It was 8:30am and we were waiting in front of the gate at Demetria Estate in Los Olivos with no luck getting the gate open. The winding highway was empty so we took a quick wander to stare at the view, slack jawed. All the colors in the morning light were dim and dull under the fog, each layer of mountains a different shade of grey.
Someone opened the gate and we twisted through vines as they followed the hillside up and down and around. Before we knew it we were standing in front of a conveyer belt with the wine maker and two assistants plucking stems and spiders and leaves from the Syrah berries and zoning out, we were told, “enjoy it, relax, think about life.”
I don’t know that I thought anything really. I mostly let my mind be pulled into a trance by the grapes bouncing down the lane, the monotony of deep purple movement. Work, break, work, sit in the sun, work, some white wine, work, discuss the dog biscuit, work, open the concrete vat and stare at the fermenting grapes and get a little high, work.
Then a freezing cold room containing stacks of wine barrels and a metal tub the size of a fiat full with the Syrah grapes we had just worked on. Get in inside…once the difficulty of launching our bodies and whipping our legs over the edge was complete, the reward was to land in grapes up to our knees. It felt like tiny squishy ice balls, but then they squished, and we started jumping and laughing and shivering and feeling the burst between our toes until it felt less like fruit explosions and more like liquid juice.
Learning, making new friends, pools of fruit up to our knees, touching spiders and finding them in our hair…all for the cause of adventure.