Weeping for Wine

Maybe it was the setting. Or perhaps the time of year. We’ve always loved the autumn. But somehow this trip to the Napa Valley of California was markedly different than others before it. It was three years earlier that our first trip had occurred  and so so so much had changed in that time. We’d gone from a family of three to a family of five, finished Residency, held a prestigious position running a health care facility and launched an ad agency model that kept my creative mind its sharpest. We weren’t seeing the world as an oyster. It was already a pearl. and we were traveling to celebrate some momentous achievements. All the while question whether or not all of the effort, time, and treasure expelled on arriving where were had would be worth the while and the work. Work life balance was a real question we found ourselves discussing along our way through our visit.

At Elan Vineyards the offering was never the wine, although the wine is excellent. It is deeper.

We had visited Elan Vineyards at the recommendation of all of our friends at Jessup Cellars. And it was a rewarding visit. Upon arrival we were immediately overwhelmed by the scent of lavender in the air. It grew wild their all over the hill side beneath the winery. To match the Olfactory overload we were met with a view of an amazing Tuscan style villa built perfectly on the edge of a steep mountainous pinnacle that overlooked the entirety of the valley. We were met at the front door by the wine-making couple who quickly poured a glass of their most recent release as they offered a tour of their home all while encouraging their children to finish their homework and practice their instruments. Soon after, Patrick whisked away to the subterranean wine barrel area. As he walked us from barrel to barrel in various stages of their aging he had us pull wine from each using a wine thief and tasting each along the way. From grapes, to crush, to racking and re-racking, he educated us in a very tactile fashion.

After this we stood in their kitchen, petted their dog, laughed with their children, and truly enjoyed each others company. As their reward and to extend the relationship we, of course, signed up for their wine club. And now every quarter, my wife opens a box of black bottles shipped from Elan. But that’s not all that’s inside. She also finds a note from the family and a linen satchel full of lavender seeds. The very moment the box is opened my wife is whisked away back to the valley. Away from the rat race, where busy families are balanced with artisan aspiration. She breathes in the scent and is nearly brought to tears. because she didn’t receive bottles of wine in that box, or even lavender. She purchased validation. She bought that being busy is normal and that craziness can happen right in your living room or kitchen while you graciously receive a guest.

At Elan Vineyards the offering was never the wine, although the wine is excellent. It is deeper. The offering is the Sight, the Smell, the Taste, the Touch, the Hearing and the familial appeal throughout the entire exchange.

So what are you selling? When people remember their interaction are they nearly brought to tears by your hospitality? Let’s be a little more real shall we?