Loving Blurb….

Love your mornings.  This morning teaching me that I can re-write, and I will, I’m going to, right now.  What can stop me?  Nothing.  And, nothing wants to stop me.  Don’t see things like that.  Everything is encouraging me, loving me, loving my passion for words and teaching, students and my babies, family and health, reading, writing… all my yay-saying yells and professing—

Love is with me, this morning.

So, je gagne.

inward jot

img_7573Colder than yesterday morning, just saw on temperature reader in car.  This morning, walking downstairs, elevators out of service, I walked into the well at the same time as this man dressed in a suit, with his sleek leather bag over shoulder, hair done, ready for something.  “Good morning…” he said.  I returned, as we walked downstairs awkwardly but not too much so together.  When on first floor, he saw another man who appeared to have just finished a workout, one demanding and putting him at breath’s loss.  “Are you ready?” Suit man asked.  Could hear what the other guy said but he said he needed a workout before whatever’s set to go down today.  Wish I would have slowed, listened in a little, but I went to get my coffee and head to car.  Now here at winery, thinking about the wine I sipped last night, that Corliss Malbec, listening to this track not sure who and don’t have time to look.  Have easily over an hour to write this morning, collect self and have time with my musings and thoughts, words, this feeling this morning carrying over from yesterday morning ordering me to be more wild with all writings.  And sell every fucking one of them.  Walking into this building, I saw John, the winemaker, asked him how he was and he said still trying to wake up, told him I’ve BEEN awake, and I’m just getting started— that today is MINE.

Walked into winemaking break room and saw coffee being made.  Today… something’s set to transpire, something en ma faveur.  Coffee, jazz, a quiet, well-warmed office for this yay-saying yodel of a writer.  Noted earlier that the Malbec Cara sent me is just the kind of wine I want to make.  Why not do it… why not.  And not to make money, but write about, of course, have more intimacy with wine and my understanding of it than any somm’, or even winemaker, wine “critic” or “expert”.  Can still feel the cold from outside and for some reason it pairs with how I remember the Malbec, how its notes slowly suggested themselves to me, as if to acclimate to me as I to her.  HER… have to stop calling wine, ever, an ‘it’.  She encourages my poems, my wandering lines and pages that will afford me the ’18 vintage… next year, going to do it.

Made new list of projects just now.  Have to sleep less, work more, write more.  Today, and for no other reason than to test self and work ethic, a 5,000-word day.  Wonder if coffee’s downstairs, ready for the writer, ready for the day’s education and being integral in it.  An orphic morning… divine and otherworldly with its multiplying spells, again like the Malbec she sent me.  I’m lost in my fervor, my thoughts being like multicolored webs and equations I have no interest in solving. Once they’re “solved”, something’s done.. something’s gone, dead.  I want the endless, the infinite, the indefinite.  Reading the sounds and colors, lightings around me… keep writing, they tell me.

bx project

Only calls made so far, and no sales.  But what can I do but my job.  Not letting it get to me, at all.  I know days like this happen.  Walking here to the cubicle catacombs I saw all the barrels out, for cleaning or racking.  Stopped and looked at them, with no real intention other than to look at barrels.  Met a winemaker from Washington earlier in day and a cooperage rep who’s been with his company more than 25 years I think he said.  So rare, now, to see that type of residency and tenure for any one company.  Want my tenure to be for MY business, eventually.  But here, I learn… about the wines, the methods of selling and marketing, events, building narrative and story.

Wind outside persists, haven’t lost power again like we did this morning.  Thought we might be sent home early, but no such outcome.  And I’m glad, honestly.  I want to be here, where the story is.  If would have left early, what would I have done?  Gone wine tasting?  Gone back to the hotel and wrote, taken a nap?  May got a run in?  Which reminds me… I need to get back into my running character.  Wine life MUST be balanced with strict fitness routine, not just working out whenever you have time, or can just fucking fit it in.

Wine that’s speaking to me today… only tasting a couple of them… really, none.  For some reason.  None of them are convincing me of anything or showing me something new about their identities.  Maybe it’s me.  Maybe I’m off since the power came back on.  Looking at the barrels, “What’s going to be put in them?  What’s the racking plan?” Only they know.  I can just imagine, and see myself one day again making my own wine, maybe with my sister, figuring out what barrels to use on what, and having guys like the barrel rep I met earlier come by my house, or little crush pad, or office, wherever, and tell me what types he can offer me.  Whenever I’m here at Roth I just want to do everything— sell wine, market it, write about it, speak about it everywhere, write about it again, “educate” wine lovers and those wondering about wine if I’m qualified to do so, make it, own a winery and have someone else like my sister make it— this place sends me into dream spirals.  Addictive.  I’m drunk on ideas… any effect from what I earlier tasted, which was nothing, is more than departed.  Dead.  I’m clear headed and not from these dreams.. these goals and aims, fantasies in wine.  I want to do everything in wine and I will, everything… The Zin downstairs, I guess the only one with any true thesis today.  Blackberry licorice gusts, with peppered vocals and brushes, like cubist painting I can’t interpret but just love to look at, can’t look away from.

5 minutes left in lunch, my worded break, just as I promised myself I’d do earlier.  Thought about getting a burrito from El Farolito, but need save money for the shop… for my first bottle purchases, what I’m to sell.  Can’t fail to stop by Safeway on way home— I mean, ‘hotel’.  Three new bottles, ones I’ve never heard of, seen, tasted, never knew before.  My next assignments.


IMG_9636This morning I know I’m not that prepared fro class, but that’s just what I’m intending… to present ideas in the moment I’m in— like this sitting here at the 12 & Mission Starbucks.  Can’t remember when the last time I wrote here was.  Thinking a year or…. doesn’t matter.  Not as many people as I thought I’d see in here.  Nowhere to park and for a second I thought I’d just make the U-turn and head to campus.  But not this morning… needed this, this sitting and this quiet with a more than busy morning, going back to the hotel for the bag then to Mom and Dad’s where Mom and I talked about a few things and my mind now completely focused on work—

For class…. Talk.  Hemingway.  Writing.  Reading.  Read with them.  Only keep them an hour, each section.  Tonight, have a wine chosen, and am going to buy some bottles, just a couple from my friend up in Washington, also a wine writer who perpetually insists that she’s amateur.  I get frustrated with her but from adoration and endearment, nothing malicious or truly spite-sown.

Iced coffee, this session.  Haven’t had one in a while… all I want to do with this final day of novel writing is write… not sure I much want to teach, even.  Then don’t.  Just offer ideas.. write as you go, in the little pages.  Still have to post last night’s wine reaction, sketch.  Or rather, yesterday’s but I wrote it last night as babies were falling asleep.  Me on the bed with Jackie typing on phone and hoping he wouldn’t get too distracted.  He didn’t.  Fell right into his little scale of dreams and I was about to jot, or thumb, what I could.  Not as excited about tonight’s wine but Jesse gifted it to me yesterday, stopping by the winery and tasting through a couple whites, all the reds.  I envied his day off.  I need a day off— No you don’t… you need to work.  You need to keep moving if you want to see what you want to see.  Just thought… can stop by St. Francis and get a couple bottles to write about, or maybe just one, or taste at the bar while they close if they’ll let me, if it’s not too much a bother.  I have this obsession with SFW, going back to where it all started, re-acquainting self with the wines and the counter, the tasting room, how now they have that T-Rex sized tree.  Plan confirmed… finish 100 maybe 50 minutes into, then head to “The Frannie”.  Now I start to feel the engine go, the ideas about their wines and all the notes I’ll meet, be greeted by.  Yes, I should be prepping for 1A, 100, but I can only see hear wine in the music I have in these little jelly-belly-ish earphones.  “Intro”, by The xx.  Love this song.  Puts me on a plain, plane, plan, while in cruising altitude, thinking about  where I’ll land, which wines I’ll taste, be coerced to write about.

The café— not much a café— essentially empty, but one chap to left on laptop.  Definitely not a writer.  Don’t ask how I can tell.  Will make me sound more judgement-beat than I already do.  So…. The Viognier I’ll be sipping tonight I opened before leaving the hotel.  Thought, “I haven’t opened a bottle of Dutcher this early in a long time.” Brought back to thinking when I’d go for my lunchtime walks and either write, take pictures and video, or all.  That time at Dutcher told me that Creativity will solve any occupational or professional problem or block, hiccup I experience.  These pictures I look through, so many of them from Debra’s property.  My vineyard… all I can think of.  Well maybe not all but certainly know it’s dominant in my vision, physical, temperament.

Leaving here in 7 minutes, 1 hour.  Have to make what worded dent I can in my day… wine, wine… my shop.  Day five.  Have a floor design in mind.  Much of it pragmatic, the rest just what feels right, from my experience selling wine.  Like I intoned Mom, I don’t sell.  I write.. I speak… I recite.  Wine should never be vended.  It should be gently communicated, oui, but gently, convivially, like you’re writing a love letter to that person or just a friendly note right there, when you’re on one side of the counter and the guest stands where they do.  Communication… now I can’t wait for class.  These ideas overlap.  But I can’t tell if my wine life influences the professor life more than the opposite arrangement.  Peut être (perhaps) it’s a realized harmony.  Maybe there is no distinction.  Maybe when I’m teaching I’m “selling” wine and when I’m at the bar or on property I’m more a “professor”, or educator, than anywhere else.

Answered a work email, now back to keys.  Not letting self raise head for another ten or fifteen minutes.  Writing about wine is much to do as I said with things you think have nothing to do with wine.  And you’re right.  They don’t, and proverbially do.  Shots from when I stopped in at Kenwood Winery, saw and old friend.  She poured me across the flight I thought I was so familiar with.  But hadn’t tasted there in so many years, even when I used to work at Kunde I never went next door on my lunch to taste.  Went to Deerfield once, but that’s it.  Wasn’t like at Dutcher when I would often visit close-by TR’s and see what their offerings said to me.  Guess I wasn’t as serious a wine writer when at Kunde.  Well of course not… that’s when I began to get a bit disenchanted, envenomed, by “the industry” as I called it, as so many called it and I hated it when they would.  Like when people in academia, community college or some university call it “the profession” like it’s the only profession.  When tasting at Kenwood with Betty I could only hear music in the wines I tasted, them begging me to keep writing about wine the way I do and to never stop— that THIS was my “calling”.  More than a vocation, or avocation.  More than passion.  More than religion or a sweep of beliefs.  I was me. It is me. I have to write ME.

MOCK SOMM:  Calluna, Mon Préféré Mise En Scène

IMG_7060You’ll find yourself wishing you were back.  Winemaker and Owner, David A. Jeffrey, took me around the property early Tuesday morning a couple weeks ago.  Driving up to his property, atop some bluffs in the Chalk Hill AVA, more poignantly on Brooks Road, I was smitten by my surroundings, finally somewhere where I’d never before cruised through.  Was pretty sure I wasn’t going to taste anything that morning, just wanted to meet Mr. Jeffrey and haunt around his estate.  Which we did.  He told me about his love of Bordeaux, the winemaking style there and the freeness of expression in Bordeaux, how not so much a  manipulation is needed nut moreover an understanding of what you grow.  Thew entire time David spoke to me and told me about his wife and children, and his time in France studying winemaking styles and the general expression that region, I could only think of how this is what wine is.  The attainment of dreams and visions, from his Colonel’s Vineyard Cabernet, to each of the blends I bought, and his Merlot which I only tasted last night but this nuit very much planning on exploring and recording my interaction.

David will tell you that he set out to make wine that could be in a sequence of wines regarded as the ‘best in the world’.  After not only hearing his stories but tasting though his set, he’s there.  He’s met his aim, his desired character.  But he still charges with that earlier intensity.  And listening to him talk and explain his life’s work he has no sign or insertion of stopping.  His intent was to craft wine that could stand with all the mammoths, all the bastions, all those wines that people ‘oooh’ and aaaah’ over.  He has, most musically the Cuvée, only bringing with it a tag of $33, then the “Calluna Estate”, $75 (which could easily be estimated at a stratospherically higher priced point), which I felt I had to ring in and I’m elated I did as that showed to be the most-Me of the three, fitting my personality and love of how wine and literature, writing, intermingle and lovingly eclipse each other when an intersection materializes.


This meeting showed genuine adoration of the vineyard, well before buds break, before grapes, before the wine, before what’s on that table next to all the other kings and queens of wined adage.  Jeffrey demonstrates wine’s epicenter intent, its material and metaphysical nuclei with his story, the bottles he’s brought to fruition— Truth.  This winemaking style is more than a style, more than a “lifestyle”, or even ‘way’ of life.  It’s Life.  Love.  Family.  Newness… that exploration of wine’s atmosphere and galaxy, something a book and certainly not this piece can you teach.  He put himself through oenological studies and did so with eagerness and humility.  He doesn’t fit my winemaker paradigm, whatever that is but I’ve many times seen winemakers as people not often mentioning or crediting their studies, who they’ve learned from.  Mr. Jeffrey does, and just as eagerly as I imagine him traveling through a winemaking curriculum.  He told me that his approach to making wine is partially academic. Tasting through the bottles you understand the intensity of his study, studies, explorations and travel and demand of being close to the vineyards.

I find myself wanting to go back but I feel like I was just there.  Well, a couple weeks prior.  Sitting here in this office I smell that fog, that morning, wishing I was sitting in one of those chairs, with him, talking about wine and winemaking, his property, his time making wine and studying in France.  Why the literary approach to wine, for me— people like David, how his narration actuates what he’s always seen for himself.  He did it.  He IS ‘it’.  Winemaker and vineyard lover, sharing his ardor and elevated amour with those sipping everything from the Cuvée, to the Estate, Merlot, Cabernet.  Reviewing my notes for the Colonel’s that I the other night popped, after a long day at work selling and writing about wines from Chalk Hill and elsewhere in Sonoma County, “…a Coltrane-esque composition and rhythm to its immediacy and sensory geography— placid and prominent, pervasively pleasing, telekinetic like it read my mind and learned what I’ve wanted a Cab to say— intrepid and intricate…” The notes go on and on, tirelessly but I won’t bore you with them.  This is what my mind visually musters when I think ‘Sonoma County’.  Sonoma to me translates as “small, home, passion, TRUTH.”

I went there to experience, see, feel, Newness… like a Beatnik writer direly parched for a story, a real wine story… something not just relatable but encouraging.  Even for those never drinking wine you sense the devotion intricately interwoven in the visual circuitry of Calluna, which is the Botanical name for the plant Heather.  That same name, belonging to a young girl and close family friend who passed away, hence enlivening Jeffrey and his wife, Marla, to name the property and winery such.  Being the writer and professor I at times be, can only see the accentuation of Life, Death, an urgency for us to not only chase our dreams and ultimate, apexing aims, but grab them.  The beauty of that property inoculated me with new life.  The wines, the like.  I’m a more free and electric writer since driving up and down that long, celestial driveway, speaking with Mr. David, then ultimately coming home and tasting through my flight.

Jeffrey was, is, a character seeing what he sees and making it his own, his family’s.  You learn from this story to not only live but live truthfully— True to YOU, and to those close to you, the ones you love be they family or close, close friends.  Everything epitomizes there on that Brooks Road summit.  I can only think of going back, or ordering more wine from him.  You learn wine from a more diverse passion, framework.  Calluna’s song, a reassuring octave.  That wineries like it are still out there, that wines with such enrapturing characters and flavor arrangements can be located.  You just have to look.

Something at every corner today it seems. 

One co-worker dealing with something, then me, then another, then me walking into the kitchen with water spraying everywhere.  We just roll with it.  Pour ourselves some wine and make do with what’s ado.  In office at “my” desk, not at that foldable one.  Tasted a bit downstairs, the Zin seeming to show with more show and sexiness than any of the other offerings.  Even that Santa Rita Hills Pinot doesn’t recite with the romantic revolution that my Dry Creek beauty does—  She tells her own story, a story that can only be hers, HER way.  She smiles and walks and blows kisses at me from the glass before even putting it to a writer’s lips.  She tilts, she tells, she relaxes and instructs.  I just witness and listen and know I’m a different wine writer these past few days, since that sitting in the hotel lobby at Sonoma Mission Inn a couple mornings ago, and especially this morning pouring myself a three ounce oration and listening to everything she says— each blackberry verse, each lavender pull, each stand and sit and sprint of her enigma.

