Perfect Wine for Spring
One of the greatest joys of farming, be it flowers, food, or wine-grapes is the connection to the seasons. For the grape grower, spring is more than just renewal, it is a time of re-engagement with the soil, the wind and the vines. The breaking of the dormant buds, brings a light green blur to the vineyard and a blur of activity. There is the pruning, shoot thinning, weeding, leaf thinning, and mowing. And in the winery, the previous vintages must be bottled and moved out to make room for the next harvest to come.
Spring is the kick off to all the next vintages hopes and dreams. Spring is a time full of expectation and excitement. If each vintage of wine is like a new child and harvest is the birth of that child, then the vineyard in the spring is full of the same hustle and bustle around a bride on her wedding day – tons of doting attendants presiding over her every move and wish.
Likewise, the farmer walks every row, inspecting every vine, doting on the needs and whims of the vines interacting with the vagaries of the spring conditions – all in hopes for a successful marriage of nature versus nurture and a plumb and ripe crop for the fall.
With all this activity, it is a wonder the labor force does not just keel over from exhaustion. On days when I cannot break for lunch and find myself snacking on cheese and bread as I walk the vineyard rows. It often occurs to me that I am just the latest in a long lineage of labor tending vines that date back as much as 6,000 years or more. Perhaps, this snacking outside in the vineyard is the origin of the spring picnic. Just add one of the first wines to be ready to bottle, like an un-oaked chardonnay, and one really does have all the trimmings of a modern picnic.
In Humboldt County, as with all wine regions, what grows together goes together. So next time you are headed out for a sunny spring picnic, try a fresh and lively, un-oaked chardonnay with Cypress Grove Chevre and a nice baguette from the local bakery, Brio, and feel the connection to the farmers, the bakers, the craftsman and the glorious season of rebirth.