The girlfriend and I went on the Grapeline Wine Tour, a small chartered shuttle bus that takes you around from vineyard to vineyard so you can get your drink on. For $108, you get all-day transportation, tasting tickets, and a boxed lunch. We were there with three other couples from the Southern California region. At the first tasting, I threw back all my one-ounce pours, wondering why the other couples were spitting theirs into the silver buckets on the bar. Three more tastings in (and a bottle of wine at lunch too), I got all pissy. I don’t remember what set me off, but I sulked off into a corner. When my girlfriend came over to ask what was wrong, I told her to fuck off. On the ride home, I texted her that we should break up. When we got back to the hotel, I screamed at her for hours, calling her a slut and telling her I was going to leave her to die in Santa Barbara (never mind that I was too drunk to find my car keys). At some point in the midst of the tirade, she picked up a call from her younger brother, who heard me yell “I can’t believe you fucked that fat pig, you whore!”

Even drunk, I realized I ruined our weekend. We’d planned on staying the night, having a nice dinner, and then exploring the nearby wonders of Dutch Solvang the next day. But instead, we trekked over to the crummy restaurant next to our motel to eat something and sober up so we could drive home. No sooner were we seated in our booth than two Sheriff’s deputies came and pulled us out. They’d gotten a call from the girlfriend’s bro and came over to investigate. I sobered up as best I could and told the deputy we were having a “relationship conversation” which wasn’t going well. He sighed and asked if we were on a wine tasting. I said yes. He smirked, “Yeah, there’s something about wine tastings that brings out the relationship talk. Well, try to keep it down.” Embarrassed, we left the restaurant and went back to our motel room. Where I yelled at her some more. At one point she got a migraine and spent the rest of the evening vomiting and crying. And then I sobered up and realized what I’d done. I told her I didn’t want to break up. I didn’t know why I was such a moron. I was really sorry.

She went to bed and we drove home the next day two and a half hours in silence. A day later she said she wanted to move out. On the plus side, I picked up a lovely Fess Parker 2005 Merlot with a smoky finish.

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