Once again, The Country Gentleman owners, Shirley and Steve Simmons, opened their event center to us and were most accommodating regarding everything from the coordination to the set up with multiple wine glasses to working with special dietary needs. We were also pleased they were again able to attend the event. And the food – the wonderful appetizers, excellent and beautifully presented steak and fish roulades, and creative dessert … made for what one guest described as “the best food I have had at Country Gentleman.” All were again tributes to the restaurant’s Chef Renee and her staff. And last, but certainly not least, the wait staff. As one staff member said, “We’re here for you, to make you happy,” and they did.
So, what about the wine and accompanying stories? The wines enabled guests to travel to South Africa, Portugal, France and Canada. In the U.S., they traveled as far away as North Carolina and Ohio. Then, closer to home, to California and Oregon, and of course, to wineries here in Washington. Feedback regarding the wines included “yummy variety, good, great and excellent as most members donate good wine.” Of course, there’s always a desire for more good wine, but as with all Society events, quantity and safety are primary concerns!
But the stories – they brought us laughter, smiles and tears. We laughed with the storyteller telling about the sojourns to find a winery in Portugal … yes, we’ll remember the pink building! Or, how about the story from a guest who learned while visiting an Oregon winery that a gal working in the tasting room was a grade school classmate and who thought our member had not changed a bit! Then there was the great line from a guest visiting the Napa Valley while chatting with a tasting room individual who did not know much, if anything, about Washington wines, “I knew Napa was known for auto parts but …” Tit for tat? Think I’ll remember that line next time I’m in Napa Valley! And we smiled when one storyteller said, “Great wine makes great friends,” after telling a story about introducing a group not familiar with Washington State wines to a Washington Malbec.
But, truly touching – the story from guests who brought wine from the favorite Washington winery of their son and his wife. Their son is 8 months into a year-long deployment in Afghanistan. Hooah! And, bringing some to tears, the story from a long-time Society member who brought a bottle of the last wine he and his wife shared just hours before her fatal stroke. Oh, my, what memories.
Mary Binder, TCWS member, Board member, event co-chair