Saturday, November 10, 2007

Welcome to Smells Like Grape

Bartholomew Park Winery, 2004 Sonoma Valley Merlot.  Original photography by Taster A and Taster B.(c)2007 SmellsLikeGrape
Welcome to “Smells Like Grape”.
I’m delighted that Taster B has created this communication vehicle to document our journeys into the mysterious world of wine. Contrary to the “wine snob” mentality that is supposed to be the norm, we are finding friendly wine shops, wineries willing to share and educate, and lots of resources to help us develop a greater appreciation of wine.

Taster B and I both come from wine loving parents. Taster B grew up in California and I in Vermont. My first taste of wine was when I was 10 years old. It was a New York State Catawba served to me in a glass souvenir jigger with a Canadian Mountie on the side. My instructions were that this was an adult drink and I should sip it.

It was done in a rose style, and I remember it to be slightly bubbly, fruity and particularly to my liking. In today’s society, it would not be accepted to give a ten-year-old wine, but that is just our culture. My grandmother’s family immigrated to Springfield, Massachusetts at the turn of the century from Italy. My great-grandfather would take his four children to the rail yards to pick up grapes. The children’s feet would be scrubbed clean and they would stomp the grapes to make wine.

My grandmother told me the story of when she was greeted at school by her teacher on a winter’s day. “Why Josephine, you have such rosy cheeks this morning!” “Why yes, that is because papa gives us wine before we come to school.” As grandmother tells me, her teacher was shocked, but this was the family custom based on a different culture.

It would be years before I had my second taste of wine, most likely at Communion. But the understanding of wine and the making of homemade wine with my father has always been a part of my life.

My personal feelings are that wine is a most fortunate creation of nature, controlled by man. Above all, to me, wine represents civilization and family. I do not enjoy wine half as much alone as when I am with people. In recent times, due to the economic climate, I was forced to live 1100 miles from my wife. Alone in an apartment in Tennessee, I went the full 50 weeks on just one bottle of wine.

My Motto
Always remember, the best wine that you ever tasted is the best wine you ever tasted.