How Wine Making is Like Raising Children

When I visit with guests about the growing of grapes and making wine, I often use the comparison to raising children. As with children where it starts in the womb, with the grapes, it starts in the vineyard. Work begins in January and ends in October, 9 months. During that time we are nurturing the plants, providing a safe and healthy environment for the grapes. Harvest is somewhat like child birth as we are in a state of anticipation until the day we harvest and then it gets a little crazy as we are delivering the fruit safely into the winery. On the drive back up the driveway there is a sense of depression as you are seeing the vines for the first time after harvest with no fruit on them. After caring for them for 9 months, going through the excitement of harvest, and seeing the empty vines leaves a feeling of emptiness or loss.

In the winery, the similarity is to raising children. The most important thing is to keep the wine safe, just as we do with our children. We nurture them, provide what they need, and hope they become the best they can be. However, at the same time, you cannot make them someone or something they are not. You cannot force them to do anything or they may revolt or go bad on you. Early in their lives they need closer supervision and more attention. As they grow older, the time and attention required reduces. Even after bottling, the wine continues to grow (age) and develop just as children do when they leave home for college or work. The only difference is that the nurturing of wine is a year to two year process and the nurturing of a child is a lifetime.