So, one day John and Dora and EW and I were walking back to the dinghy dock from ACE Hardware in Sint Maartin, and we saw a sign for a wine wholesaler. EW and I are looking for replacement wine glasses and decided to check for them at Netco.
They had no glasses. We walked into the warehouse and one of the workers there quickly let us know about the retail wine store on the premises. It was closed, but Jos, the manager was in getting ready to meet with a few wine reps later that day. It turns out that he offers a Wine Tasting on Thursdays from 4 – 7. For $10.00 US, you taste 6 varieties of wine, then enjoy any of them you want for the remainder of the evening. He invited us to return on Thursday. I asked if he served any snacks and he said, “A bit. Plus we have the Domino’s Pizza menu.” Furthermore, he also pointed out that now they “had four picnic tables. We just made two new ones this week.”
Of course EW and I we should “host” a party. John and Dora were in. We agreed that we’d bring a snack to share, and then we invited the crews from five other boats. All told, we were bringing 13 people to Jos’ wine tasting. We also took chips and salsa, pinwheel roll-ups, humus, brie and bread, and other goodies. It turns out Jos makes an astounding salmon mousse. We arrived close to 4:30 – early for Jos – but it gave us time to wander the store and to set out the goodies.
It amused us to try delicious wines in the parking lot of a warehouse complex. While Jos was explaining the difference between the first two whites, a young man was testing the repairs on his motorcycle – revving it up and going up to the end of the driveway and back past us to the road.
It lent a certain ambiance to the occasion.
After five, local residents joined us – and we welcomed them by sharing our goodies as well as more of that wonderful salmon mousse that Jos had made. (No fool. He’d made two plates of his specialty, but didn’t set the second one out until other guests had arrived.)
It was an amazing evening. We met a number of professionals and business owners from Sint Maartin – a federal prosecutor, her attorney husband, a restaurant owner – who is also the president of the local animal refuge center, an administrator from the Sint Maartin Marine Trades organization, and a professional couple from Holland who are working here for six months. We listened to Jos, sipped wine, discussed wine, shared baskets of crackers, talked, laughed, and enjoyed a rare gathering of cruisers and locals. I loved it.
Jos is a teacher at heart (and by training) and loved to answer our questions. Leslie had taken a wine tasting course, so she asked more in depth questions which helped all of us learn more. Jos actually has a case filled with “tastes” found in wines (such as oak, citrus, etc.) and brought out his book of the different tastes found in wines to help us in our discussion.
Sometime after 7:00 Jos finally and tactfully started to gather up the bottles and many of us chose wine to purchase. When we were done, Jos graciously agreed to drive our booty to the Island Water World marina where we’d left our dinghies. The night was still young and a nearby casino beckoned. After all, it was free food Thursday. One of our party keeps his boat on the dock, so we loaded the wine into his cabin and took the dinghies to the casino’s dock.
There we paid penny slots, had free (bad) wine, and ate a quite good Italian buffet. I left $1.75 ahead with the slots – but spent $3.00 in tips for the wait staff.
I like Sint Maartin.
John from Windrifter took this photo of Carl from Frolic taking a photo of Leslie (Frolic), Sally and Dillon (Orion), Dora (Windrifter), Ron (Molly Bloom), EW and me, Sandy and Jeff (Magic Inspiration). Steve and Diana from Dreams at Sea wisely took their sweet dog home after the wine tasting and (one assumes) got to bed earlier than we did.