Thursday, June 05, 2008

Cult of the Gopher

I've written before about the important role the Gopher plays in every winegrowers life. How it dominates our conversations and we keep counts of our 'kills'. If you check this picture I think you'll agree that the gopher has a long history. It's clear the giant animal in the center of the hunt is the dreaded Gopher.

Saturday night we were invited to an impromptu party with Tracy and Emory Epperson. We planted just over an acre of Cabernet Sauvignon for them this year on 20 acres of land that's been in Tracy's family for decades. It's a fantastic site in the Coyote Valley and Tracy and Emory should be producing some amazing grapes in a few years. They are talking about expanding the vineyard a little each year and eventually putting a winery on the site.

We had been calling this project 'butterfly', but Tracy and Emory are leaning to the name Sesson for the vineyard, which Stef and I both love.

We settled in for a few snacks and opened some wine and relaxed after a long day in the winery. Soon Emory was sharing with us his exciting news of the week. Not only had he killed his first gopher, and done it with the most honorable of gopher whacking tools, a shovel, but he'd also added two ground squirrels!

Emory had officially entered the world of 'Grapegrower'!

So how to celebrate?

Well with no forethought, or deliberate planning, we fell quickly into a 30,000 year old ritual. A huge roaring fire was built outside and stoked with long logs of wood. The fire roared into the night sky and Emory hung a small grill over the flames to roast a beautiful chunk of meat. Tri Tip, thankfully roasting your kill is NOT a tradition. We opened bottle after bottle of wine and toasted away the evening telling stories of past gopher hunts.

It's very primitive, but people still enjoy a roaring fire on a clear night, friends, food, wine and good stories. I think we should all try and capture that more often. Celebrate life's little triumphs with big parties. Celebrate the little things. Worship the Cult of the Gopher with a bottle of wine, an open fire, a chunk of non-gopher meat, and friends you love.

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