Dan Dunn is taking an extensive road trip across America to research his forthcoming book, American Wino: A Story of Reds, Whites and One Writer’s Blues on the Winey Road to Redemption (Dey Street Books/HarperCollins). This is the fourth in a series of weekly dispatches chronicling his journey.
Over the past five weeks I’ve driven nearly 6,500 miles and visited countless wineries trying to transform myself into the leading authority on wine in America. Sure, I’m beginning to experience creeping doubts about my ability and/or continued desire to attain such a lofty goal, but that’s okay because I’m more than willing to settle for the next best thing— becoming the leading expert on talking about becoming a wine expert. I’m totally nailing that!
At every stop along the way, from Healdsburg, California, to Paw Paw, Michigan, I tell anyone who’ll listen about my ambitious plan for achieving complete oenophilic omnipotence, and virtually everyone has the same basic reaction— what I’m doing is awesome, and I’m an extraordinary human being for doing it. I never get tired of hearing such well-deserved plaudits either. Unfortunately, those same people usually go on to say a bunch of stuff about phenolics and racking and boring winemakery gobbledygook that tends to make my eyes glaze over... especially after I’ve been driving for six hours (which is my daily average) and have thrown back several glasses of whatever it is they’re pouring (which is my daily salvation).