The Scarlet Letter

Apothic Logo

Due to some circumstances beyond my control, I’ve had to deal with a lot of stress over the past few weeks.  Stress of any kind attracts sha (negative energy) to an individual and/or space. Depending on the person, stress can cause a multitude of symptoms, including headaches, anxiety, skin issues, sexual performance problems, and a weakened immune system.  For me personally, I suffer from insomnia, and the resulting fatigue and lack of energy that comes along with it.  Unfortunately, stress is an inescapable part of life.  But, it can be reduced and dealt with accordingly.  One way I like to unwind is to pour myself a glass of wine, such as the red blend from Apothic Wines.

Apothic Echos

Created by winemaker Boyd Morrison in 2007, Apothic harvests its grapes from Lodi to make some of the most tantalizing blends I’ve ever had.  I was first introduced to it  on a weekend away in Big Bear a few years ago.  It was love at first taste.  The name Apothic comes from the word Apotheca;  a mysterious place where wine was created and stored in the 13th century.  The “ic” portion of the name comes from the word epic (which this wine definitely is).

Apothic Red

Apothic Red – A seductive blend of zinfandel, syrah, cabernet and merlot.  While this is definitely not a dessert wine, I found the bold and rich taste of chocolate to be highly prevalent (probably from the zinfandel grapes used).  Vanilla, blueberry, raspberry, and mocha flavors also permeate the libation.  An excellent choice for every wine lover’s palette.  Even if you’re not an aficionado of red wine, try this.  It’s impressive taste lingers upon the senses.  Unforgettable.

Apothic White

Apothic White – I had this recently at a dinner party, and the first taste to assuage my senses was honey.  Sweet honeysuckle, vanilla, and mellow pineapple bring forth images of hot summer days in tropical climates.  A friend suggested adding actual honey to the wine, which I am inclined to do for a more digestif appeal.  Best served chilled, although ours was not; we added a few ice shards instead.  Sultry and beguiling.

Apothic Rose

Apothic Rose – A limited edition released this year, this is a very stylish blush wine.  Strawberries with hints of cream, nutmeg, and watermelon are the dominant flavors.   This pairs amazingly well with Trader Joe’s Carrot Zucchini Bread.  Charming and sweet.

Apothic Wine Art

Wine Advertisement Art by Aurie Singletary of Cargo Collective.  See more of her incredible images at her site:  http://cargocollective.com/auriesingletary/Apothic-Wine

Apothic Red Pond and Trees

From a feng shui perspective, there are many ways to deal with stress.  Here are a few things I do to help relax and rejuvenate during stressful times:

  • Gaze at some art – Whether is be online or at a museum, spend some time browsing artists of various styles.  This helps to relieve the mind of worrisome thoughts, and let’s people focus their attention on an item of beauty.  Even if one doesn’t like a piece of art, it’s always thought-provoking.
  • Clear the clutter – Remove and reorganize any clutter in your environment – especially in the bedroom   Clutter also attracts sha, stressing people out the more and more it collects. Take a half hour or so to clear some of this away from you environment, or at the very least, remove it from the bedroom.
  • Get some fresh air – Open up all the windows and let fresh air into the space, for about an hour (weather and temperature permitting).   Air and breezes from outside help remove the stagnant, yin air of the area, attracting more fresh,yang energy inside.  Taking a nice stroll around a park or neighborhood also helps.
  • Take a bath – As opposed to showers, baths helps to relax the body rather than stimulate.    There are all sorts of various things one can add for the ultimate bath experience.  I like bubble bath, some essential oil (usually lavender or eucalyptus), bath salts, and apple cider vinegar.  Why the vinegar, you ask?  It’s a skin equalizer.  If you have dry skin, it helps to naturally moisturize.  If you have oily skin, it helps to draw out the unnecessary oils.
  • Aromatherapy – Lighting candles or incense is a very quick way to alter a space for the better.  For calming, I suggest vanilla, lavender, or sandalwood.
  • Calming music – Various kinds of music can help one to relax.  Studies have shown that classical music alters brain waves, slowing down heart rate and breathing to a more calming rhythm.  Soft jazz and new age music also have the same effect.  (Enya is awesome)
  • Unwind with wine – A glass of red wine a day is good for the body and improves memory.  It also helps to relax.  After my second glass, I feel much better.

These are but a few of the ways one can de-stress.  There are many others, and they’re different for everyone.  Some of my friends play video games, or go for a mile run, or do yoga, or meditate.  Find what works best for you.

Haunting Apothic Poster

Apothic has  a choice selection of luxurious products for sale on their website, like the beautiful poster pictured above.  They also have a new black, stemless wineglass I’m sort of in love with.  All of their products are here:  http://store.apothic.com/index.cfm?method=storeproducts.showlist

Opera Wine Quote

Apothic can be found at a variety of locations, including CVS, Target and Trader Joe’s.  Also, check your local supermarket, bodega, or liqueur store.  Many of them in the Los Angeles area carry Apothic, although the rose is much harder to find than the red or white.   There is also a store locator  on the Apothic site here:  http://www.apothic.com/where-to-buy.asp  The price for this relaxation in a bottle is around $9.00 – $11.00.   I would not recommend purchasing online, as the shipping costs from all available distributors seems grievously high.

