We have a plan and we are sticking to it…
However, it is good to be flexible and look for alternatives if the original plan doesn’t quite work. Else, you might go hungry. Else, you might miss out on the day Fortune smiles on you. Else, you might miss out on a certain piece of fresh apricot pie – but that is another story for another time…
Back on the I-82 we couldn’t stop talking about the wonderful meal we had just experienced at the Mojave, as well as the consistent winemaking at Desert Wind. That is until we drove by Granger. I suddenly was transported to a land before time. No, I am not talking about the Missoula Floods. I am not that old. However, Granger does have dinosaurs. In the days before those dinosaurs, attending Granger High School, I used to drive a 57 Chevy on Van Belle between Granger and Sunnyside. I used to drive on the Yakima Valley Highway between Granger and Zillah and all points beyond to far away places like Yakima. I wrecked that car on Cherry Hill – but that is another story for another time…
I mentally went way, way, way back to when I drove through all of the cities between Granger and “the Tri” on Highway 12, because there was no I-82. I remembered times harvesting, for what seemed vast amounts of money, asparagus in the spring, various fruits during the summer, school work day harvesting Concord grapes in the family vineyard of a schoolmate, and working the hop harvest in the late fall. It was then I learned to speak Spanish, field Spanish. I reflected on working for a farmer, tube irrigating his fields. That endeavor lasted three days. He kindly told me at the end of those seemingly endless days, “Benn, I am doing you a favor here. You should find another line of work. You are not a farmer.” while he patted me on the back and handed me a check. Probably the best advice anyone ever gave me.
Thoughts are coalescing now. Focusing on how much the Valleys (both Columbia and Yakima) have changed, yet have stayed the same. The agricultural base is still here. And yet, that base is different. Back in the day, one of my uncles had 15 acres of Concord grapes on King Tull Road just north of Prosser. Why he sold it is beyond my recollection at this point. Some of the aforementioned change is for the better, some for the worse. I start to hone in on the positive aspects of the changes I have observed over the years. V has had that effect on me; she is the glass half-full girl. I see things more positively and I can’t imagine life without her.
Very few individuals knew what potential lay in the dirt for growing wine grapes. Very few knew how much positive change in the economy those grapes would cause. There were pioneers though, and I remember reading Andy Purdue’s article on one of those far-sighted individuals, William Bridgeman. At that point I am brought back to the present as I recall seeing the fencing around the construction site of the Walter Clore Center next to Desert Wind when we pulled in for lunch. All of a sudden I am whipsawed back to the past to meeting Bill Preston in the early 80’s as I repaired more than a couple hydraulic hoses for him in a little shop I worked at in Pasco and how fun the encounters with him were. By the way, he was the first recipient of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers Lifetime Achievement Winner. I then remember that Treveri Cellars used to be Sagelands, which used to be Staton Hills. Apparently wineries aren’t immune to changes either.
A voice from somewhere, “Where are you?” “Benn, where are you?” “Maybe you should let me drive.”
Immediately I am snapped from the reverie back to the present and respond, “Oh man!” I notice we are just passing the exit to Wapato. I look at her out of the corner of my eye and grinned sheepishly, “I’m back. Sorry ‘bout that…” I add “We’re getting close to our exit, right?”
With that certain smile she replied, “Good thing the plan wasn’t to go to Piety Flats. I love you more.”
We make the I-82 exit for Treveri despite additional mental meanderings and pull into the parking lot. We are full of the anticipation of sampling sparkling wine, full of the joy these outings bring us, and happy in seeing the parking lot is fairly empty.
We are enthusiastically greeted and V&I exchange our little “clink” as we sample the preliminary pour. We then sample each of the Additional Offerings. During which we discuss the nuances of dry, extra-dry, brut, blanc de blanc, blanc de noir, and sec. During which we discuss the different methods by which sparkling wine is made. During which we discuss the size of the bubbles.
It is easy enough to understand why the Trevei sparkling wines have been served at State of Washington Dinners – and the “other” Washington (D.C.) functions as well, why one made the Wine Enthusiast “Best Value” list, and why we purchased four bottles. Two of which were sparkling Syrah, I might add. Imagine that, sparkling Syrah. One with a meal and one for a Night and Day Champagne Cocktail. You will just have to trust me on this…
V&I love this part of tasting. We love the education part. We love the listening to the stories part. The watching the winemakers eyes as they talk about their passion part. We love combining all that, pouring it into a glass, looking at the color, a deep inhale, sipping, swishing, and finally swallowing. If that isn’t the definition of becoming one with something, please explain it to me so I can be enlightened.
I’ve known all along that every time we do this, V&I end up richer because of the experience.
At some point in the middle of it all V looks at me with those almond eyes and says, “Don’t we live in the best place ever?” I can’t do anything but agree, 80 mile per hour windstorms notwithstanding.
We have a plan and we are sticking to it.