I’ll be leaving for DC very, very soon–I’m flying out there on the evening of August 2. Thus, I’m trying to spend some quality time with SoCal friends before I do.
Jonathan L., my erstwhile LegalZoom co-worker, poet, historian, and future Columbia grad student, was in the neighborhood. We’re both fond of wine, so we decided to have a bit to drink together before we again went our separate ways.
Where else than Lou?
Now keep in mind that we’re both going to be grad students in the near future; not only that, we’re both going to be living in rather expensive metropolitan areas. Personally, I had enough money that day for wine tasting or dinner but not both. Oh well. I’d cross that bridge when I came to it.
We met up at Lou at around 7 pm. The place was dead. There were, including us, seven patrons at that time. No matter. We had a job to do.
When I think of wine, I think of terroir: I think of the essence of the land, the air, the sun blended together and refined into a thing of utter and wondrous beauty. An especially well-constructed wine transports me in one sip to the dry fields of Ribera del Duero or the slate of the Mosel, though I certainly have never been to those places.
But who could have imagined that every sip was imparting more than just terroir?
Given everything else that is wrong with the world, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn about the presence of pesticides and other chemicals in wine. Recently, Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) reported a study in which 35 out of 40 bottles of European wine were found to have pesticides–four different pesticides on average but as much as ten in one particularly unfortunate bottle. One of the six organic wines tested also contained trace pesticide residues.
I love Berkeley.
Actually, let me qualify that statement a bit: I have a love-hate relationship with Berkeley. But, as they say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” So, being at home now for nearly a year and five months, working at LegalZoom.com, I love Berkeley now more than I hate it.
One of the great things about Berkeley is the abundance of absolutely wonderful food and drink. There is a culture of organic produce, slow cooking, artisanal craftsmanship, and good living.
There are a lot of wine shops in Berkeley or in the surrounding areas. Kermit Lynch is the one everybody knows about–he imports all those small French producers and sells them retail at his store on San Pablo. Then there are Vino! locations everywhere–one on College in Oakland, another on Solano, one off of Fourth Street in Berkeley, another in San Francisco. The Andronico’s market on North Shattuck (accessible on the 7 or 9 buses, for you college kids!) is also surprisingly good.
I want to focus on “A Wine Store for the People”–Vintage Berkeley, which is appropriately on Vine Street near the original Peet’s Coffee:
(My apologies for blatantly ripping off this picture from the Vintage Berkeley webpage!)
The store itself is housed in a former water pumping station, which makes entering the place a whimsical experience (if only there were special pipes that carried wine instead of water… try taking a bath in that, eh?).