Note from Home

  • Note from Home: Engage

    April 12, 2021 10:08

    Note from Home: Engage

    Do you feel like you have been hibernating during the pandemic? I do. Spring is here and bringing warm days ahead. I am itching to break out of my shell and go on more hikes, maybe some biking and some downtime outdoors as we approach summer.

    Engage Jean Luc Picard 2As one of my favorite starship captains says-it’s time to engage! There are many ways to engage in the world whether socially distant or not. Sinking your hands into fresh earth to plant something, take a hike and commune with nature, become innovative and wake up to a new routine, or break out and reinvent yourself. Having fun is important too-it helps us to engage with each other on another level. For instance, playing Scrabble with Carol, my sister-in-law, became a highly competitive and fun time as the more we played the more we learned  about each other. Who knew Xis is an official Scrabble word?

    Beginning last summer one of our neighborhood cul de sacs held a weekly yet socially distant gathering around their court-they brought out chairs, tables, food and wine. They took a break in winter but last Saturday, as I walked down the street, I saw they were back together-still distanced. A book came to mind as I passed them: Yard Wine: It’s a Neighborly Thing "Bringing America’s Neighborhoods Together One Porch at a Time."


    It was originally published in 2011 and is pairs nicely with the theme of my note. I think it is a charming book and idea worthy of a rebirth as we move out of our pandemic guidelines and into more contact with our neighbors and friends. And it includes wine!

    Yard Wine 2An excerpt from their book: “Do you long for neighborhoods of the past? When neighbors knew each other’s names, visited on front porches, and enjoyed one another’s’ company? Now is the perfect time to return to these “good old days” that provided great personal fulfillment, greater conversation, and lifelong, face-to-face friendships. In Yard Wine: It’s a Neighborly Thing authors Cathy Larson and Nancy Roddy show you how to create your own Yard Wine neighborhood, use the power of Yard Wine and find the secret to happiness and a rejuvenated spirit in your own front yard — starting tonight! All you need is an open heart … and an open bottle of wine. Cheers!”

    The authors share stories of relationships born from time spent outside the house, connecting with their neighborhood in a spontaneous way. It is the simple concept of sitting outside (perhaps outside of your comfort zone too) and making your front yard your front room. When we first discovered this concept Ed and I followed their example-we sat on our front lawn, chatted, sipped wine and greeted passersby. It wasn't as widely accepted back then so I think we need to get our Yard Wine flag and fly it, set up lawn chairs and greet and talk to our neighbors walking by our home. Just in the course of pandemic we have new neighbors, times have changed and it's time to reconnect or make new connections. And of course invite them to sip some wine with us. Now where are my Go-Vinos?

    Wine is engaging. Wine is fun. I can't think of anything more inviting than pouring a glass of wine and sitting down after a long day to relax and connect-how about you? Send me your photos from your front porch, lawn, deck or stoop and I'll share them. Sip, visit and engage!

    Note: the book is no longer for sale but it can be found on Kindle, via Amazon.

  • Making Connections: Manuel Diaz

    March 30, 2021 16:15

    Making Connections: Manuel Diaz

    The other day my sister Lisa shared an idea she had to highlight our staff by telling their background story. She is a fan of the PBS series Finding Your Roots so she envisioned these stories as connecting our co-workers between where they came from and where they are now at Pedroncelli.

    Serendipitously I already had something in the works about our Vineyard Foreman José 'Manuel' Diaz, who had been featured as an Employee of the Month by the Sonoma County Winegrowers in the local paper. Manuel was nominated by Jim and Lance for the Vineyard Employee Recognition Award which is awarded for individual achievement and exceptional performance. He has worked 37 years here and continues to love what he does. As the article said: "Sustaining a family farm requires love, commitment and hard work. We are proud to recognize the people who help us grow the world's highest quality winegrapes." 

    The photo above shows Jim Pedroncelli presenting Manuel with a framed copy of the honor along with Vineyard Manager Lance Blakeley. Here is Manuel's story. 

    Manuel was born in the village of Tumbiscatío, in Michoacán. His grandfather had moved there from Spain and his father, Feliciano, grew up there as well. The path to the U.S. began with the Bracero program and Feliciano spent a few years in this program and then made a permanent move. Manuel, at the age of 18, followed his father in 1978. His first day in Dry Creek Valley was March 23rd—and he went to work for Raymond Burr, the late actor, who later on planted vineyard.

