On the Trail at the NBA Finals
I have been very lucky over the years to make the acquaintance of Warrior's owner Joe Lacob and his fiancée Nicole (maybe you've seen the old interview), who live just a few blocks from our Redwood City store and can be spotted picking out great bottles on the sales floor quite frequently. That friendship has put me into a number of incredible situations over the years, and into countless seats at Oracle Arena that I would never be able to afford or access otherwise. Last night was yet another such occasion in what is becoming a series of ridiculousness for me, as Nicole invited me to pour a high-end, pre-game wine event in the Warrior's Bridge Club and stay for game two of the NBA Finals afterward. As I'm never one to pass up an opportunity to promote K&L, I forced our company president and co-owner Todd Zucker to be my companion. "I'm going to pour while you mingle with the crowd," I said to him after springing this announcement on him last minute. He was reluctant at first, but eventually he acquiesced. "I've gotta have an owner there!" I exclaimed. "You think these people wanna talk to me?" That worked.
The Bridge Club is basically the owners' party den under the arena, just across from the players' locker room. It's located in the same tunnel the Warriors enter from before the game starts, so there's a lot of action in that hallway. Because I knew we were in for a serious crowd, I made sure we picked out a serious line-up of cannons: 1990 Montrose, 2014 Ponsot "Chambertin Close de Beze", Araujo's Accendo cabernet, and the dry white wine of Château d'Yquem for those looking for something more refreshing. We weren't going into a room like this unarmed. Besides the Warriors brass, you never knew who else might pop up before a finals game. Last night's crowd was crazily eclectic: I drank with California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome at one point before shaking hands with motivational speaker Tony Robbins. You could never have predicted that roster! Not only did we need great bottles, we needed a diverse and interesting selection to match the diversity of the audience.
Todd, being the business man that he is, hit it off with the other business guys. He sat down with Warriors president Rick Welts for a bit of strategizing, while nursing his glass of red Burgundy. Just two company presidents, spitballing ideas and sharing thoughts before a huge NBA Finals game.
Me being the chatterbox that I am, I spent my two hours mingling and socializing. The highlight was easily the five minutes I spent with Kevin Durant's mother talking about wine. She gave me a giant hug, said something that made me blush as red as a pickled beet, and took a plastic cup of Napa cabernet for the road as we exited the club for game time. She is an absolute character, and her beauty and buoyant personality took over that whole room last night. Wanda Durant is one of the most enegmatic people I've ever met in person, and easily the most fun I've had the pleasure of pouring wine for. I'm praying she calls me and asks for help picking out a nice bottle to celebrate another Warriors championship! Kevin—you are a lucky guy! And we're luckier to have you and your family here with us in the Bay.
After an inspiring and thrilling K&L tasting event, we took our seats in the owners' suite, had a bite to eat, and watched the Warriors dismantle Cleveland in four action-packed quarters—and we got to call it work! A big thank you to Joe, Nicole, Rick, Shari, and the rest of the ownership team for making our weekend that much better. I know I speak for K&L ownership when I say we're thrilled to be a part of all this.