The Winemaker’s Dilemma
WHAT CAME FIRST, LIFE WITH WINE
OR LIFE WITHOUT WINE?
A personal journey inspired by making wine for art, for fun, for expression, for community, for sharing and for life.
My Self Portrait & Reflection
November 25, 2014
I never dreamt of being a winemaker. I never knew that was even a thing, a job, a profession. For me growing up, making wine was something everyone in the Macedonian villages did each fall when the grapes were ripe, along with roasting peppers for ajvar, fermenting vegetables, drying tobacco, distilling whiskey, burying chestnuts and hiding apples in straw for safekeeping. I grew up on these stories and the wine my dad made in our Michigan garage. “First, you take the grape,” he is famous for saying. He told me how in preparation for harvest, my grandparents would clean their barrels with steam from hot rocks fired over an open flame. They would time their picks to ferment on clear days so the weight of the clouds wouldn’t burden the wine with haze. The barrels were positioned on their heads for fermentation. Grape skins were kept in contact with the juice by a tightly woven wreath of branches floating on top of the must anchored by stones. At some point during the ferment process when my grandfather deemed it ready, the first batch of slightly sweet wine was bled off through the spigot at the bottom. This was called “shira” and the ladies loved it.
Does Size Matter?
June 10, 2014
As I slit the leek with smooth precision down its center to open its tender insides, my sharp knife etches into the marble counter and my thoughts immediately wander towards my grandmother. She used to visit us in Malibu once or twice a year, cooking from morning until night, squirreling away pieces of damp paper towel for later use. I would get aggravated, telling her there are plenty of paper towels. She never listened. That is why I loved her.