Thursday, May 27, 2010

When the going gets tough...

So, my last blog post found me in a state of caffeine-fueled ecstasy. Today, I'm in a different mood. When I got into my office this morning, I had an email waiting for me from the County Licensing office. There is a county ordinance that states that they will not approve liquor licenses within 300 feet of any church, playground, school, or public park. We have a church directly to the Northeast of us, but there was a huge parking lot in between the two buildings. I thought that it would be plenty of room. Well, as it turns out the nearest corners of the two buildings are about 260' apart. The inspector from the public works department felt this was too close, and told the County to deny our license.

Not good.

So, I'm in a spot where I need to relocate my office and warehouse, which will put this whole project on hold for a couple of weeks. I'm not as concerned right now as I was this morning (I was in a panic). I know that "God can't steer a parked car", and that the only direction I can move is forward.

So, if you have some cheap, temperature controlled warehouse space somewhere in South County, give me a buzz.

Until then, cheers!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Exciting times

So, the reason I'm so excited today (besides about 44 oz of coffee so far) is that I'm typing this on my brand new laptop, sitting at my desk in my new office for my new company. I'm slowly putting together a portfolio of awesome wines to be able to sell to my friends in the industry, and my wife is supportive of it all. These are great times, and I feel like I'm living the American dream. My dad is even learning distributor lingo like "FOB", "5 on 51", and "terms are net 30".

Last night, I took a new supplier around to a couple of my favorite spots- 33 wine bar, Taste, and Sidney St. Cafe. Please continue to support these places- they are locally owned, have incredible drink and food menus, and are part of why the STL food and drink scene is gaining national attention.

Tonight, it's patty melt night at the Harsha household- Sounds like a great reason to open a nice bottle of red.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Impromptu Syrah Tasting, Anniversary, Epiphany

Friday night, some of us wine geeks got together, and tried some really cool wines. We mainly were focused on Syrah, but here's the lineup:

08 Abbazia di Novacella Kerner
05 Creu de Lavit Xarella (weird)
04 Garretson "Craic" Syrah
07 K Vintners Motor City Kitty
03 Alban "Reva" Syrah (killer!!!)
04 Duval "Entity" Shiraz
07 White Knight Viognier (lots of heat/glycerine)
06 Cakebread Reserve Chard
07 Guigal St Joseph (I nailed this one blind- even down to the producer)
04 Oliver Hill Shiraz (I nailed this one, too)
07 Clape Cornas (My wine of the night)
04 Bonserine Cote Rotie (#2 pick of the night)
06 Petrolo Torrione
07 Lucia Susan's Vineyard Syrah

Once again, not a dog in the bunch- I'm glad we were taking small sips, as that night could have gotten ugly. Pizza from Ferraro's late helped, too.

Last night, we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary (with some HdV Syrah, and Gruet Demi Sec). I love you, honey- Happy Anniversary!

As for Epiphany Wines stuff, we got the phone connected today- 631-1919, and I'm frustrated with Fed Ex for saying they tried to deliver my new computer, but didn't. We're having our first supplier in town to check out the market, which is kind of cool. I'll post updates.

Thanks for reading, and Cheers!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Time to hit the Hair Saloon

If you are a guy, and you can handle moving beyond the $9.95 haircut special at Slip-n-Clip, then head on down to the Hair Saloon for Men. I go to the one on Tesson Ferry, but they are sprinkled all over the Lou. I really do like these places- you walk in, and are immediately offered a non-alcoholic beverage. The ladies who cut hair there are friendly, and do a nice job. If you're feeling extra special that day, there is a package that includes a scalp massage, a neck massage, one of those towels with the stuff that makes your face feel "minty" and they will even shine your shoes. All of this, while you are in an environment that is very Men's Clubby (not strip-clubby)- lots of dark wood, green, and pictures of hounds chasing foxes.

You know what will also make you feel like a man? Storybook Antaeus. I used to sell this wine, and I think it's a lot better than people give it credit for. It's a blend of zin, cab, petite verdot, and merlot hailing from Napa. The thing is that restaurants don't know where to put it on their wine lists ("other reds" is the death toll for many-a-good wine"), and retailers don't know where to put it in their shops. Add to that the fact that the label is kind of ugly, and you have a wine marketing nightmare. However, the juice is solid! Think notes of pepper, raspberry, currant, and plum, without being overly tannic. It's not a wine to age for 10 years. Instead, do what we did last night- cook up some Patty Melts out of Cooking Light magazine, pull the cork, and enjoy.

