Vineyard Lessons.

up·skill (ˈəpˌskil/)
1. to further one’s knowledge of a previously acquired skill.

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This weekend was one of upskill-ment. My dad, Alex, hasn’t celebrated his birthday for a few years, so he asked me to drive down to Miami – which I was already planning on doing anyways – to join him in celebrating another trip around the sun at a place that embraces one of his many passions – wine.

I knew that joining him in his celebration would be a fun experience, but I never knew I’d walk out knowing a lot more about wine than I previously did – my upskill-ment.

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A total of about 25 of my dad’s closest friends joined at Total Wine – the liquor store where we would upskill.

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A very nice and cultivated lady – extremely tolerant too – named Rebecca, put on a lovely presentation about the name, the origin, the denomination, and taste of about 15 different wines.

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All the while, she would serve all of us a taste of each wine, and ask our opinions about them. She taught us about swirling and aeration, and made it a point to tell us that “chianti” is actually pronounced “kianti”.

Being that my dad is extremely well-educated in the wine category, – and he was the birthday boy – I decided to sit next to him. He taught me that in wine tasting, you start with sparkling white, then move on to still white, and work your way up to reds – apparently the combination of both can be quite a tragedy.


My dad planned that everyone take a quiz after the presentation in order to keep his friends in check. Most of the questions were based off Rebecca’s presentation, but he also included some personal ones about what his favorite wine was and whether or not his birthday was actually on the 16th, or if they were just celebrating that day because it was Friday – some failed that question, sadly. The prize was a bottle of wine, which was won by one of his front-row friends.

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As the night went on, my grandmother Ligia, and my stepmother, Eglita, both said a few words and made a toast in honor of my dad’s excellence, to which not only did everyone cheer to, but also agreed with.

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We then proceeded to sing happy birthday, and slice the carrot cake that was home-made by one of Eglita’s friends. By that point, my brother Alexito, had joined in the fun and therefore proceeded to help my dad blow out his candles.

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The experience was not only original, but also very memorable. My dad had the time of his life surrounded by his friendships and family (although my sister Alessandra was missing, she was there at heart). He cherished that many of the most important people in his life were there to celebrate him.

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You are a wonderful man, Papa! You inspire me every day, and I feel lucky to be your daughter. I hope you are granted a million more trips around the sun, and that you live a life of plenitude. Te amo and cheers to you…

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Much love,