“DAM FINE WINE” … found at Trader Joe’s
Now, what’s a nice girl like me, with almost 19 years of sobriety, doing in the wine section of the fabulous Trader Joe’s store in Raleigh, North Carolina…thrilled to be clutching a bottle of Coastal brand merlot? Well, let me explain:
Two years ago I spent 5 days with my sister Barbara in Templeton, California. She had just moved to her lovely new house. It is built on a section of land that her son Niels owns and is part of his large winery, Castoro Cellars.
Niels has fondly been known as Beaver since childhood and it’s why the Castoro Cellars logo proudly displays a beaver and the words “dam fine wine”. Judging by the success of his business I would guess that logo to be accurate.
While there I was treated to a complete walk-through of their operations and at one point we watched as workers attached labels to the bottles rotating past on a conveyor belt. These, Beaver explained, were the wines that were sold at the Trader Joe stores nationwide. Then he snatched one of the bottles from the belt, wrote “stolen from the bottling line” in large indelible silver letters and handed it to me as a gift.
Needless to say I have never opened it, although I still display it in my kitchen for fun…and often tell the tale of how I “stole” it.
Now it is two years later and I am checking out to see if his wine is still being sold under the Trader Joe label. It is and, as I’m reading the back of the bottle a man catches my attention. “You look like you know your wines”, he says, “That’s from the West Coast isn’t it...is it a good buy?”
Hoping he can’t see the twinkle in my eye, I reply…”I can honestly say that it’s the best bargain I’ve ever found...on either coast.”