    A short time later his father came to work for John Pedroncelli and Manuel followed in the early 1980s. He first worked on the bottling line and then in the cellar for about 10 years. He then made the move out into the vineyard when his father was no longer able to work there and later on became our Vineyard Foreman.

    Trials and Triumphs:
    By working in the cellar first he realized how important it was to have quality vineyards. Learning how to get the best grapes through farming practices was key in the connection. He says it is eye opening what goes into why you do certain things in the vineyard (fertilize, pruning, crop cover) in order to make great wine.

    He became a home winemaker for a vintage or two and made late harvest Sauvignon Blanc. He realized it was easier to make red wine than white wine as it is more delicate an operation and decided to give up his winemaking dream.

    His philosophy is very similar to John Pedroncelli's when it comes to how we work together. He considers everyone as the whole team-while each contributes to the work it is the crew together that makes it all flow from the vineyard to the cellar. 

    ManuelAnother challenge he has met is putting together the harvest time crew for picking grapes. A bigger crew brings in many personalities-sometimes as many as 25. This is the reason he was nominated for the  award-he is able to organize, talk to and encourage the different people coming together for the short time at harvest so things will go smoothly.

    I have seen him at times in the evening driving along the vineyard avenues-he says that is when he reflects on the day, looking for what needs to be accomplished, moving toward the next project.

    Other milestones include producing a video about Adelante, a program aimed at educating and encouraging Hispanic youth, meeting and marrying his wife Norma in 1989, and the birth of his five children. Quite a few connections from a small village in Mexico to Pedroncelli in the span of 37 years.
     
    I will continue the stories from more of our staff and beyond all the while keeping in mind your connection to us and the journeys we have all made. 

  • PurpleRedOrangeYellow

    March 30, 2021 16:06

    PurpleRedOrangeYellow

    Tuesday, March 16, marked the one year anniversary of the pandemic for us. We closed our Tasting Room, battened down the hatches, followed the news very closely and here we are a year later. We started off not knowing how all of this would go, how many weeks we'd have to wait. And I think many of us thought it would all be over soon and never considered a full year of opening, closing and opening back up again in our tasting room as well as restaurants, hair salons and hotels and beyond. Who could have predicted all of this?

    In a recent zoom session one of my friends, who lives in California, rattled off the colors of our COVID tiers in a sing-song voice and it stuck with me, hence the title. The colors Purple, Red, Orange, and Yellow are assigned to the tiers by the state of California with differing levels of COVID statistics. Purple is the most impacted and of course yellow signals better days ahead. The tiers determine how we operate as a tasting room and how restaurants and retail can operate as well-masks and physical distancing are still part of this time. I hear a Green tier is being develped as the final color for giving us all a go ahead-I for one am looking forward to that.

    On Sunday as we spring forward the county will go from the Purple to the Red tier. At this time there is no difference in how we operate-still outside tasting by reservation. Moving into the Orange tier means we'll have inside tasting again. Our state and county officials continue to work toward reopening the schools and other businesses so hard hit by the shutdown and the colors will shift slowly from Red, to Orange then Yellow.

    All along the cellar and vineyard staff kept going because agricultural work is considered essential. They worked together to keep safe and are now on their first and second vaccinations thanks to county trade groups like the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission being at the forefront of providing the vaccination information. In fact I just heard the town of Geyserville has the most vaccinations per person than anywhere else in our county.

    COVID operations continue and include maintaining and keeping areas of use clean, very clean. Sanitizer now complements the soap dispenser and there is a bottle in every possible spot to keep on sanitizing. Gary has become an expert with these guidelines and the tasting room crew continue to welcome guests and keep them comfortable as they take in the refreshing outdoors and taste through a flight of wine.

    What did we learn from this time?
    Did you know that the common cold and flu has been cut back by some 85% because of the masks, sanitizing and social distancing? That speaks volumes.

    People like to order Pedroncelli wine! We have seen surges at different times over the year but overall we are seeing a large number of orders even today via online and phone-this avenue of ordering has become the norm.

    You really want to come back to visit. Our virtual events were popular but don’t replace the ‘real’ thing of being in each other’s presence. There is nothing like sitting down to an experience here at the winery and tasting wine at the source.

    I learned I could visit with different accounts in my markets through Zoom and it was just as fun talking to folks and tasting through the wines with me in Healdsburg and them in their stores or restaurants. I learned how things are going in each of their cities or towns across the country.

    What did you learn? My inbox is open, as always, to hear from you julie@pedroncelli.com  By this time next year I'll look forward to seeing many of you in person.
     

