A couple of weeks ago, I received a posting on my Facebook page from an old family friend with a picture of an advertisement from 1985 with me and four Esquin Wine Merchants "clients" captioned "Rand Sealey is looking for a few Good Clients." (I owned the store from 1969 to 1997). The Facebook comments included, "Awesome pic," and "Love, love, love!" I commented, "This ad was dug up in the Chevignard home in Nuits St. Georges in Burgundy, going through the possessions of Eleanor Chevignard after she had passed away. Her son, Paul, lived with David Horsfall [producer of the ad] at the time this and other advertisements were being published in the Seattle Weekly [a newspaper launched in 1976 by David Brewster]."

A week later, my wife, Lynn, posted on Facebook an ad from October 1978, "I'd walk a mile for a 1976 Meursault Genevrieres," with a photo of me with a glass of white Burgundy and a pack of Camel cigarettes, a takeoff on the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco ads of the 1950's. That posting elicited 40 "likes" and 11 comments, including, "So awesome, Rand Sealey is the epitome of cool."

When finding the "Walk a Mile" ad, Lynn happened to spot a Seattle Weekly article about some music recordings by Paul Gregutt (today, my wine writing cohort) next to the ad, and scanned and forwarded it to Paul bt email. Paul replied, "Wow, Lynn, this is a real blast from the past." He added, "I began writing for the Weekly in March of 1976 - their first issue - and was on staff for several years before wandering off into the broadcast wilderness. During those years I worked under Roger Downey...I wrote about music, theater and media in particular, but this article, with its focus on jazz and references to classical music amazes me, as I was then and still am firmly rooted in pop, blues and country!. I didn't write about wine until 1985, when I was gone from the Weekly full time staff, but I talked David Brewster into running some wine coverage which turned into a Wine of the Week feature that ran for several years and launched my ersatz 'career'." Lynn also found in our files a couple of these articles, one about Chanpagne and one about Port.

The Esquin Wine Merchants advertising campaigns were the brainchild of David Horsfall, at the time an independent producer. In the 1970's, my wine shop was in a rut, with slow growth. We did some radio advertising which brought in some people, but not a lot. The radio station rep, Michael Levin, suggested I contact David about doing some print advertising. The first ads he did, with Sue Cummings, were on the theme of "Who's hiding the best wines in Seattle" in 1977-1978. Other memorable ad campaigns were the hidden case of wine in Discovery Park, and the "Rand Sealey and Esquin," with me and an attractive, pert model pouring wine in the clouds. We also did sale ads and the "Esquin - Wine at its Best" inserts in the Weekly, a takeoff on Esquire magazine. In later years, David's wife, Terri Nakamura did the art direction.

I sold Esquin to Chuck Lefevre in 1997 and his daughters are still doing a great job running the store. Paul Gregutt is still writes wine reviews for the Wine Enthusiast. David Horsfall and Terri Nakamura now run the Alki Surf Shop, a boutique store of beach themed clothing and accessories. Lynn has been going through these old ads and we've been going down memory lane with them. Those were the days.

For pictures of some of the ads, see Rand Sealey's Review of Washington Wines on Facebook.


Coming up for February

On Sunday, January 24th, we will be departing for the warmer climes of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, returning February 9th. The February issue of the Review of Washington Wines will go on line Saturday, January 23rd, along with a short Review Blog posting. There will be no Review Blog for the week of February 1st, and the next Blog posting will be on February 10th.