Don’t you just love visiting them? I especially love the native-stone structures with thick walls where within is so cool and quiet. Even with folks there, the sounds come muted in the semi-dim lighting and I always feel as if I’ve gone back into the middle ages.
Around the room, the great steel vats hold the new wine, waiting to be racked. And then my favorite, the cask room, where huge round barrels of French or American oak hold the fermenting fruit of the grape. Ah!!
I like a bit of oak in my Chardonnay particularly, but lean to the nuance in big reds too. Gwyn, the main character in my new novel, does as well. She spends so much time in the various winery rooms, where the artiste in her flies on the gossamer wings of the wine gods. Ah, heaven for her!
And so fabulous for me as I get to follow her through her days. She’s part chemist, part mom-cook as she tweaks this vintage or that. And now her stepson has returned to take over management of the vineyard, and he, too, has become a master of the vine and wine. They work so well together J
Funny thing though, it’s easy to sometimes lose your way, especially your creative way, when you spend too much time dealing with the mundane business side of things. You know? When you’re staring at ledgers and marketing and in the slog of the grind. Before you know it, all creative impulse has been banished to Brazil on a wingless bus. And the world around you goes bleak and beige and arid as the dry desert sand.
That’s what happens to Gwyn. So that when mayhem comes knocking (and isn’t it funny how it always seems to do so when you’re not at the top of your game? It’s like the vultures circle, just awaiting that opening to come rip off some skin when you’re down on skint-up knees), she’s not exactly in the best place to tackle it.
So, the gods shock her into sentience once more. Thank the gods! Often it truly does take a higher force to get you back on a healthy track.
Sadly, however, that initial shock is never very comfortable. Or soothing. You’re long down the road before peace and comfort come. And of course, these require the mastering of new tasks, the again going within to face internal demons, only to ascend into the air of external chaos.
The Quest does follow a well-worn path. 🙂
And I always love to see the allies show up! Many of whom surprise me to Jupiter and never quite all the way back. Most of the time, I never know who or what is to arrive.
So over halfway into the novel, as Gwyn trudges up to the winery to greet a customer come to taste her elixir (chiefly because for the forty-ninth time she’s forgotten to lock the gate, what with the grapes about to come in), I was as shocked as anyone to meet the new stranger.
Oh, my, stars.
As she walked into her winery to begin pouring him Viognier, I, too, melted into his musk.
And he turned the story in a direction I never saw coming . . .
Ah, the heaven of writing fiction!
But it was the stalwart, deeply spiritual Ruth who shocked me most in the end. Her actions fit her, but still. Who knew!
Thank all the gods of writing I’ll be back into the trenches of this novel again soon. Back to the winery. Back to the vineyard. Back to tasting their award-winning wines, if only in my mind.
And back to visiting the Texas wineries I already love. Ah! More stories to come!
Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novels, "I Just Came Here to Dance" and "By the Book," as well as four co-authored nonfiction books, including "What’s Wrong with My Family?" and many published short stories. Forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers.