Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What a Trip!

Being from a small town like La Crosse, I even more value family and a closeness of people.  So I started the tradition of an annual pilgrimage a couple years ago, going back home with the winemaking team and some other staff members, or “the boys” as I call them.  Not just a casual journey back home together, as we have several work commitments on both sides of my home state.  But we have fun, too.  Either way, this tradition started with just Kerry and I, then we started bringing Nick, and then a couple of the others.  I intended it to be not just a joining of my California wine family and my Wisconsin family back home, which it was, but a celebration, a party.  That’s just what it became, and it certainly took on an identity of its own.  My California wine family was welcomed with arms wider than “wide open”, and the celebrating began.  Actually, it began on the plane.  Kerry and Nick and the boys couldn’t wait this one year to get everything started and see the La Crosse/Mathy tribe.  
Off the plane, the boys wanted to go straight to a store for some wine and spirits, and food of course for the grill, to share with my family back home (you wonder why they’re welcomed with such open arms, right?).  We headed to my Mom’s river house, fully loaded with probably half a pig, half a cow, and enough beer to supply La Crosse and the next town over.  The family back home knows my boys, and me after my move to Dry Creek, and how we enjoy life to an exceptional degree.  Nothing crazy or dangerous, but oh do we enjoy life.  They see us as “professional”.  And, frankly, we are.
My brother Steve says, “Great!  Mom’s hungry, time to eat…” So the party started.  The grill was going, we had to cook something like 20 steaks, so we had our work cut out for us (yeah, that was a pun).  It was funny to see Kerry and my brother battle for the way the steaks were done, one saying “Do it this way!” while the other said something like, “No, like this!”  Californians seem to always want their steaks still mooing.  Sconi’s don’t.  So my brother and Kerry playfully jabbed at each other for a while, Nick was just going with the flow enjoying the brandy-themed cocktail I made him, one not at all shy on the Brandy.  (Few know that more Brandy is consumed in Wisconsin than in the rest of the country.  Fact.)  The two families continued to have their fun, tell each other stories, and do what they both do best— enjoy life.
Well, we had to be up at 7 the next morning to go fishing.  Pretty sure Nick forgot this, and Kerry a bit too but at least he was up when I got to the river house a little before 7.  Silly winemaker Kerry was in his PJ’s drinking chocolate milk, while Nick and the boys were nowhere in sight.  Good thing Mom has a strong and sturdy intercom in the house.  It was time to go fishing, and certain people needed to wake up.  So I put the intercom to use.  
“IT’S TIME TO GET UP!  TIME TO FISH!” I blared into the mic.
Nick stumbled out, looking a little injured from the previous night’s gathering of the families, saying “Ugh, it’s like the voice of God…” I laughed, they laughed—well, not Nick—and we went fishing.
       The perfect blend of business and pleasure, these trips.  Get the business handled, then have a little fun with both families.  The perfect blend.  And why not, I realize since my move out to wine country.  It’s more than simple team-building, this is a true joining of families, one culture and way of life meshing with the other, and learning from each other, and all for the enjoyment of life.  I can’t wait to see what happens next year, who pours who what, who wakes up on time and who doesn’t…  Who needs to hear the “voice of God”.

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