Their success; their ability to effectively communicate about spanish and portuguese wine; their energy to grow and create dynamic, authentic and extraordinary services have attracted hundreds of thousands of iberian wine lovers from around the world.
Joan Gómez Pallarès http://www.devinis.org/

6 Things you Don’t Know about Catavino

We were recently “tagged” by Enobytes in an internet meme circling the web that requires participants to list six things that most people don’t know about them, and then in turn, “tag” six more people (in our case, wine bloggers) to continue the meme. For those of you who don’t know what a meme is, think of it as chain mail without the added guilt. Invitations to participate on a theme are send to X number of people. If those people want to be a part of the meme, they will continue the “chain mail”; if not, fortunately, life moves on without condemning the the invitee to blogger hell.

But what don’t you know about us? What have we not divulged to you over the past 4 years writing on this site?

1. How did Ryan and Gabriella meet?

We met in the third week of March in 2001. At the time, I was working in a sushi bar, when a customer and friend, wheelchair bound for years, asked for my Reiki services at his home. Yes, your residency Iberian wine expert is also a Reiki Master, an alternative healing practice which is actually quite popular here in Spain. Under the pretense that my services would be paid with a bbq at his house after the session, I happily agreed to the terms and arrived a week later with an empty stomach. What I didn’t know was that the food, my payment mind you, was not being cooked by the person receiving the services, but by someone else. Halfway through the session, Ryan walked through the door with a briefcase filled with cooking knives, and an expression of amusement and intrigue when he looked my hands hovering over our friend’s head.

“Who is that?!” I thought.

The short story is that our friend used Ryan as payment for me. Neither of us knew this, and neither of us liked it either. While I thought Ryan was cocky and arrogant, he felt that I was a hippy tree hugger. But as fortune would have it, our friend saw through our filters and knew that within our stubborn passionate personalities lied two very similar creatures who shared the same zeal and zest for life. A week later, our friend had set up a second meeting in much the same way, but this time, there was a twist. After debating back and forth for quite some time, we realized that we had stumbled upon common ground, and chose to continue the conversation without our friend’s help a week later over a glass of wine. Cheers to good friends!

2. What is this “marriage” thing anyway?

Marriage was always a very contentious issue for both of us. Having seen how legal documents forced my parents together without a foundation of love, I swore that I would never buy into the inane practice. Ryan was equally on the same page but for different reasons. His parents are still happily married to date, but with many gay friends suffering from immoral laws like Proposition 8, he wasn’t too keen on the idea either. Plus, we both have always felt that true commitment comes from waking up every morning and making a conscious choice to love that individual to the absolute best of your ability, rather than pressure created out of social constraint and fear. So rather than have a traditional marriage, we packed our bags and spent 3 weeks in Portugal touring vineyards as our unorthodox version of our marriage. And we would have happily stayed “committed” in this way if it weren’t for our move to Iberia, which prompted fears of lacking any legal protection for one another. With no friends or family to claim us in Spain, we felt that we no other choice than to sign the legal documents in a podunk courthouse in South Dakota, where you can marry and receive your official documents in moments flat.

The famous quote of the marriage (Ryan’s disclaimer: we did not want a ceremony, but as it was required and rather hurried, filled the “god” talk, when we both were there just to get the document, the words just sort of came out!)

“Do you Ryan take Gabriella to be your faithful wife to love and to hold…..blah, blah,”

Ryan’s response, “Uh…sure”.

How’s THAT for commitment ;-)

3. What is the epitomology of ‘Opaz’?

Clearly by now you’ve learned that we tend to stray from the norm, always choosing to follow what feels right rather than what is expected; and our name is no exception. As neither of us wanted to give up or take on the other person’s last name, nor did we want to hyphenate them, we decided to create a new one. This process took time, swaying from names like “Reyderson” = Reynes + Anderson to place names that were important to us. But as all of these names sounded rather horrific, we opted to simply create a new name on our own. Opaz is the combination of two ideas: “O” is the circle of life, and “Paz” in both Portuguese and Spanish means “peace”. In short, the combination of the two was a lovely way for us to remind ourselves that together, we intend to create a long, ever evolving and ever changing, peaceful existence.

4. We (Gabriella) are (is a) sucker(s) for cats!

Allow me to clarify, just because we like cats does NOT mean that we want you to start sending us cat paraphernalia! This has been a commonly misheld belief which has led to some very uncomfortable moments when people see their gifted stuffed cats chewed to smitherings by our real cats.

When I finally bit the bullet and moved in to Ryan’s downtown Minneapolis loft, I wasn’t alone as my three cats joined me. And with Ryan’s two cats, the union was rather chaotic. With no doors in his loft, we literally had mayhem 24 hours a day. However, part of the reason why we adore cats is because they’re crafty and find ways to work as a team, as exemplified by this story.

One morning, the sound of plastic rustling with a small dink, dink, dink, sound floated over the bedroom half-wall from the kitchen below. Clearly concerned, we peered over the half-wall to find Morgan and Maestro sitting on the kitchen island with a bag of cat food on its side, a hole chewed through the top, and two paws pushing the food out the top of the bag to the floor below. Below sat Bob, Lupe and Chedder happily enjoying their found treats, looking up only to signal the other two cats to push more food from the bag. The ingenuity was incredible, and has since, left us with a serious soft heart for these four legged furry creatures.

