Family, wine make good recipe

Campus Times
March 13, 1998

by Laura Czingula
Editor in Chief


Last weekend, I went on one of those family vacations. It was for my sister Ann's 37th birthday (I have a lot of older sisters) and we went to wine country up by Santa Barbara in Santa Ynez.

It was my mom, my sisters Ann and Dana, and Heidi, a friend of the family, plus me. At 8:30 Saturday morning, we crammed into Heidi's new Montero and left for Santa Ynez.

I sat in the back with Ann and my mom. Mom had the wine country map spread out across our laps and we were all ready for a full day of wine tasting.

Let me explain what wine country is all about. It is a bunch of wineries in the middle of nowhere. Each winery has its own little factory where they sell wine and have a table set up with some of their new wines available for tasting. Some have crackers and cheese available to snack on and there are breads and a special sauce made with wine to enjoy during the tasting.

I slept most of the way there (It is about an hour and a half drive from mom's house in Northridge). But when we got to Sunstone, the first winery, I was wide awake.

We walked in and the nicest woman was standing behind the counter. She greeted us and began pouring the wine. She explained what year it was and what type of wine it was, as all the wineries do for their guests.

I am not much of a wine drinker, like the rest of my family, but, boy, was that first drink of wine good. We all liked it. As a matter of fact, I bought a bottle of that wine; I think we all did.

After being there for about an hour, eating up half of the food, we hopped in the Montero for another winery.

I have three sisters, the two previously mentioned and my oldest sister, Donna, who was unable to make this trip. Donna and Dana are both married and are similar in a lot of ways. Ann and I are not married and once you get us together, we are a little out of control.

I felt like I was 10 years old again, hanging out with my sisters. Ann and I were cracking up over the stupidest things and making funny faces at Dana and Heidi. My mom could not help herself from laughing with us, but then she would tell us to shut up. We would laugh so hard for no apparent reason.

At one winery stop, we decided to have a picnic. Mom packed us a huge lunch (as moms usually do) and we sat by a lake and ate egg sandwiches with tons of other snacks.

It was so much fun just kicking it with my family. Every minute we were laughing about something, bringing up the past, when I was a baby. They would make fun of me and I would do the same to them. We would mock each other and gang up on one another -- sisterly love.

After lunch, we headed to other wineries and eventually ended up at our hotel. We stayed at the Chimney Suites Inn and it was the cutest hotel I have ever been in. The entire hotel looked like a place Alice in Wonderland would stay at.

At dinner, we had the waiters sing "Happy Birthday" to my sister and, again, I laughed until my stomach was hurting.

It was not like being out with my family, but instead, with a bunch of friends and that is how it should be with family. I am grateful that I have a big family, too.

I am so close to my family. I live about one hour from each of my sisters, mom and my brother, and I see one of them at least once a week. I talk to all of them almost everyday, even my mom. Without family, where would one be?

My sisters are my best friends and without them, I would be lost. I am always asking them for guidance and they are always there for me.

Family is an important thing and it should not be taken advantage of, especially with us college students away at school. Do not forget that you are here because of your family.

So, next time when mom asks you to go and visit her but you would rather go out with your friends, remember that your family is forever and they deserve some of your time. You may not want to at that time, but you will appreciate that you did in the future.

Laura Czingula, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at