Neagle hides ‘Top Gun’ beneath towel for Club Naked wine pickup Experience

C. Patrick Neagle strides resolutely toward his "Top Gun" Experience.
C. Patrick Neagle strides resolutely toward his “Top Gun” Experience.

We encouraged people to get into the spirit of the “Top Gun” movie, if they planned to attend one of our wine pickup parties this month.

Boy, did C. Patrick Neagle embrace the full range of potential attire.

Neagle, a writer and adjunct college instructor, calls Trout Lake home these days.

For his “Top Gun” experience, he could’ve gone bonkers and concocted some sort of Naval aviation costume.

But no, that would’ve been too easy.

C. Patrick Neagle and his wingwoman Angela Bliss at the Naked Winery "Top Gun" Experience
C. Patrick Neagle and his wingwoman Angela Bliss at the Naked Winery “Top Gun” Experience

Instead, he embraced, as he puts it, “the way of the towel.”

Sartorially deconstructed and spinning out of control toward minimalism, he showed up June 13 at the Hood River tasting room wearing a white terrycloth towel.

Nothing else. Just a towel.

He says he got the idea from another Club Naked member, chatting during a previous visit.

“He mentioned that he would come in a towel, and I thought that was a brilliant idea,”
Neagle says. “I hoped he would be there and I could say: Maverick, it’s not your flying, it’s your attitude. The enemy’s dangerous, but right now you’re worse. Dangerous and foolish.’ ”

Foolish, wearing a towel to a wine pickup party? For Neagle, that was just the start of a day in high concept.

“In the entire movie, everyone is always sweaty, to the point where I wanted for the costume to be really authentic, I wanted to take a mister,” he says.

But he forgot. He was busy getting … wrapped. He says the towel — a regular bath towel, from Ikea — was held on by nothing but a tuck.

“I got dressed up here, if you can call a towel getting dressed,” he says. “I drove down with me wearing the towel. I spent three to four hours in the towel. This is a really good towel, so I didn’t once have to adjust it.”

To ensure its security — because, as should be the case, he wasn’t wearing anything beneath the towel — he tested it.

“To demonstrate the towel, I jumped up and down several times,” he says. “It never gave or loosened.”

Good thing, because his girlfriend, artist Angela Bliss, wasn’t so sure about the jumping up and down idea.

Neagle’s real life isn’t that far from the fictive world of Navy pilots on Navy ships in “Top Gun.” A native of Missouri, Neagle employed his master’s degree in English to secure a gig teaching on board U.S. Navy ships. He works through Central Texas College in Killeen, and its Navy College Program for Afloat College Education.

“They call me up, and tell me such and such ship is available, for such and such classes, and do I want to take it?” Neagle says.

“They fly me to the ship wherever it is. I get on board, and I’m there for usually one or two terms. One term is 7-8 weeks, so I can be on board four months.”

Shipboard life, for those who haven’t lived it themselves, is noisy, full of mechanical odors, and crowded. He shares a dorm-like space with four or five other teachers. They teach two to three times a day, three days a week.

The rest of the time, Neagle writes. He says he can draft a novel during a teaching cruise.

Because of that work flexibility, he says, he and Bliss can live anywhere — and have. Before moving to Trout Lake in 2013 — and joining Club Naked in 2014 — Neagle and Bliss lived in Mexico, Sardinia, Alaska and New Orleans.

Trout Lake works for now, in part because it’s close to the Hood River tasting room of Naked Winery.

And Ikea, in case he ever needs a new towel.

A sign of the times for towel-trained C. Patrick Neagle.
A sign of the times for towel-trained C. Patrick Neagle.

Bone up on your ‘Top Gun’ lines, then join fun at special June pick-up parties

Three of our Top Gunners.
Three of our Top Gunners.

It’s almost as if “Top Gun” was written for Naked Winery. If you’re not familiar with the film, check it out. IOHOP, it’s not a great movie, but it is fun. Pure Hollywood brain candy.

And that’s what makes it a perfect pairing with Naked. We’re here for fun, after all, hoping to help American couples strengthen their bonds by sharing a glass of Naked wine — maybe, even, while watching “Top Gun.”

Or immersing themselves in one of our Top Gun  Naked Experience weekends, as a member of Club Naked.

In addition to great prices on great wines, Club members picking up wine this month at any of our three tasting rooms — Hood River, Bend, McMinnville — will get special access on the following dates to the Top Gun Naked Experience.

