Friends and colleagues like to tease me about my trusty paper calendar and the pencils I write with. (No, they’re not just for taking WSET exams!)
“What do you do if it gets lost,” they ask. “What about your phone?”
I tell them my calendar never really has the chance to get lost because it only goes two places: home and the office. It’s almost always within arm’s reach, not to mention the on-going syncing issues I have with my phone and Outlook calendar. Technology, ugh!
But no matter digital or scroll, paging back through the months of the year with all their smudges and scribbles, it’s staggering to recall the sheer volume of work, meetings, classes, events and business ventures successfully planned and executed. I imagine many of you feel the same when taking stock at this time of year.
The beginning of 2022 was largely uncertain given the lingering pandemic, recession and other worries, but that didn’t stop us. Over these past months, all of you – our loyal friends and customers – have helped us rebound and progress in so many significant ways, and we just can’t say thank you enough.
Here are a few things we’re proud of accomplishing this year:
In March, I got a big feather in my cap -- earning all three WSET Level 3 Awards in wine, spirits and sake – certifications shared by only a handful of other women in the U.S. In the summer, I was also honored to receive a prestigious Women of the Vine and Spirit scholarship to continue pursuing Diploma Level certification in wine.
The major milestones didn’t stop there. In April, we popped the champagne and partied at Dreadnought’s 40-plus-two birthday celebration.
In May, we hosted a fun social for WSET alums and new students to kick off the new academic year. In 2022, we have seen nearly 100 students earn advanced credentials in wine, spirits and sake. Congrats to all of you!
We continued hosting our beloved first and third Friday Casual tastings, themed classes and private events – nearly 200 of them in total – and we welcomed more than 1,100 attendees (regulees and newbies alike!)
We taught community education and wine appreciation courses at colleges, universities and retirement facilities including CCAC, Pitt and Atria, and we’re already planning next year’s Osher classes. We saw the restart of our popular Vino and Vinyasa series, and we are looking forward to a new in-depth series on Diploma Wines coming in January, which many of you have already signed up for.
We wined and dined down on the farms – Jamison for our annual Lamb Dinner and Goat Rodeo for a fabulous wine and cheese pairing – and we continued to conduct online and in-person corporate events for companies including True Fit, Holland Mortgage, Schneider Downs, JKS Financial, Jones Day, Alloy 26, Highmark and others.
We formed new partnerships with groups including the Japan America Society of Pennsylvania, and we’re rolling out some brand new products for our portfolio from former Pirates relief pitcher Jason Grilli who’s big into Italian wine and native varietals.
Speaking of Italy, we led three spirited groups over 20 days on an amazing wine and food tour, and we’re already planning the next trip to Puglia in June. What are you waiting for? Come join us!
We did it all while filling hundreds of retail and Wine of the Every Other Month Club orders, as well as answering your wine and food questions and making numerous recommendations for the perfect sips for your perfect events. We continue to go out and educate Pittsburgh’s top food and beverage influencers along with delivering wine to some of the best restaurants and exclusive events throughout the region all year long.
In short, it has been another Grand Cru year for Mike and I in this constantly changing and unpredictable business, thanks in large part to all of you. We are ever-grateful for your support and encouragement that keeps us going day in and day out. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t thank John in Philly, Jay in the Poconos, our drivers out on the road, and our office and warehouse staff who somehow manage to help us make it all happen.
From the bottom of our hearts, we raise a sparkling glass to you to celebrate our success in 2022, and toast an even better coming year. Happy Holidays, and best wishes for a wonderful New Year of sipping and learning!
Deb and Mike