Jeff’s Corner 2-1-19

Hey, Hey, Hey, last Monday was our 5th Annual Staff Appreciation Day, and suffice it to say, that Tuesday morning the makers of Tylenol and Advil experienced record sales. After terrorizing the San Antonio River Walk the last two years, we returned to the beautiful Eilan Hotel and Spa, the scene of our first two outings.

Not surprising, this year was the largest yet, with Brian and Jennifer renting 76 suites and hosting 136 guests. It was truly a magical evening, featuring great folks, fabulous food and wine, and lots of dancing.

We began with a lovely reception on the fourth-floor terrace of the hotel, with a gorgeous view of downtown San Antonio sparkling in the distance. An elegant dinner followed, with impeccable service and a choice of beef tenderloin, Halibut, or chicken sided with roasted Brussels sprouts and Duchess potatoes. For dessert, we each had our own wicked Mexican Chocolate Cake with Mexican Vanilla Bean Chantilly.

After dinner, we partied off to another room for more wine, drinks, and dancing. Brad Bowlby, a great new addition to our GCV team, also doubles as a disc jockey extraordinaire. He kept us going late into the night with cool tunes and interesting (to say the least) Karaoke.

Brian and Jen really out did themselves this year with our wine selections. We began with a lean and graceful Piper Heidsieck, Brut Champagne (NV), followed by an E. Guigal, Viognier (2016) from the Condrieu region in northern Rhone, the “birthplace” of Viognier. This was a real beauty, with aromas of peach, pear, and wildflowers framed by a lively, well-integrated palate.

Our two reds, an Orin Swift Machete, Petite Syrah Blend (2016) and Cade Cowell Mountain Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon (2016) were totally over the top. The Machete was a dark and brooding Petite Syrah, a huge wine, with legions of black fruit supported by monster tannins. The Cab, by contrast, was a classic, austere Napa thoroughbred. Powerful, yet graceful notes of fruit, espresso, cocoa, and leather paired with silky tannins and oak for a big WOWSER!

Things were a little more subdued the next morning at breakfast, with the staff spread out in the dining room staring at their coffee cups waiting for their checks. Kathy and I were pretty much the last stragglers when Brian pulled up a chair at our table followed by Jennifer.

We talked about what a great evening it was, how much we all enjoyed ourselves, and how much some of us really enjoyed ourselves. Brian mentioned how difficult it is to book an event for a group our size, and how we’d have to begin working on it right away for next year. Then, we drifted back to the early years; Brian commented that when he bought Grape Creek 13 years ago, he thinks there were 5 employees. With the addition of Heath Sparkling this year, we will have well over 100.

Brian and Jennifer have built an empire, and when histories are written about Texas Wines, Grape Creek will be a major player. Kath and I are proud to have been part of this growth.

There’s a bigger picture here, however. Grape Creek’s economic impact on our community is immense, and its growth and generosity have provided a high standard of living to many families in our community. It is for this that our deepest, most heart-felt gratitude goes out to Jennifer and Brian Heath. Thank you, our love and respect for you both goes beyond words.