Since Papio first launched, it has partnered with the African Wildlife Foundation to protect some of Africa ’s most treasured primates, such as the chimpanzee, golden monkey, mountain gorilla and bonobo, along with their habitats. I believe it’s important to support wildlife and habitat conservation through consumer choice, so I am a proud consumer of Papio even if it isn't a local wine (It's from CA).
"Monkeys are such playful, sociable animals. They’re a great reminder of what wine should be all about: having fun!" says the Papio label winemaker Erick Schultz in response to questions about the connection between the wine and monkeys.
Our local version of Papio has to be Dusted Valley Barrel Thief Red, a wine that you'd instantly recognize from the chimp on the barrel on its label. I'd rather have one of DV's shirts, but they don't donate to primate conservation and don't offer tees, so far as I know. It's hard enough to find a bottle of their monkey wine for sale! Barrel Thief Red is one of the local "artisan" wines that are made here in small batches. It's my local favorite in the high-end range, which for me starts at $18. We've got a bottle in our "cellar" waiting to be opened on a special occasion.
I prefer reds, though very recently, as in about two months ago, I tried some local chardonnay and found it surprisingly enjoyable. Last night we sampled some Da Ma wines. We would have walked away with a bottle of their chardonnay had the wine tasting room attendant not been alternately distracted by her 5-year-old daughter playing with light bulbs in the front window display and the material she herself read while pretending not to ignore us, the only people there. We left politely after she failed to hear my husband tell her we'd like to buy a bottle. The winery does offer tasty, affordable wines and supports local non-profit agencies, namely women's organizations such as the YWCA. Maybe we'll go back on a different night.
After leaving Da Ma, we stalked the Karastan rug we like in the furniture store that is closing up shop WITH DRASTIC PRICE REDUCTIONS ON EVERYTHING!!!!! (but the rug). Right now they're asking $550, but I only want to pay $350. I imagine someone else will come along who can actually afford to buy it at the price the furniture dealers want. After passing on the rug, we wound up in the tasting room of Sapolil Cellars.
We'd walked by several times but had never ventured in. It always looked like another hoity-toity joint that wouldn't be welcoming, but I still always got a kick out its name. It reminded me of a very cute kids book I found in Paris several years ago. The book is called "Sapajou et Bonobo" and is about a pair of apes who go on the run from poachers. Sapajou is a lil like Sapolil you see.
Anyhow, last night we went in and discovered that although the place is hoity-toity looking, the wine-maker and his daughter are decidedly down to earth. At one point we ended up talking about toilet paper, granted it was about a hypothetical "artisan toilet paper" made with lavender. We were there for hours, drinking free, yummy wine and making new friends, and for me, a business contact in the wine industry who I may be able to wholesale my cards to. We certainly got a lot more than the two bottles of wine we walked away with at the end of the evening.
Just so you know I am not a wine snob, I'll share my philosophy of wine pricing and buying:
(This only applies to red wine.)
under $5 - Don't bother drinking it; add it to a spaghetti sauce.
$6-12 - This is my comfort zone. I'll try most things in this price range and usually find that either the wine is enjoyable from the first sip or enjoyable after a full glass.
$13-18 - This stuff better be significantly better than good wines in the lesser price range in order for me to buy it again. I have to like it from the first sip.
$19-32 - Special occasion wine that better be incredibly good. Barrel Thief Red is in this group.
more than $32 - I'll be drinking on someone else's dime, or in a smash-o restaurant on a very special occasion, such as a 10 year anniversary, getting my PhD, or other event that only rarely occurs.
And now you understand a little more why I feel spoiled to live in a cozy house, in a wonderfully walkable neighborhood that is also walking distance to work, parks, downtown, and dozens of wine tasting rooms. Did I mention there are 300 days of sunshine here? You wouldn't want to leave either.