Broken from work, distracted by two, actually three, really four, people I met while in wine’s full wheel.  The first person walking up to me, gently interrupting my types, a girl who worked with me while I was full-time at FFW, then a club member of Dutcher Crossing and his friend, then my really good friend JK.  They all arrived at the same time, and I could only talk to them, hear what was new in their story.  And that’s what wine is, the connectedness, you’ll see them again and again, over years after the last time you see them.  Wine and its industry, especially here in Sonoma County, can do that.

Heading back home in a second, rest of day with family, and maybe a nap at some point.  No time soon after this small latte I ordered.  My own wine business world, thing, character and perpetuation… so, start with the day.  With the wineries I visited today, the people with whom I spoke and tasted.  Writing wine is putting on page the life and lives you experience in its world.

Was told that I need focus and self-contain and be singular in my written reason and narration.  So now, 17 days and 4 months before turning fucking 41, I decide to be attached wine’s ideas, her forms and stories, geographies and travel.  Writing only wine and the reactions to it.. my wishlist of travel spots, starting in the state just above me, the across however many miles to Spain, Bordeaux, Austria, Hungary…..  The people that “interrupted” my pages actually strangely centered me, putting my figure and fixation further into a firm singularity. 

Not in the tasting room, but my head doesn’t leave, my pages only speak in a wined and time-aligned way…. Vines right now in dormancy, and me unable to walk the rows from all the mud.  Well, I could, but I don’t.  Tomorrow back in office and I carry this with me in a peripatetic insatiability.  So, then, before I leave write it again… WINE.

And more…


The only thing I’m to write.  Book done before month’s end.  Gives me 19 days.  Doable.  Ray Bradbury wrote ‘451’ in 9 days I think, in the basement of a library.  This current beat I’m listening to tells me to remember wine’s music…. Write more music into wine, and write the music in wine, be it jazz or hip-hop, rock, ambient, whatever else.  Wine… start with her, then fly, come back, transcend the possibilities with writing and what’s looked at as unattainable.  That’s what you should reach for, what you should write.

Two of the Chardonnays I tasted earlier, not my style.  So whose are they?  What is the audience, what is the music in that bottle, and the other one?  What does it say, emancipate?  Either way, me of wild weal today.  And from Mom’s instruction to contain and singularize the pages, to a book, to a one-voice shape and shake, to convoke my composition. 

I want to take on the industry, if you must know.  Challenge it, have it answer to and for certain specific transactions and occurrences.  Friend that came in earlier, years ago fired from a winery with no cause, no explanation or compensation adequate, or anything said.  He wrote the then-CEO, and all the ivory tower sog-slouch could say is “I wish you the best…” or some bullshit.

I’ll start with pay.  Why don’t they fucking pay?

Why don’t they encourage you go after what you want, rather than tell you you’re better for this, or that, or some other thing.

Vine Street Starbucks, where I’ve written and worked several times, but not in some time.  Thought about stopping at a third winery for tasting, but no.  Was feeling a bit famished and needing more coffee.  Hannah the first stop, White Oak the second.  And from both stops, seeing that wine should be that ever-amplifying anchor and angle in my writing.  And a tasting room of my own, yes.  One day.  But by invitation only.  Don’t want those event crowds, and those passport sippers that only want to keep sipping, and not stop until they have some escalated effect and then keep sipping wherever they can.

                White Oak as a winery up for sale.  Had no idea.  Guy behind the bar, Jeff, selling me six bottles at half off, and giving me a Merlot at nothing.  Felt sad, as that winery years ago I visited during barrel tasting weekend and had fun yes but tried bottles I’ve still never the like experienced.  Can’t remember what it was, but the Cabernet of which I bought 3 bottles today had to be similar.  I mean, I bought three bottles.  That has to mean something, right?

                Listening to Lo Fi beats and typing.  Don’t want to taste anymore wine, if you can believe it.  Know there’s someone in some other state probably reading this and thinking “What the fuck?  How could you not want to taste more wine?” I just don’t.  I don’t want to sip anything else.  I’m wined out.  Want to be full of caffeine, and write about wine, people in the wine world, behind the bar listening to people tell their stories of how they got there, and what wine is to them.

