Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Matching Maples

Tina and her late-husband Tom have been friends since I arrived out here.  But at the start of our relationship, there was some ‘getting-used-to’.  Like what?  Well, I’d find out, soon.  One day they invited me out to their property for a drink, which I learned wasn’t common in that they didn’t have people over that often at all.  So this was a thrill for me.  I remember being on the phone with my brother, telling him “Oh my God, it’s beautiful out here.  You should see this!” But, I was in the mode of getting to know these growers, introduce myself at the new owner, build the relationship further.  Even when I first began my ownership, Maple fruit was highly sought-after, so I needed to be on my game and not disrupt the connection between Dutcher Crossing and the Maples.
Walking up the stairs to the porch, I see both Tina and Tom in matching, what I thought were, dresses.  I was told they weren’t dresses, but caftans.  Which to me, a kid from the midwest, just looked like a dress, or at the least a glorified moo-moo.  And they were purple, to make it even more of a shock.  I called my brother back, he asked, “So how’s it going out there?”
“Well,” I began, “Tom’s wearing a dress matching his wife’s.”
“How much have you had to drink?” Steve responded.
“One glass,” I said.  I thought, ‘Well this is going to be a long, interesting relationship.  The men out here in California wear dresses!  Purple dresses!  But, that was just it, this is not the midwest.  And I could only enjoy the free-spirited attitude of Tina and her husband.  That’s just how they are, and it was such a treat for me to be invited over to their house for some bubbles and a sunset.
Tina later gave me my own caftan.  That’s when I knew the relationship was not only going somewhere, but it was a real association between winery owner and grower.  And, as many of you know, we still produce a couple wines from that amazing vineyard.  Now, I must admit, I don’t wear it that often, and certainly not when people are over, but I look at it often and know I made the right choice coming out here.  Making new friends and understanding what’s involved in relationship with growers, and how that relationship impacts and influences the attitude of Dutcher.  
I’m not in Wisconsin.  All of this is still a learning road for me.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  And Tina, one of my best friends.  The Maples have shown me that this wine life is a unique one, and the lifestyle out here is like nothing back in Wisconsin.  I’m a Californian now, and these are my new neighbors.  They wear matching dresses, or caftans, or moo-moo’s.  That’s fine.  That’s more than fine.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

No comments: