Poetry Inn And Traveling Like A “One-Percenter” For Playboy.com

Vinted on August 8, 2012 binned in going pro, Wined Down (Playboy.com)

Last week, I made a foray into a (sort of) non-wine related piece of writing for Playboy.com’s Nightlife section, contributing to what they call the “1% Travel Guide.”

The idea behind that guide is to feature travel destinations so remote, or so extreme, or so exclusive, or so expensive (or some combination of the four) that 99% of us will likely never get to experience them.

Some of us get to piggy-back on that world, though. We usually go by the title of “winemaker” or “wine media,” and I fall into the latter category. Which means that occasionally I get hosted in surroundings that are ridiculously beautiful and/or ridiculously expensive, because I’m not fitting most/any of the bill myself. When I visited Napa as a guest of C. Milan Communications earlier this year, that’s precisely where I found myself, so I pitched the idea to Playboy about giving my hotel at that time – the Poetry Inn, owned by Cliff Lede (yes, that Cliff Lede, whose Stags Leap wine facility is visible from the Inn’s hillside perch, so this is actually a little bit wine-related) – a possible feature in the 1% section.

Since I got paid for the Playboy.com piece, I can now afford what I’d calculate to be a few minutes stay back in the Poetry Inn’s suite…

That suite where I stayed, incidentally, is the room that C. Milan founder Charlotte Milan told me was going to be where she spent her wedding night (I thought about leaving her and her newly-wedded hubby a message or funny care package carefully hidden in the room, since I was staying there just before they would be, but in a rare moment of personal restraint decided against it). Anyway, you can check out my PB piece on PI here; I will warn you that it’s flattering, but I’d argue that it’s also accurate, because aside from the price there’s pretty much nothing to complain about with respect to PI. In fact, the only real complaint I had during my stay is that for his Open That Bottle Night party at the time, Lede uncorked a 5L of `90s Y’quem, which was kind of like witnessing vinous infanticide. These are, as they say, First World Problems (in the extreme).

I wish that I could say that all of my press trip hotel experiences ended like this one did – enjoying what’s possibly the very height of service in al of Napa, smack dab in the middle of a beautiful location, while trading stories with multi-millionaire guests over breakfast, and then getting paid to write about it later – but that kind of luck comes around about… well, about 1% of the time. For sure I’ve had some fantastic digs, but I’ve temporarily called home just as many blah ones, and bedded up in quite a few dumps as well.

Lede’s winery and the Inn were just one stop of many mostly-unrelated ports of call on that trip, which included attending Premiere Napa Valley, interviewing Kermit Lynch in Berkley, and touring around Lodi. Does any of this impact how I reviewed wines from that trip? I’d like to think not – and judging by my ratings, it didn’t (some of the Lede wines are superb, for example, but I’m hardly in the minority in that determination, and some of them actually received higher ratings before I ever stayed at PI – shhhh, don’t tell them!!!). But if it sounds as though I’m gloating a little bit, then you’re paying attention. Hey, at least I came back with pictures!






  • fredric koeppel

    thanks for invoking deep envy, though i just stayed two night at the Hyatt Avia in Napa city on someone else's generous dime, and when I saw the price per night on the room card i almost blushed for shame…

    • 1WineDude

      Fredric – sometimes this gig is tough…

  • Michael Wade

    Writing for Playboy while drinking Stag's Leap overlooking acres of beautiful vineyards? Sometimes we have those "Life is pretty, darn fantastic" moments! I actually had the pleasure of having dinner with Pierre Taittinger a few years ago. Halfway thru a very fun dinner and flight of his champagne, he and I were swapping stories on everything. At one point, he actually disclosed to me what he paid to re-purchase his family's crown jewel…his vineyards. It was at this moment I came to the immediate conclusion of "How the hell did I get here with him?" haha It was a fantastic night!

    • 1WineDude

      Michael – fortunate times! And in moments like that I don't ask myself how or why, I just go with it. Cheers!

      • Michael Wade

        Joe – PLEASE 1 up my story and tell me you have been to the Playboy Mansion!!!!

        • 1WineDude

          Michael – not yet. Waiting on the invite to party with Robert Downey Jr. there…

  • DarrylGreenFineArt

    Wine drinking and travel go together! In fact a trip to Napa is a great little vacation, I've done that..You can't beat the wines! Plus the region is beautiful and has great restaurants too! I will be traveling more because I just found out about this new discount travel app which can also give you enough income to afford more vacations. here is a video about it.. .http://www.youtube.com/embed/jkKt8YRI4vo?rel=0 and the link where I signed up http:/www.doubletakedeals.org

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