The highlight of my week long holiday was my trip to Oregon's Willamette Valley where vineyards and wineries are plentiful on both sides of route 99W. I did wine tasting at the famous Maresh Red Barn Vineyard where a charming red barn marks a beautiful vine country landscape. The Pino Gris was beautiful, crisp, light, with a hint of fruit. The Pino Noir was equally magnificent.
This was the last day of my week-long holiday and I was heading off to Portland airport the same afternoon. It seemed like a perfect ending to my little sojourn that I should get a bottle of my beloved Pino Gris to bring home to California, and I did.
I had traveled light, as best as I could but I still had one too many carry on bags after a little shopping here and there. So I quickly checked in one of my heavier cabin luggages which I had packed ahead of time that morning. I did not think too much about the bottle of Pino Gris in my hand, thinking I will just stuff it in inside my hand carry messenger bag together with my digital camera. This way I can be sure the bottle does not break, and I have it close to me (still thinking of how good it was when I tasted it). I stuffed the Pino Gris inside my hand carry bag hurriedly and proceeded to security gate.
"Madam, is this your bag?"
I thought, good God, what have I done now? what did I put in there that they needed to check? He grabbed my messenger bag and pulled out my nice bottle of Pino Gris (unopened, Oregon wine label clearly visible) and said: "Madam, this is not allowed, 3oz of fluid maximum!!" he exclaimed.
Of course, what was I thinking? I hit my forehead as I realised what he was referring to. My mind was racing, I was thinking how not to lose my precious Pino Gris.
"Well, do you want to go back out and put the bottle in your check in luggage?" he asked. No, I don't want to go back out and have them find my luggage that was probably sitting on the conveyor belt somewhere waiting to be loaded and cause unnecessary grief to everyone. Furthermore, what would my bottle of Pino Gris become after it has been thrown about inside my luggage as it was on its way to the plane's cargo hole assuming the bottle does not break? I cringed to think what it would taste like if it survived the flight.
"Did someone drop you off?" he then asked, "may be you can go back outside and give it to them?" No, a single woman enjoying a nice holiday alone must be somewhat out of the norm. "Did you buy this from the airport store outside? may be you can return it and tell them you will buy it at their store after security gate?" Good try, but this was a very exceptional bottle of wine that I could only buy from the vineyard. He was clearly trying to help..........
What do I do now? Go back out and drink it all? I suppose I could, but a warm Pino Gris would ruin my palate forever, seriously, not mentioning that that was not my idea of enjoying good wine. Out of utter frustration, I said to the very helpful security guy, "you know what, you guys drink it, it is on me, it is very good" To that he looked at me and smiled and replied " Madam, shall I discard it then?"
"Do what you need to, Sir" I said (respectfully).
As I walked away, he dropped my precious bottle of Pino Gris into the black plastic container with a big label "DISCARD". Ouch!! That really hurts.
What a traumatic experience! When I was paying for the Pino Gris, they were asking me if I wanted a chilled bottle and if I was planning to drink it right away. That was the omen!!! I should have taken up on the suggestion and savored every drop of it sitting in charming garden just outside the tasting room, that would have been more satisfying than my mishap with airport security.
Moral of the story, drink your bottle of wine before you go through airport security unless there is world peace. Alas, I just don't see that happening anytime soon.
If you are looking to buy a gift for someone who wants to learn more about wine and wineries, below are two books I highly recommend.