Before I left for the Wine Bloggers Conference, I was asked to join another online wine tasting featuring the Arrogant Frog wines of Domaines Paul Mas in the Languedoc region of Southwest France. The tasting was set for 8:00 Eastern time on the Tuesday night that I returned from the Conference–no problem as I was scheduled to land at 6:15 and I only live 10 minutes from the airport (maximum of 30 with traffic).
Like I said, no problem.
Problem #1: LAX (the airport in Los Angeles). We sat on the runway for about an hour, for no apparent reason, other than it being LAX.
No problem, I had a bit of a cushion built-in (although not a huge one), and as long as I made it with at least 30 minutes left in the chat, I could suck down some of the wine and make a few irreverent comments and all would be happy.
Well, as we were about half way across the country and I was about to have my knee slammed into by the beverage cart, the pilot took to the intercom and said something along these lines:
“Hi this is the Captain in the cockpit, I would like to have everyone return to their seats and fasten their seat belts immediately. We have a little problem here and we are going to need to make an emergency landing in Saint Louis. It seems as though one of the fuel tanks is clogged and we can’t access that fuel, which means we do not have enough fuel to make it to Philadelphia. On top of that, we have been using all the fuel from the other tank, and this has caused the plane to become unbalanced and rather difficult to handle. So, we will be on the ground in under ten minutes. Once we land, some of you might see the emergency vehicles rushing to the plane. No need to worry, though, this is just standard procedure. Hopefully we will get the problem corrected and we will be on our way back to Philly in no time.”
As this was my second emergency landing in a couple of months, I was not all that concerned, but as soon as the words “emergency landing” came out over the intercom, people started to really freak out. The woman behind me started to cry, and another person was on the verge of hysterics. I was waiting for this scene to unfold:
The flight attendants quickly packed up the drink cart right as they were about to hand me my half bottle of wine. That was the real tragedy, as far as I was concerned—if the plane was going to end up a heap of flaming metal on the tarmac, at least I wanted another bottle of moderately overpriced Conundrum.
As it turned out, we landed safely in St. Louis, and after another hour or so on the tarmac, we were back on our way to Philly. As a result, I did not make it back in time for the tasting (not even close), but I was able to taste the wines over the next few days.
I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of the name or the labels—I get that they want to have fun with it and make the wine less intimidating, so I guess I should try to limit my snob reflex (I will work on that). It is clear that I am not the demographic that they would like to attract—they really want my sister-in-law.