To unwind from the day tonight, I plan on having some Apothic Rose as I lounge in a warm bath courtesy of that amazing gentleman, Mr. Bubble.

http://www.apothic.com/

*Uncredited Apothic images provided courtesy of Apothic Wines.

Wine: An Old School Perspective

On a recent trip to Santa Barbara, I was introduced to an unusually captivating wine merchant known as Municipal Winemakers.   While I was waiting for my friends to arrive, I grabbed a glass of their robust MCS, and perused my surroundings.  The tasting hall here promotes comfort in an artistic and environmentally-conscious fashion.  A large warehouse door (pictured above) opens up to the outside world letting in light and fresh ocean air. Surplus wine bottles and tasting glasses are stored in upcycled file cabinets. The seating is a mixture of reclaimed wood benches, padded folding chairs and classic science lab stools.  Bookshelves constructed of wooden crates are laden with 1980’s textbooks and vintage high school trophies.  One of the many items that captured my attention was the illustrious chandelier (pictured below).  This is actually constructed using a wine bottle washer, which is the large metal frame holding all the bottles in place.   Lovely and enigmatic, this piece is a wonderful example of water, metal and fire elements.  This also helps to counteract the negative influence of the beams present.  I am not a fan of exposed beams in any environment.  From a feng shui standpoint, they create negative influences in health and relationships.  The fastest way to alter the beams here would be to paint them and the ceiling the same color; thus making them symbolically disappear into the ether.  However, the various lighting in the space helps to soften the unfavorable effects of the beams.

On the right we have a more detailed image of the wine bottle chandelier.  On the left are the metal lanterns inscribed with Dan’s in primary red, which hang about most of the ceiling.  My guess is they reclaimed them from somewhere, but I’ve no idea where.

The momentous piece of art above is actually raised a bit, encompassing paint and other materials.  The gold pieces in the ore are shards of brass veneer from vintage high school sports trophies.  From a feng shui perspective, the environment at Municipal captures most of the five elements beautifully:

  • Wood –The art hanging about the walls, and the plants located directly outside.
  • Fire – The nostalgic wood-burning stove situated in one corner of the room.
  • Metal – The art, tables,chairs, chandelier, roof, and file cabinets.
  • Earth –  The rich colors of browns, grays, and earthy reds.
  • Water – The glass bottles, the horse painting in the bathroom, and the blue and slate gray hues.

Now while the metal, water, and fire elements are displayed here quite well, the room is lacking a little wood and earth energy for my liking.  Even though they have a lot of wonderful wood furniture – which is best material for furniture in my opinion – it cannot be considered a wood element because the wood is dead.  However, the sheer amount of art from various craftsmen, displayed around the environment, helps to foster the creative wood energy.  As for earth, the main examples here are in the form of different colors.  But I do love the classic globe perched atop one of the file cabinets.  So here symbolically, the earth is also present.

And now on to the wine.   I sampled six delicious wines, and fell for each one of them:

  • 2011 Bright White – an arid riesling with hints of tart citrus.  Perfect for a summer day.
  • 2011 Sweetness Reisling – Sweet and clandestine, this white wine has an alluring bouquet with hints of honey and orange.  Intoxicating.
  • 2011 Rose – A refreshing, subtly sugared beverage.   Cool and crisp.
  • 2010 Bright Red – An amazing classic red blend with strong hints of dried herbs and cranberry.  It reminded me of good holidays past.
  • 2010 Grenache – Chocolate nuances abound in this rich and robust elixir.  A must for any red wine aficionado.
  • 2010 MCS – My favorite of the group.  A complex blend of Mouvedre, Carignane, and Syrah grapes.  This is a bold and brazen red that will make your head turn.  A bottle of this came home with me, and I’m saving it for a special occasion.

In addition to their retro-esque decor, another aspect I love about Municipal are the hours.   The tasting room is open from 11:00 to 6:00 daily – where as most tasting rooms close at 5:00.  And on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, they stop tastings promptly at 6:00, but remain open until 11:00, transforming into a wine bar!   Wine, by either the glass or bottle, is available to drink on the premises.  Pre-made cheese plates from C’est Cheese are available if one is feeling peckish, and classic board games lie about for one’s leisure  (A very studious couple was playing chess in the corner)  Unlike my other wine adventures, I visited Municipal twice in one weekend.  I experienced the wine bar environment on Friday night, and then returned Sunday afternoon for tastings.  They also offer free local delivery to patrons who arrive on a bicycle.  The metropolitan class of Municipal Winemakers will leave you with a feeling of warmth and abundance.  I’m very much looking forward to my next visit.

Municipal Winemakers Tasting Room

22 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara CA 93101

805 931-6864

Hours:  Open Daily from 11:00 – 6:00,  Wine Bar:  Thursday – Saturday 6:00 – 11:00

http://www.municipalwinemakers.com/