What Do YOU Wear to a Vineyard?
My friend Julie invited me for a midday drive out to Virginia’s wine country. Although I graduated from a high school in the same state, I had no idea that it boasts more than 250 operational wineries, according to official tourism statistics, and that visiting them is well..a thing. I have never been much of a drinker so the wine would not have been a draw for me. However, I could not help but be intrigued by this newfound aspect of my extended childhood environs and the significance this trip would hold for me at this juncture in my life.
As I was preparing myself to leave, I texted my sister to ask, “What do you wear to a vineyard?” In the time it took her to respond with suggestions about fabrics, themes and accessories I might consider, I posed the question again — this time to myself. “What do YOU wear to a vineyard?” I thought about the words that defined my intentions and expectations for the day, then put together an eclectic mix of rustic elegance in a bold yet comfortable outfit to embody each of those things. It was perfect for the rolling countryside and rambling conversation we enjoyed that afternoon.
Some of the vineyards we visited were maintained on lands passed down for generations by families with longstanding traditions in winemaking and significant corporate interests. Others were retirement ventures undertaken by older couples exploring an interest in practicing the science of wine production or financing a certain lifestyle in the Virginia hills. Each had selections named for its f0unders, owners or their progeny. We tasted as much as the homemade gluten free crackers and vegetable mince (a kind of sofrito) made from Julie’s herbal garden would let us handle and headed back into town just ahead of rush hour.
The vineyard is a metaphorical representation of the fertility that leads to an abundant harvest. Quality seed, carefully sown and properly nurtured, yields a diverse crop of produce that can be consumed as fruit directly from the vine or processed into juice, wine, vinegar, raisins, extracts, salads or other mediterranean delicacies. While a serving of stuffed grape leaves may have been just the buffer we needed to handle one final tasting, being immersed in the viticulture of Western Virginia left me pondering the entire outing as more than a simple break from the pace of my life in the city.
Harvest is an abundant reflection of the seeds which were sown at planting. These seeds could be likened to the thoughts we entertain. Each is encoded with the potential to produce after its kind as determined by the energy and attention it receives. Feelings sprout as early insight into the anticipated yield and its measure of desirability. They give clear indication of where to prune, what to fertilize, and when it might be appropriate to uproot something altogether. If our vineyards are cultivated in a manner that is consistent with our most closely held values, we cannot help but be pleased with the result.
My question invited creativity into what my day (and life) would be in the coming season. I wanted to fill this fertile place with rich new experiences, carefree adventures, affirming friends, and opportunities to indulge my spirit with ease, flow, kindness and all the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and textures that make it sing. Oh and words…I love them so…and food…and flowers…and music…Less a matter of etiquette, being mindful about how I showed up was my way of deliberately shaping what the broader experience would be for me…an invitation open to us all, always.
What Do YOU Wear to a Vineyard?