We are born at a given moment, in a given place and, like the vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and the season which we are born." - Carl Jung
Vineyards have always intrigued me. I love the circles of life a vineyard goes through, with a beauty and wonder in each of its seasons; just like we do as humans. My feeling about vineyards can really be summed up through a segment in the movie “Sideways” - "How it's a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it's an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your '61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline. And it tastes so f…king good."
I had an opportunity a few years ago to take a creative sabbatical to Sonoma during the harvest as I wanted to understand more about vineyards which were cultivated with the beautiful rhythm and balance of nature. I feel the way we cultivate and honor our Earth ripples out to our world in amazing ways.
I chose two vineyards to visit - Benziger which sits in a volcanic bowl - a biodynamic vineyard - using everything in the vineyard to attract health and wellbeing and to take the compost and put it back in the ground to yet birth another vintage. What I loved about this vineyard was they had an insectary - a garden that actually attracts good bugs into the vineyard and eats deleterious ones. It was an exquisite garden to behold. The other vineyard was Kunde Winery consisting of 1,850 acres which spanded the foothills of Sonoma to the top of the mountain. Kunde Family Winery embraces sustainable practices, and it's easy to experience this through the journey I was invited to take. I had the opportunity to meander through Benziger’s vineyards at my leisure, which I relished both in the early morning and late in the day. Meandering through a vineyard, which is about to be harvested is quite amazing; for as I meandered, my senses were heightened with the beauty of the land, and the fragrance of ripe grapes infusing my every step. The owner of Kunde Winery, provided one to their associates to drive me around the entire grounds, again at my leisure to capture beautiful images of this magical place. I also loved that they kept the old wine barn - which blended the old and new. This is an experience that will live in my heart forever, and confirmed how important it is for us to come into the rhythm and balance of nature in whatever way we can.
"The human soul is complex. So is Nature (or life, if you prefer). Creating a perfect interface
between the two results in a balance that one can recognize in an individual as a state of grace." ~ Author: Darrell Calkins