By Cathy Huyghe, June 9, 2016
First there was the disorientation of the place. A working vineyard? In the middle of urban Atlanta?
Then there was the very well put-together arrangement of the event, a luncheon last Friday during the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. The arrangement included long, elegant dining tables between the vines, and large white canopies to protect guests (and wines) from the noonday Southern sun.
But the kicker -- the indicator that demonstrated that we were no longer in Kansas, Toto -- was the one-page "map" to what the event was all about: Grapetionary A-Z, with one grape designated for each letter and one wine made from each grape. The guests at the lunch were treated to tastes of each of those 26 wines, most of which they'd never tasted before and will likely never taste again.
Identifying those grapes, and pulling those wines altogether in one place at one time, was a logistical accomplishment, to say the least. The driving force behind Grapetionary A-Z, and the guide for the event, was Jason Tesauro, a.k.a. The Modern Gent, an author, beverage specialist, and consultant based in Richmond, Virginia.
Vivacity, creativity, and unconventionality are earmarks of Tesauro's programs, which make for lively, outside-the-box experiences. In true gamer character, Tesauro responded with gusto to my challenge of answering 26 questions -- from what it took to pull off this event, to why his approach to events is good for wine, to how luminaries like Jancis Robinson and Randall Grahm influenced him, to what happened with all the wine that...