Thursday, December 4, 2014

Saying Goodbye to "The Wine Tutor"

Len "The wine tutor" Gulino has been a mainstay on our staff for many years, first as an associate on our wine floor and then an instrumental part in the success of our very popular Harry's Wine School. He has brought a great deal of knowledge to our store and has left an unforgettable mark on our history.

Now, aged to perfection, it is time for him to settle into retirement and enjoy "the life at leisure" and will not have to report to anyone. We could not think of a better way to send him off than with our annual "Holiday high end class" this past Wednesday evening. It is the class where we pick some of our favorite top tier wines off our retail floor and taste them while Len expounds on the merits of each of these magical wines.

Last night Len had fun!

He was really enjoying his last class and there was a real feeling of merriment in the air as many of our most tenured students and friends joined us to send him off in style. He and Christelle picked a wonderful array of wines that had everyone in the room buzzing all night, one after the next they came to the table and each seemed to be just the right choice. At the end of the evening Len even played a little St Nick as he went into his own cellar and picked out a 1977 Dow vintage port that had aged longer than some of our guests had even been alive! Great opportunity and a fitting way to end the evening.

or so you would think...

You see, that port had a flaw, it was corked. All those years later... after all that aging and decades of care, it was never right in the first place. The cork that they had used to seal that particular bottle all those years ago was infected with TCA (2,4,6- Trichloroanisole) and was cork tainted. One more opportunity for the tutor to teach! There was no way to have known at the time that when he pulled it out for this special evening, it was going to let him down. Wine is funny like that...

We weren't going to let that ruin such a wonderful evening. Fortunately we had some Grahams 1970 vintage port in inventory so thinking quickly we opened it up and sent our friend Len (The Wine Tutor) off in style. What a special bottle and it capped a lovely evening and career for a man we all like and admire so much.

Its funny... Through the evening there were lots of people saying "aww Len, don't go" and some suggested just giving up the backroom stuff he does for us. There was a suggestion that he do the "Holiday Highend class" each year and/or to do some special appearances in the future at our "Guest Speaker Series". We like his "Wine 101" class the best and when he was asked about his plans for the future, he didn't have a concrete plan for spending his days. "Travel maybe, or some other things". Maybe that bottle he brought was sending him a message... Perhaps his plan to pack it up is a bit "flawed".

No one knows what the future holds and Len is well aware that we like having him around. We'll see...

There have been a number of people that have thrown their hat in the ring to begin teaching our classes and there is certainly a good amount of talent out there to help fill his shoes. Harry's Wine School is ready to begin its new semester in early February 2015 so keep your eyes open for the release of our upcoming classes.

As for Len...

Lets send him in to retirement with our respect and gratitude for all he has done and wish him the best. Thank you my friend.

For now however, I'm not going to clear out your desk. Lets just make sure that you are really ready.


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