  • Cellar Treasures

    March 1, 2021 15:51

    Cellar Treasures

    This year Open That Bottle Night, founded by Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, is February 27, always the last Saturday of the month. In celebration I’ll be opening up a bottle or two (for sure the 2009 Mother Clone Zinfandel) along with a couple of other surprises-from a trip Ed and I took 30 years ago.

    As I wrote about in my last note from home the wine to open on this special night doesn’t have to be aged-it could be a recent vintage or one with a story behind it. Either way looking through your stash is a great way to keep up on what you may have tucked away for a special occasion and now can enjoy along with thousands of other folks around the world.

    Over the years here at my desk I have received many emails asking if one of our wines is still drinkable. These cellar treasures have come from intentional or accidental cellars: the back of the closet, given as a gift or found in their parents’ or grandparent’s cellar. The first question I get: Is it okay to drink this wine?

    If the writer didn’t include a photo with the message I ask some follow up questions before answering: what does the bottle look like? Is the fill level low or high; check for leaks-if the capsule/cork has evidence of leakage it might have spoiled. Do they know how the wine was stored overall? An even cool cellar temperature of 55-60 degrees tends to be the best for long term cellaring. And of course if the wine is a gift this would be difficult to determine.

    On the other hand I have received notes from many people who have opened that bottle and want to share their findings. The oldest vintage was from Mike K who opened a bottle of our 1968 Cabernet a couple of years ago. Overall the experience, as told by the messages, was good as our wines had held. Our longevity, having vintage dated our wines from 1965, allows quite a few of these stories to make their way to me.

    So what is the difference between a current release wine and an aged one? You might notice the first difference is the color between the two. A young wine is almost jewel like in appearance and the aged one starts to get reddish brown around the edges. The aromas between the two include ripe berry and toasted oak in one and dried fruit with cedar and tobacco notes. Flavor is deeper in the new wine and more delicate in the aged version. It sometimes boils down to preference in flavor and I frankly prefer a younger wine but tasting a wine that is 30 or 40 years old is both an education and experience for the palate.

    Here are some of the notes sent to me over the years and a couple of blog posts and a video from Gabe Sasso covering even more:

    Your cab (1982 Reserve) was terrific, fresh, no brown rim around the glass and tasty. In a blind tasting no one would have guessed it was 38 years old. Jud R.

    This evening we enjoyed pan-seared lamb stew meat, oven-roasted potatoes and carrots, and Pedroncelli Zinfandel Mother Clone 2011. The wine was quintessential Dry Creek Valley claret. Flawless. Sublime. Heavenly. Bob B.

    Vintage Report: 1968 Cabernet Sauvignon
    Aging Wine: The Good, The Ugly, The Bad

    Gabe Sasso on 3 Vintages of Mother Clone Zin

    These messages from the bottle tell some of us we need to dig deep and find those treasures to enjoy them before it is too late. And keep in mind, when the 2020 wines are released it would be a good thing to buy them from this memorable pandemic vintage. When the time comes you’ll open, share and remember your vintage story.

    Our trip to Paso Robles in 1990 was filled with visits to the wineries along Hwy 46-and Estrella River was one of them. Their Muscat Canelli held very nicely with honeyed notes and caramel popcorn flavors. It was the first road trip we took after we were married.

    1987 Muscat Canelli

     

  • Note from Home: Celebrate Open That Bottle Night

    February 25, 2021 10:56

    Note from Home: Celebrate Open That Bottle Night

    There are milestones in our lives that warrant opening a bottle of wine. Many are celebrations and others are mid-week dinners waiting to have them enhanced by a special bottle of wine. The wine could be a long-aged friend or a new addition-maybe one picked up on your last visit to wine country or recommended by your favorite retail store. This weekend my parents are celebrating their 62nd anniversary! We’ll be enjoying the occasion over the weekend and opening a bottle or two. While we don’t have a 1959 vintage of anything there will be some others that bring back memories.

    They saved a bottle of sparkling wine from their wedding day and over the years it moved with them from house to house, refrigerator to refrigerator. I am fairly certain the wine is no longer drinkable but the bottle has always held the memory of their special day. 

