Barbara Bach

The Time that I Drank Wine with Ringo Starr

So, this goes back a ways. It was 1977 and I was 17 years old. I’d been working in a liquor store in South Lake Tahoe for a couple of years. Here I was, not even close to being old enough to drink, and I was an expert in liquor and wine.

Since I started working at Dart Discount Liquors, the night shift guys educated me on all different aspects of alcohol.  I absorbed the information like a sponge.  And I could talk on the subject like I really knew my business.

One time in an advanced english class, this old bird teacher was reading from a novel and she quoted that the character in the book was sipping cognac.  She asked the class, “does anyone know what cognac is?”  I knew but chose not to answer. She answered her own question, “it’s a kind of liqueur.”  Then I made my mistake and corrected her, “actually, a liqueur has added sugars.  Cognac is not a liqueur.  It’s the french equivalent of brandy.”  Moments later, I was on my way to the principals office.  Being right is not always a good thing.

Anyway, on this one great night in the liquor store (I’ll call it Dart from now on), I’m working on the floor and one of the cashiers comes over to me and says, “hey, I think that’s Ringo Starr over in the wine section.”  I asked, “did you go talk to him?”  He said no – he wasn’t sure what he should say to him.

So I just looked at him like he was a pansy and I walked over to Ringo and said,”excuse me, but are you Ringo Starr?”  And Ringo just smiled, and said, “and this is Barbara.”  She was beautiful.  I did not know who ‘Barbara’ was, but would find out later that it was the actress Barbara Bach.  They had matching fur coats on that went all the way to the floor.

ringo starrMe: “So Ringo, what brings you in tonight?”
Ringo: “I want to buy a bunch of wine to add to my collection, but I’m not real familiar with California reds.”
Me: “Well, I can be your guide.  I know most of these wines very well. And we can open bottles to taste if you have particular interest in any of them.”

We started talking and picking wines.  Pretty soon we moved to the back room of the liquor store.  We spread a few cases on the cement floor to sit on and we proceeded to have a little wine tasting.  It was quite amusing to see Ringo & Barbara sitting on those cases of wine with several of the store employees hovering to watch as a 17 year old introduced them to some of California’s best red wines.

As I remember, by the time we finished, he’d purchased over 10 cases.  I asked him for an autograph and he signed it, “Thanks Ron for the wonderful wine lessons. – Ringo”

That was an hour and a half of my life that I could never forget.

I need to take a moment to thank our newest sponsor to our project – a restaurant hood cleaning company from Denver Colorado called ProCo Hood Cleaning.  If you have a restaurant in the Denver area – please call them for a quote on getting your kitchen exhaust hood cleaning.  They can be found through their website at


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