I’ve been sitting in his wine closet for close to 20 years now. In the dark. Freezing. Once in a while he comes in, turns the light on and picks another one. The other, always the other. What must I do to get out of here?
I have spent the best years of my life in this small, dark room, with the others. Sometimes for weeks, he doesn’t come in; we don’t know if he has abandoned us totally. And then all of a sudden, he opens the door, turns on the light and squeezes in a few more of the others. This is sheer torment. When will I get out of here?
For a wine they say I am middle-aged. My youthful hue is gone, and I must come to grips with the fact that I’ll never be any younger. When I was younger I was so full of alcohol and hope. Now my tannins are drying out, my fruit is getting vapid and my color is dropping. Am I really better off now than I was 20 years ago? I sometimes think it would have been better to have gone out early, like so many of the ones in this room who came from California. But here I am, an Italian from a famous region, a great grape and from a wonderful home, the estate I was born on. But I wonder, when will he take me? Have I peaked? How much longer do I have to live?
When I left where I was born, when I was a mere baby, and made the trip over the water on the big ship, I came straight to this place. Within weeks, I found myself in his care. He put me on my side, kept me in the dark, did all the right things, according to the book. But all these years I have had to sit here in the dark and think about what my life is all about, sometimes I get on this emotional rollercoaster. It is then that I can feel the tannins rise and shuffle and my head feels dizzy. And then the fruit swirls around them and tries to calm them down. Then the oak influence rises up and it seems like I am in the middle of an enological cyclone, it is so confusing, and I am so far from where I was born. It causes me to have anxiety and apprehension.
Am I having an existential crisis? Why won’t he invite over some friends and open me up and get it over with? When will I be ready? When will I be released? What on earth is happening to me?
written and photographed by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy