When I was young, my dad occasionally took my sister and I for a "work field trip." As a Forester, he showed us the backroads of the forest we called our home in Calaveras. It was a rare occurrence that I cherished and was one of my favorite learnings in life. He would teach us how to check the health of a tree by looking at it from the exterior with extreme thought and care (much like the same he taught us in the vineyards). He would occasionally take a core sample of the tree depending on the day to really evaluate the tree. This was my favorite.
The sample of the tree would show many many lines. My dad explained to us that the lines tell us the story and represent the year the tree experienced. If it was a big line, it had lots of growth; a prosperous year. If it was a thin line, it was skinny and somewhat discolored; a stressful, difficult and often diseased year. No matter what, the tree logged the year it had with itself to tell the story. As I've spoken with many of our guests and members this year, there will be a variation of what our own lines show. As I look to the future, I remember that it will be just that, a line in our story.
When my dad was preparing to open our first tasting room in downtown Murphys, he was faced with many challenges that year. I remember he purchased a small piece of artwork and hung it on the wall long before anything else. It still hangs to this day in The Barn at Locke Vineyards and over the years has become our family/business motto. It reads,
A Giant Sequoia's Guide to Life
"Have a thick skin,
Stand up to the heat,
Don't let things bug you,
Heal your own wounds,
Enjoy your days in the sun,
Strive for balance,
Hold yourself up high."
As we enter the last few weeks of this year, I'm looking at what the full line will show for the year. It will vary for many, but your line is uniquely yours. Even trees growing right next to each other in a forest show differences in their lines. Much like vines in a vineyard vary on the amount and size of grapes they have each year. There is a reason why wine has a year (vintage) on the bottle, because it captures the line, or the story, and the year experienced to remember at a later date.
In 2020, I know our line will show a variance at Locke Vineyards. A stress blemish of the way we reworked everything to keep going and an abundance of good people who showed up along the way to share this journey in many ways. With Thanksgiving here, I want to say we are grateful to each and every one of you who share and show up in our Locke Vineyards lines from the past, current and future. It's a lasting mark in our story lines.
Thank you for loving Locke wines and sharing them with the people who matter most. That is our greatest joy in life.... making family wines together that reflects the Giant Sequoia: unique and lasting.
As always, stay well and many many cheers!