It's now mid-October, 2010. The first juice we received for this vintage was in early August. (It was peach juice from our friends at Maple Lawn Farms for the wine we call Celeste......) It's now over two months later. Ray has had a few weekends off in the meantime. I've had fewer. We're tired. We're sore. We're a bit numb.
We're staring down the last week of harvest. By this time next week, all of our fruit should be in the winery...barring any hurricanes, typhoons, or other acts of God. The light at the end of the tunnel is finally visible, but it's a heck of a ways off.
I read an article today in a newspaper from the Napa, Ca, area. It was about the families of winemakers and what happens during harvest time. One spouse out there coined a phrase--and started a support-group--for what she called "harvest widows." These are the people who have chosen to spend their lives with us nutcases. We know who we are. The ones that think nothing of spending a Friday night unloading tons of Merlot, or a Sunday morning meditating on the pumpovers and punchdowns of red fermentations. But it's a lonelier time for those whom we chose to spend our lives with.
The article described us basically as human zombies with stomachs that need to be fed. It's not far off the mark. Some days are better than others, that's for sure. But for the most part, we're tired.
And, yet, we come back every year for more. I remember when Ray first started here. He kept going to job interviews and posting his resume on Monster, etc. But after that first harvest, the first crush of 2006, I could tell he was pretty hooked. There's something about making wine, and working hard to make better wine, that gets into your blood. Into who you are. It becomes us. It's what we do.
So, here's to all the harvest widows out there. Especially, Kris, Cathy, and Marianne. We'll be back soon.