I used to live in beautiful Lakeland, FL.
Lakeland is a wonderful city. It’s just about right… not so small that you don’t have all the amenities of a big city, but not so big that you have all the horrors of a really big city (crime, traffic, etc.). Although, when I left nearly 2 years ago, it had crossed the imaginary line in my head for “too big for me”. When I first moved to Lakeland it had under 50,000 residents. It is now over 90,000. I actually had to put on my turn signal to turn into my own driveway or risk being rear-ended.
Lakeland is located nearly in the center of the state and midway between Tampa & Orlando. It is the lightning capital of the US
. As its’ name implies, it has many beautiful lakes. Two of my favorites, where I spent many evenings under the stars, are Lake Mirror and Lake Morton. Lakeland has also lots to offer in the way of Arts & Entertainment
, including a marvelous Symphony Orchestra, Museums and great dining.
During my 15 years living in Lakeland, the city hired professionals to totally revitalize the downtown area. It is a marvelous place to eat, shop, enjoy the parks or just stroll the sidewalks and many outdoor Bistros.
But what I really miss about Lakeland is George. George was my “go-to guy” for wine.
There is a tiny wine store tucked away in an old plaza on the southside. It is there that you will find Vintage Wine Cellars
, and it is there that you will find George.
I am a member of the Wine Taster’s Guild
, or I was. Since moving to Georgia I have not found a wine store who offers Wine Pairings or even Wine Tastings, never mind Taster’s Guild membership. To my utter amazement, when I received my first membership card in the mail I discovered that Bronson Mela, the then esteemed owner of Vintage Wine Cellars, had the dubious distinction of being Chapter #001 of the Taster’s Guild. (Don’t I have fancy pants now, eh?) And as brilliant as Bronson was when it came to really knowing
wine, George knew my
preferences. Bronson mentored George well over the years; George is no wine slouch, either.
The most wonderful thing I love about George? All I had to do was call George and ask him to mix me a case. Presto! An hour later I’m watching George load the wine into my car – Thoughtfully hand picked just for me, packed in a case and my credit card billed; all by George. Seriously, how cool is that? Never once was I disappointed in George’s choices for me. He really understood the types of wines I especially enjoy.
I may have to take a drive to Lakeland again soon. I feel the need to reconnect with some dear friends. But, George, I miss you most of all
! And George, my Spiegelau Vino Grande
no longer runneth over. It is empty. Salute.