Not sure how much time I have in this “lunch”, and don’t care.  Just listen to the wines, what they, the she’s, tell you to do.  Sip more, write more, tell more, recite more in the language of wine’s angularity—  Have all my wines for tonight, ready, cued, ready to pour.  Have to leave in just under three hours.  More than eager to recite as I do, see how that Chalk Hill blend is tasting, and that Chardonnay.  Tasted a couple wines at Lancaster while there.  That ’14 Nicole’s showing with more vibrance and sky, climate and focus than most of the past vintages.  I was surprised, and a bit saddened that my previous favorite, the ’10, has been shoved off stage.

So… next wine of focus.  Why not open something off-book, not-expected, some surprise for people when they walk in?  Why not?  Wine should never be overthought and, I mean, definitely not over-planned.  Thought I heard a door slam out on the crush pad— Why don’t we give more tours there, show people the dormancy, the spooky feel of the tanks and all the weird sounds they make, all the ambient echo and tangible haunt of where they visit?  Maybe I should start.  Wine is so much more than wine, I’ve been thinking the whole day, especially when in that copy room or mailroom at CHE.

Pinot Noir calls me.  Not sure why.  All the Pinots we have here.  Wanted to open them all the other day and didn’t.  Well, after “lunch”, I will.  Why not?  Why not tell a story different, why not surprise people?  Wine is Newness and randomness, and doing things just because you in that moment, in that minuscule umbrage of time, you CAN.  So, I will.

Notes from just about a half-hour ago…. “Perfect rained asphalt touches […] cold redwood tree exterior […] Washington weather […] industrial structure and lotsa fruit”.  Just me having fun, and putting self in the head of some of the people that come into the TR.  Seriously…. How could someone not have fun in there, working there?  You don’t like people?  Guess what, NEITHER DO I.  But I make it mine, I own it as I want to own it and operate it as I see ought.

Break over.  More wine.  More notes.


IMG_5959Lunch for the writer, and already with so many tasks done, complete… one of them including moving huge towering pallets to their locations proper in storage areas.  Sipping lukewarm coffee presently, and thinking of what my next piece of material might be.  Winemaker asks me if I’d heard about Cellar Master, who recently resigned.  I said yes, nodding my head with a facial expression inferring ‘What else can one say?’ Then he saying, “It is what it is.” True.  That’s the wine industry, a constantly revolving door and also a door for creative and exploration… it’s like a door that welcomes you in with qualified grace.  Interesting, as two other friends of mine no longer are with their wineries.  I don’t want to live like that… I can’t.  I’m making this my own and am and remain expansively happy and inspired, daily here at Roth.

Just tasted a ’13 Pinot from Santa Barbara area.  Think it’s close to SB.  Anyway, interesting sensation and sense about its rhythm and general feel.  Just remembered I wanted to email a couple people on MY mailing list.  And, want to buy some of that Hirsch Pinot.  Should call her, can’t remember her name, later.  Wine has me everywhere today, after this morning’s thousand words, both in visions and dreamings, thoughts and jots.  Two of the three reds Brittany opened, not showing as formidably as they usually do.  19 minutes left in lunch…. Why don’t they give us longer?  Well, all the motivation I need to get self to office more expediently.  The coffee loses more temperature and I lose more focus… letting mind wander to vineyard and the rain I felt taking a short stroll to parking lot—  Keep getting interrupted by phone, business responses regarding winery and other.

The bottles of sparkling, still in front of me.  But no…. Need to get to gym tonight.  Somehow get in 7 miles on the tread.  Can I do it?  Sure I can.  See self running in vineyards all over Italy and Spain.  And I guess France.  For some reason my imagist circuitry has me in the former two countries.  Wine… wine…. Wine….  All the writer can think about.  What was it in that Pinot?  Why did it lack its life?  No telling.  I don’t think any scientific number-set or run panel can answer such a quandary.

Quiet… nothing in warehouse.  No clunking or clinking, banging or whooshing sounds, echoes.  Nothing like that.  Just a peculiar still.  The writer just up here on his winery lunch break with no lunch just thoughts to offer in this novel writing month.  The tasting room, today not with much tasting other than Brittany and I.  Want to talk about wines, tell their stories and emissions and emotions, dialects and speak in the wine’s respective and autonomously acute accent.

No much an lunch.  But I don’t mind.  Not at all.  This is what wine is— using what you have, and sacrificing, even if its a meal, or pseudo-meal.  No eating for tireless wine writers, that’s known.  Or at least I know it.  Far too well.