Sitting with a glass of luscious Syrah/Merlot from Red Caboose Winery, savoring the rich taste of ripe berries with hints of oak and soft tannins, brings back images of a beautifully pristine July morning at their vineyard, happily harvesting wine grapes as if we had a clue! Luckily it’s a quickly acquired skill.
We picked Muscat Canelli grapes that day, the clusters plump and glistening in the slanted early rays. A nice breeze cooled the sweat from the intense Texas sun (even at first light) as thirty or so volunteers picked and kibitzed, eager to snip such deliciously perfect clusters and fill vats to the brim. And now and then tasting the sweetness of heaven (we didn’t cheat! They said we could :).
Wine making in Texas has grown in huge popularity, and seasonal labor is almost all volunteer (who knew!). I understood why I was there—immersed in all things wine while writing a new novel set in a Texas vineyard. Set, actually, in that same county (Bosque), where I know the land and know farming the unforgiving rocky soil. But why had the others come? Of course, I wanted to know their stories (my passion!). And responses ran the gamut through folks from twenty-five to seventy. Most just wanted the experience of the vineyard, being oenophiles like me! Many came every year, enjoying the camaraderie as well as the lunch and wine served later.
After the harvest, we helped with de-stemming and crushing, the winemaker Evan overseeing all. What a fetching young man, who along with his father has fashioned award-winning wines from the tricky Texas land. He tickled me as I also picked his mind, saying two kinds of wine makers exist—the chemist and the mom-cook.
“I started out real particular, measuring everything,” he said as he poured without measuring enzymes into the must. Then his eyes alit mischievously as he said, “Now, I’m a mom-cook!”
Ah, another sweet tidbit for my story!
I love learning people’s stories, incorporating them into fiction. They tell me who a person is, and how he became that way. Because while we all have the same basic needs and wants, we have all also knelt at different graves and chased far-off falling stars. It’s in the fabric of our stories that we learn what makes us all tick.
And I’ve always loved the psychologist Carl Jung’s theory of myths, that while we may be the heroes of our own stories, at the same time we’re also the spear chuckers in someone else’s. All of our lives are indeed intertwined, making up the body of myth encoded in the DNA of us all.
Stories comprise the fabric of our lives. And what joy to take threads of these and weave them into a fictional tapestry! Ah, such a blessing.
That day I was definitely the spear chucker in Evan’s dream, as I laid groundwork for my own.
Welcome to my world of myths and stories. Please visit, and share your own!