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Mommy Needs a Glass of Wine: What Disney Taught Me About Wine

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Full disclosure: I am what should be called a Disney Skeptic. Theme parks are just not my thing, I never identified with Cinderella, and the voice of Donald Duck freaks me out. 

But here's the thing. I am also a Mom, and my children, twin boys, are now five. February vacation from kindergarten was coming up fast and 80-degree weather beckoned. Loudly.

I looked into details of the trip. I talked to friends who had also taken their children. And then I saw that there's a wine supplement.

A wine supplement, as in wine, guaranteed, every night for a week. Plus the warmth of Florida in February? And maybe an early-season round of golf or two? Hmm.

Then I remembered that Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, long-time wine writers for the Wall Street Journal, were big Disney fans and wrote about it often in their column.

But was that enough to persuade me into a week at Disney?

Probably not. (My dislike of theme parks runs deep.) But then the trump card presented itself in the form of my two 5-year old children. They have a way of being especially persuasive.

Off we went. In fact, I’m writing this column from within the Disney realm, and we’ll be here for all of school vacation week.

There were the usual questions at check in. Non-smoking room. Passes to the parks. Bus and monorail service. And mine: Where can I get the wine?

There were the usual questions at the restaurants. Appetizer or dessert. Milk or apple juice. Fish or chicken. And mine: Which wines are part of the supplement?

My first choice was a sparkler because it simply seemed appropriate – it was vacation, it had been a long day, there was already lots of giggling going on, and there was a very good choice on the list: Banfi Rosa Regale, Brachetto d’Acqui DOCS from Piedmont.

My second choice was almost the 2008 Conundrum but I stopped myself just in time. I wanted to order it because it’s familiar and I like it quite a lot and, to my palate, it’s a certain winner. But those are exactly the reasons why I shouldn’t (and didn’t) order it – rather than sticking with the familiar, try something new; it’s great to like a wine but imagine how many others are out there I could also like; and if there’s ever a time to veer from certainty, it’s during vacation.

All of which led me to what was really my second choice of the Disney wine supplement, the 2009 Meiomi Pinot Noir. It’s a producer I do not know, with Pinot Noir grapes sourced from three places I’ve never tried in a blend before (Sonoma County, Monterey County and Santa Barbara County). I may like it, I may not, but there are bigger reasons to give it a try.

As for what Disney’s taught me about wine so far, I’ll remember these three take-aways:

  1. Try something new whenever possible.
  2. Wine should be part of regular life just as much as it is part of vacation.
  3. It’s good for children to see their parents enjoying themselves over a glass of wine.

And yes, I do let mine take a sip if they’d like to. Some they like, some they don’t. But here’s what we all know for sure: that Mommy’s maybe doesn’t dislike theme parks quite as much as she thought.

Note: This article also ran today in my column for the Gloucester Times.


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