Musings on Wine, Dionysian Mysteries, Esoteric Viticulture and Enology.
gnosis: “knowledge of spiritual mysteries”
vinosus: “fond of wine, having the flavor of wine”
in vino veritas.
When I was a child, my grandfather used to make wine in his basement. He would craft his wines from a variety of fruit that was native to his area of Pennsylvania – wild blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, and even rhubarb. Even though I was young, he always let me have a taste (when he thought my parents weren’t looking). Years later, my father (who is a lawyer), landed a client, Hans-Joachim Steifensand, the (at the time), managing director of P.J. Valckenberg Weinhandelshaus, in Worms am Rhein, Germany. Hans (as we knew him), was looking to import his wine into the United States, and retained my father to help him navigate our legal system. He hosted my parents on a week-long tour of Worms and surrounding areas, giving them a crash course in German wine (this was also the trip where my father learned the importance of spitting, and not swallowing). They returned with several bottles of wine, and enough information for me to do a presentation to my junior high German class about German wine.
After this, any interest I had in wine faded. I retained some terminology, like Spätlese, but wine didn’t re-enter my life in a meaningful way until 2014, when I was recruited by a large winery and relocated to Sonoma County. Prior to this, I lived in Monterey, and while we had no shortage of vineyards and tasting rooms, the entire wine “lifestyle” (as it seemed), was alien and uninteresting to me. There were too many types of wines, and none on which I felt like spending any money. Settling into my new life, here, in Sonoma County, I started to learn not only about my new employers, but the industry itself.
When I first moved here, it simultaneously felt like being welcomed home, and arriving in Summerisle. I was convinced that there was some sort of agrarian, grape-based Wicker Man cult hiding in the shadows.
This, of course, turned out to not be the case. Or maybe it is the case, and I’m sworn to secrecy. Or, maybe it is the case, and we have yet to actually encounter them.
One thing is certain, however. Many people are called to wine country. Some are summoned. You don’t choose this. The grapes choose you.
Vi(g)nosis is an attempt to find the common threads in my interests: esotericism, spirituality, an increasing fascination with nature, wine, winemaking, viticulture, and the domestication of humanity by flora – specifically, vitis vinifera.