                At Hannah, talked to some young girl.  Been at winery for about two years she said.  Asked her what she wanted to do in the industry, what the apex of her aims was, is.  She said she didn’t know, but wanted to continue with DTC operations, dealing more closely with the people that visit the winery, wine club members… what I took, that she wants to have more close and involved dealings and conversations with people rather than the big crowd surges, the cattle flows a tasting room can sometimes have.  Good for her, I thought.  The wine industry shows you one directions, then another, then tries to herd you a certain straight.  She, though, knows what she wants and Hanna Winery appears to encourage her consistency of pursuit.

                I will write wine, this morning telling self again.  From when I woke this morning and could barely concentrate with the skirmishing of Jack and Emma, to now on Vine Street, just a couple blocks away from another winery to write.  Part of me wants to go find more to write about.  Some new tasting room but I feel like I’ve been to all of them on the square.  And, I’m not wanting to taste anymore.  A wine writer not wanting to taste any more wine… so write about it.  Write what… what wine should do.  What I want from wine.  What I don’t want.  Don’t in anyway seek to be full-time at a winery again, ever.  Ever.  Never again in this life.


Writing offsite today.  At winery. 

And throughout the day.  Putting self in winery owner’s jacket.  Always wonder what it means to have it all come back to you.  All of it.  All.  From the inventory, to the reservations, to the tours given and the fucking patio furniture.  All of it, your Now.

New wine blog, not so new actually, re-activated again today.  Wine business but not.  More conversation from writing, letter writing… or something.  Wine… focused and centered in wine and its industry, doing something different than just a tasting room 1-to-1.  And more than some silly “1-to-1”.

Wine and its stories to me over the past twenty years since being here in Sonoma County (How has it been that …. Long?) have shaped and re-shaped everything.  Writing, business ideology, wine itself.  Hoping to do some “outreach” today as they call it, hearing other voices….

Can’t focus with the kids being their lunatic selves and eating breakfast, yelling at each other… need my own office.  Hate that expression of necessity being the mother of invention but that’s precisely what I’m thinking.  Have to get out of this house when writing, if I’m to finish these wine essays, or any essay.  Today is a wine day, though, do note.  Where I become a tourist, exploring innocently and with a hunger for I guess you could call it knowledge, but I don’t.  It’s something else.  A wine story, not so much about the wine or anything else, but seeing all of it.  This was entirely my mind last night, sipping the Aperture blend.  Different than the Malbec I had years ago in the hotel while we were out of the house.  Everything about it different.  And more than the wine…

Again with concentration contaminated by noises around me.  Leaving soon, hopefully.  Literally incapable of writing… anesthetized by everything.  Chipmunk voices, Jack pounding his water bottle on the little table.  I know my Now, more than closely and with a thorough throughness of thought.  Everything around me, meant for the wine story… the kids one day in the office with me, managing a part of the blog, or business, the blog’s business.  Wine and literature.. where it all started, this entire wine story of mine.  The first blog, the first conversation with my sister-in-law.  Cab last night like a beaming and subtle jazz vixen telling me to move one way then other.

Wine when I was first interacting with her topic mad me hesitant to speak, or write anything critical about what I was sipping.  I didn’t know, and I still to some extent don’t, but I just react.  Wine is reactionary, much beyond what I’m writing here, what I’m trying to do in this room caked in distraction.  People in the tasting room, regardless of the side of the bar they’re on, have something they bring to the counter, to that pour.  What then… what transpires in the interaction centered around the glass’ contents?  Maybe that’s what I’m trying to do, this day and others, getting out to the winery, other tasting rooms, wherever.

Finding with wine and writing about wine that the declarative statements and promissory words are the block, are detrimental.  Write wine as it comes to thought.. me walking the vineyard as I do when it’s warmer, or could now but the rows still caked with mud and an obstacle to themselves.  Even still, I see the wines on the shelves, people looking at them, me looking at them, holding tastings for people and seeing what they have to say about what’s said to them from the puddle in the bowl. I’m giving myself a writing lesson on writing wine this morning… it should be FREE.  The freest of freewriting.  Wine IS writing.  She IS the expression the movement of the pen, the typing, the three pages a day.  Excited to see what the wines have to say to me today, the SB to the ’16 Estate Cabernet.  What will I want to say back in writing.. what will they make me think of?  Can only anticipate but I shouldn’t even do that.  Be as in the moment as you’re able.  And of course I’m speaking to anyone wanting to write wine, or about her.  Not as some expert or authority, but just as thought offerer.

Should be leaving soon.  Should I go to the store and get a little notebook, of course I shouldn’t.  Use your phone.  Less clutter.  Just earlier I was cursing self for this backpack and how it encourages clutter and gather, and now I want to add another article?  Comedy.  Unintended.

