I have learned an important lesson. I am not built for stacking firewood anymore. Maybe a few years ago I could make that claim. OK, 10 years ago. It's rather heartbreaking. Chopping and stacking wood is one of those archetypical tasks that defines healthy manhood. William Shatner chopped wood in that last Star Trek movie he was in!
Saturday night, standing on the crush pad at Carlton Winemaker's Studio shortly after stacking a cord of fir in the barn, my back began to inform me that any healthy manhood I might have possesed had left the building sometime in the late 90's and it hadn't quite made up its mind how it was going to make me pay for making it work so hard but when it did, I was going to hurt.
Normally, after doing hard, physical labor, I'd take a shower, pour a nice glass of unoaked chardonnay and fool my body into thinking everything was ok. Saturday I had to pick up a case of pinot futures we had bought last February. Futures, for those of you who don't keep a stack of Wine Spectators in the bathroom, is essentially, buying your wine before it's in the bottle. There's a short list of why you might want to do this.
  1. You really, really love this wine and very little of it will be made so you want to get your share.
  2. You're in a room full of people described by #1 and you don't want to look clueless.
  3. Your friends made the wine, you like their wine and you want to demonstrate how much you like their wine thereby creating a panic among others so they'll jump in and buy all the wine they make creating....
  4. A cult wine that some overcapitalized soul will pay thousands of dollars for at auction assuring the success of your friend's winery and justifying the opinions of certain people living in caves in Afghanistan that Americans are decadent.
In our case, it's a little of all of the above. Stuart and Athena of Boedecker Cellars make lovely wines in very small quantities. They throw great parties. They're wonderful cooks. We knew they were church folk when we went to their house for dinner and saw "Serenity" AND "Bubba Ho Tep" on top of their DVD player. Carolyn has helped them bottle on a few occasions. We probably don't need to buy futures of their wine but we want to support them. It's also kind of fun pretending to be a wine snob. Honestly, thanks to genetics and 12 years in a wood shop, I have a lousy sense of smell. I usually just stand next to Carolyn (who has a great sense of smell and has actually been caught sniffing and swirling the water coming from the door of our fridge!) and I do what she does. That's not quite true. Sensory evaluation is as much a function of one's capacity to articulate what you are sensing as it is actually sensing it. Sometimes she can say something like "this has a nose of gunpowder" and things start to fall into place. I start to get that sense as well. Maybe it's cheating. Anyway, the release parties are fun. Lots of friends, music, and food so it's really ok to invest in wine once in awhile. It's also good to know where your money is going. Yes, it costs more than what we drink on a daily basis but it's funneling money to our friends and the local economy. That's worth something. Who knows? Maybe their wines will go for $700 a bottle in a few years. More likely, they'll scrape by doing what they love.
My back is doing a bit better now. The benefit of having a desk job during the week is I can heal up from the weekend.


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