Mellow Yellow, Sonoma Style

Limoncello di SonomaSeeing as Sonoma is the wine and epicurea capital of the known universe, it’s no wonder that media types find themselves here with such frequency. Not only is ours a ready-made story (what we in the biz call a “cut and paste”), media people tend to be over-indulgers and Sonoma affords the opportunity to guise their gluttony with the élan of a foodie (which is just a glutton rolled in a pinch of culinary esoterica).

This is why a small gang of early imbibers was gathered at the secret 8th Street East location of Limoncello di Sonoma for the taping of Drinking Made Easy, Napa airing Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET on HDNet. The booze-fueled travelogue, features comedian Zane Lamprey and it’s title is as much of a logline as one needs to understand its essential premise. Fortunately, Limoncello di Sonoma proprietors Amy and Fred Groth have a ready list of Sonoma’s finest drinkers at their disposal.

Perhaps I’m overstating the drinking aspect of the shoot – it was billed as a peeling party, but the first blood was drawn at 11:47 a.m., mere minutes after the crew rolled in from a segment on the Plaza, where they had extolled the virtues of drinking in a public square. (Side note: Chief Sackett once told me that when the legal drinking time was rolled back to 11 a.m., the amount of drunk in public arrests dropped precipitously because hardcore drinkers were already too schnockered to make it to the Plaza). Fortunately, many of the attendees were local moms who travel with the presence of mind to pack band-aids. Of course, that presence of mind went fast, as did the band-aids (the host, himself, arrived with a bandaged elbow from some prior exploit).

During the taping, the Groths proved naturals, particularly during a peeling contest to see who could either produce the longest, unbroken lemon peel or who could skin the citrus sooner. The throwaway query “Should we do it the longest or the fastest?” got the requisite onset snickers, which about sums up the pinnacle of wit after couple of lemon meringue-flavored cocktails.

And with risk of riling my friend and colleague Kathleen Hill, permit me to namedrop the culinary comrades whom were on hand – chef Janine Falvo and cheese impresario Sheana Davis cameoed; overseeing the liquid attractions were Tony Tealdi and Eddie Townsend and Capt. Lou Rios (freshly shorn of his ubiquitous ponytail). Besides the signature limoncello concocted by the gang, Sonoma Springs Brewery’s Noma Weiss was on tap. At 6.5 percent alcohol, the Sonoma-themed beer proved itself a fine brunch-brew.

Of note, is the Limoncello di Sonoma warehouse itself, which simultaneously suggests something of Andy Warhol’s Factory (sans the aluminum foil wallpaper but with enough corrugated metal to compensate) a web startup (on account of the frickin’ awesome air-hockey table) and Studio 54 (thanks to the disco ball and the irrepressible feeling that one is there to be seen, due in part to presence of the camera crew). It’s a wonder the Groths don’t open a nightclub – or at least extraordinarily hip mother’s club (band-aids not included). I’d hang out there – moms are hot – I know, ’cause I’m married to one. Moreover, there’s wifi. Booze, broads and broadband – what more does one need?

Well, by the second hour of this yellow-hued media maelstrom, I realized I might eventually need some aspirin and nap. Though, I figured some mother or other could help facilitate in that regard, I decided instead to huddle up in the corner, crack open ye olde laptop and make my deadline. It’s how we media people pretend not to be drunks.

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