Notes from Afield: Lulu’s Visit to New York City
Dear Handley Friends,
Scott and I just got home from a wonderful trip to New York City. We took the train from Maine on Sunday, passing though the backside of many towns we know. It was a very relaxed journey, and we passed the time looking out the window, chatting and reading. We arrived at Penn Station and took the subway into Brooklyn, where we met up with friends for early dinner, late dinner, drinks, and a night of sleep tucked under the streets of Williamsburg in a basement apartment.
Monday, after finding delicious treats for breakfast and more delicious treats to bring for lunch, we hopped on the subway into Manhattan to find the Martin Scott Grand Portfolio tasting at Lincoln Center, right in the heart of uptown Manhattan–and this week, the heart of NYC Fashion Week. Weaving through satin and fur-clad models, oodles of photographers, and more spectators, we found our way to the David Koch Theater and up the red-carpeted curving stairs to the second floor, where we would be pouring the three flagship wines of Handley: Estate Chardonnay, Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Noir Anderson Valley. As it turned out, they had pulled the Mendocino Pinot instead of the Anderson Valley, but it showed beautifully, tasting really great that day (which we found out was a leaf day from our upstairs French neighbors, pouring a gorgeous Pinot Gris from Burgundy, but that’s another story…).
As Scott and I set up, we met our neighbors. Two great wineries: Gainey Vineyard and Native 9, both Santa Barbara area wines. James, from Native 9 was also in jeans and said the red-eye he took to get to NYC was the most sleep he’d gotten in the last 4 days as they’re in the middle of harvest. Brad, the sales rep for Gainey, said he’d been climbing mountains in Montana 2 days ago, and now was enjoying multiple ice cream cones and bagels a day as he and his girlfriend got the most out of the Manhattan experience. Flanked by kind, friendly, laid back California neighbors (making good Biodynamic and Organically farmed wines!) we felt at ease as this HUGE tasting began.
As people started coming in, we started pouring the wines. They all tasted so good, and most everyone who came by was impressed. Dozens of people who have known Handley, known Milla, known Andrea for 5, 10, 20, or more years came by to say hi and ask how everyone is, and literally gush about how much they love our wines. I was so proud to be representing Handley’s wines, which have stayed true for 3 decades and have garnered love and respect for their authenticity, elegance, and consistency. Scott and I were both floored by the sweetness of people’s memories of Milla and of the wines. New buyers came by too, and in general really loved the wines. The Gewurz was a favorite.
Throughout the event we met many folks from Martin Scott Wines, including Esther Schimpf, Deirdre Sher and Bill Hayde, Scott Gerber, Jill Glomb, and Sam Bacco. Scott and Sam especially passed on warm hellos to my Mom. Scott, who was such a dear, was very upfront and said that they’re not selling enough of our wines, and encouraged me to return to NY for more work.
I also met Emily Kunhardt, of Craft Distillers, who was so sweet. Other friends who wanted to say a special hello to Milla (my Mom):
Edward McCarthy, wine writer
Morton Hochstein, wine writer
Gerry Kane, not sure what he does, salty dog
There were so many positive interactions, it’s hard to remember them all. All in all, feels like a great success.
Thank you all for keeping Handley going so we can make really beautiful, outstanding wines. Thank you to our fans for showing us how much they are loved and appreciated in the world.