On the Trail

Stories From the Road

David Driscoll

Let me tell you a story from the road, one that ultimately illuminated the true nature of professionalism I would need to face in order to carve out my niche at K&L and with its illustrious owner Clyde Beffa. We were in Bordeaux last Spring, tasting the 2015 vintage en primeur and struggling to catch our breath after a marathon of an initial itinerary. We had flown overnight, spent that early inertia on a dinner at Haut-Bailly, and gone two straight days without a minute of downtime. We were gassed. When the first chance to catch a cat nap came about, the entire K&L team headed straight to their hotel rooms to stretch out and doze for an hour or two, hoping to recoup some pep before the night's festivities. As the resident marketeer and blogger, I spent my time uploading a few photos to the On the Trail site and then headed down to the hotel bar to see what was happening. I was tired, but I didn't want to waste a minute in Bordeaux. I was hoping to eavesdrop a bit and check out the scene. That's when I saw my boss, Clyde, sitting at the bar with a half empty bottle of Domaine Ott rosé. 

"Clyde," I exclaimed; "are you seriously drinking wine right now?!"

You see: we had been tasting wine non-stop for two and a half straight days. The last thing I wanted at that point was more wine, even clean and crisp rosé. I was jonesing for water, or even a beer.

"Yeah," he mumbled. "It's really good!"

I ordered a glass of Perrier. We were only a half hour away from another château dinner event, so I wanted to be fresh. Yet, while I hydrated and my colleagues slept, our 70-plus year old boss was drinking an entire bottle of rosé in the hotel bar by himself, checking the messages and emails on his cell phone. I sat there stupefied, feeling nothing but self-conscious about my prowess as a professional. This guy was twice my age, yet he had more energy, vitality, and guts than I could muster at that point in time. Was this man real? While we were struggling to recharge our batteries, Clyde was drinking an entire bottle of rosé in the hotel lobby, allowing us the luxury of a brief respite while he dug in deeper to the French atmosphere.

"Let's get the crew and get going," he finally said to me, polishing off the end of the Ott and signing off on the tab.

"Jesus," I murmured to myself. And then I went to wake up the rest of my co-workers. 

-David Driscoll