As I sit here in the tasting room today, a glance out the window shows the minute yet momentous changes in the view. The leaves are changing color, summer is winding down. Soon, the grapes will be harvested, the apples will be done ( only a few of the Braeburn left to pick) and things will slow down, but only a little. The ancients new what to do this time of year. The medieval Goidelic festival of Samhain marked the end of the harvest, the end of the “lighter half” of the year and beginning of the “darker half”. It was celebrated over the course of several days and had some elements of a Festival of the Dead. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames. Although I’m not suggesting anyone go throwing their livestock into a bonfire, unless it’s for a BBQ, I do find the relationship between the land and the need to celebrate it, a unique and charming concept.
The new vineyard in the near distance shows encouraging signs of thrifty growth, even without the benefit of irrigation in the drought of 2012. The evident stretching of new growth toward the sun tells us that the new vines are slowly working their way toward being mature vines capable of handling a full crop. Slow, steady, growth! An increase in trunk diameter, a lengthening of bearing wood, an increase in root mass, all enable a grape vine to withstand the rigors of bearing fruit. Evidence to this fact, our 14 year old Baco vines, brutes in their own right never once showed signs of dought stress this summer. A success of nature.
We are a very small, family run winery, with a long history of working the land and learning from nature, the lessons that experience can teach. Occassionally, a client will come into the tasting room and express a desire for The Twigg Winery to invest in larger signs, pave the road, do more advertising, or radio ads, tv ads, flyers in the mail, a person dressed like a giant wine bottle walking the streets of Canton. I have heard many suggestions since opening for business in November of 2011.
Instead of frivolous advertising, we continue to rely primarily on word of mouth, and invest in quality. For this years vintage we have adopted some oak cooperage into our fermentation regime. Guess what, want good barrels go buy them from a cooperage that uses “slow growth” tight grain Quercus petraea or Quercus robur oak. Slow growth being the key to quality. Yesterday, I processed enough Chardonel grapes to fill our new barrels.
The heady aroma of medium toast oak emanating from the “just filled” barrels was enough to make me reflect on how much I enjoy and respect the profession of fostering a grape vine into fruition and further, into a bottle for the enjoyment of those who are aware of our establishment.
As we approach an important crossroads for our Country’s future this fall remember that we didn’t come this far overnight, it’s the struggle of the individual that makes our great land unique, and without freedom we all fall down.
“Man… hath by nature a power…. to preserve his property – that is, his life, liberty, and estate – against the injuries and attempts of other men.”–John Locke 1632-1704
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you help,” “There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. –An American President 2012
We always appreciate compliments at the winery, and when someone asks, who built this? I proudly reply, “I did!”
Your Humble servant,