Timing is Everything
I’m in a group on meetup.com called The Virginia Wine Club that checks out many of the Virginia wineries. Up until now, I believe the furthest they’ve gone on an official group trip has been Maryland, so this was their first attempt at an international wine adventure. The trip was organized through the group and the first email announcement about it was sent out at the beginning of the year. One of the organizers is a guy named Paul Cathgart* who runs his own travel agency/business and set up the arrangements for the trip (the head organizer, Allen Liska, has contacts through his wine journal CellarBlog – especially for the wineries we visited on the trip). A few months later in May, the official announcement was released and I made damn sure I RSVP’d yes for it.
* Paul is, without a doubt, the unsung hero of this trip, having spent a huge amount of personal time and expense through his travel business to prepare, set up the arrangements and make all the reservations for the trip. Not to mention his nearly flawless execution of said arrangements (barring a few hiccups and thinking-on-his-feet moments!).
I haven’t been outside of the U.S. in a long time (over 14 years), so this was a golden opportunity to get back on track regarding promises I made to myself to travel more and see a little more of the world (work, money, lack of available time off and relationships being significant obstacles to this end). That and with my interest in wines, who wouldn’t jump on a chance to visit the old country and experience wineries that have been making incredible wines for as long as they have (Admittedly, it’s a bit disheartening from now on to visit VA wineries who might boast about their “long history” of making wines compared to wineries that have been doing it for decades or even centuries longer. In fact, I joked at our first winery visit – “And now, here ends our appreciation of Virginia wines”).
To say that 2011 has been a busy year is putting it far too mildly.
My company’s proposal efforts went from the usual proposal work “feast or famine” ups and downs to a marathon of one project after another, especially over the summer (which is typically a slower period for proposal work). Add to this the wedding I was an usher in, celebrating my Dad’s retirement, and other social events and comings and goings (including a two-month dating relationship), it’s been a busy year. This trip came hot on the heels of a busy work period, so it was a great reward for working my ass off (for which I garnered more than a few kudos from my company’s management – especially for a big project we won due to a “Hail Mary pass” proposal pulled together in just two days the week before the trip).
It’s safe to say that the timing for this trip could not have been any better.