me now wine

img_645407:40.  Surprised I’m up this early, but I am.  No 3,000 words yesterday but today that won’t be the tangibility.  Meeting at Chalk Hill tomorrow, with other property managers.  Soon as I raised my lids this morrow, I thought about what I wanted from the day.  Aside from the 3,000 words I’m not sure— well, one thing, MUSIC.  Lots and lots, LOTS of music.  MY own music, poetry, and music from favorite artists.  Wine is entirely musical, especially the two bottles from last night, that Cabernet… oh…  Like a character I’d been hoping for, hoping to meet, and finally did.

Went outside to take some bottles out, beer bottles more specifically, and I could smell the burnt structures, the dead fire of the streets on the tracks’ other side.  I stopped and turned around then hurried inside as if there were a fire ghost chasing me.  Nine days since, and the days don’t matter.  They all blend together, they all are wine country cries and a choir of surprise.  Will need a drive today, when Ricardo and his cleaning crew arrive.  Not thinking about that now, only the quixotic day I have ahead of me— these fires, lighting new fire in the wild wine writer, and seeing life and its fragility and utter guarantee void as something of elevated promise and poise.. poetic like this Coltrane sax number.  Dollar bills at left, what am I going to do with them?  How much do I have in my account?  I was paid, wasn’t I?  See…?  These past days are indefinitely defined in an utter lack of definition.


Yesterday with Kevin, talking to me about the winery  where he presently works, how management is vehement in being that typical tyrannical oversee of everything, targeting him and his fellow employees and not motivating neither he nor his team.  I mean, financially.  No experiences that would encourage guests to tip, nor the wine club compensation…. I have to ask—  Why is this such a consistency in the wine industry?  Luckily, the Foley mindset is nothing like that, but most of the industry is.  I’ll never understand it, and I have to concede that one of my first thoughts when out of bed was Kevin’s and my conversations last night…. Wine is about community, right?  These first certainly reiterated that.  And kindness, support, generosity.. general enjoyment of life.

Euphony in everything this morning— in the jazz I have on, this cold coffee I made for myself, the cup I’m about to have in its veritable smolder and comforting blaze… the dollar bills at my left.  Put it toward the business, I tell myself.. my business, my Self as a “brand”.. okay, papa of all bloggers, the most tireless writer in the world.  Three thousand words should prove that, 3,000 a day— why not 5k a day?  Be reasonable, I tell myself… how ‘bout between 3 & 5k/ day?  Sounds fair.  Audited little stack… $33.  Not worrying about what that’s devoted or dedicated to.  Gas, more than likely, but I’m not committing, not yet.  Plus additional $13 in bag, then the change which is an utter pain in the ass and hope to convert to cash today.  Don’t care what cut the market’s coin machine takes, I really don’t.  Enough about money… today, drive around, take pictures of vineyards… where?  Along Westside Road, if I can get there— another reality of these goddamn silly-named conflagrations, you don’t know what road’s going to be open and before you even realize you’re being diverted, going some alternate route.

Wine reasons for me, tells me to keep the story the way it was— me tasting wines and img_6457walking vineyards, see the music, listen to the gusts sing through the cordons, now bare from harvest… Madleine Peyroux-like chime and charm to what I’ll hear out there, today.  Can’t get out to Kenwood, my sister’s winery St. Francis… maybe then up to Dry Creek, see my people at Dutcher Crossing, or Sanglier downtown.  I never have days off like this and yesterday me stressing about what I’m to do and money and how I spend my time— “What?” I thought.  “Wine is telling you to build YOU, right now.  Use this time, use these drives, use these wines you sip at might to build your story, to add to it, to be that father of all who blog, the writer who NEVER tires.” I had this thought while driving back too the house on Fulton and Guernville, by the Raley’s I’ve been frequenting more…. Unforeseen lagniappe in all this, starting with that ham and brie sand’ and the Sauvignon Blanc I paired with the Austin Powers sequel.  Wine tells me to have more moments like that— write about THAT.  You taking time to yourself to collect in all this and have a couple sips of SB or whatever and “pair” it with a movie, something to lighten and better brighten the collective mood-ebb of your character, the county.

