That's What SHE Said: First the Cork and Now the Bottle
The rumors, events, people, and stories keeping the Mesa interesting
Stone Brewing Co. are pioneers once again, this time bringing wine on tap to the masses. | Photo by Amanda Caniglia
Rumor Has It...
Bartender! I’ll take a glass of wine on draft. Say what? Yep. Wine on draft. Where? How? Who? Well who else but our favorite mavericks and pioneers of the craft beer movement—Stone Brewing Co. While at a recent SD Brewer’s Guild Meeting on behalf of the Mesa Project, I reconnected with Stone’s Chief of Staff Ian Wendlandt. Before flying off to Berlin to supervise the construction of Stone in Deutsch-landia, Wendlandt was instrumental in masterminding the SDBG Beer summit. This summit brought local craft beer professionals together with local leaders to establish San Diego as thee craft beer destination. And they have succeeded. While catching up, I mentioned the Mesa project has similar objectives: to redefine our region on a global scale, ultimately driving economic development. Wendlandt then leaned over and one-upped me, mentioning Stone now serves wine on draft…come again?
According to Wendlandt and his team at Stone Liberty Station, wine on tap has been a hit. First and foremost, it allows the company to stick with their commitment to freshness. Wine on draft comes in the skinny kegs—aka six-barrel kegs—and lasts up to 3 months. Bar manager Mason Keeling's explanation, which we joked is really the perfect tag line for this new phenomenon, is “the last glass is as fresh as the first.” And I got to taste test to prove it! A beautiful Albarino. The brewing company’s commitment to freshness is a cornerstone of their philosophy. It’s why they opened on the East Coast in Virginia and now in Berlin. They want to deliver fresh beer to their fans worldwide. And to do that, they need the beer to be made closer to their beloved customers on the East Coast and in Europe. Along with their commitment to beer, Stone is adamant about serving fresh food and wine at their restaurants and beer gardens. While sipping on my perfectly chilled white, Ian told us that some companies are even beginning to can wine. Didn’t we just have this huge debate over canned beers?
Does this mean bottles are goin’ bye-bye? As someone who’s married to a Swiss-Italiano, this seems like a crime. And my thoughts? First the cork, and now the bottle? Why? Won’t this destroy the wonderful ritual of uncorking the bottle at the table for our customers? To avoid the disappointment and to transition customers to a new way of serving wine, they avoid the tear shed by serving the wine in tiny decanters. Brilliant. Yes, I love my wine to be uncorked tableside by a handsome waiter with an accent, but fancy 6.5oz decanters work, too. And then I start to think of it from the business side. On a busy night at the café, twist caps are my new best friend. And if we had a wine on tap, we would be able to control our inventory and save considerably on cost. Less waste and no corked bottles or worries about sun and temperature-controlled storage. Finally, re-usable stainless steel barrels are more environmentally-friendly, which is always a huge step in the right direction.
Yes, other restaurants are following the new trend. What makes Stone’s wine on draft so special? Since Stone cranks such high volume at Liberty Station they are able to meet the demand with their distributors and can offer exclusive kegs on tap. In other words, they can offer wines you can’t find at other restaurants or Trader Joe’s. They truly are ahead of the curve. It will be interesting to try this own concept at Bella Vista; but I am down for a little R&D road trip to Virginia and Berlin to continue testing Stone’s freshness. Who’s coming with me?
Food For Thought
Sunday I was back at the Salk Science & Music Series, only this time, I had my six-year old sidekick with me. The concert featured twenty-six year old violinist Asi Matathias and fellow youngster pianist Victor Stanislavsky, an absolutely adorable duo. This concert was upbeat in the world of classical music and a perfect opportunity to expose Leo to the fine arts. We also thought having two young artists on stage would intrigue our young concert-goer. When Leo stepped in to the auditorium and saw the young men on stage, he lit up with excitement. Instantly, he began imitating violinist Asi Matathias, while of course, shakin’ his bummy. Deep breath…oh god was this a good idea? After making it to our seats, Leo sat there quietly, completely engulfed in the experience…mesmerized by the young artists. Exhale…inevitably, that lasted about a solid five minutes. It’s not that he wasn’t enjoying the music; it was that, as a parent, I felt he had to sit there silent as a mouse so he wouldn’t take away from the experience of other audience members.
