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Wine And Women
Mommy Musings 6-28-23

I’m not a wine expert by any stretch of the imagination.

However just as I would hope that someone could appreciate my passion and knowledge by way of running and training, I share the same for the wine enthusiast and the knowledge they passionately share.

Yet as for me … it’s simple; you pour it, I’ll drink it, repeat. Well, sort of. Admittedly I have my favorites by way of types and flavors, I’m not a big sweet wine drinker and tend to lean toward reds unless it’s summer. But if we get into talking about “legs” and “vines” you’ve lost me.

I’m fortunate, however, to be surrounded by a number of people who do possess said expertise and appreciate when I’m in their company and wine is being offered.

As a writer, I have an appreciation for a good story. Call it occupational hazard, God-given curiosity or both, either way, that’s where this is headed. A simple girl, intrigued by a wine label and the story which followed.

I’m blessed to have a childhood bestie, who resides in Napa, California. It’s beautiful country, a great getaway spot when mom needs a break and yes, there is wine.

My girlfriend happens to be one of the aforementioned types: a true wine lover with a vast knowledge, as well as collection of varying wines.

When she visits, she brings wine and when I visit, she sends me off with wine. See why I say I’m blessed.

To my wine lover/aficionado friends, the bottles I pull out post a visit from “Giggles,” (a childhood given nickname) always seem to impress or solicit conversation; I love that.

And that’s how this all began.

A few years back, Giggles made a visit and in so doing brought wine.

One in particular was a white (as it was summer). The label beautifully scribed with the word “Handwritten,” the name for that particular variety, “The Author.” Yes, I was completely intrigued. I mean … had she met me?

Turned out it was a boutique winery she had membership to and at the time was her summertime favorite. Knowing my love of reds, she left us with another bottle of Cabernet, its title, “Three Words.”

Long story short, in time I would visit her and we would pop into their tasting room in downtown Yountville so I could restock on both. I had become a fan and as marketing goes, it had worked. Sharing my love and connection with the sweet girl boxing up the wine, she inquired if I knew the story behind “Three Words” – I did not.

Apparently the “Three Words” represented “I love you,” and was chosen as a nod to one of the partners of Handwritten who lost her mom to cancer when she was in college.

Sharing my personal story of battling cancer myself and my relationship with my own daughter, it was all just serendipitous on so many levels.

Earlier this month, as my children were off to see dad in Colorado, I set off for some relaxing girl time in Napa and yes, a visit to Handwritten for a few of my favorite things.

“V” the beautiful lady who had helped us a few years back, greeted us once again. Inviting us to sit and share a “splash” of a few varieties. As we did, the wine talk I know nothing about was exchanged between her and Giggles, while I politely smiled.

Giggles noting as we arrived that I was back for my ceremonial bottle of Three Words. A bottle which from a price standpoint was always above what I would drink on the regular at home. It had become something we would open as celebration for the end of something typically cancer related.

V graciously shared a footnote. My favorite variety was now being produced in a new location and lots of other wine kind of stuff which boiled down to it had doubled in price and was in small supply. Not one to go broke over something that I enjoy, yet had more sentimental meaning, I began my search sampling for something else to return home with.

Unbeknownst to me, after placing our orders, while I was checking out the merch, V slid said bottle into my box. Sharing privately with Giggles that for some reason, she just felt she needed to send me home with this. It was something she truly wanted to do.

Overcome by emotion, Giggles shared my journey of battling cancer the past four years and how meaningful that surprise would be once it was discovered.

Oblivious to all of this, I was simply told as I signed my slip to pay that there was a surprise that I would have to wait and see when we got to the car.

Opening the box, my eyes grew damp, as did Giggles. As an industry person, she knows generosity, but this was next level. This was no $20 bottle of wine, but V was certain she wanted me to have this.

Driving back to her home I shared with Giggles how much I love moments like that. Not the moment of getting free stuff; the beauty of humanity. Strangers connecting through random moments and forever sharing a memory and a story. In truth, as a writer, sometimes I feel it’s what gives me life.

The beauty of this job is the recognition that everyone has a story. I share mine pretty regular in this space, yet more so from the place of a lesson versus a “look at me” perspective.

In this case the lesson was what I hope we all do a bit more often. The lesson of connection. Of putting distractions away, engaging with others and appreciating all we share as humans.

I’ll never forget that day in that room with Giggles and V. What a beautiful moment, all started by a simple wine label … that’s just awesome.


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 209-847-3021.