LA-DEEEEEZ and GENTLEMEN, and PINOTPHILES OF ALL AGES (21+), here's your invitation to MoCool 2002. Please join us as we celebrate the 11th year of the MOtown COoperative Off-Line, the world's longest running gathering for wired wine lovers.
Art by Cindy Baldwin
The topic under consideration at this year's festivities will be Pinot Envy - an exploration of wines made with grape varietals that start with the word Pinot. Contemplate the Pinot color wheel - Noir, Blanc, and shades of Gris (or is that Grigio?). Adding Pinot Meunier will let us taste a bubbly Blanc de Noir or two. And don't forget Pinotage! So get ready to spend the weekend of Aug. 23-25 in the Ann Arbor/Detroit area, socializing with wine buddies, drinking great wines made from your favorite flavor of Pinot, and eating incredible food!
This year's deliberations bear a strong family resemblance to MoCool 10 - we'll return to the venues and schedule format of last year's wildly successful Tour de France. Several winemakers plan to join us for some or all of the weekend - see the details under each of the weekend's activities. Plus we've refined our online signup form and the logistics of several of the events, to make your MoCool 2002 weekend run more smoothly than ever. Because of this, PLEASE read this entire (long and hopefully not too boring) fact sheet if you're interested in joining us for MoCool 2002.
So let's go to the details ...
HERE'S THE SCHEDULE:
Friday Lunch / Discussion, August 23, High Noon
"SO YOU WANNA BE A WINEMAKER, HUH?"
Breathes there a red-blooded wine lover who hasn't - at least once or twice - fantasized about chucking it all and heading out to start making wine? On MoCool Friday we'll have lunch with two guys who've followed that star in just the last couple of years, but taken very different roads - and both are now celebrating the commercial release of their wines!
California's Brian Loring, proprietor of the Pinot Noir-only Loring Wine Company, and Michiganian Kip Barber, founder of Lone Oak Vineyards, will join us over lunch to tell us about acting out their fantasies. No, silly, not THOSE fantasies - but turning the amateur's passion for wine so many of us share into a venture as a professional commercial winemaker. Best of all, with lunch we'll be among the first to sample some of Brian and Kip's maiden winemaking triumphs. Brian's already received a Wine Spectator 90 points for his (and he only made 75 cases)! And Kip's installing a trellising system that just might revolutionize how grapevines are grown in cooler climates.
Kip and Brian will talk about why they made the leap from hobbyist to winemaker - beginning at square one - along with the triumphs and pitfalls that come with being the new guy on the block! Longtime MoCooler Robin Garr, the genial journalistic guru behind the web's Wine Lovers Page (http://www.wineloverspage.com), will moderate and get the discussion rolling, and there'll be plenty of time for you winemaking wannabes in the crowd to get your questions in.
Last year was our first-ever MoCool Friday lunch, and those fortunate forty folks who enjoyed Chef John Williams' food at the Kerrytown Bistro (http://www.kerrytownbistro.com), in the heart of Ann Arbor's Farmer's Market will understand why heading back there this year was a no-brainer for us! So kick back and enjoy a wonderful mid-weight mid-day meal, along with a couple of glasses of wine from our guest winemakers.
If you're an early-arriving out-of-towner, this is a great way to ease in to the weekend before the "core" Pinot Envy activities commence on Friday night. And if you're from the Ann Arbor area, stop by for lunch, a great discussion and a chance to meet up with the early-arrivals - we promise you'll be out in reasonable time to do some work in the afternoon, if that's what you really want! Lunch starts at noon, and the discussion should finish up at about 2 p.m.. Cost: $30, all-inclusive.
Friday evening, Aug. 23, 7 p.m.
"I WISH I HAD A DUET"
And so we do! Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon will once again be this year's host for our Friday night event! And, once again, Madeline agreed to close her company's flagship Duet Restaurant to the public and let MoCool take over the joint for the entire evening. With its "urban chic" décor and sophisticated cuisine, Duet makes a great venue for our Friday night gathering. It's a Wine Spectator award-winner in the heart of Detroit's entertainment district, taking its musical name from its location, adjacent to Orchestra Hall, home to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (http://www.uniquerestaurants.com/duet.asp).
