Again to wine nation we go!
Even tempered by the legacy of COVID protocols, there’s exuberance in that sentence. The exuberance of journey to an attractive vacation spot. The exuberance of tasting wine within the place the place it was grown. The exuberance of gathering once more, amongst colleagues and mates and even strangers who share the widespread floor of loving wine.
That exuberance was palpable final week, as I participated as a visitor at a number of tastings and packages associated to the Sonoma County Wine Public sale. The public sale raised greater than $1.7 million for native non-profit organizations, and I’ll be writing extra about it within the coming days. I’m notably within the beneficiaries of the funds, and the way their intentions have developed and responded to COVID-era wants and circumstances.
Proper now, although, let’s dwell within the exuberance only a bit longer.
The expertise of returning to wine nation — as vacationers and business professionals — is in some methods a pendulum swing. On one finish is the anxiousness of re-entering that’s compounded by crowds and lengthy queues. However on the opposite finish (the exuberant finish) is the pleasure of in-person eye contact once more that’s compounded by aid and lengthy hugs.
Listed below are three themes that had been outstanding for me throughout my days in Sonoma final week, as I returned to wine nation with a refreshed, so-glad-to-be-back perspective.
The New Regular Greeting
There are, after all, now well being and security protocols upon coming into an occasion. They imply that when you’re inside and past these checks, you possibly can really feel pretty assured that different friends have both been vaccinated or proven proof of a current unfavorable COVID check.
Nonetheless, greeting colleagues and mates you haven’t seen shortly is sort of a mini sq. dance of hand gestures and physique language, speaking questions like is-it-safe-to-hug and may I kiss you on the cheek and are you comfy doing this? It’s a COVID-era pantomime, and it’s fascinating and really entertaining to look at it unfold.
Taking the Lengthy Method Round
There’s a much more direct path to Sonoma than the one I drove from San Francisco airport, and there are way more correct navigation instructions than “Discover Freeway One and head north.”
For this journey and this re-entry, nevertheless, I took the great distance round as a result of even the sight of the ocean and the distant Sonoma shoreline makes me really feel as if I’ve extra air in my lungs and a recent movement of oxygen in my blood. I took the time to recalibrate my breath to wine nation. It was a singular expertise, and a fortunately solitary one for me this time as properly.
“Folks truly get to LIVE right here.”
That’s certain to be a response from guests to wine nation, who come across an iconic view of vineyards ranging over hillsides or any variety of equally hanging, singularly lovely vistas we encounter whereas driving alongside a number of the again roads of Sonoma county.
When it actually hits dwelling, so to talk, is tasting a winery designated wine with the extent of certainty that its grapes had been grown proper there. That immediacy and direct geographic hyperlink of winery to glass has, after all, all the time been some of the compelling drivers of wine tourism. Nevertheless it appears to have develop into much more poignant and important because the business and its friends re-engage after COVID.