    Sometimes we wait too long and find a bottle that should have been enjoyed earlier from our stash. Much like my mom and dad’s bottle of bubbly. In order to change that there is an annual celebration ‘just because’. Open That Bottle Night (OBTN) is the last Saturday of February so this is a heads up in order to prepare. This tradition was started by Dorothy (Dottie) J. Gaiter and John Brecher who conceived and wrote The Wall Street Journal's wine column, "Tastings," from 1998 to 2010. Dorothy and John have been tasting and studying wine since 1973. Dottie has had a distinguished career in journalism as a reporter, editor, columnist and editorial writer at The Miami Herald, The New York Times, and at The Journal. John was Page One Editor of The Journal, City Editor of The Miami Herald and a senior editor at Bloomberg News. They are well-known from their books and many television appearances, and as the creators of the annual, international "OTBN" celebration of wine and friendship. The first bottle they shared was André Cold Duck.

    According to Dottie, “John and I invented OTBN to provide an impetus for people to enjoy a wine they had been keeping for a special occasion that never arrived. Weddings, births, anniversaries, all manner of special milestones had come but those corks remained intact. We knew this happened because readers told us about bottles like that and we have many ourselves.”

    “While we urge people to open them as often as possible, and we try to do that because no one is promised tomorrow, there are still some bottles that we just haven’t brought ourselves to open. Some are rather young, but special to us, still. The point is to open these gems with someone you care about and celebrate the memories that are in that bottle. Make them the occasion. Recognizing that sometimes it takes a village to do something difficult, we set a date, the last Saturday in February, for this global celebration of friendship, love and wine.”

    My Note from Home in May, What’s Your Vintage Story, reminds us to consider the vintage on the bottle. As you take a look at the wines you have saved for a rainy (snowy or sunny) day, take a moment to recollect what happened in that particular year when you Open That Bottle Night next week. And like Dottie & John asked me, I would love to hear of your plans or what you thought of the wine you opened! When I sought permission to share the OTBN information and recent articles Dottie said, “Open That Bottle Night is always special but this year's, we hope, will be celebrated with deeper feelings of gratitude, love, and reflection.” I have my eye on a 2009 Mother Clone Zinfandel-how about you?

  • Note from Home: Talkin Bout (Re)generation

    January 22, 2021 14:32

    Note from Home: Talkin Bout (Re)generation

    "Are those vines dead?" This question came up while I was pouring our Zinfandel at a wintertime Wine Road event (remember those pre-pandemic gatherings?). The backdrop was our Home Ranch and the Mother Clone vines rolled up the hillside behind me.  I love these kinds of questions and answered with, “Yes they do look dead and you can’t see it but there is life inside. The vines are resting and preparing for the next harvest.” We went on to talk about pruning, the seasons of growth in the future and of course the wine in the glass, the delicious end product of farming grapes.

    Some of those vines have seen it all—there are three generations of Zinfandel on the Home Ranch-the oldest which are 100+ years old, the second generation is reaching 40 years old and the upstart is just about 6 years old. Vines are pretty amazing when you think about it-and outside of diseases can live for a very long time. They have been through several droughts and overly abundant years. And yet they continue to grow and produce fruit and become gnarled and weathered in the process. So what you see on the outside may look ‘dead’ but over the lifetime of a vine there have been so many vintages telling the story of this place.

    Regeneration is a good word for 2021. As I sit here the vaccine is being distributed throughout the nation (my mom and dad have their appointment!) albeit slowly and as the year turns we’ll see a whole new world in front of us, one that will be filled with family visits, travel, hugs, and more. As I have written before we have seen many turns of the year here in Dry Creek Valley (our 94th !). It is good to look forward because we all have been through so much.

    We are farmers as I have said many times before. We watch the weather, replant, rejuvenate the soil and prepare for the growing season, all with the eye toward another year of grapes (or wheat, or corn, or any other crop for all the other farmers out there). We’ll continue tending the vineyards and making wine as long as we can and sharing the fruits of our labor with you. Regeneration is in our genes and in the soil itself. Vines are a wonderful metaphor for this.

    Or consider a winter garden. It looks dead too but just below the surface there is life waiting for the turn of the sun and the growing season to begin again. I wrote this poem earlier this week. We were driving home from a walk around a regional park last Sunday and the title came to me as the late afternoon sun shone on the garden we passed.

    The Beauty of a Wintering Garden

    The sinking sun set afire the last red leaves of the raspberry vines.

    The faded sunflower stalks slump like weary soldiers after battle.

    Detritus abounds and I fancy insects scuttling and worms tilling the soil.

    The beauty of a wintering garden is in the fading, the dying, and the end of its time.

    Then! I imagine the garden in summer, gloriously rich in the fruits of a hard winter.

    And hope is restored.

