I solved a wine mystery recently, one that had been bothering me for years. Around the time that The Lady and I bought our home in the Bay Area, I was allowed able to buy a decent wine fridge, my Danby 75/100 bottle. Just as I was headed out the door from Wine Hardware with my affordable new wine storage, I spotted an interesting book on their shelves entitled, Cold Surveillance. It was interesting not that it was a set of wine memoir columns (right up my alley), but that it was written by a Wine Country private eye…¿que? I turned back to the counter and added the book to day’s purchases!
After safely storing my wine, I dived right into the book. It was fantastic. Great, seedy storytelling about the dark side of wine country folk, along with some crazy adventures with now-infamous sidekicks and good wine knowledge to mortar in the plotlines. I finished the book pretty rapidly and then promptly lent it out to a good vinopanion of mine…and then he lost it and I lost the name of both the author and the book!!
Fast-forward 5+ years later and I’m lying in bed on a Sunday, reading through one of the only wine print mags that I enjoy, Wine Business Monthly. Appropriately for this time of year, I had picked the issue up after registering at the inaugural Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Santa Rosa (WBC09 drops next week, woot!!). The last page featured a column that read with that same jaded, cynical view of a man who could only be a P.I. in the breadbasket of wine in Sonoma…yep, it was Jake Lorenzo! As it turns out, Jake has been writing a column for WBM for the last few years and I was thrilled to finally rediscover one of my favorite wine writers. I went online and purchased his first two books and re-read all of my favorite adventures of his, including “Freeway Painting” and the now infamous NVWT highjacking with Richard Branson aboard!
And with that, let’s move on to 5 Questions with the great Jake Lorenzo, head of Wine Patrol and defender of good, unpretentious Sonoma wine, burritos and creative mischief. If you would like to purchase any of Jake’s books or videos, visit the Wine Patrol Press store and stock up!
Jake Lorenzo: Wine at lunch and dinner and late night tequila does wonders for my disposition.
Jake Lorenzo: It wasn’t so much discovering that wine was something important, it was more that wine was just part of my life. I no longer make a big deal about it. It’s just something that is always around like salt and pepper, except that wine gets you high. Given the stress and information overload of today’s daily grind, I find a little wine each day is good for my soul.
3. Ward/WineLog (Twitter): You’ve had a number of crazy adventures in and around Sonoma over the years, alongside Chuy, Paraquat and various other wine compadres. My favorite happens to be the “Freeway Painting.” What are some your favorite escapades?
Jake Lorenzo: Hijacking the Napa Wine Train is the most famous thing we’ve done. We kidnapped Richard Branson and two busloads of European writers and took them to a Sonoma winery to cleanse their souls after they had been poisoned by spending a whole day in Napa. Anytime I’m in New Orleans is cause for celebration, and our most recent invention/sport is window diving. We run into the street in front of the Swiss Hotel Bar and dive in through open passenger side windows and introduce ourselves. Window diving requires at least 3 hours of heavy drinking before the first leap.
4. Ward/WineLog (Twitter): You’re a fervent supporter of the smaller producer, the family producer and Sonoma producers, in general. Do you have any producers out of state that taste great after a long night stalking some unsavory character?
Jake Lorenzo: There is great wine to be had from all over the world. Argentina has Altocedro Malbec and Tempus Alba Preludio Malbec. I’m really enjoying the 2007 Côtes du Rhône. Washington and Oregon have great wines. I’ve had decent Riesling from Michigan and passable red wine from New York. The key, given my current financial situation is that the wine be less than $15 per bottle.
5. Ward/WineLog (Twitter): You currently write a column for one of the few wine print mags that I actually enjoy, Wine Business Monthly. Do you have any other books, writings or private eye gigs in the works?
Jake Lorenzo: My biggest success has been The Tequila Lover’s Guide to Mexico and Mezcal. After more than two years of being out of print I hope to have more copies available by August 1. Jake Lorenzo has Cold Surveillance and Further Surveillance available now. I hope to have a new collection called Continued Surveillance out by October.