Find your happy place with wine that suits you

Everyone has milestones in their life. Think of events like birthdays, anniversaries, new job, retirement, a first date, maybe even getting fired or divorced. As a society we’re pretty good at celebrating life’s events.

Today’s Grape Sense represents the 200th piece I’ve written since starting an every-other-week newspaper column in October of 2007. At one point I had 23 newspaper in three states. The number is a few less now but is something I view as a great achievement, and I’m proud of what I’ve done with this idea.

Milestones deserve, no let’s make that require, celebration. How else would Grape Sense propose a celebration — but with wine, of course.

Writing 200 columns about wine hasn’t always been easy but always enjoyable. I don’t really run out of ideas as often as fall short with the proper motivation. I’m working on that.

My celebration wine will be one of two choices. I’ll either open a bottle of Rochioli Pinot Noir from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley or Joseph Phelps’ Napa Valley Cabernet. Those are two great bottles of wine. The final choice will come down to what’s for dinner.

The point here is to celebrate your life and celebrate whether you feel like it or not. Time goes fast and pausing to really reflect on certain points in your life is rewarding and sometimes even educational.

No, you don’t have to go out and find a $65 bottle of Cabernet. Just find something you know is really good. Find a wine you really like and enjoy it. It doesn’t matter if it’s red, white or pink. It doesn’t matter if you spend $10 or $100, just enjoy it.

Happy Milestone Grape Sense readers. Column No. 201 is just two weeks away.

Indiana Restaurant Wine Award Winners

If you’re a foodie and like wine, you certainly appreciate a good wine list. There are plenty of good wine lists in Indiana but not a lot of great ones. I’m often shocked by the number of really bad wine choices.

There were only four Hoosier restaurants recently recognized with a Wine Spectator Best of Award Excellence. That’s the second-highest honor. Indiana had no grand award winners (the top honor). The awards of excellence went to McGraw’s Steak, Chop & Fish House, South Bend; Peterson’s, Indianapolis; St. Elmo’s, Indianapolis; and The Capital Grille, Indianapolis.

The third-tier ranking of Award of Excellence found a few more restaurants — most of them in Indianapolis including, Black Market, Fleming’s Steakhouse, Fogo de Chao, Harry & Izzys, Morton’s Steakhouse, Ocean Prime, Seasons 52, Shula’s Steakhouse, Sullivan’s Steakhouse and Tastings (a wine bar).

Award of Excellence winners elsewhere around the Hoosier state, Ciao Bella, Schererville; Heston Supper Club, LaPorte; Ford’s Black Angus, Terre Haute; Janko’s Little Zagreb, Bloomington; Joseph Decuis, Roanoke; LaSalle Grille, South Bend; Tapastrie, South Bend; Carriage House Dining Room & Gardens, South Bend; and William B’s, Michigan City.

Howard W. Hewitt of Crawfordsville writes every other week for more than 20 newspapers. Reach Howard at hewitthoward@gmail.com