Generally wine lovers cherish fond memories of the occasion for which they opened a particular bottle of wine. Whether a gathering of close friends, an enchanting gala, or a quiet evening by the fire, we can think back to what made that time meaningful.
For me as a winemaker, I am transported back to the year that wine was created. Immediately after uncorking a wine, the deep aromas and first sip remind me of what was happening with our family and farm the year the grapes were grown and the wine was barreled. Any weather anomalies we may have had that year, any especially wet or dry months, late freezes or perfect Indian summers rise to the surface. What else happened during that summer? Maybe a calf was born, one of our girls took their first bike ride or acted in a local theater play, we got a new loader, we lost a tote of grapes at harvest, or the birds invaded with more gusto than usual.
A singular open bottle evokes memories of the winemaking itself during that season – the evolution of the wine, whether the fermentation went fast or slow, how it tasted going into barrel, the magic of one particular barrel in the cellar, and of course the release of the vintage. Every sip of that wine is a celebration of the life that transpired that year – both the good times and the challenges.