Hello everyone! My name is Aaron Andrews. I’m from North Eastern Washington, and I am the new summer intern at Laurel Ridge Winery. I could tell you that I got the job at Laurel Ridge for any number of reasons: my charming smile, my sparkling personality, my Christlike humility (lol). The reality, however, is that I got the job because of a sarcastic answer I wrote on a resume. I was filling out an application for an internship program located in Newberg Oregon, my girlfriend’s hometown. I was hungry at the time. No, I don’t mean hungry as in ambitious, I mean hungry like “I want a sandwich.” In my haste, I wrote a snarky answer to the last question in the application: “What is your dream job?” My answer: “Food critic.”
Two weeks later I got a call from the internship coordinator. “It says here,” she told me, “that you want to be a food critic. With that in mind, would you be interested in interning at a winery this summer?” I laughed to myself for a second: “Food critic?” I thought, “What was I thinking?” But up
on further consideration I decided to take the job, and here I am now, pouring wine behind a bar in the coolest little boutique winery in all of Oregon Wine country.
I’ve had to learn a lot about wine in the last couple of weeks. It’s my job to take people through the flights, explaining each wine as I pour. At times, I feel as if I’m speaking about things of which I know not. But here’s a cool thing that I’ve come to realize about wine: it’s kind of like music.
I’m a musician; I’ve been playing the drums since I was ten years old. Jazz is my favorite. As a musician I’ve learned that increasing my knowledge of music and music theory deepens my appreciation of a good tune. The more I study the rudimentary rhythms of jazz, the more I can appreciate great drummers like Art Blakey or Buddy Rich. But here’s the thing: you don’t need to know anything about music theory or jazz drums in order to be blown away by one of Art Blakey’s solos. You just listen and let your jaw drop. It’s the same with wine. The more time you spend getting to know wine and the more discerning your palate becomes, the better you will become at identifying individual parts of the symphonic whole of a glass of Laurel Ridge Pinot for instance—but you don’t need to know a single thing about grapes, wine, or wine making in order to recognize the essential beauty of a glass of wine. It’s not a thing that requires any thought. You just taste it.
Wine and music seem to me to be a couple of the great areas of common ground in human existence. They are the kinds of
things that you can share with anyone, no matter who they are or how much they know about the subject. You can always reach out to your fellow man with a song or a glass of wine and say “Here! Listen! Taste! Try!”
With that in mind, here are a couple of recommendations from my experience thus far:
Try an Oregon Pinot Noir alongside pork loin seasoned with a rosemary rub. The fruit and acidity in the Pinot plays well with the mellow, earthy spice.
Enjoy your meal while listening to the song “Invitation” by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, it’s perfect for quiet evenings on the patio.
Find yourself a hot patio and drink chilled Pinot Gris while listening to Gershwin’s “Summertime.”
If you’re in the area this summer, stop by Laurel Ridge and sample some of the good stuff. I sure love it, and I bet you will too!