…what Pinot we’re going to taste, of course, but more than that.  What he’s been thinking concerning his wines and how his philosophy has changed on wine since the last time we tasted.  How has mine changed.  How has all this changed… more than wine… my life, what I do for work, my teaching, my writing, my health and running, now I have a daughter.  When we met, I had little Kerouac, and that’s all.  Don’t’ meant it like that, but I had one baby.  Now, 2.  Wine is family as so many wineries and wine people say when it’s really some sales bullshit ploy they profess.  You can tell I’m especially lively this evening, even after all the wine I’ve tonight and today tasted. Need to work, need to write for wine’s thought, my thoughts on wine.. and what I think on wine, presently, but I need stay about her province.  In all respects of her respect and realm (and I hate that word).  It’s true, though, do note.  I’m imbued so, proved code.  That being to wine and the vineyards I always walk, that I have to walk.  Nearly every day—or, days I can.  Drove to AV this morning a bit early so I could stroll along 128 and watch the new vintage take its shape in front of me, like some galaxy forming, like some book being written by one of my followed penners.

Walking in the cave before day starts, and I don’t know what I’m looking at.  Something different, something more.. something.  Wine and I have a different dynamic between us.  I hear it, she, speak to me but I’m confused in my thoughts, and how I think, in the thoughts themselves.  The first time I noticed wine and what it, she, is when I lived in San Ramon.  And I’ve told this story a thousand times to whomever will listen, but that bottle of Blackstone Merlot that Mom suggested I buy…

from a journal


Early in office.  I can tell people, some, don’t want to be here on their Saturday.  Thought walking down the dark hall to get coffee that I wouldn’t, couldn’t, have it another way.  Coffee and blueberry bagel, I picked up from spot just down block.  Thought they were CLOSING closing, for good.  Guess not, after asking the girl behind large glass display case that no, no they are not closing.  At one time they were thinking of moving, but no closing.  Shared my relief with her and left after paying with quarters.  Only $1.50.  No debit card usage today, and no cash.  Investing in my businesses more vigorously and with more tell and precision, closer to 40 I step.  The morning, complimented by music in right ear, beats and instrumentals I’d have playing in my wine shop, or tasting room.  Still think about it, literally on basis that’s multiple-daily.  This morning when I woke up I thought of having to spend the night at my store like the one guy I met years ago when working for the advertising firm in Marin where I was invited into a guy’s office at a Mexican restaurant and the man had a bed behind his desk, to the side of his file cabinet.  I always remembered that and think of it now, getting closer to 40 yes but even more near to my business.  I know wine will answer everything for me. She always does.

8:01.  59 minutes at my desk.  Noting on day, on what I need do for and with team today, then tomorrow.  Tasting with a winemaker I’ve always admired and followed, and a bit a friend of mine, Michael Browne.  My tasting with him was over 4 years ago, when he still partially owned Kosta Browne.  Part of me wants to plan my questions, write them out.  And I might to a degree.  But if I’m to write as the wine writer I wish be seen and remembered, I’d prefer the preponderance of it be unplanned.  Wine shouldn’t be an excess of structure. I remember myself saying once.  Just now writing on a post-it, that wine is more chance than anything else, a reminder to not forget about the moment immediately before you.

Notes in other places, on wine and what I want from wine…. Wine from last night, nothing too crazy, and the vineyard walk I committed self to, tomorrow.  As soon as I’m on Lancaster’s set, I’ll be in those rows.  Must be, continuously.  The rocks and soil contrast from one parcel of the property to next.  Being away from the industry as I have, and very much by choice, the vineyards more me call now.  I hear the birds from one close of Cabernet to the other, then the Merlot and Cab Franc behind it.  Each lot telling me something about what I’m doing and why.  That’s what wine is, why I’m in it so fiercely.  Wine is this morning, these things I demand do and what I’ve done from the bagel to the hallway walk, the office and the drive to Berkeley.  Wine calls for more of me, more of my writings, all of them. Each day and sight, thought and track I listen to.  To control and contain pace, put the paragraphs in the order the time, MY time and MY sitting, call for.

from a journal


Friday.  But you know my opinion and stance on Fridays.  So what.  It’s Friday yes and to some that’s something, but I don’t care.  I’m working tomorrow, and the next day, the day after that.  I’m a blogger, writer, writer before a blogger and always noting something, so days off are days of others, not me.

Resolving to not spend any more money, today.  Not one penny.  What about lunch.  I need something to eat at that time, always do.  So what do I do.  Use change.  Yes.  Get as many quarters as I can, that’s lunch.  The quarters don’t matter, today, this meaningless Friday.

At the coffee spot same as yester’, with a 4-shot latte and the back table all to self.  About 40 minutes to self before I have to get to office to be a professional.  Professional.  What.  I’m learning.  Educating myself closer to 40 I get, knowing that all I want is the world, every Road I can find, any wine I haven’t tried, and sip and scribble overlooking a street, a canyon with a river somewhere in Switzerland.  That’s my most vocal and mobile and noble of “goals”.

Every morning should be this, time with self.  Friday or whatday.


Mike walks around his small barrel room.  He thinks of tasting, but just wants to walk around.  Look at them with no real intention other than to look, realize where he is, what he’s doing.  When he taught English at the community college he’d always talk about the “magic of the meta”. Not complicating, not overanalyzing, just knowing intimately where you are, what you do, why you’re there and the character you are as a result of being there.

