unintentional champagne

or how i learned to stop worrying and smooch the rhino

You know, it’s never an easy thing to drink a bunch of wine at a bunch of fine wineries with a bunch of your best friends on a single wonderful weekend. No it isn’t. It’s incredibly easy! OK, that’s not all the way true. It’s an incredibly tough thing and the folks who put it together and pull it off make that list of people I have nothing but amazing levels of respect and love for. This year’s Vintacon was the kind of good that you tell your kids about. I’m not the biggest wine drinker in the world (It used to be Andre the Giant who would polish off six or seven bottles of wine a night) but I had an amazing time and would do it again in a heartbeat. So, this is a zine with photos from Kevin Roche, The Lovely and Talented Linda and John O’Halloran. There’s Tom Becker in this thing and Kevin Roche and a little of men too. These things happen. Chris Garcia- Safe and Sound 4 Hours after arriving back at homeWarning: As a part of the

Following a slew of product recalls, the badges used as a part of the Vintacon V registration packets were discovered to have fatal levels of lead in them. This led to the largest recall of convention badges since they cracked down on all th epunks at BayCon in 2003. If you have one of these badges, you’re probably in the ConSuite right now, so we’ve probably got to you already.
I can’t think of anything more disturbing than Chris Riding a Horse naked- I think that was Jo who said that. You don’t have much of an imagination- Kevin Roche in response!

One to Watch from Tom Becker A highlight of the con was getting to meet the winemaker at Sycamore Creek. The tasting area was set up on barrels in a corner of the winery. While we sampled the wine, this guy was behind us pulling the lids off of these really big plastic tubs and punching down the fermenting grapes that were in them. He was very happy to talk to us. He opened a few more tubs and gave us tastes of the juice. The cabernet juice had a lot of intense flavor and you could tell it was going to develop into a good wine. In the pinot noir he showed us how he put 5% of the uncrushed fruit and stems back in to give it a more fruity and earthy flavor. He pulled some half-fermented grapes off and gave them to us to taste. He said that most of the grapes we were looking at had been picked by the wine club. About half of them had been crushed by the club. They are trying to give wine club members a chance to be involved in every step of making wine. I asked the winemaker about how the winery is replanting some of their vineyard with cuttings from the zinfandel grapes that were originally planted there. He said they haven’t been making zinfandel and that he didn’t think the zinfandel grapes grown in the area were very good. But then he told me about a local landowner who was growing zinfandel in his backyard. The winemaker told the guy he was over-watering the grapes and he needed to get more sunlight into the canopy, and gave him advice on how to grow quality grapes. The winemaker said he wasn’t expecting anything to come of it, because people generally didn’t listen to advice. To his surprise, the grower called him back a year later and did everything right. So he said “now we’re making some zinfandel.” He has been at Sycamore Creek for about two and a half years. We could tell from the wines we tasted when he started, just from the quality. It was an absolute delight to meet someone who was so passionate about making good wine, and who was so willing to share what he knew. He’s definitely a winemaker to watch (and drink).

There’s 5% of the grapes still on vine in this mix. See if you can spot them!

Top Ten Reasons that the 2009 European TAFF Delegate Should Attend Vintacon instead of Worldcon
10) There is far less chance of an attack by Quebecois Separatists at Vintacon 9) Wine improves the memory making trip reportage that much easier. 8) If John Coxon is the Delegate, he wouldn’t be able to drink and he could be the designated driver! 7) Let’s face it: Montrealinos speak weird French while Bay Area Wine Drinking fans at worst might slur a little bit. 6) The Canadians are a brave, thrifty, and reverent people while Wine drinkers are the noble savages of Fandom! 5) Any European who comes is expected to keep up with Tobes Valois’ blood alcohol level from his trip. This may not be possible at any other con. 4) Any TAFF delegate must get to see parts of America like San Luis Obispo or Gilroy or they’ll not get the full feel for what we’ve got to offer! 3) Napa Valley fandom can’t compete with Vintacon. 2) James Bacon would be soooooo jealous he didn’t think of it! 1) While they’d get to award a Hugo at Worldcon, We’d create an award just so they could win it!

With 6 you get eggroll
What do you do with 20 hungry wine afficianados after 6 hours of wine tasting (4 wineries, including a winery with saltines so stale they tasted like wet dog)? Order takeout Chinese, of course! If you are especially clever, you don’t try to organize the meal, you simply pass the menu around the room and write down every item requested. If you are an Evil Genius, you then volunteer to drive and pick up the order when it’s ready, which gives you 30-40 minutes in a quiet car away from a room filled with nearly 20 very hungry wine afficianados. Presenting the Friday evening menu (courtesy of Gilroy’s China Palace Restaurant) for Vintacon V: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 2 orders Egg Rolls 4 orders Potstickers Fried Squid 1 quart Won Ton Soup 1 quart Egg Flower Soup Shredded Pork with Bean Sprouts Beef with Ginger and Scallions Mongolian Beef General Tao’s [sic] Chicken Asparagus Chicken (they were out of asparagus, alas) Broccoli Chicken Chicken with Black Bean Sauce Chicken with Spicy Garlic Sauce BBQ Pork Egg Foo Yung Mu Shu Vegetables Assorted Vegetables over Rice Snow Peas & Water Chestnuts 2 orders Vegetable Fried Rice 2 orders Steamed Rice Yes, that was a lot of food. Yes, we ate it all. Grand total: $169.75; less than $10/person. Big thanks to China Palace, and to the manager there who kept filling bags with sauces, chopsticks and fortune cookies until there were nearly enough for everyone. China Palace Restaurant, 353-A East 10th St., Gilroy, CA 95020. 408-842-6151