Remember the old commercial from the eighties about Fred the baker who would get up with the sun because it was “time to make the doughnuts”? Well, in Napa when you get up with the sun, it’s called, “time to make the wine.” Michael could do a great spin-off of that commercial, I think. Yesterday was his day to get up before the sun and drive up valley to pick the grapes that will make our 2012 vintage. If he was writing this post, he would so poetically describe his experience in the vineyard, but I will do my best to fill in for him. He always says how magical this time is; surrounded by the glory of nature and the beauty of the rising sun, how peaceful and calm the world seems and how alive and connected he feels to it all. He loves to listen to the workers singing and laughing with each other, the commraderie they all share despite language barriers.
I know that this one single day he gets to spend in the vineyard, cutting clusters of fruit from the vine and overseeing its production, makes up for all the other days of the year when the work of being of winemaker is not as enjoyable…trust me, there are many.
His passion for wine and viticulture are what brought him to Napa from Chicago and it’s one of the main reasons why we have stayed in California. As I’ve said before, we struggle with living so far from our immediate families, and sometimes toss up the idea of moving back to the midwest…but then we remember why we are here in the first place. Wine. Michael has dedicated most of his adult life to the pursuit of grapes…from wine importer to restaurant owner, barrel consultant to winemaker. It’s who he is and his hard work allows us to live in one of the most beautiful places in the country, a place where our children get to experience this glorious valley and all of its bounty.Seeing these pictures and his purple hands come home yesterday, reminded me why we are here. You have to live your passion.