When I first arrived at the idea of working on a vineyard for the harvest, one of the main reasons is that I wanted to learn what it takes. The amount of work needed for one bottle of wine, the importance and expression of terroir, how the personality of a winemaker affects the wine.
Respect has become the biggest theme that I have taken out of the first four days here. The thought that we are picking from vines that are 79 years old-nearly four times that life of my own, is mind blowing. The vines that have survived and tended from all those years.
Respect for the natural process that Jean Marc at Rouge Bleu has dedicated his vineyard to. Vines growing amongst meadows. The sometimes rough but unique and personality giving of the rock bed terroir.
Respect for Jean Marc's livelihood. The dedication and work that he puts throughout the year for the two weeks of action in the fall. The counting on the team that he meets a mere day before beginning the two weeks of harvest. My respect for him is so overwhelming, that perhaps out of habit but also for the feeling, I find myself calling him Chef. The respect is garnered by the wonderful product he creates yearly. His rejection to classic means of production, the saying no to pesticides. The kind and caring way he treats his team, the hospitality he and his wife Christie have shown. The fearless and unrelenting leader.
And respect counts. I feel it everyday when I feel tired, feel an ounce of laziness. It motivates you to pick your grapes as fast as possible, being sure not to miss a single one. For the vines are 79 years old, they have survived and been tended to for longer than my lifetime, it is the least I can do to give it my all. Respect keeps you going in times of low, creates a humble and positive work environment.
Full circle, I realize that in the highest points of my kitchen times, respect is there. Respect for the ingredients, as they so much work has been put into them to get into the kitchen. Respect for my peers and for the leader whom I am working for. Through doing the manual labor of picking and tending to the vines here, I will forever be marked with a respect for quality produce and products. The work and time spent for it to get to my use, it deserves the best. In the kitchens where my mood was low, respect was absent.
My time thus far working on the vineyard has truly been magnificent. I have seen so much, developed respect, tasted so many wondeful things. I can't wait to post pictures and update you all on more! Internet is limited here, and we are very busy! But more posts and pictures to come soon!