Ryan’s note: I am not a sucker for cats, but nor do I dislike them. Gab on the other hand would suffer rabies if it meant rescuing a dying sick cat from a river. She’s a bit nutz :-)

Gabriella’s note:Ryan is accurate, but I think one would have to extend my insanity to rescuing all things that breathe. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

5. Ryan’s Extras

I’ve worked as a butcher, a Head Chef, Art School Administrator and Home Care Assistant for handicapped clients. I lived in Brasil for a year, been to Guatemala, Norway, Belize, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Canada, and probably about 30-40 states. I have a BA in Sculpture and Painting. Oh and won the following 3 awards my senior year in High School: Most Likely to win a Nobel Peace Prize (no clue, don’t ask), Most likely to travel the world, and Most artistic.

6. Gabriella’s Extras

Having just finished a six month scholarship at the Art Institute of Chicago, I packed my bags on the day of my graduation from High School and moved to Boulder, Colorado. And although I was mesmerized by the mountainous scenery, an article on New Mexico caught my eye in a magazine one day and influenced my departure south one year later. Here, I was a cook, a waitress, an assistant to a Chinese Herbalist and a Reiki apprentice. I then moved to Minnesota, where I graduated Phi Beta Kappa in Psychology and later received a Masters in Education. And to fund my studies, I managed high end restaurants, waitressed, catered, was a travel agent, worked construction, had a Reiki practice, lobbied for educational programs, did civil organizing and taught children with learning disorders. I’ve climbed Machu Picchu, visited Ecuador, hopped around Mexico, backpacked portions of Jamaica, and have seen much of the USA, Spain and Portugal and parts of: Canada, Czech Republic, France, England and Norway. Oh yeah, and I have also been a bicycle guide through the Pyrenees.

In Conclusion

So now, you REALLY know Catavino, but if you have more questions, we are generally an open book and have no issues sharing our lives. So ask away if you feel so inclined ;-)

Who do we tag?

We are now passing the torch to the following 6 wine bloggers:

  1. Alex from Eating Leeds - Alex and Andy are based in West Yorkshire, UK and have a fabulous food and wine blog. And although we’ve never met, I’m crossing my fingers that the 2009 London Wine Blog Fair will bridge this very unfortunate gap.
  2. Thomas Lippert is the founder of the German wine blog, Winzer blog. And although your German may not be up to speed, Thomas may be kind enough to play our game in English, as I trust his life is filled with interested tidbits for us to learn about!
  3. Gianpaulo Paglia and Justin Keeling are the owners of the Italian winery blog Poggio Argentiera located in Tuscany, Italy. We met Gianpaulo and Justin at the EWBC, and have been avid fans of their blog ever since.
  4. Oscar Quevedo of Quevedo, a Portuguese winery, is last on my list as someone to tag. Being that I’m working hard to cover the globe here, Oscar would be the ideal candidate to share some some unknown truths about himself as a kid born in the heart of Port country.
  5. El Jefe from Twisted Oak Winery is our resident California winemaker, may be interested to share his lifelong secrets about who he is and what makes him such a succesful internet poker player.
  6. Over Extracted – As this individual (man or woman, we don’t know) has been pushing the seams for quite some time, challenging the wine community to guess who he is, so we’re going to challenge him to fess up! Why don’t you tell who you are buddy?

Cheers,

Gabriella Opaz

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  • Justin Roberts

    I love number 3. I had no idea!

  • http://enobytes.org Enobytes

    Awesome post! I love that you tagged Over Extracted ;)

  • http://blog.delaranja.com Andre Ribeirinho

    Speaking as a person who knows you two personally I would say that I expected nothing less that what you wrote here! You're an amazing couple and although I can certainly see the “cocky and arrogant” and “hippy tree hugger” :) I wouldn't exchange that for anything! Good thing you too have a strong personality!

  • brooks

    Really amazing post. Worth reading it. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

  • Alex

    Thanks for tagging me but I'm not sure how I'll be able to come up with 6 interesting things the blogging world doesn't know (hmm, serves me right for being an open book!). I've always wondered about your surname too!!!

  • http://curriculumviaorgan.blogspot.com/ bill caperton

    So, as someone also living in Minnesota and working in the food world (cheesemonger at your service), and in LOVE with Spain, and spainish foods and wines, the real question I have is, how are you able to live there? Do you have a long term visa or what? Love the blog. Let me know if you ever want some guest posts on spainsh cheese, or to pair up on some pairing ideas!

  • http://www.tesar-reynes.com/blog1/ Roland Cailles

    LOL…you guys created your own last name? You totally are hippies.

  • http://www.ourwinestory.com Dylan

    Thanks for the inviting stories. I appreciate getting to know you both better through those points. I was surprised by the last name story, you could have lied and I would have believed it was a long-running name of Spanish descent. In return for your candid honesty, a fun fact about myself: I have, and will forever have, one baby tooth left in my mouth.

  • Andrea

    Awww so sweet :) and adventurous! #3 was a surprise and so was you being a Reiki instructor! Don't know anything about it so you must teach me more about it oh wise one :D

  • Andrea

    So can I maybe an interesting thing about me is that have something in common to your main man Barack Obama, we're both left-handed yeeeeeeaaaa :p

  • Richard Gillespie

    Has anyone heard fro Ryan and Gabriella? I know they were traveling to Mumbai and I am desperately worried about them.

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  • http://www.tapastalk.com Janelle

    Richard, and all, I have not heard from them yet but I do know that Ryan and Gabriella were going to be mostly in and around New Delhi this week, not Mumbai. Hoping they can get back to Spain safe and sound!

  • http://catavino.net ryan

    For those that don't know, we're in New Delhi no where near the violence. Also we're having a great time, and will do our best to get back safe and sound to all our friends! Thanks for the thought.