  • Note from Home: A Clean Slate

    January 5, 2021 09:42

    Note from Home: A Clean Slate

    Normally the first Saturday of the month is a compilation of December notes and blog posts. But these aren’t ‘normal’ times we are living in during these pandemic days. For now as the old year ended and the new one begins I am taking the time to reflect on the clean slate of 2021 and what it means to me.

    When my grandparents bought this property in 1927 it was a clean slate for them-they had not made wine nor owned a vineyard before this time. I have to imagine there were challenges (the length of Prohibition for one, the Great Depression beginning two years later for another). Later, it was a new start each time they added a piece of property to expand the vineyards as the winery grew. As a new piece was added it was a time to assess and plant, to learn which variety was meant to be in each place and the beginnings of our estate vineyards were born.

    Wine is the same way-each vintage is a clean slate. We begin each year with what the growing season and harvest brings to the cellar. Winemaker Montse and her team takes note on each lot and then guides the wine through the fermentations and on into the bottle or barrel as the case may be. When we pull a bottle from the cellar or from the UPS box it is a clean slate experience-opening up the wine and sniffing the first aromas coming out of the glass. The first sip, with promise of more to come, informs us of the culmination of the vintage, a picture now complete.

    In the same light I see 2021 as a clean slate. Not only a chance to begin again, to shake off the experience of 2020, it is a way forward to chart new paths. Will I travel? Unlikely. While I will miss seeing people and working with them in person, I’ll find a way of touching base virtually. We will work on new ways of keeping in touch with the markets I would normally travel to so that I maintain our relationships.

    There were a few clean slate moments in the Pedroncelli family and staff this year. Three marriages took place:  Sarah & Juka, Mitch & Amanda and Gina & Terry! In the midst of trying times, they found a way to begin new lives together and I know they are not the only ones. The big celebrations will come later. For now, they’ll make their way into 2021 together. Best wishes to all!

    Much like an artist placing the first brush of color on a canvas, or a musician beginning with the first note of a song or, like me, typing the first word on a blank page we have much to look forward to as we create our 2021 stories and experiences. Here is to a clean slate as we reach beyond the stay-at-home, masked, and sanitized version of the world we live in now. I wish you all a Happier New Year.

  • Note from Home: Pandemic Countdown

    January 5, 2021 09:33

    Note from Home: Pandemic Countdown
    When the Pandemic began mid-March, and the shelter in place orders were sent out to all of us, I began a weekly series of Notes from Home. Originally A Note from Home was a quarterly newsletter to our wine club members. I morphed the concept into what is now ten months of almost weekly notes. 2020 had many 'interesting' topics from COVID Operations to Shared Experiences. Coming up with something to write about was no problem.

    As I began each note I used a writing trick a long-ago friend of mine shared with me. Her aunt wrote a weekly column for a local town paper and when writing a new story, she wrote ‘Dear Vivian’ at the top in order to be inspired but this line didn’t appear in print. Vivian was her much loved mother and inspiration. So I used the same format for my Notes-I think of one of you who have written back to me with your stories—Dear Phyllis (Mom), Dear John & Sheryl, Dear Jeff, Dear Kathy, Dear Rita and John, Dear Dean, Dear E, and so many more!

    I think part of what gave me so much pleasure from writing these was the fact that it became an anchor for me each week. A much-needed regular part of my life and one where I could connect with you because, as I said last week, it is the shared experience which is key to our current situation.

    As the new year approaches in a few short days (and happier days ahead is my new motto) it seems we all begin to make lists. Either a look back at the year “The Top 20 of 2020”or looking forward by making resolutions for 2021. I am including 10 of my favorite notes from the last 10 months as a recap of this pandemic 2020 Countdown:
     

    March: The first and fittingly titled: How Are You Doing?

    April: Learning Curves

    May: COVID Operations

    June: How You Doin'? 

    July: Celebrating Our Legacy

    August: The Waiting is the Hardest Part

    September: When Life Gives You Lemons

    October: Resilience of a Vintage

    November: Taking the Long View

    December: Shared Experiences

    I look forward to the time we will sit down in person, share a glass of wine and tell our stories of the pandemic and how we made our way through this challenging time.

  • Note from Home: Rooted in Connections

    December 1, 2020 11:08

    Note from Home: Rooted in Connections

    The other day I was helping out with the curbside pick-up of our November Wine Club Selections. Club members pulled up to the cellar door and drove away with their orders. It was one of those truly beautiful fall days here in Dry Creek Valley. Blue skies, warm sun and the autumn color in the Mother Clone vineyard just across the way made the afternoon so perfect. It made me think back to how many friends have stopped by to pick up wine over the decades from my grandfather then my father. I was struck by the thought that we all share a love of wine and, like the vines in front of me, are in turn connected to each other, even generationally.

