Few segments of the economy have been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions more adversely than wine tourism. With countless wineries temporarily (and indefinitely) shuttered in an effort to contain spread of the virus, wine countries throughout America and much of the world are seeing very few visitors. There was, however, a considerable spike in visitor traffic to the wine country of California’s Central Coast when an unexpected and otherworldly attraction appeared in the middle of the night.
Less than three weeks after the first mysterious monolith appeared in Utah’s Red Rock Country back in November, a third 3-sided structure of unknown origin showed up at the top of a popular hiking trail in the town of Atascadero, CA. If the name “Atascadero” sounds familiar, it’s probably because you hear it every week on your favorite syndicated radio program. Yep, Atascadero, long known for its weekly GRAPE ENCOUNTERS, has now become known for its CLOSE ENCOUNTERS as well. Situated at the center of a region hit very hard by Covid closures, Atascadero in now attracting a steady stream of sci-fi fans, lookie-loos and socially-distanced adventurers. So mesmerizing is the Atascadero monolith that many visitors have been compelled to travel for hours to get a look at the glimmering monument. And the best part is, Atascadero has no open-container laws on the books, so visitors who want to take in the Space Odyssey sight can tote a bottle of wine and a picnic lunch up to the summit where the monolith points to the stars.
Joining David on this episode of Grape Encounters is Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno who couldn’t be more delighted to welcome the sleek structure to the outskirts of town. Mayor Moreno was one of the very first city officials to welcome Grape Encounters to Atascadero nearly eight years ago, and she and David have been dear friends ever since.
Since it is rumored that monoliths come in 3’s, the Atascadero sighting was especially noteworthy to those who believe in such things. Since the Monolith-Mania began in November, nearly 100 similar structures have popped up all over the globe and the phenomenon doesn’t seem to be losing any steam. While alien activity has been ruled out in most cases, the spontaneous monolith erection movement has provided a welcome diversion for millions of Planet Earth citizens weary of Covid confinement. Like David always says, “Wine is a lot more than a beverage… It’s a catalyst for adventures, conversation and happy experiences.” While these metallic monuments won’t cure Covid, they certainly seem to have the power help us think about happier things.
This episode of Grape Encounters is brought to you by Total Wine & More! With the holidays coming up fast, it’s time to get your wine game in high gear. After all, there are few holidays that beckon us to get creative with pairing more than Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sure, it can be daunting, but that’s why it’s so fun to let the experts at Total Wine & More bounce some ideas your way. However, if you’d prefer to enjoy a home shopping socially-distanced experience, explore the amazing wines, beer and spirits online at TotalWine.com. You can do all your shopping from home and take advantage of our first class curbside pickup at your local Total Wine & More store.
[haiku url=”http://media.blubrry.com/grapeencountersradio/grapeencounters.com/podcast/media/ep595.mp3″ player=1761]