Sunday, July 25, 2010

The day there was no air conditioning.

It's true, it happened a week or so ago. Right after bragging about our stellar AC, I came into work and there was none. NADA. And really, what kind of misguided troglodyte would reveal this so publicly?

Point 1: I got a call from a potential customer one day, and in the course of the conversation this came out of my mouth: "You're wine matters to me more than your business," and in that moment I realized that was true.

Two things here. One, when I first started working here I was given the gift of a 2002 de Bertoli Noble One. I've had wine and I've had good wine, but when I tasted this - as I put it to the good gentleman who offered it - had I not tasted it I could have never otherwise imagined it. I think it was part of his evil plan all along, because in that moment it became very clear to me that my job was about one thing: allowing this.

Point 2. The Cave does not have a backup system, nor do most of the wine storage facilities I've visited (but this place does, fyi). What The Cave does have is our subterranean location. When I first started here I went to pretty much every wine storage facility in Los Angeles, and let me tell you, there were places I was standing in charging double and triple what we charge, surrounded by windows, the sun beating down on them, and all I was thinking was, wow, if the AC goes out here the wine is toast. (One place had a skylight, was full of wine, and had no AC at all. When I commented on that, the gentleman was very casual about their remodeling process that had been going on for a while.)

Point 3. Everything breaks down, your car, your body, everything. The point is what comes next. Or, as Tiger Woods has taught me, it's not getting into the sand trap that matters, because even he gets into them; it's how you get out if them that separates the men from the boys, or something like that.

Our AC is on a quarterly preventative maintenance schedule. I know because four time a year Anthony calls me at 5:30 a.m. to make sure I'm awake because he'll be here in half an hour. But after two hours on it this particular day, he informed me he'd have to come back the next day with the necessary part. Over a hundred degrees outside and I was going to have to wait another day. I promise you, I was stressing it.

Mid morning the next day, after we were up and running again, Anthony and I were looking at the thermometers in the rooms. Twenty-four hours in a hundred degree temperatures, and they read (drum roll, please...) sixty-two. I thought it was sixty four, but Anthony said that's because I was short and looking up at it, that it really was 62.

I know extreme temperature fluctuation can shrink and expand corks, and have read about an acceptable four or five degree variation. I'm not sure on the details on this, or the verity; I really just don't know the weight of the moment versus the whole. All I know is this is what happened. I also know it can't last longer than twenty four hours, that this place is really well insulated, so if it's going to happen anywhere (and it will, it does, they just don't tell you about it), The Cave is a whole lot if silver lining in that particular cloud.