In the early 90′s I made the transition from roommate living to my very first “just me” apartment in a rather sketchy stretch of Oak Street in the Lower Haight neighborhood of San Francisco. Despite (or maybe because of) the dangerous neighborhood, I loved it. But I quickly found that not having anyone to split the bills with was tough. In an effort to scrape together some cash, I decided to sell my printer. It had come with my (original) Macintosh, so I figured it was almost like free money.

I put an ad in the SF Chronicle and within a couple of days received a call from a guy who was interested in the printer. He asked all the basic questions and then wondered if there was any negotiating on the price. I hesitated and he asked, “Do you like wine?”

Immediately I thought, oh great, this pervy guy is trying to make a move on me.

He elaborated, “I make wine in Sonoma– the printer is for the winery. Would you consider doing a trade?” He elaborated on the quality of the wine (I had no clue about wine at the time–big jugs from Food 4 Less were my standard fake-id purchase.) I hemmed and hawed and then he suggested a bottles/cash combo. Hmm…booze and cash? Sure.

A couple of days later a sparkly eyed, hippie looking dude showed up at my door. I was nervous about giving a man I had never met my address (I was, after all a young woman living alone in the big city), but when he arrived I was immediately put at ease. He was incredibly nice and in his arms he held a big basket full of wine, and an envelope with my name on it. The transaction was pleasant and easy. We both felt as though we had gotten a deal. Before he carried off my old printer, he wished me well and expressed concern over my living arrangements. “You be safe here in this neighborhood.”

And that is the story of how an under-aged college student traded her crappy used printer to the millionaire wine mogul Joel Peterson of Ravenswood.

(Today Ravenswood has announced its 2nd Annual Ravenswood Tattoo “Coming Out” Party at their tasting room in Sonoma on July 17. Those who attend with the winery’s beautiful and bold logo will drink for free…for life.)

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  1. Leighlan says:

    Reminds me of my first job in San Fran in ’94 slinging plates @ the Balboa Cafe in the Marina. Just across the street were the Getty boys (born billionaires) & friends having fun with a wine shop where I used to go a peek and browse and chat and sip and flirt and buy……..not too much later it turned into the Plumpjack venture. I wonder if they’d remember me….?????

  2. Jolan says:

    What a great story! Not only did you come out with a few bottles of Ravenswood, but you had a part in printing (perhaps) their “hypnotic logo”!

  3. Joe says:

    Great story! And I’m obligated to love the Haight area, as does anyone who loves to hear Jerry and the gang play some tunes.

    One of my favorite things about the Ravenswood tasting room in Sonoma is that no matter how big a company they are, the feel there is very homey and friendly (at least it was in the past). We went there during our honeymoon, and the guy in the tasting room stopped everything to snap some shots of us in the barrel room, gave us free wine, etc. (all his idea). Good experience.

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