all enjoy and I purposefully hang onto the ones that I know they’ll like until we meet and “clink” again. The wines then figure to me more as a reminder of the people with whom I enjoy sharing my life and my favorite wine, rather than an experience yet to be enjoyed.

With that in mind, I just had another “people occasion” where I shared a rather nice bottle that I got from the Hess Collection wine club. I meet most Fridays after work with some fellow wine lovers to have a little happy hour tasting session of whatever wines we happen to have on hand. We all usually get a 2 oz tasting pour and just have a nice, mellow social gathering. It’s not a “special occasion,” so to speak, but it’s special to me, since this might be the only time all week that I get to see these characters!

Hess CollectionThis time I had actually saved a bottle from the latest Hess wine club shipment, the 2001 Hess Collection Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I love Hess’ Cabs and red blends the best, and I knew that this bottle would be a hit for the group. The wine is from a fantastic vintage, albeit, maybe a little too young to open, but what the heck…I have another bottle! An interesting side-note about labeling and appellations. This wine is labeled Napa Valley, yet all the grapes come from their Estate vineyards on Mt. Veeder. I think that they were probably worried that Mt. Veeder might not have the same cachet as Napa Valley on a label, but that’s just a guess. They now label this same wine as Mt. Veeder AVA.

Testarossa VineyardsAnother friend brought a really nice Pinot from Testarossa Vineyards. I tried it after the Cab, unfortunately, but the wine was still fantastic. She brought the 2005 Testarossa Vineyards Bien Nacido Vineyard Elder Series Pinot Noir. ’05 is a great vintage, all around, for Northern California wines and this wine certainly proves that fact. I looked into the whole “Elder Series” labeling and added a bit about that in the Personal Notes section of my review of the wine, if you follow the link above.

All in all, another nice gathering of friends sharing the wines that they love…apparently I’m not the only one that likes to share my wine!

Check out all of the links above for more information and reviews of the wines that I’ve listed.

Vinopanion: Ward Kadel - @drXeNo

View posts by Vinopanion: Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
Ward Kadel - @drXeNo is the founder of Vinopanion wine blog, former West Coast Ambassador & Staff Blogger for and former Le Wine Buff for (CIVB). He will try any and all wines and tends to write about the parts of his life that include virtually all of it! He and his wife grew up in Napa and Sonoma and they still live in the Napa Valley. Check out the wines he's recommended with his WKBadges. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Like #Vinopanion on Facebook. Contact him: "Ward at". Ward happily accepts samples but does not guarantee a review, positive or negative.


  1. Ward
    October 31, 2007

    BTW folks, I bought my wine cooler from a really great store in Walnut Creek, Wine Hardware ( They have an online store and brick and mortars in Sonoma and St. Helena, besides Walnut Creek. They have deals going all the time that are competitive across the web and they have really great service. Check out their selection of great books and wine accoutrements, as well!
    I’ve always had really get experiences there.

  2. Ward
    October 31, 2007

    Oh! And I received nothing (unfortunately) for that great review in the comment above! 😉

  3. […] article was originally published on 10/31/07 at Vinopanion – WineLog) […]

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