2017 has finally, thankfully passed, and it was quite a year. Annually, Google shares the searches of the year. Enjoy it below!

I wanted to share some of the highlights and low points of the past year here at Casa Wineaux.

Casa Wineaux – My Sanctuary

View from Living Room
View from Living Room

As many of you know, I bought my special home, Casa Wineaux, in 2016. While it wasn’t what you’d call a true fixer-upper, it did need some work, and I wanted to give it my special touch.

Well, my “special touches” have taken twice as long and cost three times as much as my carefully thought-out budget told me! I still have a couple of major and a few minor projects to do, but I couldn’t be happier. I finally have a home, although small, that is perfect for entertaining a few friends and just kicking back and resting.

Vegas Wineaux

Wine grapes
Wine grapes

Wine is the reason I started Vegas Wineaux in the first place. I’m currently working on two more wine certifications to complete in 2018, with the “big” one planned for 2019. Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise. However, because of my immersion in the world of décor, cooking, HGTV, DIY, and requests for my reviews, I realized that I had more to share than my wine experiences. In addition, I also realized that I didn’t talk enough about Las Vegas.

Despite the efforts of Atlantic City, Riverboat Casinos, Reservation Casinos and more, Las Vegas is a special destination like no other. Except maybe Disneyland or Disneyworld. Which may be why it’s called “Disneyland for Adults.” The efforts to sell Vegas as a “family friendly” destination have long fallen by the wayside (foolish idea), and Vegas has returned to its adult, Sin City roots.

I need to share more of what Vegas is from the viewpoint of a person who’s been a resident for decades, has seen the changes – both good and bad – over the years, and who has visited all types of Vegas destinations.

I have been fortunate enough to participate in a couple of professionally-focused wine groups: one that’s made up of intro sommeliers and people just beginning, and one of floor somms with vast experience. While my focus is not working the floor, I still want the skills necessary to do so and will continue to pursue wine education for as long as I can. What can I say? The more I learn, I discover that there’s still more to learn!

Travel

And then there’s travel! While I was only able to visit a couple of places last year – Southern Oregon and Southern California – I’m planning other destinations for 2018 and hope to make 2019 a big travel year.  Wine travel, of course! I hate to say it, but unless there’s wine or family involved, I don’t necessarily want to travel to even “special” destinations!

Benson Estate Winery, Washington
Benson Estate Winery, Washington

That said, if you’ve been reading this blog throughout the year, you will see that I’ve had a couple of my friends write about their wine travel experiences, not only about wines coast-to-coast but also about previously unknown or little-known wine regions. If you’re like I am, you probably received a lot of vicarious pleasure from reading their adventures!

Wine

Somm Tasting
Somm Tasting

2017 turned out to be quite a wine year for me. I was able to taste wines from nearly every wine-producing country, and that helped me to refine my palate. Being able to name a wine, the year it was produced, the quality, and the country/region that produced it makes for an incredible high!

That said, I also learned that there’s still so much more out there! I’ll have to taste more, assess and analyze more, and expand my tasting horizons even more. All that being said, my personal preferences are becoming more sharply defined.

This year in wine also held a few surprises. Some of the Malibu wines were really, really good! Washington State wines have piqued my interest after several years of ignoring them overall.  I don’t know what they’ve done, but the Cabernets now have character and seem to have lost that “tinny” metallic flavor that I always managed to detect, and the Syrahs have bona fide structure and body. I can’t wait to travel to Washington for the wines and get up close and personal with them. I want to go to Horse Heaven Hills because it’s the best wine region name ever.

1 October

My favorite #VegasStrong t-shirt
My favorite #VegasStrong t-shirt

Of course, I can’t talk about 2017 in Las Vegas without touching on the largest mass shooting in the US that happened on October 1.

I was up late that evening reading (studying) and my iPad began beeping like crazy. I ignored them at first, but after a while, they were becoming annoying. I read tweets and FaceBook inquiries from worried friends asking if I was “okay.” Okay from what? I turned on the TV and was unprepared for the horror.

I can’t describe how I felt. It was a combination of horror, surrealism, and a sense of disbelief that this thing couldn’t happen here.  That same feeling stayed with me for the entire week after the shooting, since at The Day Job, our department has the responsibility of following up with the different first responders (police, fire, public works, etc.) and volunteers were dispatched to the LVCVA to help make sure that these guys were taken care of. There was a lot of carnage, and the people who had the unenviable job of cleaning up, investigating, etc., had to be cared for.

I read tweets and FaceBook inquiries from worried friends asking if I was “okay.” Okay from what? I turned on the TV and was unprepared for the horror.

Even though a couple of months have passed, there’s still a lingering sense of disbelief.

As an aside, both of my sons contacted me immediately after they heard the news, worried that I may have been a victim. I didn’t hear from my daughter at all, and at first was a little put out. When I asked her why I didn’t hear from her, she gave me a deep sigh. “Sunday night. Late. Country western concert. What were the chances?” Great point!

What Will 2018 Bring?

Because getting my remaining certifications is very important to me, I’ll be doubling down on studying, tasting, and focus. I plan to write more, not only about wines, but travel, home, lifestyle, and, of course, Vegas.  My time budget (and real budget) will be tighter, with every minute having to count.  Oh yeah – and losing weight and getting organized. The usual.

I hope that your 2018 is a happy and safe one and that we can all look back in 2019 with a smile.

#VegasStrong

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