Martin’s Musings: The Lucky Number 8

Martin’s Musings: The Lucky Number 8

My wonderful sister-in-law Julia is of Chinese descent and is gaga about the number 8. She lives on the 8th floor, likes 8 in her phone numbers and was more than a little disappointed that her baby was not born on the 8th…but would never say it. Her passion sparked my curiosity. So, what is the deal with 8? “Eight” in Chinese sounds like to “generate wealth”, so it is easy to say why commercially-minded people would quickly associate this number with good fortune. Japan also celebrates the lucky number 8 with similar passion and revere. Some fun ways the number eight has been celebrated are at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They started the games on 8/8/08 at 8:08 local time. The tallest building in Malaysia is 88 stories. All the airlines compete to pepper their flight numbers to China 8’s (i.e. AC88, KL888, UA888). Hopefully, these travelers have had better luck with their on-time arrival on United than I have. The number four, contrastingly, is a Chinese pariah. Building owners in Chinese communities are famous for skipping floors with 4s and expanding the number of floors with 8 to increase commercial appeal. So, what’s a gift merchant to do with all this research? The answer was clear: let’s create an over-the-top gift to celebrate the number 8, of course! We are delighted to have just launched our “Lucky 8 Sommelier’s Fine Wine Crate” selling for $1,288.88 . It is 2 four-bottle crates, each emblazoned with the Chinese character for 8 and the words, “Eight Bottles for Good Luck and Prosperity”. You can add your own personal message to the...
God Loves Us…. And Other Wine Quotes

God Loves Us…. And Other Wine Quotes

One of the great things we wine lovers share is the love of words. Toasts, poems, songs, stories and wine quotes punctuate the most memorable wine events and milestones. “In Vino Veritas.” (In wine, there is truth.)  One of the best-known quotes in oenophile circles, Pliny the Elder gets the credit for this truism, that wine is indeed a lubricant for honesty and self-reflection. It’s a bit sad that the man who is credited for creating what became the encyclopedia is more remembered for his drinking quote than shifting the course of human knowledge, but who am I to judge? “Age appears best in four things – old wood to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust and old authors to read.”   Sir Francis Bacon evokes powerful sentiments with his quote about aging. For me, he nails it on three fronts. If I can drink good old wine with good old friends and then read a classic novel in the same weekend, I’ve had a perfect weekend. Benjamin Franklin often gets most of his credit for his inventions, industriousness and his role in building the United States Constitution and Postal Service. All superlatives of the highest order, to be sure. But he also deserves a smiling head nod as a humorist, as well! His charm leaps off the page with the quote: “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine: a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.” Truly this is hard to argue, as we watch...
Martin’s Musings: Socialists, Stuffy Englishmen & Some Damn Good Bottles of Wine

Martin’s Musings: Socialists, Stuffy Englishmen & Some Damn Good Bottles of Wine

About once a year at a wine event, one of my friends will say, “Have you ever heard that the French drink their wines too young, so a socialist government won’t take them. The English drink them too old, so they can show their friends cobwebs and dusty bottles. The American drink them exactly when they are ready, because they don’t know any better.” Though I’ve heard the quote fifty times, it makes me laugh every time. Why, you say, should you care? It is because we recently did one of our tastings at GiftTree and we tasted two amazing aged fine wines that are drinking perfectly. We only have a few bottles of each left, so snap them up quickly. Your gift recipient will be glad you did. First, is the Vérité La Joie – the 2006 from Sonoma County is absolutely delicious. This Bordeaux blend from California demonstrates the perfect tension between smooth tannins and the nuance of the renowned winemaker Pierre Seillan. Vérité was built at a partnership between the late, renowned Jess Jackson and the Bordelais wine maker Seillan. Robert Parker has given La Joie 100 points on a few occasions. At GiftTree, our luxury wines like Vérité come with tasting notes cards, ensuring that your recipient will know how special the bottle they are receiving is. Please ask your recipient to tell me how they liked it… I completely adored this wine and hope they do, too.   Second top wine on this list is Lokoya Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. OMG. I had to stand and do miniature happy dance when I tasted...
Martin’s Musings: When Much Ado Matters

Martin’s Musings: When Much Ado Matters

Presentation Matters. Full Stop. In a world where most e-commerce is just focused on selling “stuff” via some search algorithm with some retailer, you just “click it”, and the stuff is on the way. Within minutes after your order, your hunter gatherer instincts are sated, you probably forgot that you even bought something. But gifts are not just “stuff”. Gifts are symbols: symbols of appreciation, love, thanks or other sentiment. And when a gift is beautifully presented, it reinforces the consideration of the gestures itself. There are a few new gifts at GiftTree this year that keep pushing the envelope on our “When Much Ado Matters” presentation that I am particularly excited about. I hope you think so too. Top of my list this year is undoubtedly the Sand Hill Road Luxury Basket. Sand Hill Road is the epicenter of Venture Capital in Silicon Valley. Well-educated investors don the most expensive business casual clothing ever seen, while trying to find the next Google, Facebook or Uber. One of most nerve-racking things I’ve ever done is pitch investing in my business to landed gentry on Sand Hill Road. Probably the most excited I’ve ever been is to realize that the companies I’ve pitched earned the confidence of some of those investors to believe and invest in our companies. Sand Hill Road is at the heart of the California version of the American Dream. It is with this in mind that we launched our Sand Hill Road Luxury Basket this year. It contains a curated collection of Northern California treats including Clif Family Sea Salt Caramels (Napa), TCHO Chocolate (Berkeley) and many other delicious, sophisticated items...
Tasting Notes – 00 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes – 00 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir

From Jim Barret at Chateau Montelena, to Jess Jackson of Kendall Jackson, to the inimitable Robert Parker, lawyers seem to gravitate to fine wine. Recently, the most prominent beverage lawyer in Oregon has caught this tasty bug as well. Chris Hermann, who has helped hundreds of vintners and brewers navigate the complexity of wine law, recently launched his own labor of love. It is called “00” and GiftTree is proud to be one of the first to offer this pure expression of the fruit of the Willamette Valley. Oregon’s Willamette Valley is home to many distinguished and celebrated vineyards, but perhaps no other has been so sought-after, none whose fruit is more in demand than the Pinot Noir grapes from Shea Vineyard, Dick Shea’s storied 89-acre vineyard in Yamhill County. Planting in this vineyard began in 1989, and for a few years, Dick and his team were battling the elements, ripping out and re-planting blocks. Then came a turning point – in 1993, a rising star winemaker saw the vineyard’s promise and bought grapes for his own label, Panther Creek Cellars. Robert Parker (The Wine Advocate) awarded that Panther Creek Pinot 94 points — the highest scoring wine in Oregon that year — and Shea Vineyard suddenly found their fruit in high demand, inundated with requests. 00 is the only Single Vineyard Shea Pinot Noir and made by renowned winemaker Mike Etzel, Jr. of Chapter 24 fame. The 00 name refers the winemaker’s philosophy: to create zero distance in time and zero distance in space from the fruit in the vineyard to your glass. Only 25 cases of the 2014 00 single vineyard Shea...
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