We headed out for intermission, hit the cookie bar, high fived Joan and Irwin and gave some hugs to Peter Salk. The plan was to take Leo home and be back in time for Act II. Little did we know one of Leo’s best buddies from first grade, Mark, and his little brother, were also sitting in the audience. Leo quickly changed his mind, wanting to stay and sit next to his buddies for the second half of the concert. Yeah, right! So off we went, Leo dragging his feet, feeling defeated. I was torn, but felt responsible to not let the second act have three surprise backup dancers rockin’ a sugar high from cookies and lemonade.
Drop Leo off, race back to the Salk, run back down those marble stairs—in high heels and gown mind you—and back to my seat. Relieved, I can now lose myself in the music. And where does the violin take me? Matathias and Staislavsky’s sweet rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir d’un Lieu Cher ignited my brains cells. Presto Giacoso…thoughts dancing around…connecting and…epiphany!
So here is what I am putting out into the Universe. Why don’t we have a kid’s concert series up on the Mesa? Let’s get Karen Davis, who produces the Salk Science & Music Series, to collaborate with Dan Atkinson from the Athenaeum Jazz Concert Series, Michael Rosenberg and his crew from LJP (who rocked the family day at the WOW festival), old friend Dalouge Smith from the San Diego Youth Symphony, John Iversen who heads the SYMPHONY project at UCSD, and Tim Mullen, artistic partner for the Mainly Mozart series. We can have a few smaller concerts/workshops where kids can have more interaction with the artists. Where it is okay to wiggle around as the music moves them to be creative. Maybe we show kids how classical music plays an integral role in cartoons, in the formation of their brains. This could be the ultimate music series collaboration for kids—right here on the Mesa!
And for the grand finale…the culmination of the series…Now we get an old childhood friend, Jason Michael Paul, who produces Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddessess on board. Paul has been instrumental in saving symphony orchestras by drawing in an entirely new crowd. His show is currently on a world tour and entire families—from the kids to the grandparents—are attending these shows together. Let’s get Paul to book a show at UC San Diego, right on the RIMAC field for 1,000+ kids of all ages as our grand finale. Ta da!!!!!!
Upcoming Events (I’ll be at the fun table…)
BIOCOM Annual “Celebration of Life” Dinner
Where were you on November 12th…20 years ago? Moi? Finishing high school. Well 20 years ago today some of the smartest minds in San Diego formed what is California’s oldest, most righteous life science association: Biocom baby. That’s spelled B-I-O-com…all one word. Former Charger Pro-Bowl placekicker Rolf Benirschke will be the featured guest speaker. Benirschke is now a patient advocate who will share his journey. Over 800 of our top life science and political elite will celebrate the awesomeness, which is Biocom. How’d I get on the list? Bribed my friends. Cha-ching ;)
Nov 12th 4:30-8:30pm, Hyatt Regency, La Jolla
Fudan-UC Center on Contemporary China Lecture
The Fudan-UC Center on Contemporary China and the 21st Century China Program bring us their latest lecture, “Are the U.S. and China Headed Toward a New Cold War?” I’m confused. I thought the Cold War was in Russia? Says the girl from the West Coast…seriously though folks. This group is promoting a deeper, mutual understanding of U.S.-China relations via our nation’s leading academic institutions. I’m a firm believer that the way to world peace is through understanding each other’s cultures better. This workshop is for you, the public, to come learn and engage in the discussions. Can’t make it on campus? That shouldn’t stop you from participating. You can watch live stream and send in your questions and comments with the hashtag #21CCTalk. Fancy.
Nov 13th 5:30pm- 6:30pm, UCSD Institute of the Americas Hotel Auditorium
WITI: Why we need Women Leaders
Jury’s out and it is evident that women leaders bring so much more to the table. But how rad is it that WITI is bringing a male speaker to testify to our superiority? WITI is hosting a networking lunch Tuesday November 17th with featured guest speaker Will Marre. Marre will discuss why female thinkers’ versatility and social intelligence is “far more predictive of leadership success today than male bias of competitiveness, assertiveness and confidence.” He said, it I didn’t. But I do not object, your honor. Kudos to WITI for bringing men in to this conversation.
Nov 17th 11:45am-12:15pm Registration/Networking/lunch 12:15-1:15pm