Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thinkings for the end of the world....I mean the end of 2012.



(No this isn't another post about the Mayan calendar that our media misconstrued.......)

What is it about the end of the year and the beginning of a new one that makes some of us look to make changes in our lives?  Is it the idea of starting with a clean slate, that we can somehow start over?  Do we have reasons to start over?  Did we mess things up so royally last year that we feel the need to wipe our lives clean and show that we can do better?

The life we live in wine is different than most, and I understand this.  Or, at least, I pretend to.....  We have a cycle to our lives.  There's the growth cycle in the vineyard from pruning to budbreak to summer canopy management to harvest.  There's a second cycle as well in the cellar that runs from crush to aging to bottling.

I know most people's lives have some cycles as well.  Teachers go from school year to vacations and back to teaching.  Retailers have the ebb and flow of holiday sales and normal sales.  Manufacturing pushes to meet demands, although the peaks and valleys may not be so high.  Perhaps service industries encounter similar seasonal pushes and pulls.

What's unique about the wine industry is that we have two cycles that run concurrently but out of phase with each other.  As we're working on wines from one year in the cellar, we are working on the grapes for the following year in the vineyard.  The vineyard is always racing head, pulling us into the next year.  And grapegrowers are constantly thinking six months ahead if they can.  (I always seem to best imagine the next winter's pruning in February when we're picking fruit off the vines in August.)

This messes with our heads in a pretty fundamental way.  Ultimately, it makes it pretty tough to leave the industry because we're either working on something we have a lot of investment in (the wine we started growing in the vineyard a year or two ago) or we're looking forward to the potential of something (the vines and grapes we're currently working towards.)

It's a vicious cycle, Catch-22esque, that pulls us in like a black hole and makes us not want to leave.

The fact that it's wine we're talking about only compounds this issue.  Wine is good.

But, back to the idea of these strange New Year's resolutions that so many of us have: I don't get it.  And it's because of the cycles we have in grapegrowing and winemaking.  We're always starting over, numerous times a year.  We have so many opportunities to improve what we're doing and change how we do it.  We do it constantly, all throughout the year.  Mother Nature changes everything we do every single year, and we are compelled to change with her.

So, go ahead and make your resolutions next month.  But think about maybe making some in February or December for that matter.  Nothing wrong with that.  And if you keep making resolutions, then maybe January won't be so depressing...and maybe you'll get caught in the same type of glorious cycle I am, where everything changes around you constantly and you're always changing with it.  It's a good thing.  Tiring, yes, but a good sort of tired.

Happy January!

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