I used to dream more regularly about my own winery, ‘whoso cellars’.  And looking at this change bag, a literal sandwich plastic baggie intended for food but now occupied by who knows how many coins from how many ever moments and where’s… could be the seeds to my tasting room, my wines, my label, or wine store… why not both, I think.  Have my store, and sell my wines in my store.  Does NO good to preoccupy or stress, worry about when the winery’s going to reopen, or when campus will let students and staff back on.  I have work to do right now, pushing self like locomotive toward a more grand goal.  Going by Schwab today to put some money in account for wine store/winery…. This morning, with this jazz, this coffee, the air purifier at right making this kitchen’s atmosphere forget what happened early-early 10/8, has a writer encouraged, emboldened, enlivened… aimer la vie!  08:24, and now I feel like I’m waking up.  Finally.  Me, now, here, wine country, new story and sense and aims… sprint.


img_6446Finally I get to sit, write.  Friend from an old winery I used to work at, part-time and on-call, Arista, coming over.  Recorded note while driving on Stony Point, or Marlow, on way home— “Well I’m driving and I’m stressing about what I’m going to write as soon as I sit down to write, that’s how I know when it’s not a good time to start day’s writing, jest let it go, wait and the time will come for me to sit down and start writing.” Odd mood today, and not just me, but the whole county, fires and smoke and haze from whatever fires remain.. air telling me to stay home, don’t fear any looters as so many do, just drink the night’s wine (Cab from Paso and SB from NZ).  More notes than I know what to do with on past wines.  Still have to edit Hitching Post piece, the blend I pulled from the shelf… where was I?  Can’t remember, think El Dorado Hills with wife and kids, little time I had to self and went to store to get night’s writing assignment.  All offerings tasting different, post-fire.  Jesse bringing over a Dutcher Crossing Carignane, ’15, last night and the tune was contrasting what I associate with the winery, wine type, vintage, AVA, everything. Not that my senses are damaged— I mean, at least I hope not— but there was a morphing of something in me, or wine, or my interpretive lens.  Can just hear the wines for tonight over there by the knives and drying glasses, cleaning utensil (the one with the hard, pointy, painful bristles, pink and white), and bowl I had the cashews and almonds in for Jesse and I last night.


Had a meeting earlier with a wine blogger/startup buddy, but interrupted by false alarm of looters on our street.  I rush out of his office and into my car and here to Coffey Park… nothing.  No looters.  Yes, police, obvious presence to deter looters, post-fuego, but no threat.  So, out of breath, still, I try to collect.  And I don’t want these goddamn fires to dominate my 3,000 words for day.  No, not happening.  Not sure where Kevin is, my Arista friend.  Hope I didn’t scare him off, texting him “My neighbors will shoot you before the guard does.” After he asked if he’d get stopped by the Nat’l G’s.  Hope he knew I was joking.

img_6447Went by winery today.. still closed, but wanted to check on production crew.  I could tell they were busy and not at all interested in conversation so I backed off, took one picture, and left.  Not sure when we’re opening back up, but it doesn’t matter.  MY wine business continues, and my wined notes and jots, inward and outward persist.  Wine… should open that NZ SB.  Have a burrito from Oliver’s for dinner, will pair that with Cab.  Not really a wine-food pairing centered and/or intentioned guy, I’ve noticed.  I mean, I try, but I think that any wine goes with any food… well, for the most part I guess.  I have a grilled chicken burrito, and I’m paining it with a Cabernet.  I’m CERTAIN I’ll enjoy it.  Why wouldn’t I?  I guess if the burrito or the wine is irreparably flawed then yeah, it won’t be one for the books.  But wine and food-pairing is a convenient “science”, at best.

Poured first pulse of SB, just before Kevin arrived.  He’s now left, 18:53, he and I recalling days at Arista and career moved, and all involved.  Now into the Paso Cabernet, not yet heating up burrito, wanting to see 1,000 wine words here in kitchen at counter—  K and I talking about discrepancies in the wine industry with motivating staff to sell—  Why not pay them more or “incentivize” as they always say?  So many of the wine industry’s problems are easily solvable, I see and the words exchanged with K tonight cemented img_6441such.  Sb showing much more harmony and music and over smile than the one I had the other night.  I type without looking at keys, in fact looking around the room I’m in, the kitchen, into the living room and thinking about winemakers like John whom I saw today not he crush pad trying to function some machine to press whatever he was pressing— I’m guessing Cabernet… and me sipping this Cabernet and reminded there’s so much more story in the bottle than the consumer realizes.  I’m not anti-consumer… I’m the consummate consumer.  BUT, there need be more awareness of wine and it’s the winery’s job to do that.  So ME, as a “manager” of a property, I need to tell the Roth story.  Meeting on Wednesday, and I’m going to barrage the council with a vision.. I will be mimicked, copied.  I’m not bragging, just confident, eager, willing and creative, able.  Not sure what this is meant to state or assert but I’m in my house with radiant wines… and I have a house.  I HAVE A HOUSE.  I’m guilty, I feel guilty, I’m crippled in guilt and I can only drink more wine and write.  Wine is speaking to me now.  Before I opened the SB, before Kevin got here.