That's all folks, time to go get my flowing locks trimmed, and decorate my new office.

Cheers, and have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Laptops, and licenses, and warehouses, oh my!

My appologies for not posting every day this week. As it turns out, starting your own company takes a lot of work and time! Here's where we stand, though at Epiphany Wines. I received my Federal permit today, which is a huge step. I have also procured warehouse and office space. The County signed off on my re-occupancy permit and my merchant's license. I have submitted my paperwork for my county liquor license, but that could take several weeks to get. After I get that, I can apply for my state license. Whew! Besides all of the paperwork stuff, it's also necessary to work on website design, get phones installed, get insurance, buy office supplies and a computer, work on the website, get business cards made up, get shirts made, etc, etc, etc! Oh yeah, I also have to get wineries to sign with me, so I have something to sell! This is an exciting time, and I'm happy to be doing the work.

In other news, I tried the "Lucy" rose last night, from the makers of Lucia. It's pinot noir based, and delicious. I got it at Sasha's- go check it out.


Monday, May 17, 2010

...And So It Begins

One thing about quitting your job is that there is a lot of speculation about what you are going to do next. Well, speculate no more my friends. Many of the readers of this blog are within my immediate circle of trust, and know that my father and I are going to start our own wine distributorship. Yep, you read that correctly. Pops and I are going to submit the paperwork to get our license to sell wine at wholesale to restaurants and retailers in the Saint Louis and Kansas City area. This is a huge step for me, as today is literally the first day since I was 14 that I'm not officially employed. I have to admit I'm a wonderful combination of excited, scared, worried, sick, elated, happy, sad, and stressed. I made out my "to do" list for today, and it has 19 items on it! So, without any further adue, here is the logo that we will be using for the new company:

Like it? I do too. Stay tuned, as I will be posting about getting this company up and running, and telling about the successes and mistakes that will inevitably be involved.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

French Press- There IS a Difference

Many of you know that my sweet wife got me a really nice Bodum french coffee press for my birthday last month. I really looked into how to use the thing, asking some of my "coffee geek" friends for advice. I now have my morning system down, and rather enjoy the cups of coffee that it produces- they are dark, rich, full of flavor, and don't have a hint of bitterness.

Today, out of sheer laziness, I dumped the remaining scoops of coffee from my Kaldi bag into my regular coffee maker, threw some water in, and pressed "ON". Mistake. The coffee that came out was watery, a touch metallic, insipid, and bitter. Oh Lord. I'm already a snob about wine, shoes, and steaks. Now, do I have to add Coffee to the list?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Splashin' Slash

This last weekend, the wife and I went over to Kansas City, stayed the night with my folks on Friday night (where we had a great time hanging out with my parents and brother), then on to Lawrence for a wedding reception on Saturday night. The reception was held at the new Oread Hotel near the KU campus (I don't recommend staying there), and the band that performed was called Sellout. This was an amazing party band. Each member of the band was dressed up like a famous person- Wonder Woman, Tina Turner, Slash, Gene Simmons, Lenny Kravitz, etc, and the band played great dance music from the 70's, 80's and 90's. Check them out at

At any rate, during the party, I had gone to the men's room. It was a small "two holer", and there were three people in there- me, "Slash" from the band, and a third guy we'll call Drunk Fratboy. I went into the bathroom, set my cup of inexpensive beer down on a small table, did my business, and washed my hands. I then went to dry my hands, and the fun began. I think the hand dryer was powered by the jet engine from a 747 or something. It threw out the most amazingly powerful stream of air ever. Unfortunately for all three of us in the bathroom, I had accidentally put my beer on a table directly below the hand dryer. When I stuck my hands under there to be dried, the dryer shoved a blast of air directly down into my beer, 4 feet below. This caused my 20 oz of Bud Light to foam up, and spray out, soaking Slash and Drunk Fratboy. I turned around, in a mixture of embarassment, horror, and laughter. Slash looked down at his soaked shirt, looked up at me, looked back down, looked up, and shouted "Dude! That was AWESOME!" and gave me a double high five. I said "man, I'm so sorry" and Drunk Fratboy just started laughing and gave me a fist bump.

I guess all's well that ends well.

