19 Days of Christmas! The countdown continues as we prepare ourselves for Christmas and a new year of reading with our book club.

Got My Reservations 25 Days of Christmas 2013 Medium ButtonThe first Monday of most months, our book club meets to share a meal and discuss a book that we have read during the month. The first Monday in December is extra special, however, as it is our planning meeting and often, the first Christmas party of the season. For the past few years, we have met at the home of a member who is a wonderful cook, and we all look forward to Mary’s cooking as much as we do making our reading choices for the following year.

The book club began many years ago in our church, and has continued steadily through hundreds of book discussions. We are co-ed, with several married couples in the group, but we also have many people who are single or come without their spouses. We meet in members’ homes, where we share a simple meal our hosts have prepared, followed by book discussion. Everyone chips in $5.00, which usually covers the host’s food costs. We take turns moderating the discussion, and usually choose to moderate the book that we have recommended to the club. There is wine available, but unlike so many jokes about book clubs, our meeting is actually about joining together in community to discuss a book. We have too many people in the club — about 22 people attend each meeting — but we love our group so much we can’t bear to break it up into smaller clubs. And so we continue from year to year, loving books and loving each other. Continue reading

First Husband Wine

We had book club at our house on Monday night. Book club with our group requires that most of us actually read the book, but there’s also food and wine. On another day I’ll tell you about the fabulous gluten-free dinner we prepared…

When the club left, I noticed that our decent chardonnay had been finished first, followed by the well-rated jug cabernet. Almost all of the jug pinot grigio was gone, too. All that was left was the lonely first husband wine. Even our “mature” drinkers in the group didn’t touch the white zinfandel.


Unless you’re the people who were with me during that fateful tour of the Beringer winery, you probably are scratching your head about “first husband wine.” I have to insert a commercial here, however. The Beringer property in St. Helena is stunningly beautiful, and we had the best tour guide ever.

Image via

California White Zinfandel is kind of the step-child of rose wines. French rose makers don’t take it seriously, wine connoisseurs turn their noses up at it, and it’s so cheap to buy that it can’t possibly be any good, right? Yet some people just love it!

And now for the punchline…

Our very funny guide at the winery told us that Beringer White Zinfandel was a “first husband wine” — it needs to be used up while it’s still young and fresh. And then move on to a more mature vintage.

I didn’t say it; don’t shoot the messenger. You have to admit it made you giggle, though.

Apparently I’m okay with it, too. As I type, I’m drinking some of that lonely little bottle as inspiration for this post. 🙂 And darling husband is still on his first wife, 30 years later.

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