Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending a Wine Tasting and Luncheon at the Wilshire Grand Hotel, in West Orange. The wines served were all from the Palmaz Vineyards, in Napa Valley. There was a presentation from the co-owner of the Winery, Amalia Palmaz and her son, Palmaz’ co-Director of Operations, Christian Palmaz.

The experience was amazing: the presentation was incredibly informative (yet understandable to a Budweiser and Ballantine drinker like yours truly) and the food and wine pairings were fantastic. I may have tasted the best Chardonnay AND the best Cabernet I’ve ever had in my life.

Swell, Michael, I’m really glad you had a good time, but what does this have to do with College Admissions, College Search, etc. etc. etc.?

I really think there are two very important analogies here.

As I washed the baby field greens and honey roasted walnuts with a dash of Chardonnay, and enjoyed the Cabernet interact with the hoisan glazed french cut chicken and orzo pilaf, I appreciated that the food and wine are meant to complement, not copy, each other.

Thanks, Mike.  I’m working here on a cup of soup, a bag of Doritos and a bottle of water.

And thanks to the Palmaz’ presentation (link here) I much more fully appreciated how much effort goes in to the wine-making process. Not every fruit is selected.  The process takes years. It’s not that there’s waste, but there are ingredients that become more important (and others that become less so) during the maturation process.

So, remember my lunch in West Orange as you journey through your college search.  I think it can benefit you at least two ways:

A) Pick a school and a program that complement you.  It will benefit you greatly in the long-term and give a warm feeling in your belly in the short-term.
B) And remember that you (and your future school) have much to offer each other.  College X or University Y may not take all of the fruits of your labor, but they can take your best offerings and create a legendary vintage.

Or something like that.

As always, I welcome your comments, your ratings, your Facebook posts and your emails.  I can be reached at, on Facebook at “College Counseling for the Rest of Us”, on Twitter @MichaelCCR and by cell at 908-403-3819.

Special thanks to Hilary Morris and Hilary Morris Public Relations and Lori Chiazzo, of The Hip Event, for arranging such a wonderful event!