But when MoCoolers get together to play, our concept of a Duet is somewhat different - we're talking about superb food paired with great wines! Even as we write, Madeline and Executive Chef Jim Barnett are assembling a feast that will tempt the palate and soothe the soul. And to make this meal even more special, our theme strikes to the very heart of food friendly wines, PINOT! With each course, Madeline will be serving up multiple Pinots that will lend themselves fabulously to food pairing
There's great news for anyone living in the Ann Arbor area or staying at the Hawthorn Suites (the MoCool hotel) - we've again arranged round-trip bus transportation straight to Duet's door so that you won't have to drive, and you can even start the party early! Details are under "Logistics", below. And if you do want to drive in, there's parking right next door! Socializing, with appropriate palate-opening wines, begins at 7:00 p.m.; we'll sit down to dinner at 8:15. Seating is limited - last year we sold out the restaurant and had to turn people away, so please book early. Cost: $100 (Dinner) $13 (Bus), all-inclusive.
Saturday late morning, Aug. 24, 11 a.m.
MoCOOL UNIVERSITY IS IN SESSION!
At 11 on Saturday morning - after the requisite sleeping in, coffee and breakfast - MoCool University's annual tasting seminars will come to order. The curriculum doesn't include a comprehensive study of Freud, but does give you a chance to pick one of three simultaneous seminars that take an unusual look at the relationships among some off-the-beaten-track Pinots. And you're gonna just LOVE the final exams!
BAD TO THE BEAUNE with Leo Fox
No, George Thorogood is not a Burgundy lover (at least to our knowledge), but it's a treat for us to welcome Leo Fox to the MoCool University faculty. Leo has imported and written about Burgundy for over 10 years. Plan to do some serious comparison tasting in this session - multiple vineyards from the same producer, the same wine over different vintages, etc. We'll start with some wines from the Cote de Beaune, and finish up with the Cote de Nuits. We'll also discuss and taste the differences among different vineyards from the same commune, and try to demystify some of Burgundy's complex terminology. Get ready for a real eye opener!
SIBLING REVELRY with Brian Loring
Burgundy lovers have always enjoyed comparing wines of different producers with grapes from the same vineyards. Now it's California's turn - and one of the new, hot Pinot makers will lead the tasting!
Winemaker Brian Loring is following in the footsteps of such producers as Williams Selyem and Siduri by using bought-in grapes from some of California's top Pinot growers to craft tiny batches of single-vineyard Pinot Noir. He's just released his second vintage - and both of his 2000-vintage wines (Garys' Vineyard and Clos Pepe Vineyard) were Spectator 90 pointers. For this seminar, Brian will take a look at some of the vineyards that supply grapes to these small-batch Pinot producers - and then we'll comparison sample what different winemakers have done with these sibling grapes, while Brian discusses what winemaking techniques may have led to what we're tasting in each bottle. A unique seminar by an up-and-coming California winemaker!
PINOT FAMILY VALUES with Frank Patterson
Those who landed seats last year at Chicagoan Frank Patterson's overflow Alsace seminar know what we mean when we say, "Frank knows his white Pinots!" But it's likely that not one oenophile in ten is aware of the convoluted history of the Pinot family tree - how Gris is a genetic mutation of Noir, and Blanc a genetic mutation of Pinot Gris. You can hear more of the strange-but-true tales of the Pinots if you join Frank as he delves into the intricacies of relations among members of the Pinot family, including in-depth information on each of the three varietals and comparisons of how each grape expresses itself, depending on where it grows.
All three tasting seminars run concurrently, starting at 11 a.m. at the Hawthorn Suites and adjacent Holiday Inn in northeast Ann Arbor. So you can only sign up for one per person (but of course couples are free to follow their different taste buds!) We'll finish in plenty of time for you to pop home and take a break (or get in a swim if you're staying at the hotel) before the afternoon picnic. Cost: $40.
Saturday afternoon, Aug. 24, 3 p.m. until ...
PICNIC WITH OEDIPUS REX AND A BUNCH OF PINOTPHILES!
Feel like hanging out with a bunch of Pinotphiles? You can if you join us at MoCool's most popular centerpiece event, the BYOWine Tasting Picnic! Join scores of wired wine lovers for informal tasting, munching, and socializing at the country home of MoCoolers Cindy and Clay Johnson, in the country about 10 minutes north of Ann Arbor.
MoCool Executive Chef Alan Kerr, Sous-chef Allan Bree and Pastry Chef Tom Denk are already working on a food extravaganza, all meant to enhance the pinot experience (Alan K. was like a little kid at Christmas when he found out what this years theme was)! Once again, wave after wave of culinary genius will flow from the fingertips of these masters! If this year is anything like the previous 10, finding a great food wine pairing will be a little like trying to find pinot noir in Burgundy. Click here for the complete menu!
