We love hearing what our club members are up to, and no one has his ear to the ground like Wine Club Director Kenny Werle. Recently Kenny tipped us off to one of our Preferred Palates club members, Bob Brinker, who has an invigorating hobby to say the least. Here’s his story.
What do the island of Alcatraz, a San Francisco Giants baseball game and a glass of Flora Springs Trilogy have in common? If you’re Bob Brinker, a Preferred Palates club member from Atlanta, plenty!
It was August 13, 2016 when Bob undertook what very few people will ever do in their lifetimes: he swam across the San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz, the island best known for its historic prison. It was Bob’s third time participating in what is known as the Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim, a 1.5 mile open water event that, as its website says, is NOT for NOVICES.
“The first year I did it the Bay was like a lake; it was calm and gorgeous,” says Bob, who took up open water swimming as an adult. “The second time it was choppier and we had to wait for several cargo ships to go by. This year the temperature was warm, but the currents were so strong that the course ended up being 1.7 instead of 1.5 miles.”
After celebrating his accomplishment with an Irish coffee at the The Buena Vista along with his son, Jarrod, who also swam the course, Bob headed over to AT&T Park for SF Giants Game Day with Flora Springs. “The Game Day happened to coincide with the swim, so I bought tickets with a couple of my friends who are also club members. It was a great way to cap off the day.”
This wasn’t the first time Bob combined swimming and Flora Springs. The first year he did the Alcatraz swim he slipped in a visit to Napa Valley. “I did the swim with a buddy and since both our wives like wine we decided to spend some time in Napa. That’s when I first visited Flora Springs.”
It was Bob’s mother who recommended Flora Springs. She’d been to the winery years before and been impressed with the wines and the beautiful setting. That day, as Bob and his wife sat on the patio tasting wines, their host was talking about the Merlot, and Bob said “I like the Merlot but I really love this Trilogy.” Later, he called his stepfather who told him, “Your mom liked all the Flora Springs wines but she really loved Trilogy.”
As Bob says, “coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
If you have a story involving Flora Springs that you’d like to share, be sure to let Kenny know!
“The Cubs are World Series Champions. OMG I really just typed that.” Those were the words of Great Tastes Club member Brenda Garcia in an email to Wine Club Director Kenny Werle after her favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, did what was previously unthinkable: win the 2016 World Series!
Kenny and Brenda started corresponding when Kenny put out feelers to Chicago-area club members to gauge their interest in attending a Wine Club-sponsored event at a Cubs game (Brenda’s answer: YES). They swapped emails and talked baseball, enjoying a friendly rivalry between the SF Giants (Kenny’s favorite) and the Chicago Cubs, until after the playoffs, when Kenny started rooting for the Cubs. Brenda, who is almost as big a fan of Flora Springs as the Chicago Cubs, told Kenny about bringing a bottle of Flora’s Halloween wine to Game Seven (good luck omen?), and then, as seen in the photos here, bringing Flora’s Harvest Witch Cabernet to the Cubs’ World Series Parade. That Flora gets around!
We love hearing how Flora Springs wines become part of our club members’ lives and celebrations. To us, that’s what the joy of wine is all about. Here’s what Brenda had to say as she forwarded photo after photo of the Harvest Witch at the parade:
“Thanks for enjoying the road to the championship with me, Kenny! I started as your customer, & we grew to a friendly rivalry between the Giants & Cubs playoffs and then you rooting for the Cubs. It’s been really great getting to know you on a personal level from afar.”
Thank you, Brenda. We couldn’t have said it any better.
Every holiday season, on behalf of the Komes and Garvey family, Wine Club Director Kenny Werle faithfully selects a charming and unique holiday gift exclusively for our Wine Club members.
This year’s gift is particularly meaningful as with it, we also honor Flora Komes, our matriarch. It was Flora’s spirit of generosity and love of nature that inspired the family to found the winery back in 1978.
Included in the Great Tastes November shipment is a tree of “Christmas Future” – a Giant Sequoia seedling. While native to the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, where proud giants such as the ‘General Sherman’ and ‘General Grant’ trees have wowed National Park visitors for years, Giant Sequoias are hardy enough to grow well in virtually any climate, and are loved and cultivated throughout the world. This truly majestic species, the most massive of all trees, can live thousands of years and attain monumental size, up to 300 feet tall with trunks almost 40 feet in diameter.
It is our hope that you plant this special tree, and through the years, find your own inspiration and joy.
Every December, Wine Club Director Kenny Werle faithfully selects a charming and unique holiday ornament exclusively for our Wine Club members.
This year, the ornaments are particularly personal – as each and every one was handmade by members of Winemaker Paul Steinauer’s family.
Below is a note from Matt Steinauer, Paul’s younger brother, who currently lives in Austin, Texas.
It began as a fun family project to keep the kids busy during the holidays. Each individual ornament is handmade with corks, twine, ribbon, hot glue – and Texas love.
Each family member has their own role in the production process. I cut the corks into the specific pieces. Grant, age 8, helps count all the pieces and cuts twine lengths. Sophia, age 11, helps with the production logistics, quality control, and keeps the craft table in order. My wife Vanessa and Sophia glue all the pieces together to bring them to life.
Naturally, Vanessa and I are long-time fans of Flora Springs. While Sophia and Grant are still a little too young to appreciate the fabulous wines their uncle makes, they always enjoy their visits to see Uncle Pauli and the winery.
We love to spread the word of Flora Springs, and are excited to participate in this year’s Wine Club holiday ornament.
As you hang your special ornament on your tree, menorah, festivus pole, or whatever you choose, know that it was made with love by the extended Flora Springs family.