I've written in a few of my previous blogs about how our perception of a wine we are enjoying can be affected by our location where we are imbibing. A certain fondness of our memories while visiting a particular winery or sitting in a restaurant overlooking rolling hills of vineyards, be it France or Italy or where ever. We tend to remember those times more often as they represent a meaningful and happy time in our life.
Just as those memories have had a pleasing effect on the wine we were drinking at the time, so too have those memories lingered with us for a variety of other reasons. I bring this up now as I have been once again affected by the happenings around us. There were the hurricanes in the Gulf and islands in and around. I know I mentioned that I had friends in Florida that I prayed for and later found them to be safe. The earthquake in Mexico. Now we see the devastating destruction from the fires in California.
Like the hurricanes of Florida, I have friends in California, specifically Napa, that have seen their lives turned upside down, even displaced, by the raging fires. So far those that I know are safe, although I know some were not so lucky.
The fires also brought back memories that I have had about my time in California and the time spent in Napa. I joke to some as I tell them that I was there way back in the early 80's when there wasn't a lot there. Mondavi had completed their facility, Inglenook was still the 1800's building it always was and the tram ride up to Sterling. But I also remember driving around looking for mailboxes that would have a sign on top of them saying "Come On In." That was a simple code to let you know they were winemakers. There were also many outdoor cafes catering to those of us who roamed the countryside. Downtown Napa was just a small town that has since grown to a mecca for the area.
While most of this is just reminiscing about the past, I feel it is important to hold on to that even harder now that so much damage has been done. I can't imagine being there looking at your house or business and seeing nothing but ash. Much like the homes and businesses that were flooded by storms or toppled by an earthquake.
I could have made this post about how the fires and the smoke taint will affect this particular vintage, and I know that sometime in the near future I will as that is a significant impact to the industry. For now, however, I prefer to rekindle my memories, make sure my friends continue to be safe and do whatever I can to help people to recover from these tragedies.