  • Hood River Experience, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 6-7 & June 13-14
  • McMinnville Experience, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 13-14
  • Bend Experience, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 20-21 & June 27-28

So, what does the Experience include? Wine, of course, but lots of Tom-foolery (nod there to Tom Cruise, the star of “Top Gun”).

When Club members arrive at their preferred tasting room on one of the Experience dates, they will meet their guide and begin a tasting tour (more later on how you can prepare yourself with Top Gun quotes to stay in the game).

At each of five stations, visitors get a choice of sweet or dry wine flights.

  1. Basic Training – Cougar semi-sparkling white, or 2014 Complicated Viognier
  2. Pre-flight Procedures – 2014 Fling Gewurztraminer or 2013 Foreplay Chardonnay
  3. Danger Zone – 2013 Tease Riesling or 2012 Dominatrix Pinot Noir
  4. Earn Your Wings – 2014 Sure Thing Symphony or 2012 Oh! Orgasmic Nebbiolo
  5. Top Gun – Blazing Straddle Sweet Red, or 2013 Amor American Blend.

Along the way, club members will get a set of dog tags, take a “Top Gun” quote quiz, sample a snack pack designed to keep them flying on the level, apply wet-tattoo aviator’s wings, and graduate to Top Gun, where the ultimate prize is (duh) their quarterly club wine selection (go here to explore the different club levels, bottle mix and pricing).

We were watching “Top Gun” the other night, in the run-up to our Top Gun Naked Experience Club Naked Pickup Parties (say that fast, three times, in a barrel roll fly-by).

And every time we turned around, we were jotting down some racy, tasty Naked-esque double entendre.

If  you’re a fan of “Top Gun” and think you know all the best, oft-quoted lines, you can test your knowledge here.

If you just want to relive all the best quotes, this list is Top One.

Here are some of TNT’s favorites. Feel free to use them on your tour through the Top Gun Naked Experience.

Top Gun -We Aim Tease

Stinger: You screw up, you’ll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!

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Goose: You live your life between your legs, Mav.

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Goose: The list is long but distinguished.

Slider: So is my Johnson.

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(Speaking of Johnsons)

Air Boss Johnson: I want some butts!

(Ed. note: Hey, don’t we all?)

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Mav: I feel the need…

Mav and Goose: … the need for speed.

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Carole: Hey, Goose, you big stud.

Goose: That’s me, Honey.

Carole: Take me to bed or lose me forever.

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Charlie: You’re not going to be happy unless you’re going Mach 2 with your hair on fire.

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Mav: This could be complicated. You know, on the first one, I crashed and burned.

Charlie: And the second?

Mav: I don’t know. But it’s looking good so far.

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Maverick: It’s classified. I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

Naked Winery tasting room (and others) vault Hood River to top of Sunset list

hood river top adv town

We know you turn to TNT (uh, that would be The Naked Truth) for all your … well, naked truth. But we thought you might like to know about an upstart little publication — delivered on paper, no less — that has decided, after more than a century of publication, to issue its first Sunset Travel Awards.

Whoops, we let it slip, with the screen grab, if not the mention of the publication’s name.

You probably figured out that Hood River was named top adventure town, when you heard all those people in McCall, Idaho, chanting “We’re No. 2! We’re No. 2!”

The thing is, Sunset talked about windsurfing and skiing and mountain biking, but they didn’t mention the real adventure in Hood River — getting to every tasting room in a short radius of the Naked Winery downtown tasting room.

We think our tasting room is the logical first stop. Get off I-84 at Exit 63, turn right, go one block, and park.

We’re trying to come  up with a slogan that captures the inevitability — and irresistability — of us. Like this:

“Once you go Naked, you never go baked.”

Or …

“Once you go Naked,  you never should play with a yo-yo.”

You get the idea, and because you do, please send us your better ideas.

The hard part about starting first at our tasting room? Prying yourself away from our tasting team to think about trying some of the other fine wines emerging from the area’s adventurous wine producers.

Come  see us, in Hood River, Bend, McMinnville or South Dakota.

Forward motion for hikers spurs reflections on suffering and gain

Barb Prescott and Gleb Velikanov button up against humid Appalachian weather.
Barb Prescott and Gleb Velikanov button up against humid Appalachian weather.

As readers of The Naked Truth must know by now, Naked Winery and Outdoor Vino are helping fuel the efforts of Portland residents Gleb Velikanov and his partner Barb Prescott to hike the legendary Appalachian Trail. We got a great note from Barb the other day, and offer it for your enjoyment (slightly edited for style) below:

“I’m currently reading a great non-fiction  book written by Gregory David Roberts called “Shantaram,” In it he spends a day visiting the Standing Babas — a group of men who have taken a vow never to sit or lie down, ever again.

