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A TWS Event Is Born

A TWS Event Is Born

This is Quite a Space

Our building was originally Pleasanton’s first movie house, giving us lots of room to work with - not to mention a hefty rent. 22 years in this space has taught us: “Employ every square foot every way we can, and as often as possible!”


During the weekend lots of you head upstairs for a glass, a pint, or to sip through a whole flight of vinted fun. It’s a nice place to hang out, with a commanding view of our retail floor replete with wine. But earlier in the week our Mezzanine WineBar gets repurposed. A corporate group might have it all to themselves, when we’d serve a custom lineup of great wine along with our cheeses, charcuterie, and so on. Alternatively, a birthday or a retirement might be celebrated. We’ve seen it all!


We email the invitation. 

The first 24 to RSVP are admitted. 

Once seated, those 24 enjoy two hours of a delicious themed wine presentation.  Chateauneuf-du-Pape?  A Tour of Spain with Eric’s paella?  Nickel & Nickel’s lineup of magnificent Napa Cabs?   … And nearly everyone leaves behind an order, picking up their bottles a few days later.  We’re all happy! 

These happen about twice each month.  To attract a wide range of wine lovers we mix up the themes.  Sometimes I present a dozen wines I’ve recently tasted from Washington State or Sideways Country (Santa Barbara County).  Sometimes a visiting luminary is our host.  Francesco Riviera of San Felice was recently here to present that venerable Tuscan producer’s Chianti Classicos, Brunellos, and Super Tuscans.  Sometimes the theme is more “themeless,” when we show the 12 BEST wines we’ve tasted for the last six months. 


A few weeks ago I lunched at San Francisco’s Zuni Café along with ten fellow retail and restaurant wine buyers from around the Bay Area.  Beside me:  The most voracious eater of raw oysters I’ve ever met, Juan Muga of Rioja’s Bodegas Muga.  Particular to oysters myself, I felt lucky for my proximity to his order – and reorder.    

I already knew Muga - or thought I did.  This bastion of Tempranillo in Spain’s most revered region is a respected name in our world.  Their reds are elegantly delicious, and each plays to its respective price from the ‘Reserva’ to the nearly never-seen ‘Aro’ trophy bottling.  We’ve consistently carried their delightful dry rosé.  They make a damn good “blanco”.  Suffice it to say, it would be typical to see a Muga or two on an all-Spain event menu. 

But something unexpected happened on this afternoon at Zuni:

For the first time I recognized, amid slurps of raw oysters, the possibility of a nearly ALL-Muga mezzanine event.  Now, we don’t do winery-exclusive events with just four or five wines, no matter how good.  The process of collecting RSVPs, preparing the room and cleaning afterwards, printing a menu, and expecting YOU to hang with us for two hours – that’s an affair requiring at least TEN wines.  Few wineries – no matter how great – can furnish such a lineup of quantity, breadth of style and diversity, and price point levels.

Muga could - I discovered - with a little help.

One of my lunchmates was Fellipe, whom we’ve known via different vendor capacities over the years.  Noting my growing interest in a Muga event, Fellipe creatively enabled.  Just four of the Muga wines we loved were currently accessible in our market, and four were not (scheduled to arrive from Spain for a fall release).  Fellipe made some calls and arranged for sample bottles of those to be flown over ahead of release; special delivery from Spain!  The menu was growing. 

Let’s see . . . “four” and “four” makes “eight”; we were still light on event data.  Fellipe and our Chambers & Chambers rep Savannah to the rescue.  Two post-lunch appointments with these two showed me another ten very good NON-Muga Spanish wines.  “Eight” became “THIRTEEN,” with selections that gave the event dimension; varietally, regionally, pricewise.

I baked my sourdough bread, destined this time around to be used for ‘Pan con Tomate.’  We enlisted the Paella-making talents of our own Eric Edgar.  Dawn planned an event-specific tapas platter attendees could order ahead of time – and nearly everyone did.  

All this tasting and planning and preparing happened for you by the time you were seated, if you were among the lucky to be there.  Many people were involved to make it happen.  You deserved it.  The great wines and their respective makers deserved it.  – And Fellippe and Savannah and Dawn and Eric and The Wine Steward were happy to team up to provide such a great wine immersion.

What will inspire our next event?!  

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