Harvest time is the most beautiful kind of hell. It is grueling; it is full of moments of clenching indecision; it takes you away from your family for 18 hours a day, and leaves the remaining moments that aren’t devoted to a tidbit of sleep, full of self-recrimination and self-loathing. But…in the end, you get this beautiful thing…this liquid treasure that carries all your best hopes and prayers for purity. That’s if you didn’t screw things up. If you paid attention. If you curried the favor of the right gods. And also, most importantly, if you worked with the right people.
Like me, Craig Ploof learned about winemaking by doing winemaking. I met Craig first as a member of the Steven Kent wineclub years ago, we became friends, he wanted to learn to make wine and I wanted to make better wine. A few years ago, he started helping me while he had a full-time gig. And knowing a good and dedicated thing, I hired him to help me full-time. It takes a particularly morbid and self-aware person to plan ahead for the worst possible scenarios, and being only partially morbid (and only under the influence of too much Scotch), I didn’t plan for the love of my life to get sick and for our lives to change forever.
The grapes don’t know the troubles of men and come in when they are ready. And thankfully for us, Craig was ready too. Even more than normal, he has worked like a dog, putting in an ungodly number of hours, and making some really nice wine. More than these things – important as they are – he has allowed me to be with my wife and kids, charting our course through these fucked-up waters.
I will never be able to repay him for this.