Sniffling a little, but ignoring.  I need to be on property, writing about the wines as I taste them.  Maybe then I can go home.  Show up, taste, then BOUNCE.  Sounds like a plan.  And I don’t think I’m joking.  Getting tired of this Starbucks and the noises, even over the beat I have playing.  Enjoy drive on CH Rd.  Think about wine, the book… finish the fucking book already.. write more freely.  Get out of the adjunct cell, as the TR eventually, and write wherever you can to whatever bottled voice you can.  Pinot or…..

Going in, but at 11.

After a morning of some of the most intense sibling skirmishes I’ve seen since having two littles and both could actually altercate with the other, I have time to self.  At the old Windsor coffee spot.  Last night, Hitching Post Pinot.  Can’t remember the last bottle of HP I had.  Was a while ago…. WAIT—After or actually during the fires when staying at Uncle Mike’s house in El Dorado Hills.  HP of course reminds so many of Sideways, that movie… you know… Pinot Pinot PINOT, but for me it’s not that.  Not anything bad being associated with fires, but just something different.  The not-knowing… the something of something having to do with life.  Wine is the unpredictable and the whim, both dangerous and delightful.

Had to move seats.  Only one open was the little table by the napkins and shakers and other shit bar.  So I came to the seats I used to hate writing in.  I can tell, I’m thinking too much about what I’m writing.  Second-guessing self and getting uncomfortable in seat, feeling a mood approaching, already disrupting my work.  Writing about wine, and how again I don’t see a wine bar or shop for self, but some resource for wine drinkers, no matter their “level”….  But then I back-pedal on that as well.  Just write wine, same as when my sister told me that if you’re going to make wine then just make wine.  Don’t think about it.  She said, as I’ve written so many times before, and quoted conveniently, that if you second-guess yourself you’re never going to make wine.

Another quote, from my grandmother, only days before she left, “It’s YOUR life… you have YOUR choice.” So what do I want, I’m this morning asking.  How should I know… I do, a bit.  Don’t I?  After submitting grades yesterday, or the night before, I very much am convinced that the adjunct thing has run its course.  I still want to teach, I guess—or not “teach” but offer ideas.  By way of essay.  Like this one, this piece, this article, whatever the fuck this is… going in later so I can have some fucking time to self.  To collect, think about my mission, and how much life I have left.  You never know.  So where you are and what you’re doing has to be defining and absolutely declarative in its progressions and steps.

With wine, as metaphor or no, I’m told to respond to conditions around me, favorable or not.  The fires, 2017’s, obviously not hoped-for but still present.  Winemakers had to deal with them.  Work with and around them.  More with than around.  The defined the wine of that year, much.  Even if the clusters were pulled before the blazes initiated and flew and grew as they did.  Wine… definition-prone and aided and slated by everything not-controlled.  I start to see…. Something…. Defining wine.  Or characterizing her.  No, something… not sure.  Wine and character.  What everyone keeps telling me to do.  So why do I ever stray from what everyone hopes I write, DO?  Frustrated with my handle of my own pages so I convince self to challenge the same self in writing ONE world.  One character, language.

Wine wants us to be puzzled, wants us to have to contemplate next directions, just as she did.  She demands we listen, be more observant, more connective and connected, composed and by the moment towed.  Today I’ll taste through the flight, a couple times I’m sure.  Write everything she says to me… make it personal, and wine should be personal.  At times moody, confusing, a myriad of varying and unpredictable echoes and dialects.  The Pinot last night speaking differently than the first HP bottle I had years prior.  That’s the music to it all, in wine or anything else entailing life and promise, some dream, some chance and happenstance, a reactive and spontaneous dance.  If I do open a wine shop, it has to speak in this language of spontaneity, of artful reaction, of a lick of luck.  Traveling to other countries and streets far away to gather bottles for the shop…. Ideas, from her, wine. In the convex consideration of my reflective armament.  What am I doing but walking with her, in the step of steps, not so much divine or even delicious, but decided.

Rootstock, Vine, Then Wine

Emma playing in her room, with doll house and the Frozen tent.  ME just observing.  Telling self I’m not sick, and I don’t feel sick just a bit tired.  Sipping latte and thinking of what I want from the day….  Business, budgeting, having this first sizeable commission check do something.  Course the more I think about it, the less I’m getting done.  Fact, I’m not getting anything done right now.  Well, this entry and the amusement from little Ms. Austen voicing words and conversations for her dolls.

