"I always tried to be fabulous."

I've heard stories about Roshambo, a quirky Sonoma winery an hour north of San Francisco. At their legendary parties, everyone gets dressed up and partakes in one of the most grown-up activities imaginable (wine tasting) while playing round after round of the quintessential kid's game (rock-paper-scissors.)

According to a bittersweet article in today's New York Times, Roshambo has been hit hard by the recession and is shuttering its winery for good. Naomi Brilliant, the plucky 37-year-old California native who launched Roshambo at the vineyard she inherited in 1997, is currently in the process of uprooting some 50 acres of vines. She has plans to grow organic vegetables there instead.

Although the Times leads their story by declaring that "the party’s over for Naomi Brilliant," I think that's really just for dramatic effect. It's clear that Brilliant brings a party with her everywhere-- and winemaking's loss will be the organic farming industry's gain.

Bits of silver lining from the Times article:
Wearing a miniskirt and a feather boa at wine industry events, [Naomi Brilliant] made up for all of the business’s stodginess.

As she puts it: “I am an artist. My art is to bring people together.”
She made Roshambo the highlight of Sonoma County wine events by cranking up the live music and encouraging her friends to forgo the sober sipping and spitting and simply drink her wine.
“We had a lot of success getting people to dress up,” she said. “I always tried to be fabulous.”
Her “future sanity,” she says, will come from digging in the dirt, thinking about the seasons and learning the process of growing food. “What I want to do with my life is to share things,” she said. “It was through wine. Now it is through my vegetables.”

Photo credit: Jyri Engestrom 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jyri/ / CC BY 2.0

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