V i n t a g e M u s i n g s - Three
Look, this is something that winemakers, or better put, winegrowers, won't talk about.
They won't deny it, but they won't talk about it.
Let me move from the distant third person where we can protect ourselves,
to the first person.
It's about the feelings I have at the end of harvest.
I feel harvest as a rush. It's about creating, it's about consorting with the weather,
it's about longing for a dream, and living out that dream.
It's all about great wine happening, if it will.
And at the end of that harvest, at each and every harvest,
its the sweetest closeness,
I am ever going to get to
post partum depression.
I stumble over these words because sharing any kind of
vulnerability is just that, vulnerability.
But I didn't come to this trade, craft, profession, and skill to be cool.
To be cool and quiet, and laid back, no, that's not wine:
if the heart is on the shirt sleeve, that will do just fine.
So, as Krassimira leans over to me,
as we are leaning over one of our small fermenters attending to the cap,
"These are our babies,"
I look in an astoundment that she knows this too,
much less, is willing to say it.
This is the candor of the harvest... the time when we are both being worked beyond
our romantic notions of what the wine-harvest-season is supposed to be,
it's that rummy, rope-a-dope, moment when you are so tired that you just keep
marching forward, one foot in front of the other.
It's that moment that truth just belches up out of nowhere.
That's the communion that we all search for,
but are not very willing to knowingly work so hard for it.
It's the deliverance I want without the pain.
But the way we make wine, we get it both ways.
When the harvest season is over, there is this different feeling.
Maybe I'll explain it later. *
. . . but for now, it's this sweet distance,
which can lead to depression,
if you and I are alive,
knowing that this harvest is over,
knowing that only the grace-of-God will lead me /us to another harvest.
Which is to say another harvest of wine from the vineyards I know,
such that it just kinda makes me feel a little lonely.
As I sigh, I know, that it's better sharing this,
than denying connection to the harvest's own process,
and to my own stuff.
* Later :
It's both big and little stuff.
Little stuff like the stains on your hands wearing away.
One of the badges we get to wear during the harvest is
having hands that look pretty much like the hands of a
car mechanic. But, the pigment comes from the tannin
of the grapes, not petroleum products. Yes, you can wash
them away by taking granular citric acid and using it like borax.
And then you get treated to knowing exactly where all the little cuts
in your hands are. Which feels crappy. So you let it become a badge
that you had your hands in the wine while it was growing. You are not just
an administrator of the process. And when that badge wears away, you do become
an administrator of the process again. Facilitating the wine, listening to it, tasting it,
knowing what to do next... but it's so much more passive. At this moment after the harvest's
excitement, it seems so depressing that you are just going to be so passive, relatively passive.
Heaven forbids you to be aggressive during the ensuing months if you are hoping
for great wine: being aggressive will lead to
'Enological Mischief '.
And I've been in this art-form long enough to know that mischief backfires,
and with that kind of a mess on your hands, it gives you an opportunity for
the stupid kind of self-inflicted depression to set in... and that's bad,
but this kind of post partum depression... this is good.