Grateful Blending

Giving thanks today and every day



Years ago, when Portland hosted the Wine Bloggers Conference, I was invited to a post-event winery excursion to R. Stuart & Co. A busload of wine bloggers headed to downtown McMinnville where we participated in an educational seminar led by Rob Stuart. We were able to barrel-taste wine from various Willamette Valley vineyards, while gaining a better understanding of each one’s terroir.

As the group listened and learned, Stuart’s wife, Maria, made sure the tables were set, not only with wine glasses, but also beakers and test tubes… oh, and I’m sure food was involved because Maria would never host without a small feast.

We were encouraged to form groups of four and again listen, this time to the basic science of wine blending. On the table stood samples of each wine from the various barrels we had tasted. Our team discussed exemplary examples and how best to create the perfect Pinot Noir cuvée blend. Experimentation ensued. We decided to start over, requested more help, and eventually settled on a blend that immensely satisfied us all. Stuart tasted and approved of it as well.

Each group was asked to name their wine blend, to be bottled, labeled and shared with members months later. Inspired by the Stuarts’ generosity, we christened our Pinot Noir “Gratitude.”

That afternoon marked the beginning of my relationship with the Stuarts, equally welcoming each time we met again. Always generous with their time, knowledge, wine– and Maria with warm hugs– it’s no surprise her death last year hit me and many others particularly hard.

As we enter the holiday season, I am grateful for countless moments in my life… including the afternoon I learned to blend wine. These days, my last bottle of “Gratitude” now represents so much more. One never knows who, how or when an indelible impression will be made.

My wish? May your table be filled with delicious food and memorable wines shared with loved ones, not only during the holidays but throughout the year.

Web Design and Web Development by Buildable