Bring along your friends and a favorite bottle (or more) of Pinot liquid libation to share with the gang - the more wonderful, enviable, rare or exotic, the better! Everyone at the picnic gets a MoCool 2002 commemorative glass to taste from and take home - and you're welcome to pick up a few extras while you're at it (see below, under "Goodies"). And there's also a bus running between the Hawthorn Suites and the picnic, so you don't have to drive if you prefer not to (see below, under "Logistics").
If you're so inclined, feel free to pack a portable musical instrument or other form of entertainment. - Dave Guimond is already at work on his annual wine-themed song to debut! If you've been to prior MoCool Saturday picnics, you know that half the fun comes from the unexpected and impromptu - song sessions, cellar stuffings, unusual bottles and surprise meetings and reunions. As always, we'll start at 3 p.m. and finish up late at night when the last person leaves. Cost: $45.
Sunday, Aug. 25, High Noon
DOES THE SIZE OF YOUR PINOT REALLY MATTER?
This year's Sunday tasting will finally answer that question! The MoCool crew has assembled some of the best that Russian River, Willamette Valley, and Echezeaux have to offer. Rest assured that some of these wines are nearly impossible to get in normal circumstances!
Your challenge? Well, there is just one little kicker - we're gonna do this blind and ask you to tell us which region the wine comes from. And just to make it just that much more fun, we're going to ask you to pick what you think are the REST of the group's two favorite wines. Some will show definite regional characteristics, but we didn't select the wines without some homework - and that means at least a few that we're betting will fool you. We will give you one little hint; all of the wines come from the 1999 vintage (but, then again, we've been known to cheat!).
To further complicate things, we've invited two of the Pinot winemakers in attendance at MoCool to taste blind along with us and comment on the wines. By this stage of the weekend, we'll all know Brian Loring, from California's Loring Wine Company. We'll also be joined by Lee Lutes, winemaker at Black Star Farms in Michigan's Leelanau Peninsula. Lee may be Michigan's hottest winemaker right now - by invitation, he'll be pouring his Pinot Noir at Oregon's International Pinot Celebration later this month, the first Michigan winemaker ever to be so honored.
Everyone will also get full write ups on the wines (all that technical info cyberwinos so love to absorb). You can pick this up after the tasting (awww, c'mon guys, you didn't really think ... ).
Once again, MoCool Sunday will be hosted in the spacious ballroom at Polo Fields Country Club, just west of Ann Arbor. When we're through tasting, we'll adjourn to a full buffet brunch from the Polo Fields kitchen, with plenty of food for all GUARANTEED. Tasting seats are very limited, so please reserve ASAP - the Sunday tasting regularly fills up almost immediately and we have to turn people away. A brunch-only option is also available if you want to eat and shmooze, or share a pour - but please note that the pours will be fairly small, and brunch begins when the tasting is done. We'll sit down to taste at Noon; brunch should be done about 3 p.m.. Cost: Tasting and brunch, $75; brunch only, $25; all-inclusive.
All the "goodies" will be made up based on orders we receive before August 1; only a few extras will be available at MoCool itself, and they always sell out instantly. So please order yours ahead to avoid being disappointed!
MOCOOL 2002 T SHIRTS: Get your commemorative "Pinot Envy" t-shirt to show your MoCool pride and make a vinous fashion statement at tastings around the globe! They're $16 apiece in pre-shrunk all-cotton, sizes S through XXL. Order 'em up when you reserve your spots for the weekend, and don't forget to specify sizes on the signup form! (Or we'll mail you one for $3 postage if you can't make it to MoCool this year - just note that in the "Comments" section of the form.)
MOCOOL 2002 COMMEMORATIVE WINE GLASSES: We think this year's glass is a real find! Always in search of making things better (not that last years glass was second rate, by any stretch of the imagination), we went out on a quest to see "was there a serious wine tasting glass that could be had for less than a million dollars a stem?". We think we found it. As you are all aware, the INAO tasting glass has been a standard for the wine industry for quite some time. This year, MoCool decided to take the plunge and offer these INAO tasting glasses for MoCool 2002. This glass does have one advantage. This particular glass is hand blown (not crystal), so throwing it into the dishwasher is no biggie! Lumm's Wine Glasses of San Anselmo California (http://www.wineglassesltd.com/) was a great help in identifying and acquiring these glasses. Cost: $5 each; sorry, we're not mailing these.
(3) LOGISTICS & INFORMATION:
HOW TO SIGN UP: Did you receive this email directly from us? Good - you have reservation priority! Because of space limitations and our desire to accommodate those who want to attend the entire weekend, MoCool always gives priority to folks on our email list who want to sign up for all three days. Read on...
