Two weeks ago I noticed that it was getting dark early, earlier than I expected. When I mentioned it to friends in passing, they too felt the same way. Summer didn’t make its usual presence felt. We had a summer all right, but what made it so different was that it never got hot.
Harvest is slowly shifting into gear in California. It’s a late year all around and harvest reports indicate the crop is good yet spotty in size. A damp, wet spring extended into summer. Some vines had a very uneven set; some vineyards were so hard hit they won’t produce much fruit. Summer was cool.
People used to ask Burt Williams why he and Ed Selyem didn’t own a vineyard.
“I was busy making wine and Ed was busy selling it,” said Williams of their days at Williams Selyem Winery. “We didn’t have any spare time. What do you want us to do, four or five jobs?” He laughed, knowing the two home-winemakers already had their hands full.
Williams, 70, who sold Williams Selyem in 1998 after making it one of California’s most respected producers of Pinot Noir, owns a vineyard now. He took his share of the $9.5 million sale price and in 1999 bought 40 acres in Anderson Valley, where he planted 12.5 to Pinot Noir. He's now making wine under the Morning Dew Ranch label.
On a weekend when most Americans will reflect on the tragedies of 9/11, remember that in wine, as in life, it's always about the people.
If wine is part of your life this weekend, as I expect it will be, enjoy it with those you care the most about. At the end of the day, it's always about the people, and if you can share your best wines with your best friends, then consider yourself wealthy.