1. The convention of the End-Of-Year list is most decidedly a media trope that is long overdue to be retired.
2. It is impossible to effectively summarize, in one go, an entire year.
So, that said, here are some End-Of-Year lists, and a summary of 2011!
First, the lists. Specifically, blog lists.
Top 5 blog posts on 4488: A Ridge Blog for 2011? (in terms of total viewerage)
1. Turn Black Friday Red
2. The Oak Wars
4. Robert Parker Scores Ridge
5. Julia Child and Paul Draper
Top 5 Search Engine Terms that led people to 4488: A Ridge Blog in 2011?
1. Nadia G
4. Black Friday
5. Thelonious Monk
Top 3 commentors on 4488: A Ridge Blog in 2011? (Thank you!)
1. Tom Wise
2. Robert Seaney
3. Dave Tong
Top 3 Videos viewed on 4488: A Ridge Blog in 2011?
1. Harvest 2011: Picking Lytton West
2. Harvest 2011: Dusi Ranch
3. Harvest 2011: Jimsomare Chardonnay
Ok, enough lists. Onto our 2011 summary. We begin …
Seems so long ago. What on earth was happening in January of 2011? Well, it was a bit of the good and the bad. On the one hand, beloved actress Zsa Zsa Gabor had to have her leg amputated, and Roger Federer lost in the semis of the 2011 Australian Open, but on the other hand, I was auctioned by Nadia G!
How about February 2011? Well, another month of the good and the bad. One one hand, Tiger Woods was fined for spitting on a golf course. But conversely, The Ramones won a Lifetime Achievement Grammy. So, all’s well that ends well. And at Ridge? Well, February 2011 saw the Monte Bello Hospitality Team go pruning, and of course, it was ZAP! And that was all good.
Which brings us to March. The month in which I enjoyed the greatest tasting experience of my entire life. The Monte Bello Assemblage Tasting. Did I care that Hillary Clinton was in Egypt? That Space Shuttle Discovery was making its final landing? That Coptic Christians and Muslims were at each other’s throats in Cairo? That Phil Collins retired? That the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Force was stepping down? Nah, didn’t even notice. I was making Monte Bello!
Which means I almost didn’t even wake up for April. But good thing I did! Otherwise, I would have missed Penelope Cruz getting her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! And I wouldn’t have known that Dennis Rodman was getting inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame! And heaven forfend if I wasn’t present and accounted for when they announced the guestlist for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton! And on top of all that, I wouldn’t have been there to celebrate the anniversary of The Judgement of Paris!!!
Things finally calmed down a bit in May. Not much going on. Osama Bin Laden was killed, and we hosted the Final Assemblage Tasting for the 2010 Monte Bello. But that was about it.
June was a whole different animal. Very emotional. There was some loss. I’m not gonna lie about it. We lost Peter Falk AND Clarence Clemons. That was hard to take. But there were new beginnings as well. We saw bloom on the mountain. That was beautiful. Samsara. The circle.
By July, we’d gotten our heads on straight again, and we were ready to rock. Everybody was ready. To rock, and to swing. The Arab Spring was rocking. The Queensland Reds of Australia were rocking (they defeated the Canterbury Crusaders of New Zealand 18-13 to win the Super Rugby championship). Jane Austen was rocking (A rare manuscript of an unfinished novel sold for 1.6 million dollars at auction!). Even Jürgen Klinsmann was rocking. He was named head coach of the United States men’s national soccer team. And Ridge Vineyards was rocking too. We rocked probably the hardest at Zinbo #1. That was some serious rocking. Zinfandel and BBQ. Yeah, that’s the rock. Let it rock, let it rock, let it rock. I want to rock. Rock and roll hootchie koo. I love rock n’ roll. For those about to rock. Rock you like a hurricane.
August is a funny month. You never can tell with August. Sometimes it’s groovy, sometimes it’s funky. It can have the funk, but it can also get in the groove. The 2011 rendition of August was mostly kind of funky. I mean, after all, dig this synchronicity. In the same month, Tim Pawlenty announced the end of his campaign for the Republican Party presidential nomination, and Jhala Nath Khanal resigned as the Prime Minister of Nepal! Crazy! And that’s not all! It only gets weirder! Dig this: Nick Ashford of Ashford & Simpson dies in the same month that Jerry Leiber of Leiber & Stoller dies! Crazy!!!!! And if that weren’t enough, both Lady Gaga and Katy Perry got banned by The Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China. Crazy!!!!!!!!!! Fortunately, things were pretty stable at Ridge Vineyards. In order to combat all that CRAZINESS out there, we relied on the consistency of a series; in this case, our Ten Questions with Paul Draper series. Something about checking in with Paul on a regular basis, all month long, felt soothing. He comforted us. He got us through.
By September, we were back in control. We knew what was going on, we were in the saddle. Sonya Thomas won the United States Chicken Wing Eating Championship without batting an eyelid. That New Zealand Emperor Penguin was back in the ocean. And Google+ hit the ground running. And as to us? Solid. We started the month with Fall Release Tastings at Monte Bello and Lytton Springs, and just kept on rocking in the free world after that. Rocking in the free world.
October was pretty crazy. There’s just no gettin’ around it. Things were nuts. The NBA went on lockout. Steve Jobs passed. Sarah Palin declined to throw her hat in the presidential ring. A swede won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Paul McCartney got married again. Wootton Bassett became Royal Wootton Bassett. And the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series. S#*t was crazy. Here too. Harvest began on the mountain. Which was crazy.
November is recent enough that I feel I still remember it. I remember China launching the unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft. I remember the 5.6 magnitude earthquake NNE of Shawnee, Oklahoma. I remember the resignation of Silvio Belusconi. And the sentencing of Dr. Conrad Murray. And most of all, I remember what I was thankful for.
Which brings us to December. The end of the year as we know it. And I feel wine.
And I hope that you do too!
On behalf of all of us at Ridge Vineyards, we thank you for an extraordinary 2011.
May you all have a safe, happy, and healthy 2012!
I mean, CHEERS!