I know a winemaker. Not many people get to say that. One of the benefits of living in California, I suppose. But even more than knowing him, I know his story. He didn’t always make wine. And that’s the thought I couldn’t shake as we tasted his latest Pinot, Syrah, and Rhone Style Blends.
Indeed his path from our alma mater to the banking business wouldn’t, on the surface, appear all that interesting. Leaving that aside, for the time being (his brother is a writer, something tells me one day the story will be told), how he went from the financial district to the vines is an altogether different – and compelling – story.
It’s a labor of love, that’s for certain. And it’s a good thing, he makes damn good wine. But it is something much bigger to him. It’s seeded in his eyes. It’s roots grow deep inside whatever it is that drives him to put in the insane hours that very few, including me, realize it takes to make a bottle red.
With the weight of a case or two of his labor of love causing the old Prius to drive like an even-lower-low –rider (that’s really low), I pulled the family onto Carneros Highway with a sense of clarity (after wine tasting, the irony was not lost) that made my head shake and my lips curl.
I am a winemaker, and writing is my wine.
One day off in the distance – with countless hours of reading, writing, revising, editing, submitting, rejecting-rejecting, and putting a cork in the damn thing – I too will celebrate with my friends. And just maybe, wait for it, one of them will say: he didn’t always write books.
Visit Campesino Cellars.