Dear Harvest Widows and Widowers,
I love fermenting stuff. Wine, beer, bread; fermenting stuff is wonderful. There is almost nothing like wine, a beverage that ties you to a season, a place, and people whose hands are purple. Spending all season thinking of weather, soil, vine physiology, taste, and quality culminates in one harvest – one shot to get it all right.
Then it begins: the transformation takes place. This transformation is one of the most exciting parts of our craft: creating a beverage that tastes nothing like its original material. The cellar goes from smelling like wet concrete and stainless steel to smelling like fermented goodness. Floral, fruity notes waft through the air, everyone has an extra glint in their eye and spring in their step. We walk, we glide, we move as if on air as the excitement of participating in the transformative process of making wine lifts our spirits and minds.
But that is not all that lifts us. Fermenting stuff comes with a cost, and the burden removed by excitement and adrenaline is borne in part by the loved ones who watch from a distance. Who awake alone, who run all the errands, who care for our children, who usher in the coziness of Fall alone, and who rest their heads on a pillow and gaze at an empty one beside them. Our craft is amazing, but there are unsung aides to every winemaker that support the passion that lifts us so. Without them, the lives we disappear from and reappear to every harvest would be for naught. We tell ourselves they love our passion, but we must love theirs as much: a passion to support and nurture another’s desire. My bride has said she loves the wine stains under my fingernails and smelling the ferments on my clothes, and for this and much more I thank her. Because she is really saying she loves that I love what I do. She sees the passion and she tolerates the toll it takes on her and our family for three months.
To all those who provide moorings for our seasonally sailing ships, thank you. Thank you to the harvest widows and widowers who – for a time every year – give of their passion to support ours. Without you, wine just doesn’t taste as great, no matter the vintage.
The Winemaking Team