As you can imagine, all of that downward pressure causes terrible, unending pain and because of this, the Standing Babas never stand still — they kind of sway from side to side from foot to foot. Roberts writes: “The first five to ten years of that constant standing, their legs begin to swell. The blood moves sluggishly in exhausted veins, and muscles thickened. Their legs became huge, bloated out of recognizable shape, and covered with purple varicose boils. Their toes squeezed out from thick, fleshy feet, like the toes of elephants. During the following years, their legs gradually become thinner, and thinner. Eventually, only bones remained, with a paint-thin veneer of skin and termite trails of withered veins…” 

Gleb takes care of Barb’s aching feet.

Ouch. Why would anyone want to subject themselves to something so horribly painful? They do it to prepare themselves for the next level of incarnation or to reach some spiritual enlightenment, I suppose.

What I am getting at is that I am beginning to feel like one of these Standing Babas, or almost, maybe a little ;). My legs and feet are constantly aching, they are swollen, and I currently have a discolored toenail. But, as with the Standing Babas, my feet are also getting used to the torture of walking and stronger with each hill. All jokes and drama aside, Gleb and I are getting used to hiking and I can almost say that we may have earned our “trail legs.”

We are currently taking a “zero” (non-hiking day) in Fontana Dam, North Carolina, where we are trying to load our bellies full of fresh fruit and veggies — something that’s been hard to find on the trail out here. I dream about beet and goat cheese salads, tomato and fresh mozzarella, fresh juicy carrots and, for some reason, Brussels sprouts. Mmmm.

Tomorrow (April 17) we will keep heading north into the the Great Smoky Mountains and hitting the 200-mile mark in the next day or two as well.
The last week has brought us a lot of rain and more rain. It’s a totally different kind of wet, though — not only is everything soaked, but the air is incredibly humid. I never knew that my eyelids could sweat like this ;)! Luckily we have been able to avoid the rain most nights by making it to a shelter.

Barb and German hiker Engel share a love of chocolate.

 

One morning we woke up to find that a German fellow (Engel) had camped next to us the night before. He grabbed my hand and nearly jumped into our tent with excitement when he realized I understood him. Apparently, he hadn’t spoken to anyone in nearly two weeks because he doesn’t speak a lick of English, hahaha. He chatted feverishly and was talking so fast that I was actually having a hard time understanding him.

We decided we liked Engel and hiked with him all day, and Gleb had a great time practicing his German. At the end of the day, Engel gave us his last German chocolate candy bar, which Gleb and I saved until we hit the 100 mile mark!

We have hiked with two ladies that are hiking with their dachshund and little Pomeranian, stayed in a shelter with a family of five, the youngest being nine. They are also through-hikers (going the entire distance, south to north) and (we) even (met) a woman that lives right down the street from us in PDX. What a small world!

Trail life is amazing and so cleansing — our toughest decision at the end of a long day is figuring out which one of us gets the first foot rub (me) and who will get water from a nearby stream. Gleb is extremely patient and I can tell he is totally in his happy place out here.

Sometimes we hear an occasional gunshot and we are reminded we are still in the south!

Until next time!
Yours,
Barb “Whisper” (her trail name)

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Joe Garoutte brings love of wine, theater to tasting room helm

Joe Garoutte is getting a handle on things at the Hood River tasting room.
Joe Garoutte is getting a handle on things at the Hood River tasting room.

Avid readers know the cliché about the author bio on the back of the book jacket: Before diving into novels, Author X followed a storied path through such instructive careers as ditch digger, short order cook, goat wrangler, airline latrine cleaner and more.

Joe Garoutte hasn’t written his novel yet, nor does he plan to. That said, he’s got the book jacket cred if he ever decides to add “writer” to his resume.

As Naked’s newest Hood River tasting room manager, Garoutte brings a love of the theater and people to a role that lets him and his crew stage the variety and quality of Naked wines.

Garoutte studied acting at Eastern Oregon University, with the thought that he would teach other aspiring thespians.

Not yet. For fun, he performs regularly with CAST, a Hood River community theater group.

For pay? It’s all about the Naked way of life.

“It gives us value, giving people a story to tell,” Garoutte says. “We talk about all sorts of things. Why you smell a cork. The legs on a glass. There’s no need for a set routine. You just have to listen. I love to listen, and help people go where they want.”

Before landing with Naked, Garoutte amassed a trove of stories in a variety of gigs worthy of any author’s book jacket.