With the proliferation of MoCool activities, we've grouped things into a "Core Event Package" and "Bonus Events". The Core Event Package consists of the Friday Dinner, Saturday Picnic, and Sunday Brunch (with or without the Pinot tasting). Bonus Events are the Friday Lunch Discussion and the three Saturday morning Tasting Seminars.
Through Sunday, July 14, or as long as space holds out, everyone on the email list can reserve up to 4 places for the Core Event Package, plus your choice of Bonus Events and MoCool Goodies. During this time, there are no signups for single Core events, or for Bonus Events if you're not also signing up for the Core Event Package.
Starting Monday, July 15 you can sign up for any individual event - Core or Bonus - on a first-come, first-served basis, space permitting. We'll also take reservations at this time from folks who are not on, or are new to, our email list
Again this year - we're doing signup on a web-form, with everything on one easy-to-fill-out page! To make your reservation, just click over to http://www.signup4mocool.com. This isn't a secure form, but we're not asking for any confidential information!
Once we get your signup form, we'll shoot you back an email to confirm your space and total cost, along with payment instructions. (See "How to Pay", below.) If you don't get a confirmation within 12 hours of signing up, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to verify that we received it!
Your wine-loving friends are welcome to join us, too; feel free to forward them this email or direct them to the MoCool web site where they can read the same information and sign up for the email list. We can take reservations through August 18, but we expect the weekend to fill up much sooner.
Events: Friday lunch, $30. Friday dinner, $100. Saturday morning tasting seminars, $40. Saturday afternoon picnic, $45. Sunday tasting & brunch, $75; brunch only, $25).
Goodies: MoCool 2002 commemorative tasting glass, $5. Pinot Envy T shirt, $16.
Shuttle Bus: Hawthorn Suites to Friday dinner, $13. Hawthorn Suites to Saturday picnic, $13.
As it's been since 1992, MoCool remains non-profit and 100% volunteer-run. We do everything possible to keep the weekend affordable for everyone who wants to attend, consistent with putting on a wine event that's worth attending in the first place. Your feedback on MoCool's cost and QPR is always welcome.
HOW TO PAY: Please select how you'd like to pay on the web signup form, don't send any money until you get the email confirming your signup and the amount you owe. With that email, we'll send full details on how to pay. We ask that you pay for your reservation within 3 days of getting your confirmation, in order to hold your spaces. (In the early days of MoCool, some no-pays and no-shows created logistical and financial headaches for us - so we've been fairly tight about such things ever since.)
We prefer PayPal, which is the #1 payment method used in eBay auctions. You can pay quickly and securely online with either a cash transfer from your own bank or PayPal account, or by using a credit card. We used PayPal for the first time last year and encountered very few problems - and it greatly simplified our bookkeeping and cash handling.
There's no cost for you to use PayPal to pay for MoCool. If you don't already have an account, you can set one up in just a few minutes at their website (www.paypal.com).
If you prefer not to use PayPal, you can also pay by sending a check to the snail-mail address in your confirmation. Thanks for your cooperation!
HOW TO GET INTO THE EVENTS: In previous years, folks checked in for most events at a central table by checking their name off of a list. Last year, this worked not so well! This year, after we receive your payment, you'll get an email from us that will contain printable tickets for all events and any bus transportation you signed up for. Each ticket will display the name of the event and the event attendee (i.e. Friday Dinner, John Doe) and, on your Saturday picnic ticket, any MoCool goodies you purchased. Simply give your ticket to the ticket taker, and you're off! If you forget your ticket, the ticket taker will have a list available to verify that you did sign up for the event. But please, don't forget your tickets!
GETTING HERE & AWAY: The Ann Arbor/Detroit area is five hours or less driving time from Toronto, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis, and five hours or less flying time from anywhere in North America. The nearest major airport is Detroit Metro (DTW), which is halfway between Ann Arbor and Detroit. The usual assortment of rental cars is available. Sometimes you can find bargain flights from the southeast to Flint (FNT), about 45 minutes away, on AirTran.
Yes, you CAN work (at least a half-day) on Friday and join us that night - every year many folks head straight from the airport or interstate to the Friday night dinner! (Starting last year, we pushed back the sit-down time to 8:15 to accommodate later arrivals.) Sunday's brunch ends at about 3 p.m. if you need to make it home or to the airport.
HOTEL: For the third year running, we're at the Hawthorn Suites, a spiffy new all-suite hotel on the northeast side of Ann Arbor at US 23, Exit 41 (Plymouth Road). We've booked a block of suites from Wednesday through Sunday nights at $89 per night, single or double, which includes a hot breakfast buffet. Phone (734) 327-0011 for reservations before July 24, and mention the MoCool Wine Tasting. If you reserve after that date, expect to pay regular price - about $119.
