Mother's Day Wines!
By Shelley Lindgren, co-owner of A16 in San Francisco & Oakland, CA and winner of the 2015 James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Program.
First of all, if you are a mom, you already have a full-time job. Mix that responsibility in with all the daily routines and responsibilities we have, and — if you're like me — there are just not enough hours in the day to really get it all done.
I have been in the restaurant business for more than 26 years. My work is is a big part of my make-up, my lifestyle, my passion, and my identity. As moms, we have to learn how to balance the things that inspire us individually with decisions about our families, and we are constantly growing into the parents and women that we want to be. Every day my to-do list is re-prioritized — often more than once! — and often, it feels like the “mom-time” gets filled with anything but. That's life.
I know that if I had more hours in the day I could be a better friend, wife, mother, boss, co-worker, and so on...But, I also know that I do the best I can. And in my career, the line between “work” and "family" is blurry: the restaurant business is really about taking care of people, and we LOVE sharing our wine and food, greeting old friends, making new ones. I am rewarded every day by the extended “family” that my guests, colleagues, and friends have built through our shared love of food.
At A16, digging deep into a Southern Italian-focused wine program to discover wines that match beautifully with our Southern Italian fare, I have had the privilege to travel to a culture where wine and food — and, more importantly, sharing wine and food — are a rite of passage which is celebrated everywhere, every day. We receive unparalleled hospitality in Italy, and over time, these Italian winemakers have become like our cousins. They have gotten to know our customers, and as we bring home the hospitality we receive abroad, the world becomes magically both smaller and more open to all of us as a result of the exchange.
This week was a milestone in my professional life. An achievement I wouldn't have believed would happen in my wildest dreams came true: a national James Beard Award for our wine program at A16, the small, neighborhood restaurant in the Marina we opened 11 years ago. The reason I mention this is two-fold: One, I had a chance to take a step back and enjoy the incredible community of professionals that have been showing us such tremendous love and support. That is not my comfort zone — usually it’s my job to be loving and supportive! — but, it was a great feeling: a reminder of the amazing community we live in, and our responsibility to perpetuate this kindness and support by paying it forward. Two, we work as a team at the restaurant: educating, traveling, tasting, writing together. This award is something that inspires us to continue our journey with new energy. Sharing this honor with my team and family, in many ways I feel like we're just getting started! Together we get to keep learning, growing and feeling good about the services we provide in our community.
You are the leader of your family, and this Mother's Day, it's your turn to wear the “Mom Medal”. We all work hard, often just trying to do the right things and be the best parents we can. On Sunday, I hope you will take a minute for yourself to enjoy. Don't worry about all the things that still need to get done; instead, celebrate the journey that is your family, and revel in the rituals you share that make your life richer. On that note: here are some wine ideas to enjoy from brunch through dinner. You know what you love, so maybe one of these is for you! Congratulations mom! Cheers!
Mother's day is the heart of newly released rose season! Rose wines have never been more exciting than they are today. When thinking of ways to celebrate mom, the best thing to keep in mind is that Sunday celebrations can start early with sparkling wines at brunch or lunch, then include more lovely options at dinner! So, depending on your plans and family schedule, there is a lot of wiggle room to make the whole day a festive affair! Since I'm always finding a way to think about wine & food 'round the clock, I’ve collected a few bottles to take you through the day as you show mom that you appreciate all her daily multi-tasking and — even better — kisses in the morning and hugs in the evening. Moms don't really need more than love and affection…but, wine does offer a nice way to relax and unwind as she recharges the batteries for the next full day!
BREAKFAST and BRUNCH - Prosecco, Champagne & Sparkling Wines
- Alice, 'Doro', Prosecco, Valdobbiadene, Italy
- La Montecchia 'Fior d'Arancio', Moscato Giallo, Veneto, Italy
- Pierre Peters, Champagne, France
- Contadi Castaldi, Franciacorta Rose, Lombardia, Italy
- County Line Rose, Sonoma 2014
- Donkey & Goat Rose 2014
- Girolomo Russo, Etna Rosato 2014
- Domaine Peyrrasol, Provence, France 2014
- Matthiason Rose, Napa
- I Clivi, 'Galea', Friulano, Italy 2012
- Ciro Picariello, Greco di Tufo, Campania Italy 2013
- Deovolet, Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County 2013
- Ryme, Vermentino, Sonoma 2013 ("Hers")
- Voerzio, Langhe Nebbiolo 2012
- Romeo di Castello, 'Vigo', Etna Rosso 2011
- Damiano Ciolli, 'Silene', Cesanese del Piglio
- Canalicchio di Sopra, Brunello di Montalcino
- Radio Coteau, 'Cherry Camp', Syrah 2012
At left: Author Shelley Lindgren at A16
Group photo: Laura Kudritzki Photography