In Praise of: Walking in the Vineyards with My Wife and Dogs

Yesterday was another in a seemingly unending string of gorgeous days in the Livermore Valley. Most harvests in California are met with a temperateness, a kissing of warmth, that allows us to grow such great fruit, but even with these consistent natural blessings, 2013 stands – shining – apart.

Given my schedule during harvest, spending time with my wife when there is still light

Tess & Capi

Tess & Capi

outside is rare. The gods obliged and June and I were able to spend the day – part work/part not – driving around the Livermore Valley with our dogs Capi and Tess.

Dogs are at their best when there are no fences. 64 acres of vineyard (with nothing to block the soughing of the breeze, and the little critters hopping and flying around canes and trellis wires) is an entire world for them.

They strain at their leashes, and once off, there’s a perfection to the randomness of their direction-taking. Rhythms are different out among the vines; time reverberates at a much slower pace and seemingly multi-directionally. And with the girls off briefly, there’s a few moments for June and I to plan on how to have this happen all the time.

There is no more beautiful landscaping than a well-farmed vineyard, and you cannot escape the sense of quiet energy there under the surface. One moment the vineyard is bare and the next, buds are pushing and shoots are visible; one more blink, and the perfectly fat and juicy bunches are being trucked away to the winery.

Having gone to school in very big cities (and loving it while I was there), it is surprising to me how perfectly at ease, how at home, I am out in the vines. With a little luck, grand days like Saturday, will occur with much more frequency.

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