He supported a young family working the gut line at Armour Beef in Idaho.

Seeking a little more intellectual stimulation (really?), he secured a job installing satellite dishes when satellite dishes sat alongside the house, not on it.

Later in life, he represented recreational vehicles to dealerships, owned and managed a bowling alley, and found his way to the Gorge wine industry.

Garoutte spent five years with Maryhill Winery, as its tasting room manager and then directing events, promotions and media relations.

A brief stint as general manager at Aniche Cellars and a couple of years helping guests select wines at the popular former Hood River restaurant, Nora’s Table, prepared Garoutte to get – and give – the Naked Experience.

The way Garoutte sees it, if guests want to play along with the risque thing that Naked does with its tasting room wines, great.

If not, that’s fine, too.

“Not everybody wants to go the innuendo route,” he says. “If people are uncomfortable, we’ll take another tack. We’ll never be the strict and formal tasting room. But we always respect what guests want from the experience.”

Garoutte loves the way Naked Winery emphasizes the guest experience at the tasting room.

“For me, being able to interact is key,” he says. “I’m hoping to help the whole staff provide a good experience.”

Part of what Garoutte wants guests to appreciate is that Naked Winery isn’t just your run-of-the-mill plonk producer.

“I enjoy seeing the interest in guests’ eyes when they encounter our wine,” Garoutte says. “It’s fun to help them leave knowing something they didn’t know before.”

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Sweet wine lovers step in from the cold, claim their place at the table

sweet_wines
Mike and Diane Augur, left, with friends at a recent Naked Winery barrel tasting.

 

Hang around tasting rooms long enough, and you’re going to hear it. Flack, aimed gently (and occasionally somewhat snobbishly) at the people in the crowd who tilt toward sweeter pours.

Diane Augur, Becka Cooper and Arife Ozkan are tired of being treated like the Rodney Dangerfields of the wine world.

“No respect? Yes, all the time,” says Augur, who lives in Gresham, Ore., with her husband Mike.

“I just like what I like. I just don’t like the taste of red wines, not unless they’re sweet.”

She wasn’t much of a wine drinker until about a year ago, when she and Mike started visiting the Naked Wines tasting room in Hood River. Since then, she has become a big fan of the Cougar and Sure Thing.

By themselves, or paired perfectly with certain foods, white wines definitely have a place at the table – even in the glass of confirmed red wine drinkers.

Ozkan, who manages the Trout Lake Country Inn in southern Washington, says she has “quite the customer base” for sweeter selections from Naked. She herself is a huge fan of the Tease Riesling and Hook Up Muscat.

“We have several ladies who come in and order the Muscat exclusively,” she says. “And the Riesling from Naked? It’s the best of everything I’ve tried.”

For the doubters in the crowd, she asks a little perspective. “Remember, there are people who love to have bitter sweet chocolate, and people who can’t tolerate it and like super sweet chocolate,” she says. “Not everybody likes the same thing.”

Kathy Watson, former owner and chef of Nora’s Table restaurant in Hood River, says sweet wines pair up perfectly with spicier fare.

“Ice-cold, low-alcohol sweet wines are just the best thing for spicy … and by that I mean HOT … foods,” she says. “The sweet essence of the wine coats your tongue with a little protection against the capsicum in the pepper, the low alcohol lets you consume enough to keep that hot stuff coming, and the ice-cold quality is refreshing after a heat blast.”

Speaking directly to all you beer quaffers, she says a sweet wine will be “a little less filling, leaving more room for those volcanic Thai noodles or Korean barbeque.”

She says they also work well with dessert. “Think of them as ‘port light’,” she says. “They go really nice with a fresh fruit custard pie.”

Ozkan says her Trout Lake Country Inn customers simply sip what they like. Muscat, she says, goes just great with a burger.

Cooper, a hairdresser who lives in White Salmon, has been drinking wine – after years with beer and martinis exclusively – for about three years now. She loves visiting the Hood River tasting room with girlfriends to try new wines and learn about them from what she says is “a very knowledgeable staff.”

“I like a variety of sweet wines,” she says. “The Sure Thing is very sweet, and it’s my favorite sweet wine.”

Lest all you red wine lovers out there find yourselves shaking your heads, fear not. Although she calls herself “more of a sweet wine girl,” Cooper admits all this tasting has broadened her horizons a bit.

“Red wines are growing on me,” she says.

Uh-oh.

(Interested in something sweeter? Check out Naked’s sweet wine lineup here.)

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