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As an avid note-taker, sometimes I uncover puzzling scraps of ideas in unsuspected places. Recently, I came across such a scribble titled: "September 15, 2016 - Harvest."

It reads: "I woke up with a singular thought left over from a dream - that winemaking is a metaphor for everything complex and beautiful in life."

Vineyard sunrise - Renwick, New Zealand

I should preface this by saying that during harvest, sleep is minimal. Wine quality depends on picking when the fruit is ripe, so, this often leads to maniacal workweeks. When sleep does come, it is usually attended by dreams of dragging hoses and attaching fittings to tanks. The metaphorical dreamscape responsible for such a clear thought is inexplicably out of the ordinary.

In the notes that followed, I elaborated to write: "In this context, 'wine is bottled poetry' carries enhanced significance. Wine drinking is like reading a great explanatory novel with your heart rather than your mind."

Hm. At least I was cognizant enough to dig up the "Wagon Wheel" of wine quotes from Robert Louis Stevenson. However, it remains an elusive sketch.

What were the details of this epiphany-like dream that prompted me to take note of such ideas?

Wine, like poetry, is arguably an unnecessary part of life. Yet, fermentation is one of the most ancient arts known to humankind. I was motivated to pursue winemaking as a career specifically because it is an industry that remains committed to authenticity and craft. What makes winemaking a metaphor for life's intricacies?

In their winter dormancy, grapevines are bony skeletons - the epitome of hopelessness and death, but in a few short months, they will produce small buds which will grow into shoots and then clusters. With the help of sunlight and soil, these clusters will ripen and become flavorful. With the help of yeasts naturally present on the grape skins, a native fermentation will begin to transform sugar-rich berries to characterful wine.

The maker is just a caretaker - a scribe for nature's composition. Paying keen attention is rewarded but trusting the natural process is required. If truthfully transcribed, a finished wine will tell the story of its season for many years to come - a reminder of the cyclical nature of all things.

Perhaps there are many metaphors here to explore.

T.C. Collector

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