He walks, can smell the wines but not as much as last week.  He hadn’t done a sulfur hit in a while, and that was intentional.  Didn’t want to scare the juice, or try to force it to do something or saying something, express voice it wasn’t meant to communicate.

Changing his mind, he grabs a thief from his workbench, the one his father built for him.  Picks a barrel, no method or plan, or foresight.  Just picks one.  Syrah, block 3, lot 4E.  In, out, seeing the color encourages Mike that he’s doing the right thing, that he needs to today taste.  Puts a bit in a glass, about two ounces, possibly a bit more.  Tasting, he didn’t feel anything he recognized since the last touch, which was…. Didn’t matter.  He spun the deep, night-like tide in his glass.  Put her closer to his senses, what was that.  He doesn’t know.  Mike dumps the rest back into the barrel, tastes from another.  Same.  What is she saying today, to him and only him.  Is she telling him to back off?  He doesn’t want to taste from anything else.  To gun shy, wine shy, now shy.

Mike forces himself to walk toward the other door, then outside to the block, “3-4E” as he wrote it in permanent on barrel head.  He looked at the vineyard, and only wants to walk.  The spell, in steps, around the block, blocks.



from a journal

…part of me disconnection from this.  I do still want to teach, and I will, but as I wish to.  How do I wish to… with essays, notes, posts, writings that share some reality of not just me but a character doing something, trying to reach There.  With class just a touch over 2.5 hours away, I think of my writing spot, Steele & Hops, where I recently had wine and wrote in journal, made notes of day and wine itself.  On this morning’s 14-mile trek, where I maintained a per-mile pace I never thought I’d hold, I replayed yesterday in the tasting room.  Replayed my life in and with wine.  How for the past four or five days or so, I’ve only wanted to write wine—about her, what she’s done to this narrative, and how even with sharing ideas in class whether 1A or 100 I’m deciding the text and topic as I would a wine in front of me, the character in and the voices of and in, the where and how—the metaphysical inference in that creature.

She urges more prose, or poetry, that I blend both.  That I have my way with her way and say, that the story and run into that world, here in America and on other continents sipping something looking at something I’ve never seen in any scene, just as I’ve never sipped what’s in that glass, she relays equations and not so much a need for anything to be solved.  That would mean a stop, some wall, something blocking the writing and the empirical exploration of MORE.  Her facetiae provoke me, to more about what I sip and finding more in that vineyard, more in this stuff and uncomfortably temp’d conference room.  She triangulates and then further multiplies her being, her revenant continuously steering me one way then ‘nother in these pages.  On property yesterday, it was like a ruling, something was decided, by me though only partially.  She instructs this, more of the vineyard on this screen.  More of everything that I sip…

from a journal

…this first day off in a bit.  Shouldn’t say it like that.  I shouldn’t.  What I mean is… I don’t know what I mean, getting closer to 40 and seeing more and more of days I’ve lived with occurrences now, in my Now.  What I see is the Now connecting with my days growing, aging.  Certain actions from Emma or Jack will remind me of something I did and my parents’ reaction, everything tying in and out of life and back together here in the Now for some precise understanding of Self.

Emma was right.  I need write, this morning.  First thing.  Made self another cup of medium Roast, satisfying one aim for day of not going to Starbucks, so far.  As well, in a demanding 19-hour fast.  Why… to test self, to be the runner I need be, more disciplined and patterned, positioned and even more passionate than people tell me I am, how they see me.  Paragon in morning, paradigm in action and what’s produced.  Will ready for run at 10, which gives me a delightful hour of composition, laughing still hearing Emma telling me to write.  Why did she say that, and not running.  She must recognize me a writer, one who writes and loves books, loves to be with words and share them, one of words, her daddy.  So… more a writer need be, me, more form natural intrinsic effort and velocity. Why I only made self a single cup, not the usual double I do.

Back in a tasting room, yesterday, Lancaster, helping a couple people in salon, or lobby as I like to call it, or lounge thinking of my eventual wine bar or room, or lounge with atmospheric tracks and music compliment.  Then a tour toward end of day, where I walked a nice couple from the Twin Cities to the Cabernet blocks and to the upper and lower crush area (as I used to when with Foley and years ago when working with Ted, the founder).  Then to cave, the library where we tasted both Cabernets, juxtaposed.  I thought past, to my past days at Lancaster, how when the Napa people with their fancy yet ineffective marketing firm let me go and I called Lancaster for some hours and they were for me san explanation, question.  Was just before Jack was in my world, physically.  I was touring at Lancaster, with more than enough familiarity, more than enough to make me apt and dangerous as a narrating sales bloke.  Now, over seven years later I’m again there, and with more freedom and peripatetic inclination…

Kids eating

breakfast, starting their Sunday with admirable intention and discussion.

Jack makes himself a checklist, writes a story on legal sheets.

Keep forgetting I’m at a winery, today. What does that mean?

Made self a list, after reading Jack’s.

9am, Saturday

Finished piece for 8page, clocked in, done with morning tasks, and now looking at the Kerouac journal Mom and Dad last night vouchsafed, Kerouac quote on front and I’m more than tempted to touch it before filling the Germany journal they bought me on their last trip.  Stories tempting me, talking to me, confusing me, turning me around…

Tired, need another cup of this Sonic coffee. Writing self to liveliness, some woke state, some movement, in all of everything around me.

Co-workers singing some old commercial ditty and I laugh to self quietly.

Wake up!  I say to self.  More coffee… more.