Meet Patrick Bartlett. He’s tall and energetic with a contagious smile. Oh, and he LOVES wine—and that love is infectious.
This love led to the creation of Mood Wine (www.moodwine.biz), a popular social wine club started by Bartlett and his partner, Jake Stanford. I went to a recent tasting and was pleasantly surprised by how many wine-lovers I met. “Moodies,” they’re called.
Bartlett grew up in Southern California in a blue-collar family. As a kid, he was in 4-H, showing goats. That’s where he got his start in wine—from a farmer’s perspective. However, his career started not in wine, but in sales and marketing for Xerox. You can sense his sales background when he describes a wine; it’s almost like a pitch. However, the wines he and Stanford choose don’t need a pitch; they are good on their own. That being said, Bartlett understands that some people may need a nudge to get them out of their wine comfort zone.
After Xerox, Bartlett moved to Canada with his family, where he worked for a catering company and received culinary training. From there, he lived and worked in Arkansas and Temecula, and has been in Palm Springs since 2009. He’s spent the past 15-plus years working in catering, food and wine education, event planning and winery management. In addition to running Mood Wine and its quarterly tastings, he is currently the director of sales and marketing at TheBank, an event venue in Palm Springs.
Bartlett and I chatted and sipped Tyrrell’s Wine, an Australian semillon from the Hunter Valley that he picked out for the recent Mood White Wine Club.
When did you first start getting into wine?
In my early 20s while living in Orange County. I had a manager (at Xerox) who was very sophisticated. I still remember that first bottle of crisp, chilled chenin blanc with a cheese plate on a warm summer afternoon—with little beads of condensation on the glass and a beautiful straw color. It was just slightly off-dry. This was post Boone’s Farm. (Laughs.)
What was your first wine love?
Chenin blanc, as I just described. My first wine nightmare was Thunderbird and Boone’s Farm. Don’t ask how a 12-year-old consumed a bottle of each, chased with Coors beer. Not pretty.
What’s exciting about wine to you right now?
Its explosive popularity and the never-ending desire to not just discover the wine, but the story and place. The wine culture is growing up, and it’s exciting to see.
What inspired you to start Mood Wine?
Nobody in the desert was offering a great wine experience. I have experience with wine clubs, and it was just a perfect fit.
Your desert island wine?
For this desert? Rosé—anything rosé, as long as it’s dry. Abandoned on a desert island … bubbles, bring on the bubbles: Champagne, sparkling wine, cava, prosecco, anything that has sparkly, joyful bubbles.
Your favorite food pairing?
Barolo and fettuccine Alfredo. This was the first meal I cooked Jake, on his birthday, a week after we met. I do this meal for him every year.
Your favorite wine book?
What to Drink With What You Eat, by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.
What are you drinking now?
I’m loving our newest discovery: Greco di Tufo, an amazing white wine with massive antiquity chops from Italy.
What do you love about the desert?
The power, spirit, energy, epic beauty and laid-back, friendly people.
Your favorite places to go in the desert?
Dish Creative Cuisine, Johannes, Jake’s, Zin American Bistro and—of course—Dead or Alive.
Palm Springs native Christine Soto is a co-owner of Dead or Alive wine bar in Palm Springs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.