The Hawthorn is also the departure point for the buses to the Friday dinner and Saturday picnic, and the site (along with the adjacent Holiday Inn) of the Saturday morning tasting seminars. It's about 8 minutes drive from the Hawthorne to the Friday lunch, 45 minutes to the Friday dinner, 15 minutes to the Saturday picnic, 15 minutes to the Sunday tasting, and 30 minutes to Detroit Metro airport.
If the Hawthorn doesn't suit your needs, please email us and we can suggest alternate area accommodations.
SHUTTLE BUS: Is available again this year for the Friday dinner and Saturday picnic. The bus is for anyone - local or out-of-towner - who prefers to start the party early and leave the driving to them! The bus leaves from the front of the Hawthorn Suites near Plymouth Rd and Green Rd in northeast Ann Arbor (from the intersection of Plymouth Rd and Green Rd, two blocks south on Green Rd and then one block east on Green Ct). We'll load up for Friday dinner at 6:15 and depart promptly at 6:30. For the Saturday picnic, two runs are scheduled in each direction - 3:00 and 4:00 departures to the picnic, with 10:00 and Midnight returns. Round-trip cost: Friday, $13, Saturday, $13.
MAPS, ADDRESSES: We'll send everyone who's signed up more location info, with detailed directions, with your ticket package.
EARLY ARRIVALS / LATE DEPARTURES: Be sure to let us know on the signup form if you plan to be around before or after the "official" weekend events - there are frequently informal tastings and meals going on! Best way to get invited is to let us know that you're in town!
MOCOOL DIRECTORY: Directories of everyone at MoCool 2002 will be available at the three core events. This directory will include names, hometowns and email addresses. Because we respect your privacy, if you do NOT want to be listed, or prefer to have any information omitted, please note that in the "Comments" section of the signup form.
WEB SITINGS: The MoCool web site continues to be graciously sponsored and maintained by Robin Garr at his Wine Lovers Page, one of the web's leading wine sites. You'll always find current MoCool information, plus lots of prior year photos and tasting notes at: http://www.wineloverspage.com/mocool. That's also where to send your cyberwine friends to join the MoCool email list, and you can also catch some pre-MoCool buzz on the "WLDG" at http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/, search for "mocool" in thread titles.
Kim Adams and Geo "Bastardo" Heritier, founders of Detroit's notorious Gang of Pour, have posted lots of digital photos and irreverent first-hand reports from the several MoCools they've attended. Be regaled at: http://gangofpour.com/mocool/mocool.htm.
WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME IN THE AREA? Some good starting points for local info are at http://www.arborweb.com (Ann Arbor) and http://www.metroguide.com (Detroit area).
STILL HAVE QUESTIONS? Email email@example.com, or any of the organizers below, for answers or more information about the weekend's events, travel and lodging help, suggestions for things to do in the area, etc.
MoCool, Ltd. is a not for profit corporation. MoCool has been organized since 1992 by a volunteer group of wired wine lovers in the Ann Arbor/Detroit area. Our goal is a non-snobby, cooperative, affordable weekend for cyberwine fans to get together and enjoy wine, food, and each other's company.
The MoCool bunch is:
Jay Baldwin firstname.lastname@example.org
Joel Goldberg email@example.com
Sally Goldberg firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Guimond email@example.com
Clay Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
John Wolf email@example.com
Back to the top
A few great Pinot links
The stylish Bureau Interprofessionel des Vins de Bourogne (BIVB) Website is filled with content on grape varieties, geology, history, vineyards, appellations, wine makers, grape growers, and much more. (In French, English and Japanese - click the home-page flag icon for your choice.)
Allen "Burghound" Meadows offers his Burghound.com by subscription, plus much good information and tasting notes onsite.
Gregory S. Walter's PinotReport features New World Pinots in a subscription journal, with plenty of information on the Website including a free copy of the current edition.
Peter May's The Pinotage Club is a non-commercial site for people who enjoy drinking wine made from Pinotage grapes. An international cyber club, open to everyone, anywhere, it could be described as a fan club for Pinotage.
Back to the top
Previous Events ...
With participants from more than a dozen states plus Canada, the UK and South Africa, last year's MoCool 10: Tour de France broke all previous records to make us the largest cyberwine gathering in history! You'll find photos and tasting notes here.
For more information, and to get a sense of what these events are all about, check out the complete online archive: MoCool '95, MoCool '96, MoCool '97, MoCool '98, MoCool '99 and MoCool 2000 Notes Pages.
Back to the top