So, when we last left off I was moving coast-to-coast and not sure how to get 22 cases of wine from SF to DC. I ended up going with good old Western Carriers. They weren't cheap but given that the weather was hot when we were moving (end of June) I really didn't want to take chances by sticking the wine in the moving van. If it had been autumn or early spring... maybe, with a lot of worry. Anyway, Western Carriers were awesome. They came to the storage unit in SF, picked everything up in their truck, and then took it to somewhere in New Jersey, where they held it in chilled storage (part of the deal was free storage for up to a month, which turned out to be VERY helpful).
The wine got to NJ around the same time I got to DC. Our house was not habitable at the time so we ended up living with our friends next door for two weeks. Summer in DC is not cool, and even though we have AC in the house, said friends had been keeping tabs on their basement temps and I thought they would be too dramatic for wine storage, so I needed a solution since our basement four feet away was probably not going to be any better. I knew that offsite storage in DC was out, since the only option here sucks (note to self: go into business in wine storage in DC and offer hours for people to access their wine more than two days a week). My pal Mike at K&L had given me a tip to check Craigslist for wine refrigerators/storage since he rightly said when people move they never want to move them. Sure enough, before the end of July I found The Wine Coffin.
The Wine Coffin was purchased for $300 from a guy in Bethesda who was upgrading to another, larger unit. A deal was made, friends from Baltimore who had a very large truck were bribed to come down (I bet they still regret that) and it was hauled to our basement with much pain. It's big, it's black, it's kind of scary-looking, and it holds about 200 bottles (it looks like this but with a solid door). 200 bottles is not enough but it is our lot in life to suffer, and suffer with 200-bottle storage I do (although I do still wonder if I should have gotten the 400 bottle unit one of the embassies here was selling, even if it would have had to be put in the back yard since it would probably not fit down our stairs). It was a DIY kit but the thing is solid and the guy did a good job putting it together.
Anyway, once it was home and set up, I got the wine sent from New Jersey and then had a fun time jamming it all in there. I had zero organization, which sucked, and it was stacked dangerously at the top since the rack inside isn't the best (it can't fit slightly oversized bottles, which means pretty much all Syrah has to go up top in the open area). This meant we had to put old bathroom rugs all around the front so that when bottles fell out, they had some cushioning. We are classy that way!! Miraculously, nothing ever actually broke. And now, years later, we have redone the basement and it has a place of honor under the stairs. And a lame organization setup involving a notebook and pencil but at least I know what is where and honestly, the Excel spreadsheet I was using in SF was a pain in the ass.
Other than all that moving/organization fun, I have been learning that life is indeed possible outside of SF, even though the food and wine is a little sad-making. I can mostly ship wine here (with a little help from some friends in Virginia on occasion) so I am not missing out on too much, but the wine bars here are...different... and the food is more challenging to vegetarians who want to eat fancy delicious food that is not mushrooms. I was even in a tasting group for a while (one put together by my awesome friend Andy, who is now an MW candidate). But now, other than trying as many wine bars as I can and even investing a little in one to help it along, I haven't been doing much smart in the way of wine, so here I am again. Give me some time to regroup and go to France and deal with the holidays, and I will be back.