The first time I visited Disney World in Florida, I loved the “Small World” ride – especially floating through the cool of an air-conditioned “cave” after spending all day in the Florida sun. Until the song got stuck in my head – which is probably what this is doing to you right now. But wine really does seem to make the world smaller, if by only one glass at a time.
Houston is a pretty big place and living in Clear Lake makes it seem even larger. If we got in our car and drove to just halfway through the metropolitan area, it would take about an hour in normal Saturday traffic. Thirty minutes south on the freeway takes you to Galveston. And we visit wine bars everywhere in between. You’d think in all that space you wouldn’t see so many people you know, but folks in the wine business all seem pretty connected. One of the first few times we visited Chelsea Wine Bar in El Lago, we met Emelie. Emelie’s a bubbly blond (on the right, that’s Mayra on the left) who can find exactly what you’re looking to taste, even when you don’t know what that is. When we were attending the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo’s International Wine Competition’s Best Bites event, we saw Emelie from afar, but the place was huge and crowded and we just couldn’t get over to say “Hello.”
Emelie had left Chelsea but we heard from Matthew that she had moved to a new wine bar called Three Oaks Wine Bar a little further south in League City. So we visited the new wine bar and had a few glasses there. This time I gave her my business card. In June I got an e-mail from Emelie telling us about a new wine bar in The Village, a shopping area near Rice University, called Vintage 46, where she was now pouring. While we had the best of intentions we kept putting off our visit.
This past Saturday, we attended another of Iris’ Urban Wineauxs (stay tuned for more about UW) get-togethers at Tintos a hot new tapas spot in the River Oaks area of Houston. Joe met Iris in ISG class, and we had frequently enjoyed her pairings and pourings at The Tasting Room, a trendy wine bar in Uptown Park, which is in The Galleria area of Houston. In conjunction with an Urban Wineauxs event at the beginning of August, we visited Block 7 Wine Company, a new retail, wine bar, and restaurant in the up-and-coming Washington Corridor. At Block 7, we saw Amber, event planner extraodinaire. Amber used to plan events for The Tasting Room, and I’d met her there at a kick-off party for the MOM2.0 Summit, which she helped organize.
After the Urban Wineauxs event, I said, “Hey, let’s go see Emelie!” So we headed to Vintage 46 (more about Vintage 46 later). It turns out Emelie was out of town, but we met Melony. Melony is originally from North Carolina – which led to a discussion of who makes the better barbecue – North Carolina or Texas. And while we were talking barbecue, who would walk in but Michael, who did the Saturday pourings at The Tasting Room after Iris moved to another location. We kept racking our brains as to where we knew him, but it didn’t dawn on us until after we left.
Tonight I’m heading up to a kick-off party for The Wine Conference, which will take place at the Italian Cultural-Community Center on September 26th. The first major wine and food conference in Houston, The Wine Conference is the brainchild of Geri, whom I also met at The Tasting Room, Uptown Park for the MOM2.0 Summit.
Now granted, we write about wine. And many of our connections also come from twitter and Facebook. But you have to admit, seeing so many people we know whenever we visit a wine bar is a bit uncanny! Even in a city of over 4 million people, when it comes to wine and Houston — it really is a small world after all!