During the Grand Tastings, it takes a lot to distract Wine Experience attendees from their single-minded focus on sampling as many great wines as possible in a few short hours. But the unexpected appearance of the Terminator can certainly do it.
Well, to be more accurate, the appearance of movie star-turned-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who paid an unannounced visit to the event.
In a show of support for California wineries, Schwarzenegger showed up for the Friday evening Grand Tasting, taking a tour of the floor with Wine Spectator editor and publisher Marvin R. Shanken. He chatted with Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards and Bill Harlan of Harlan Estate before heading on to taste a range of Pinot Noirs and other wines. Dan Kosta was more than a bit surprised to look up from pouring, as the crowd parted around his booth, to find the Governor approaching for a sample.
His presence caused quite a stir as people looked up from their Cabernets and Syrahs to realize a Hollywood star was walking through their midst, then craned their heads to get a better glimpse of the former bodybuilder, who still looks incredibly fit and tan. The crowd began to buzz with speculation about why he was there; we overheard one woman saying, "This is an important industry for his state. He should be here."
Among the other winery booths Schwarzenegger visited to taste or chat were Loring, DuMOL, Domaine Drouhin, Domaine Alfred, El Molino, Buoncristiani, Rosenblum, JC Cellars, Chalone and Acacia. He ran into chef Emeril Lagasse who was also there tasting. A wine lover, Schwarzenegger clearly enjoyed the chance to try some of the state's top-notch bottlings, and he graciously took time to shake hands and speak with a number of guests as well.
Although we were dying to know which wine an action hero most likes to drink, Schwarzenegger remained a good politician throughout and didn't disclose whether he had a favorite.
Delmonico Stkhse @ Venetian — Las Vegas, Nevada — October 22, 2006 4:02pm ET
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