Sunday, December 31, 2023

Walking on Frozen Water

“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” — Shauna Niequist

Often, I sit down at the desk here and just start typing, as I am doing now. And then the words appear, maybe making sense, and sometimes not so much. After eighteen years doing this, at least once a week, often more, I’m resigned to seeing where it takes me, and you, if you’re still with me.

About 85% of you will not make it to this sentence and new paragraph. So, it goes. We want it in small bites, and we want the punch, the energy and the electricity right from the get-go. No time to waste.

Knowing more acutely about that aspect of time at this point in life, I empathize. There is precious little to waste.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

We’ve Come So Far, So Good

Looking back over the past year, if I were to assess it as a grape-into-wine harvest, I might say this:

We started with a late but mild spring. Rainfall was average, with little to no hail or tornadoes. Once summer arrived, in June, the heat went up and stayed there for months. And months. And months. For humans, as well as grapes, it made for a difficult growing season, as there was no recovery available during the night. Often temperatures never went below 90⁰F, even at midnight! It was a brutal summer, the second in a row.

Still not as brutal as the summer of 1980 or even 2011. In 1980, it was just plain hot for hundreds of days, temperatures over 100⁰F the whole time. And 2011 also had extreme drought. Thousands of cows died from lack of water and relief. So, 2023 wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

And if a wine were to come from a harvest like that?

Sunday, December 17, 2023

What do you call home?

Having migrated to Texas from California 45 years ago now, I have been occupied with two things: the next chapter and the meaning of home.

Years ago, I read a book, Gods, Men and Wine. Somewhere in it there was a passage about how humans and grapes traveled together through time and history. Making home where they landed and hopefully thrived. Italy was surely a good move, for both grapes and humankind.

I’ve wondered if 45 years has been enough for me in Texas. And I’ve gone to other places to research uprooting and transplanting myself. It’s getting late for these old vines, to be sure, but what if? I grew up in California and spent my early years and most of my youth there. I loved it. But that was then, and the California of my youth no longer exists.  To quote Yogi. “Nobody ever goes there anymore — it's too crowded.” It’s also too expensive now.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Where in Heaven's Name?

This past week I’ve been racking up miles across the great Southwest looking for the future. The journey has taken me to Santa Fe, New Mexico, a place I hadn’t been to in more than 25 years. It used to be a place I went to often, for work and for play. I even went there once for a honeymoon. So, there are plenty of good memories in that place.

This time, while on other business I managed to go to a few wine shops and restaurants. I was happily surprised to see Italian wine thriving there. Mind you, you could fit Santa Fe into one of the new developments in Dallas or Houston. But the place attracts artists, intellectual and the very well healed. Some of the folks in Santa Fe have another home in Tuscany, from the conversations I was privy to. The Italian connection is alive and well.

Sunday, December 03, 2023

It All Depends on You

Jackson Pollock Salmon
It is so very entertaining observing from the edge of the river. Swimming along are the young fish, all bright and shiny and determined to show the world just what great swimmers they are. And aren’t they beautiful? Along with that, regulated by the river and depending on the fish, they might just be swimming somewhere to save their species, as members of their group have done for countless generations.

Likewise, it is a similar swim, on land with the up-and-coming crop of wine tradesmen and women. They’re all suited up and shimmering in the bright room, say, at a wine tasting. I love to study their movements in the room, who they talk to, what they talk about, which wines they are drawn to, and the people they connect with. We all did it, consciously or otherwise. It’s part of our humanity.

Real Time Analytics