I always return to the vineyards. Always. I’ve always said it begins and starts there, and any wine person whether in the industry or just some rabid collector, needs to know the vineyard. To some extent. I’ll credit myself with one thing…. I walk the blocks, rain or not. But today, I couldn’t, as the rain was too loud and consistent, pounding the terroir with a near-animosity, it seemed. Selling wine, I always mention where the fruit’s from. I have to mention the origins— or not even the origin, or origins, but the soil, soils, the place it represent, giving us the sippers a sense of that place. Stories and farms and the families telling their stories from their property. That’s where everything starts.
Home now, wishing for the vineyard. I need to see something new or one of the vineyard pictures I shot years ago that maybe I forgot about, to give me a rounded conception of what I’m doing. I’m in the vineyard now, in my head, looking at this picture from 2014 of the Kenwood mustard along Highway 12. The rows, the cordons and trellising methods bring me to page in ways that other industry aspects could never.
Selling wine you become a voice of the vineyard— you translate its entity and intentions, from vintage conditions to treatment, to the air around the clusters and the people that care for each vine. So the vineyard is never arbitrary, and if one sells wine they have to either know the vineyard, or study it madly. I’m not saying that if they don’t they’re bad people or there’s some ethical knot. No, but the connection is not honest. Loving wine is not just loving what you sip, it’s a promise to its genesis, there in the soil, the rows, the plants, what’s around them.