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ADVERTISING: Advertorial — Christmas 2020

by GEORGE BALLING
| December 23, 2020 1:00 AM

What a year! In many ways it is hard to get our collective minds around the fact that the year is coming to a close. For most of us, at the same time, the year feels like it was three years long. Regardless, here we are in the last couple of weeks. For Mary and I, we have much to be grateful for and it seems a good time to share that gratitude with all of you.

First and foremost, we would like to thank our home community of North Idaho, and more specifically, our community that has developed around our small, family-owned shop. We just passed our 13-year anniversary on the 17th of December. While the last year is difficult to have imagined we at times are surprised at achieving such a milestone. The way the community has embraced us means the world to Mary and I and we extend our sincere gratitude to all who come to our shop and support the shop and us in such a meaningful way. It has been a remarkable journey.

We received an email from one of our wine club members and great supporter of our shop congratulating us on our anniversary. They commented “kind of ironic that your 13th anniversary fell in 2020.” True, but in the vast majority of ways it was a good year.

We are so grateful that we opened our shop here in Coeur d’Alene. This year we have been struck by and reflected so many times on how different our story might be had we opened 30 miles to the west. The challenges for many small businesses like ours located in Washington will end up being insurmountable and that is truly tragic. We appreciate all of you coming to see us over the last year and are truly thankful for a reasoned approach here in Idaho to business restrictions.

Each year we witness many changes in our group of distributors. Reps come and go, brands change homes, and pricing can be volatile. This year though, all of our distributor partners have faced daunting supply chain challenges. We have worked together to mitigate many of them and adjust to the remainder. We couldn’t bring the wine selection we do to you without their great help. A very personal thank you to Kevin, Brittany, Cinda, Stephanie, Cassie, Kelly, Lucy, Lisa, Rob, Kelsey and their delivery drivers, and their full organizations for making our work lives easier and your wine selection more vast.

It has been an up and down year for our events and we look forward to being back in full swing with our regular winemaker dinners and tastings next year. Laurent and Patricia and their full crew at Fleur de Sel make our event weeks very special. We thank them for their support and always wonderful service and look forward to seeing them again next year.

Finally, I would like to personally thank our partners at the Coeur d’Alene Press, Mike Patrick, Kari Packer, Hillary Main and Holly Paszczynska. They are so gracious and helpful in getting the wine column published each week, we simply couldn’t bring it to you without them.

We look forward to more wine columns in 2021 and sharing great new wines with each of you. We hope you all have the chance to enjoy a glass of your favorites with those closest to you as the year draws to a close. We thank you again for reading and your wonderful support.

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George Balling is co-owner with his wife, Mary Lancaster, of the dinner party, a wine and gift shop in Coeur d’Alene by Costco. The dinner party has won the award for best wine shop in North Idaho twice, including for 2018. George is also published in several other publications around the country. After working in wineries in California and judging many wine competitions, he moved to Coeur d’Alene with Mary more than 10 years ago to open the shop. You can also follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/#!/dinnerpartyshop.