Cheers! Wine Consultants

By Dan & Krista Stockman


If you've read our wine columns for any length of time, you know they're as much about life as they are about wine.

Part of the reason is because life gets in the way of things and we don't get to write as often as we'd like, so when we do, we often write about how wine provides not only a nice respite for those times, but also gives us a reason to slow down and savor all we have.

The other reason our columns are as much about life as about wine is because we have always believed that, at its heart, wine should be a part of your life, not an escape from it. Good wine makes you think about the flavors and how they might have come to be. Was it the soil? The climate? The art of the winemaker?

Smell is uniquely connected to memory, and since 70 percent of our sense of taste comes from smell, wine can also be a big connection. There are wines, such as Klinker Brick's Old Ghost Zinfandel from Lodi, Cal., that we have loved for years and enjoyed vintage after vintage. And so each time we open one, we're transported to the special meals we've had it with, the very first time we tasted it, and the special times we've shared it – like when we found the Klinker Brick Winery in the vineyards outside Lodi and they were gracious enough to give us a tasting, even though they didn't have a tasting room yet. We'll never forget tasting their incredible wines in the garage with the barn cat that had adopted the family as his own.

There's an old saying that sometimes you get so busy smacking away the alligators that you forget to get out of the swamp. Parenting and full-time jobs can feel that way at times, but when we have wine with our meals, we find ourselves taking a moment to let go of the frustration of getting the food on the table and the kids around it and focus on the meal itself and how blessed we are to share it together.

That is why Open That Bottle Night has always meant so much to us, even though it's rare that we find ourselves in the position it was created for. The Tastings wine columnists at The Wall Street Journal, John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter created the event, held the last Saturday in February, to give people an excuse to open that bottle that's just too precious to drink. When we have very special bottles, we usually have a plan for them – such as the Bordeaux we have put away for when the kids graduate from college – so we don't usually have wines go bad because they're too special to open.

But Open That Bottle Night is still important for us [John and Dottie even included us in a column about the event], because it reminds us that you don't need a special occasion to open a special bottle – those bottles make the occasion special. And more importantly, it's not even the wine – no matter how great – that makes the event, it's the people you share it with, and the wine just reminds you to appreciate that fact.

This year – and this is not the first time – we aren't able to celebrate OTBN on the actual day because life has again gotten in the way, but we'll celebrate it a day later and it will mean just as much. And rather than being disappointed about the date on the calendar, it will be just another reminder that it's not the calendar that makes life's moments important.


Every night should be Open That Bottle Night