img_6448Finally, I’m sitting, and writing.  After this first thousand, I’m set to heat the burrito.  See how it “pairs” with the Paso Cab.  No music in the house, now, which is rare for me, if ever the reality.. the Cab now telling me to turn on music and heat up that burrito and get to real work.. ‘wine and food pairing’.  Part of me’s like ‘who cares’ but then the other parcel is partial to my perspective of ‘write about it’… okay.. Paso Cab with a burrito of grilled chicken… yeah, I’m sure it’ll be amazing, what do you want me to say?  I see a little left of the Cab, in my glass… sipped…. alc’ is more visible than I remember.  But there’s a stark vile and leather, smoke-set sinew to its physical palate presence.  I’m reminded of that morning, eight days ago… and I’m here, in my house, sitting, writing, sipping wine.  Something feels wrong.

10:57.  The quiet in this house hurts.

My family should be here, but they’re not.  Some could say this house shouldn’t be here, but it is.  On the side of the San Miguel tracks, there are no thoughts like this.  The houses are gone.  Couple seconds ago I was bothered with the prospect of taking a cold shower.  There are no showers being taken on that other side, or along Coffey.  So I humble, I silence, I meditate and conceive what’s before me, a writer of wine.. so much life and in that life there is less than “little time”.  Wine isn’t just about celebration, it’s also about appreciation, acknowledgement of life and how invaluable it is.  That morning, Sunday, with the winds at 60+ MPH, and smoke notes and visible glowing pieces from a structure or structures floating our way, pushed by those gusts, I had no idea what to think.  Had to remain composed for babies, show some strength or sternness.  The quiet broken by the train and a car driving on our street or the one over.  Don’t want to be here, but I should want to be here.  I have a home.  East San Miguel can say nothing such.  Try to enjoy what’s left of my coffee, in my Coffey Park studio/home/base/heart where wife and kids eat, sleep, play, love and learn and grow.  My coffee cold, but not like the shower.  Now’s a time to write, record, be quiet like the house.  Don’t think about work, business, selling, wine.  Concentrate and somehow measure and inventory how lucky you and you family, your street, are.  I write this on the floor of my bedroom, sipping coffee, after a shower, collecting musings and measurements.  The sound void does sting, but it as well sows, sews.  New visions, scopes, hopes, decisions.  For me, family, the story’s entirety.—. Fuck, why were we, am I, so lucky?

Can’t think like that.

But I am.

The loud quiet here begs it.



22:23…. Couple today, assuming posture of knowing so much more about wine than I might expect, but I didn’t expect thing.  Man lecturing me on the conditions of the ’15 vintage, and like I before wrote I just nodded, say my uh-huh’s and went about my pouring.  The vineyard this morning, that Malbec lot, talking to the writer in dialectic aphorisms, encircling me every time I peered at a cluster.

Getting distracted as I always do by looking at these pictures in the camera…. Should call night, wake early when Ms. Alice does for her “bootcamp” or whatever… quiet now as it will be when I wake.

Found an old picture of little Kerouac and I have no idea who it is.  This morning I look in rearview and ask him what he’s doing with his head down and he saying “I’m just drawing and writing letters and words, Dada…”Made me so proud, or envious, or something, all he needing to do with life now is explore and practice his writing.  And yes, yes, I’m here… looking through and tempted by old pictures.  But that won’t finish the book, which is already done, and I recognized this while walking around the crushed today during lunch refusing to acknowledge that I was “on lunch” and horribly angry with self that I took a lunch rather than going upstair to my desk to write.  My desk… huh… not a desk at all.. more a putrid crescent cubicle that I never have a pore to visit, utilize.

