An Impromptu Tasting with Charlie Preus

Every evening around five o'clock, he uncorks several bottles for his guests to sip in a casual tasting, sharing his wide-ranging knowlege on the subject.

An Impromptu Tasting with Charlie Preus

In a sun-filled dining room with butter-colored walls, Charlie Preus’s eyes light up as he talks about his favorite subject: wine. As owner and innkeeper with his wife Jan of the historic 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Preus acts as a sort of wine steward for the bed and breakfast. Every evening around five o’clock, he uncorks several bottles for his guests to sip in a casual tasting, sharing his wide-ranging knowledge on the subject.

As Preus gears up for the summer season, you’ll find him—where else—at wine tastings. Whether it’s a trade event with wine distributors showcasing the best of viticulture areas worldwide or a low-key affair in a local wine shop or restaurant, Preus is always on a quest for interesting bottles he hopes the guests will like. “I’m always learning,” he says.

Wines from outside the mainstream pique his interest—especially those with interesting labels. On one wine-hunting journey he stumbled on The Prisoner, a zinfandel blend from Orin Swift Cellars in Rutherford, California, with a label depicting Spanish artist Francisco Goya’s etching of a man in chains. “I’ve had the 2008 and 2009 and it’s a great, big wine,” says Preus. “Perhaps when you drink it you become a slave to zinfandel.” On another occasion, he discovered Petite Petit: petite syrah blended with some petit verdot, from Michael David Winery in Lodi, California, a region in the central part of the state. The wine—bold, loaded with fruit—is as hefty as the elephants on the label.

Some of Preus’s finds and memorable wine experiences occur on his own turf. The inn is a hub for his wine-loving friends, neighbors, and even wine sales representatives pop over with a bottle. When the weather warms, it’s common to find an impromptu tasting in the kitchen or on the patio.

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