WASHINGTON — Two years ago, I had the pleasure of winning a million bucks in plastic bottles and wine glasses in a winery in California.
It was an unforgettable experience that I will never forget, and the winery that won it was my choice to be the recipient of the prizes.
But I can’t think of a more surreal experience than watching the winemakers take the bottles and bottles of wine and throw them into the ocean.
The bottles are in pristine condition, the wineries own equipment is intact, and each bottle is accompanied by a handwritten note with the date of purchase.
It is like witnessing the creation of a million dollar painting.
The wineries owner, Michael, was at the beach enjoying his afternoon of sunbathing with his family when a wave came in from the ocean and he lost control of his boat.
The wave knocked him overboard, and he had to be rescued.
He suffered serious injuries and was treated in a hospital.
I was so happy that Michael was safe.
I thought that if I could win a bottle or two of wine, it would be a nice consolation prize for me.
But I soon discovered that if you are in the water, you’re in trouble.
The winery owner’s family members, who are also winemaking winemasters, did not know Michael’s whereabouts and kept telling me to get away from the beach.
I didn’t know how to deal with that, so I was going to ask the winemaker’s family member to bring Michael back to me.
That was the first time I ever heard Michael’s name, and I was terrified.
What if Michael was dead?
I didn�t know how many bottles he had and I didn��t know if he was still alive.
After the incident, Michael became a target for other wineries to threaten me with a lawsuit, according to the California Wine Guild, a trade group for wine makers.
I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I went to the winineries of California, California wine producers and told them that I was a journalist and would be willing to pay a $1 million settlement for Michael.
The following year, the California Wine Guild agreed to pay me $2.5 million.
Michael�s family members never bothered to reply to my letter.
But last fall, after more than two years of litigation, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear a class-action lawsuit against wineries that were negligent in their handling of Michael�s injuries.
The winemakes that were found liable included Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonette, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Pappy Van Winkle, and Cabernets.
I was awarded $2 million in damages for my injuries, including $2M for Michael, $1M for the California wine guild, $850K for my lawyers, and $600K for Michael�d attorney fees.
For my part, I have never lost hope that my injuries were caused by a bottle, even though I lost my job and my business.
If I had won a million, I would have been able to retire from my winery and my family, but the winnings have been hard-earned.
I have worked hard to rebuild my life and my life as a winemaker, and now I have my business back.