    I have written about grapevines and their physiology before.  Lance, my brother-in-law and the vineyard manager, has compared vines to people when he talks about how they respond to heat-they wilt like we do, they seek to protect the crop by slightly moving to shade the fruit like an umbrella. I have heard how some vines have roots that measure 40 feet because they are looking for water to survive. They like to branch out too-sometimes almost too much as the canopy above becomes jungle-like before the vineyard crew works at managing the growth. The vines even need a drink of water after they are done with harvest. Sounds to me like there are some similarities!

    Last weekend it was nice to see old friends and new. The experience reminded me of those Mother Clone vines-how their roots go deep to establish a well-connected network. That system supports and sustains the vines throughout the growing season and over the years. A natural benefit of making wine for 90 years and sharing with everyone, from neighbors to across the nation and globally, creates the bond between us and you. Our wine club is another way we stay in touch and is how we remain connected. At the tasting room there is the exchange of conversation, the fun of finding something you like, and sharing with friends and family. Once home we are connected whether by phone or through these emails or virtual events.

    While the vineyards are immune to COVID they do progress through the fall and into the winter by being connected to the seasons, to the climate and the soil in which they are planted. These are vital to the life of the vineyard. Connection is what we look for as the nights get longer and winter looms. Something about the chill in the air makes us seek out those warm places-usually a pub, a restaurant or coffee house. Right now we are finding out how cozy our kitchen table, living room or dining room is as we find those places are right in our own homes.

    Of course, there are many ways we can stay connected. The usual suspects include the phone calls, emails, letters, virtual visits. As the days continue to get shorter and the holidays approach we look to these relationships-those branches reaching out to connect with our past, present and future. Music, wine, politics, food, outdoor activities, quilting, play groups for kids or dogs. As long as we keep our eyes open and see those around us-distanced or not-we are rooted, like the vines, and connected.

  • Note from Home: Taking the Long View

    December 1, 2020 10:58

    Note from Home: Taking the Long View

    I was talking to some folks this week about my grandparents and what they would think about the pandemic. I imagined them saying ‘we made it through some great challenges in the early days, we think you can outlast the current crisis.’ They took the long view knowing they staked everything to make the move and created a legacy.

    I often wonder what went through their minds when they bought the property in 1927. First, and most importantly, it became a home to raise the family and to support them. Prohibition had already gone on for 8 years, surely it will end soon (not for another six years).  The economy would hold up wouldn’t it? Nope the Great Depression began 2 years later. Many obstacles met this young family and they adapted to their conditions: expanded the farm to provide food (my grandmother made her own cheese for instance and preserved foods to get through the winter); my grandfather developed a network of buyers (head of households who could apply for a permit) for the grapes in order to keep the vineyard going, they worked as a family in the vineyard and later the cellar, and they tightened their belts to get by once the hard times hit.

    Feel a little familiar? Taking the long view is something we do naturally here at Pedroncelli. Taking the long view from the beginning helped my grandparents get through the tough times including the challenges along with the ups and downs of the economy with a recession thrown into the mix every few years (there have been 12 since 1945).

    And now we have a pandemic. I guess one needs to come around once a century to keep us on our toes. So how do we take the long view of something predicted to go on for another six months or so?

    I read a great quote in the paper the other day, “My kind of mantra going into the holiday season is that when it comes to COVID, it’s not what you do, but how you do it,” says Iahn Gonsenhauser, an internist and the chief quality and patient safety officer at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. This is good advice for the holidays and beyond.

    It’s not what you do but how you do it. Keep this in mind as the state and nation urge us to keep within our bubbles, to wear our masks, to keep our distance physically. The other side of this is finding ways to celebrate the big and small occasions, how to connect if we are far from someone we love, how to make each day count instead of counting how many days the pandemic has gone on or how long we have to go.

    Living this life of wine, blessed with two generations behind me and 2 generations ahead of me, frames my outlook on life. While what my grandparents did to get through the difficult times wasn’t glamorous or fun they made it through. It is how they did it-with hope for the future and looking to better days ahead. For me those better days include family meals, going to a favorite restaurant, travel, wine club gatherings, tasting events, hugging, hanging out and seeing all of you-with a glass of wine in my hand of course!