Dan the Wine Man: I don’t feel like the toy department
Dan the Wine Man

Dan the Wine Man: I don’t feel like the toy department

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dan dawson

Dan Dawson 

I don’t feel like being the toy department right now. I just walked downtown Napa for a Bounty Hunter Manhattan and sushi from Eiko’s. The walk put me in an unsettled place as my Register deadline approaches — and I always write as deadline approaches.

I’m thinking about what it’s going to be like as stay at home orders are loosened. There will be no parties. No windfalls for restaurants that are hungry for customers. Social distancing won’t allow it. How are restaurants who rely on packed rooms to make a profit going to adapt to safe distancing? How are restaurants going to make it without pricing themselves out of their market? Will you pay $45 for the chicken entrée?

I’m thinking about testing and tracing and how everyone in hospitality is going to protect themselves for their health AND to minimize their chances of a 14-day quarantine order. Thinking about those cool laser thermometers — can’t make those fast enough.

I’m thinking about the California wine glut even before Covid-19 changed everything, and what is going to happen to the Napa wine industry. Our luxury brand and luxury marketing will be targeting a shrunken market. The fortunate few wineries will keep their one-percenter customer base or have the flexibility to adjust pricing and carry on. Most will have to be creative, resourceful and innovative or turn out the lights.

I think about how the wine glut, recession, changing buying habits and increased drinks competition will pull the price of Napa Valley wine down. And with it the price of grapes. Since I’m going down this path, how about real estate? And for all the businesses that can’t survive, what about all the jobs lost? Where will Napa Valley’s beacon of quality, luxury and hospitality look like a year from now?

I think about how adversity breeds opportunity. How lower grape prices can make the dreams of budding winemakers to make Napa Cab achievable. Maybe really good Napa Cabernet can be for more than special occasions and those with enough disposable income. Because at the end of the day, Napa Valley is a uniquely wonderful region for wine.

Now I feel like making a couple of wine recommendations. I picked these up from two Napa grocery stores known for their solid wine selections. French white & French red.

Patient Cottat Sauvignon Blanc “Le Grand Caillou” 2016, $3.99 at Grocery Outlet Napa. Lip-smacking, super-crisp, 12% alcohol Sauv Blanc from the Loire Valley. You can buy the 2018 version for 4 times the price or drink this 2016 for a while. Serve well chilled in your backyard on a warm spring day. I also like it to make a Kir (5 oz light, crisp white, 1 teaspoon Crème de Cassis).

Mattes-Sabran Corbières “La Vialla” 2016, $13.99 (on 6 bottle purchase) at Raley’s Napa. I do so love this “simple” Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blend from Southern France’s Corbières region. Mature 50+ year old vines are harvested and fermented then aged in steel tanks. Med-full bodied, berry, pepper spice, structure. Versatile with most any flesh and hearty vegi and bean dishes.

I’m Dan Dawson, a Napa Valley wine writer, wine consumer advocate and former wine merchant and fancy-pants sommelier. Check out my reviews and wine tasting events at DawsonWineAdvisor.com. When you visit, please check out my membership program. Contact me through my website with questions and comments.

I’m Dan Dawson, a Napa Valley wine writer, wine consumer advocate and former wine merchant and fancy-pants sommelier. Check out my reviews and wine tasting events at DawsonWineAdvisor.com. When you visit, please check out my membership program. Contact me through my website with questions and comments.

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