It’s a small world after all.
Michael Volpatt discovered that. A resident of Sonoma County, Calif., he used to live in San Francisco where a local wine bar carried a sparkling wine that he loved as much for its taste as its name: Sex from Mawby in Michigan.
Eventually, Volpatt moved, and he now owns the Big Bottom Market in Guerneville, Calif. Meanwhile, the wine bar back in San Francisco, which had been ordering Sex directly from Mawby, had been sold and he’d lost track of Sex. So it was a happy surprise when he came to visit friends in the Leelanau County community of Northport last summer who suggested a visit to a local winery: Mawby.
“I was like, ‘Wait, we’re going to the Sex winery? I can’t believe it,’” he says. “So yeah, it was awesome. The winery is wonderful. We got to taste a bunch of the wines, and we visited other wineries as well.”
The first-time visitor to northern Michigan was also wowed by the beauty of the region.
“I was going to a friend’s birthday in Saugatuck, so what I did was flew into Traverse City, rented a car, drove down to Saugatuck, and it was just such a beautiful drive,” he says. “The area was stunning.”
But we digress.
So along comes COVID-19. Like many business owners, Volpatt was grappling with how to respond to his state’s stay-in-place order. In the process of making his mother’s marinara sauce, he decided to go live on Facebook and show people how he was doing it.
That was March 14. He’s been doing it daily ever since at the Big Bottom Market Facebook page.
“I decided after the third or fourth time that I was going to start featuring local wineries,” says Volpatt, who is also a cookbook author.
Then his friend back in Northport suggested he team up with Mawby. Now Volpatt is collaborating with Mawby for a Facebook Live event @bigbottommarket on Saturday, May 2, at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern.
“He’s going to feature our wines. … I think it’s going to be mostly Sex, but we did send him a few other wines,” says Mawby part owner Michael Laing. “That’s basically the back story — kind of cross-country love in a time of quarantine, it’s the safest Sex to have during a quarantine.”
Laing says it’s especially gratifying to have a business owner situated in California wine country reach out to feature Michigan wines.
“He’s got plenty of good options around him,” Laing says. “But I think it’s a small world and even smaller when everybody’s online talking to each other and just kind of sharing their love for food and wine.”