Monday, January 12, 2009


It was about a year ago now that the idea of opening my own little haven of cheese, wine and other accoutrements needled its way into my brain and took root. I sat on it for a few months, did as much research as I could on the 'ole internet, and the longer I let it simmer the more I was absolutely compelled to make it happen.

Come June, during a trip to New England, I held an informal meeting with Keith Dickey of Butter's, a modest cheeseshop so fabulous it doesn't even need a website. I left with several new ideas, informational gems, and about $100 worth of delicious cheese. I came home, started clumsily plunking out the first draft of my business plan, and wondered how the hell I was going to make it all happen.

I took the rest of what I figured for my last summer of freedom off from planning, and re-planted my nose to the grindstone in the fall. I taught myself the in's and out's of licensing, insurance, taxes, more taxes, the importance of not being the one who figures out taxes, compiled lists of to-do tasks, supplies, inventory, made timelines, and tore my hair out doing all of it. Finally the inevitable visit with a counselor at Seattle SCORE set me straight on several things, and I was back on the fast track to the wacky, wild wonderland that is financial spreadsheets. It is soooo much fun.

In the meantime I had the pleasure of meeting Strom Peterson of Edmond's The Resident Cheesemonger, for a Pacific Northwesterner's take on the whole shebang. This time I left with plenty of new, improved ideas, as well as many of the specifics I needed to flesh out another huge chunk of my financial forecast.

Being a bit of a literary hound, and a perfectionist, the rest of the business plan has been edited and re-edited dozens of times, which I realize is silly because nobody who reads it is going to care if I have run-on sentence here or there, or if I can't come up with so many other ways to say "cheese" without sounding like a drunken Frenchman. So this beast that I've been laboring over off and on for the past 6 months is nearly slayed, and that brings us up to speed.

Now back to the best part of this foray into delicious things of the grape, grain and fungus:

Martino Old vine Malbec 2004 - this wine makes me think of a beautiful flapper, eyes closed, slowly pulling a silk scarf from around her porcelain neck with a tiny smile. It is seductive, heady, warm and medium to full bodied. I always hate it when people call a wine "unpretentious", but I'll be damned if that isn't an apt description for this one. Single vineyard, 83 year old French Malbec clone grapevines are like an Italian grandmother; beautiful, wise, and something you just want to melt into the bosom of. This will be wine #23 on my inventory list.


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