Want to pick up some wine at some point, for writing and more prompt and discussion invitations for the 3v blog.  Thinking imports, Spanish and Bordeaux.  Tired of American wines…. Or maybe not tired but, need to be more exploratory, more wild and scattered, all over the globe.  Brother-in-law Jim telling me I need to put more into my wine writing, when having a glass of that Duckhorn SB and he that champagne… you know the fancy kind that everyone has, and that I enjoy when I can, with the orange label. I know what it’s called I just don’t know how to spell and am too lazy to google it.

Day, WINE.

My daughter, tomorrow 4….Time this morning absolutely speaking to me in multitudinous ways I can’t seem to catch and inventory.

She sits over there, on the couch, excited it’s a “stay home day” as she calls Saturdays and Sundays, any day where there’s no school or work and we’re all home.  Next year, the writer 41, and Jack 8, and wife 40.  Time lecturing me, telling me to optimize the time yes but more than that stop fucking around.  Go for it, but more emphatic than that.  No cliché language and no bumpersticker talk.  Plan each morning like this, don’t just be on your phone and I’m not, in fact I made a point to take out this laptop and start my paragraph stream for day.

The book, taking some shape but not sure what.  Stemming from my AE life, how that’s reminding me of approaches that WILL pay and take me to where I want to go, on the Road and writing about wine, writing about where I am and what I’m doing—much like this morning there being a bounty of material in just this, this, the kids doing their thing and me here frantically typing trying to make up for the night I spent last night at the company party, where nothing was accomplished other than trying wines from the Foley portfolio, none of which impressed or taught me anything.

And the wine industry…. Last night, so humorous and fun and more so more humor in the dancing and the coin-op video games and pinball machines, and foodtrucks.  Not saying we should have been talking wine and barrel sampling all night, but what was the takeaway from last night.  If anything, TIME.  For me at least.  I shouldn’t have been there and I knew it.  Should have been in the goddamn chair, here at the kitchen counter while wife and babies were upstairs asleep, sipping no wine but decaf.  The more I don’t sip wine the more I want to write about her, and where I can find here… those rare bottles, those tucked away shops like the one I saw in Beaune when I went there with the family.  The wine industry now to me is utterly anti-wine, anti-art and LIFE, utterly and devoutly opposed to enjoyment of wine from a more universal sense.

I used to love the tasting room, pouring in it.  The it in it all, but now I become sick when I think of any procedure or meeting associated with something that should singularly persist in enjoyment and ease.  True, it’s your doing if that’s your full-time assignment, and I did it to myself for far too long. No more.  Last night… I felt like Duke and Gonzo walking around the casino floor seeing the lizard monsters, asking myself what was the goal of the night.  I know, I know, to part, to have fun, to celebrate.  But celebrate what in the wine containment?  At one point, walking from the fancy portable restrooms, across the polo or equestrian ground where some rich man either does or does not do something related to horse showing or play, I was tempted to leave.  What the fuck was I doing there, and what would I get out of it… I truly felt lost, like I didn’t belong there, like some force or opposing metaphysical oscillation rounded my state and physical form and put me there.  I know that’s not true. I know I have more control than that.  So while there, at least on this walk, I decided to make it an assignment. Wien industry people celebrating, but celebrating what.  The work they do, that they’re all together…. I wouldn’t get an answer.  And perhaps the question I’m asking is unfair, I thought.  So…. Just walk, look around, what do you hear and see.  80s music, and those foodtrucks, video games and pinball noises and balls and people hitting the sides obviously intoxicated and angry or showing off, then the surface I was stepping over.  Who owns something like this, and who owns a structure of this size when it’s not their only property and structure of such size.  He has others?  That’s not wine.  That’s not something to celebrate either… he having us all over for his amusement, and even if he’s not amused that should be even more to cite and question.

I stopped in that thinking and made way to the bar.  Girls asks me what I want and I say the Rose of Pinot and she hands me a Pinot.  “Oh, I’m sorry I was going to do the Rose….” I said, not sure she could hear me.  Turns out she didn’t hear me all along, told me all she heard was Pinot.  So I drank it, went over and said hi to some people I knew, my good buddy Jesse who in essence was my plus-one, or I his as he’s still full-time with the company, and couldn’t speak.  I thought about wine and my writing of wine, and that no writing was getting done being there.

