DIG's Early Days

DIG's very funky space as I first saw it, south wall

DIG's very funky space as I first saw it, south wall

funky part 2, west wall, now the entry door

funky part 2, west wall, now the entry door

Construction in progress, DIG's space at right

Construction in progress, DIG's space at right

Digging out the cellar. 

Digging out the cellar. 

Framing the north-facing windows

Framing the north-facing windows

Earl installing DIG's wine racks

Earl installing DIG's wine racks

A big pile of wine

A big pile of wine

Much of what follows originally appeared on the occasion of DIG’s 1st anniversary in May 2012. But because our customer base has grown quite a lot over that time I thought it would be fun to post it again here, with a few minor changes. 

Time, as we know, is a frighteningly swift companion. And so it is with equal parts pleasure and disbelief that we announce the occasion of our first-year anniversary on May 13. Of course, there was a period — a very lengthy period — when it seemed as if we'd never open our doors for business.

I like to joke that I'm not much of a believer in heaven and hell, but purgatory, baby, now that's a concept I can fully appreciate!

Construction on our home at the Yellow Building began in the winter of 2009. At first we imagined a seismic retrofit and general spiffing up were all the building's old bones required. Ha! Was that ever naive. 

Given that the building dates to roughly 1860, one can imagine the amount of actual work needed. At the end of the day — more like 18 months — the structure was essentially rebuilt from the foundation to the roof. Throw in our city's notoriously labyrinthine — or is that byzantine? — permits and licensing systems, and in retrospect it's amazing that our year-and-half stint in purgatory wasn't longer still.

And of course it wasn't just DIG experiencing these frustrations but our family and neighbors at Piccino and MAC, too.

Looking back through a thick file of photos documenting the building's evolution is a sobering reminder of just how insane the whole process was. But time, as the old saying goes, does heal.

From those first unpromising visits to the space as it was, to what seemed like months looking at what appeared to be nothing more than a literal hole-in-the-ground, to the days when the walls went up and the floors went down, to the day my friend, the amazing craftsman Earl Gonzalez, installed the wine racks we designed with the talented architect David Battenfield, the excitement felt creating something from nothing was nothing short of thrilling.

On April 30, 2011 DIG finally received its ABC license. Ah, just in time as at this point a mid-May opening actually seemed possible. But as luck — or the lack thereof — would have it, though Piccino and MAC opened on May 11 one final permit for DIG remained unsettled.

In the meantime the inventory I spent 18 months conceiving, re-conceiving, and re-conceiving again began to arrive. The store was a massive island of wine boxes in need of pricing and placement. So maybe the delay wasn't so terrible after all. 

Then, surprise! On Friday the 13th at 2pm the permit was signed off. But because it was entirely unexpected I was entirely unprepared. The store was a shambles, I had no shopping bags or totes to put wine purchases in, and, not only was the store essentially a floor to ceiling pile of boxes, most of my precious inventory remained inside those boxes.

Moreover, because of a glitch/delay with Piccino's wine & beer license, I had a ready-made clientele clamoring to buy wine to bring to dinner next door. So open I did, after running around town for bags and temporary invoices, and getting a few more wines on my shelves. It was complete chaos, and a hell of a lot of fun. 

You see, the thing I love about wine, besides the obvious pleasure it brings to our senses and shared good times, is that, just when you think you've got it figured out, nope, one's preconceptions must be discarded, one's ego must step aside, one's mind must remain open, and one never ceases to learn.

The journey never stops.