Have a great week, folks. Cheers!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Times they are a-changin'

So today, I did one of the crazier things I have ever thought about. I turned in my two weeks notice. Yep, at the tail end of a recession, I quit a well-paying job. I worked at Premier Cru for 3 years, and it is just time to launch off into a new adventure. I have a "master plan" in place, it just isn't appropriate to talk about it until I am officially unemployed. Stay tuned for more details, though!

Until then, Cheers!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Get Thee to Five

Last night I was reminded how much I really enjoy Five Restaurant. It is at the corner of Dagget and Hereford on the Hill, but isn't a "Hill Restaurant". Nope, no red and white checkered tablecloths, wicker-covered chianti bottle candle holders, or menus covered in plastic at this joint. Anthony Devoti and his crew are kicking out American food with a touch of French flair, and they really make an effort to source locally and organically.

I think the thing that I love about this place is the fact that it is truly a family venture. I walked in, and immediately Anthony's dad and mom said hello, and the bartender Glenn started making me a drink. Even though they had closed the kitchen down, they still brought out a killer charcuterie plate when the Mrs arrived. You just don't get that type of welcome and service at most places.

So, I charge you- get out to visit Five sometime soon.

As a side note, we did wander up to Guido's after we left Five, as we were still hungry. This is a funky place- they serve Spanish Tapas, and quasi-Italian food. We got a goat cheese appetizer that was decent, and a thin crust pizza that was pretty good. Definitely check it out, if you are within walking distance at 10:00 on a week night.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Zane Lamprey coming to town

Aren't you excited? I am. Wait, you don't know who Zane Lamprey is? That's okay, I'll explain. He is the stand up comedian/actor/host that was on a show called Three Sheets that aired on MOJO (before it went out of business), and then later on FLN (which is now becoming the Cooking Channel). Most recently, episodes have been shown on Travel Channel, but it doesn't look likely that they will pick the show up for making more episodes. The premise of the show is that Zane travels all around the world, learning the customs involving drinking wherever he goes. The first time you watch the show, you'll probably think it's goofy. Then you will be slowly drawn in, much like the tractor beams on the Death Star, and you will never turn back. The show is insightful, and full of information.

Zane is currently touring the country doing a comedy act called "Drinking made easy", and will be filming for a show on HD Net, which will air in September by the same name. I think that some of us fans of "sippin" should head down to the Firebird on June 25, and welcome him to the Lou. Tickets are $20.

Who's in?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fantastic weekend

Hey friends,
Sorry I didn't post yesterday, I was helping friends pick up 1100 lbs of beef. Seriously.

Anyway, this last weekend was a really good one for Sippin Saint Louis. It started on Friday night, when the mrs and I had a bottle of sparkling rose, and watched the storm roll in. About the time we heard the 3rd tornado siren, we headed to the basement. This resulted in drinking Portuguese red wine, and playing Yahtzee (I was victorious) until the weather chilled out. Fun night!

Saturday night was fun in a different sort of way- I had a friend invite me to his house for mint juleps, and to watch the Derby. As a side note, is the winner "Super Saver" sponsored by a coupon company or something? Just sayin'. This was followed by going to "Fight Night" at another friends house. All guys, all big steaks on the grill, all fantastic red wines. Here's the line-up we had:

06 Montepeloso Eneo
99 Paolo Scavino "Bric del Fiasc" Barolo
98 Tenuta La Poderina Brunello
01 E&E Shiraz
06 Tempier Bandol
99 Dunn Cab (Are these wines EVER ready to drink?)
02 Jacky Truchot Morey St. Denis
95 Remirez de Ganuza Rioja Reserva (out of magnum)
06 Glaetzer Anaparenna Shiraz
95 Beaucastel CdP
96 Chateau d'Ampuis Cote Rotie (easily wine of the night)
95 Tommasi Amarone
95 Insignia (drank like silk)
97 Armstrong Shiraz (the most menthol/eucalyptus I have ever tasted in a wine)
05 Booker Vertigo (Eliot, Bill, and Tony would love this wine- Syrah based, and massive)
03 Giorgio Primo Toscana
07 Lucia Gary's Vineyard Pinot (this wine is just plain delicious)
01 Ojai Santa Rita Hills Pinot

As you can see, there wasn't a dog in the bunch. Thanks to Bill for this invite- I really enjoyed it.

Y'all have a great week- drink something good for Wine Wednesday!