But, the more I sipped, the containment and more critical anatomy to my inner and meditative composition began disassembling itself.  I was into the wine, and she speaking to me… telling me to stay, learn from this, learn from the event and the people, write it later, write it tomorrow morning over coffee or a cinnamon latte thing from the Keurig.  And now here with my second cup, watching both babies now watch their cute little cartoon or animation gnome movie, I can’t squander nor dismiss or even mildly fiddle with time.  This is all going to end one day, so…..

My statement on wine need be bolder, and purposefully and passionately against anything industry.  Against the winery collectors…. Contra the people that just do it ‘cause they can.  No anger, just telling wine as it need be told, for my babies, and anyone reading my pages.  Time tells me to stop in what I saw, how I last night spent time.  I write about it now, sure, but I could’ve have been in the chair last night, made it a stay home and write night rather than being part of his circus.


With EOD already here, I’m asking myself where the day went.

Did I get enough out of it.  Did I hit the numbers that I wanted to with emailing prospects, calls, all that.

Cleaning up desktop a little, and not letting self rush out of here.  Still have to write my 300 Sonic words, but I can’t.  Not now.  Sleepy a bit, even after the coffee I had after the lunch meeting in Kenwood where I had some of the red blend being poured.  How do I get self to rise early, earlier than–  Hear someone, another AE, nice guy, big help to me, in the conference room still after meeting making calls, staying in character.  Dane was right when he said that this is the doorway to whatever you want, career-wise.  And the Account Executive model, or narrative is something that shocks me with its reverberate nature and constant antagonization of learning and conversation, music and movement.

Little more cleaning of desk.  Now settling, a cruise control of ideas and visions and thoughts of me with my winery or wine shop, or marketing kitchen… lab.  Everyone uses that term, LAB.  How about ROOM.  A marketing room.  Don’t like ‘marketing’, either.  How about ….  Just ‘the room’.  Can I do that?  Looking at everything on my desk, wanting to go somewhere and do something, raise awareness… plan the rest of the evening.  Bed early so I can wake early, and write the day’s remainder.  Where am I tomorrow, in office or out?  Wherever I want.  Call more people in San Rafael, SF, Marin County… the Peninsula…

Wonder what my babies are doing right now.  More than likely getting picked up, heading home.  Seeing them this weekend interact at the dinner table for Dad’s birthday, more urgency for me to not just focus, but detach.  Not try to control a single slice of this story.  Just write what happens around you… in the tech office this is challenging I guess you could say, from all the conversations and the codified nature to them.  Me, Mike Madigan, learning what I can when I can and trying to assimilate such into my daily talk with prospects.  But then I’m told, and before that realized, I don’t have to.  AE’s here have Sales Engineers that will do that for you.  So Mike Madigan, in his own definition, realizes he’s been doing some things wrong in trying to do too much.  All he’s do is bridge, set meetings, yes sell a bit but the Engineer handles all the technical shit.  So wait…. I’ve been working too hard?

Consolidation…. How to propel more profitable productivity, strengthen SELF, and to sell more.  Simplify.  Brainstorming an already over-stormed brain.  So does that help, who knows.  But a note to self nonetheless.

Need a glass of wine.  Yes. I deserve one.  What… what does Mike Madigan want?  Cab.  Or Merlot like the other night.  I can’t decide. I write wine but don’t know what wine to have. What’s that mean.  Maybe nothing.  Maybe everything.                                                                                                                                                                                        

Essay done. 1250 words. About to Leave this Starbucks, taking the latte I’ve not much touched with me.

What was that, this morning.  Was it anxiety?  Was it a bit of panic?  Whatever it was it didn’t have a chance with me writing wine.  Whenever I write wine, about a story from my wine lift, like the Merlot discussion last night with my sister and the blind tasting with Katie on the 2015 Moon Mountain Cabernet….  Wine answers everything.

Approaching my AE story this coming week with more wine and wine life acts and facets.  Don’t know how just yet, but the ideas are there.  The wine story, not necessarily the wine itself, mends everything.  I never am at a loss for paragraphs… the wine and her story is there.  And thank these paragraphs and this Sunday morning for this sitting, for not being at Lancaster, in the tasting room.  Changing my wine story…. Getting up earlier like vineyard crews during harvest, and writing the wine visions, my wine shop and little winery.  Story… I need more wine, and NOT the wine itself.  I need to travel, write in old castles, on small roads in Austria or Germany, France and Spain, Italy, and capture everything as I have in this Starbucks on Stony Point.

Wine… all I write.  My startup idea that I was jotting the other day, all wine-honed and harnessed..