I’m getting tired and I’m sure that’s the couch telling me to retire.  Why.  I don’t want to.  So I turn on jazz.  Who else but Coltrane.  I need to relax for a bit, I know… look at all this kid debris has the writer not so much stressed but scattered and fixated— place mine own eyes to the night I’m in, and I realize it’s time for the writer to down-wind.  Have dessert, watch a show, and close.  I’ll wake tomorrow, still thinking about wine, hopefully, and collecting and reviewing my tasting room notes from day and seeing where it takes me—


At winery.  Quiet.  No activity on crush pad, or room to my left, but that certainly doesn’t mean that there won’t be activity later.  Hoping for a busy day, hoping for sales, and taken by my idea this morning of my own wine retail business… not a new idea by any tilt, but certainly a relevant and provocative revisit of past ideation.  After work going to Bottle Barn and planning to buy a healthY amount, for research and writing purposes, tasting with Mom and Dad to solicit their insights and see what they measure the salability of the bottles to be.

All is poetry here, in this world, about wine and even in the dullest acts, like at EOD yesterday with all the cash counting and accounting, there is story and character development.. a curious mythology and functionality, story.  Luckily I had Thomas there to assist and talk me through the impact and gravity of each step.  I saw scenes… like I said, story, and character in what I was doing.  Education.

After his post, get on clock, start the day, pretend this winery is MY business (which in a way, it is), my wine shop, and note everything… from co-workers’ strengths, to reactions to wines, to how wines taste, to weather, to how appointments were booked and feedback from guests.  Note EVERYTHING.  And do so poetically.  Like:

Woman, Minnesota, loving Sauv

Blanc, but her

Mind can’t be changed on

Chardonnay.  Loved Merlot,

Thought Cab was okay…



Something like that.  This whole day will be a collection of standalone pieces and poems, songs and thoughts… for MY business and life.

Couple more sips of the 4-shot mocha I needed and off I go.  The poem of this sitting is in its low volume, its equanimity, zen.  Hear production crew, somewhere off to left.  Wonder what they’re up to.. let’s go see…


No writing today.  And I’m sour.  A flawed flower.  On lunch, I lunched, depending on certain things to happen.  Capturing my mood, and my wheels now race with served ferventness.  Come apocalypse or a certain atmospheric aptness…

I’m a sword with indiscriminate pulse, momentarily.  I have to fixate on the ideal.  And I will, with all wheels.  No way this can go on the blog, and I wouldn’t want it to— as now I hate everything and everybody and every smirk that wish boasted on social media.  At least I’m writing.  At least I’m true to this writer’s layer.  A certain writer, I guess you could say famous, receptive to my involvement in the stage interpretation of his “novel” if you could call it that all of a sudden to back out or complain in a text to me that he’s been up since 3.  And do I care… no.  Just what I expect from humans.  Notice I don’t anymore capitalize.

My mood and redolence is low.  What can I do but hope somehow I wake early… finish this fucking book and get on the Road… travel.  The whole entire wholeness of this goal, of these inward jots, is to travel.  And before you say it, yes, it’s definitively a selfish aim.

Want to keep writing but—  One more glass of the Meeker Malbec.  Why not.  I’ve had a long week and with a long semester ahead of the writer… again, why the fuck not.  I’m not sorry for this day to die if you need to know.  Nothing in particular persisted, just he voices of some make me wonder why I try to abide so kind.  Why not not care, I’m thinking.  HST said life was better once he was forces to stop taking it seriously, stop caring.  Oui?  Alors…. I’m here.  With my mood.  With all this, my life a writing father hoping these inward notes take me somewhere and tell me something… today, with all the grapes landing and the lady the other day saying something like ‘If you’re gonna dream you might as well have your druthers…’ Yeah…. YEAH.  So I’m here now on the couch, with my last glass of wine, in this beatnik/gonzo/lost mode…. Quiet in this house with two kids but that could change any minute.  Was going to turn on TV but then I thought “Why the fuck would I do that?” It’s quite in here.  I’m a writing/working/writing-working daddy, I need the zen, peace, still, soundless romance of my balance yet fiery and multi-layered scene.

I’m writing now.  And it’s sweet.  Sweeter than sweet.  Like the candy at Goody’s, in Sunriver— so many memories and thoughts of me as a kid there now I’m 30-fucking-8, an old fucking man wishing I was that age where I didn’t have to care about shit and…. Sip the rest of your wine, Irishman.  And now he doesn’t want this day to pass, this Irish kid, who’s so far from a “kid” it’s insulting and laughable and telling to merely type that.