Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Of Basketball and Wine….



Yes, I’m going there.

So, it’s now April, the most exciting time of March Madness.  We’ve finished our wine trail event (Tour de Tanks), and thanks to all who came out and stopped by our little place in the Brogue.

The timing of it is all wrong for me.  For those of you who don’t know…..I’m over six feet tall and went to high school in Indiana….and grew up in Kansas….and still couldn’t make the varsity basketball team.  But, it was ingrained in me from an early age that basketball was more than just a game.

As people come to visit us during the Tour, we hand out a page with some wine descriptions as well as a brief history.  If you turn the sheet over, you’ll find a list of questions that I hope give people some inspiration to ask in order to start a conversation during our time together in the cellar.  Most people seem to gloss over them, preferring to be thiefed-out their entertainment from our barrels.  But every once in a while there are some brave souls who stick their necks out, take responsibility for their education and ask some questions.

One of the queries I have suggested is, “What does basketball have to do with wine.”  This isn’t easy for me, as wine is really what my life is about.  It’s how I show who I am and what I’m about.  I am reminded of a Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson from years ago where two gorillas are sitting around eating and then one says to the other, “We all like bananas, George, but for me it goes deeper than that.”  I feel that way about wine.

When it comes to basketball, I am reminded that people’s personalities come out when they play.  It’s not like football or baseball, where the people are hidden behind helmets or are yards away from each other.  Basketball is close.  You can see exactly who is who and what is what.  The conflict on the court is immediate.  You work together, you trade sweat and elbows, you pass and receive.  You run hard, you take charges, you bounce up, you call your own fouls. 

And there are some people you like playing with and some you don’t.  And you find that after the game, there are some people you like to hang with and some you don’t.  And these are the same people.

It’s the same way with wine.  We show ourselves as winemakers in our wines.  I’ve told many people that I can’t be friends with a winemaker who makes bad wine.  I just can’t.  It’s not that I’m arrogant; it’s just that I can’t get along with someone whose focus is the same as mine and yet doesn’t get it.

Our personalities are emblazoned on the wines we make.  The shades and contours of who we are shows up in the glass.  Whether we like it or not, the liquid art we labor upon shows itself to be the sharpest mirror in reflecting our values and senses.  At the end of the day, the glass is always right.  In vino veritas absolutely.

So, I want to leave you with this.  It’s a great story about a great kid.  And it could only happen out on the floor.  It shows us who we truly are.  If only you and I could be like this.