In January, Pedroncelli Winery in Sonoma was surprised to receive a bottle of its own wine in the mail. It was their 1974 Cabernet Sauvignon. The man who sent it, Daniel Nasman, 88, from Port Townsend, Wash., explained that he had bought the bottle at the winery many years ago, but radiation therapy for cancer had significantly impaired his ability to taste. So he asked the Pedroncellis if they would like to try it instead.
Julie Pedroncelli St. John said she knew right away she wanted to save the wine for Open That Bottle Night. So on Saturday, Feb. 26 – at 3 p.m., so the entire staff could be there – she and her father, Jim, carefully opened it, toasted Nasman and let the memories flow.
We created OTBN in 1999 because so many of us have that one bottle that is always too special to open. It’s celebrated on the last Saturday in February. This year, it seemed like even more people than usual opened that bottle, from El Salvador to the Italian Alps to San Francisco.
We were concerned about the timing of OTBN this year. It took place just as Russia invaded Ukraine. But this horror seemed to make all of us even more aware how important it is to hold loved ones close and to support those in need. In Eagle, Colo., the Assembly Eagle restaurant donated a portion of all wine sales on OTBN to World Central Kitchen and Ukrainian refugees. Palmer Station in Antarctica combined its 16th OTBN with an art show, where Zenobia Evans, a longtime OTBN celebrant, painted a sunflower for Ukraine. In Me...