by Fred McMillin
for November 24, 1999


The Candidate


November 24, 1768, Rome

Sitting in the Global Gourmet office, I'm interviewing the immortal Roman God of Wine, Bacchus.

WineDay: Since the collapse of the Roman Empire, I expect you've had little to do, except throw an occasional orgy.

Bacchus: To the contrary. I formed a partnership with the Oracle of Delphi. with my knowlege of winegrowing and his ability to foretell the future, we do personnel searches for the wine industry. Our Website is entrails.com.

WineDay: Frankly, I've been a bit skeptical of the Oracle's technique ever since he told me to take the Romans minus 14 against the Barbarians. Give me an example of your work.

Bacchus: Sure. Today we gave the King of Spain our recommendation for the person to take the first wine vines to California. The name is still confidential, but I can reveal he's currently living in Mexico City.

WineDay: Exciting. Where did he learn his viticulture?

Bacchus: Well, actually he didn't. He's a philosophy prof.

WineDay: Oh. Well, it's going to take some big bucks to outfit an expedition to San Diego from Mexico City. Spain's finances are shaky, so I suppose your candidate's parents will fund the effort.

Bacchus: They are penniless farmers in Mallorca.

WineDay: Hm-m-m. Well, your man has a rough trip ahead...lots of snakes and scorpions on the way. Europeans have to ride. I hope he sits a horse well.

Bacchus: He doesn't ride. He walks barefooted, that is in sandles with no socks. He has a bad limp from a snake bite, too.

WineDay: He must be some physical specimen. How old is he?

Bacchus: Actually, today is his birthday. He's 55.

Father Junipero
WineDay: Ouch. Sort of past one's physical peak. He must have a commanding physique. How tall is he?

Bacchus: On tip toes, he's just over five feet.

WineDay: So your man to take winegrowing to California is a five-foot, 55-year-old, penniless philosophy professor who's going to limp a couple thousand miles to San Diego. Bacchus, ol' boy, don't quit your day job.

Wine of the Day

In view of the above, today's wine MUST be from Mexico. It's a very affordable ($9) Cabernet Sauvignon imported by Negociant Charles B. Mitchell.
For Cabs under $10, my panel gave it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
For availability, contact Kathy Dawson, phone (530) 620-3467, FAX (530) 620-1005.


We nearly forgot. The Canidate's name was Junipero Serra, (pictured), and in spite of all of those handicaps, he DID lead the team of Spanish friars that planted the first European vines in California and made the state's first wine.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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