Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tasting sweat in rice and wine

I've been sending out i-post cards as part of a Lessons from the Vineyard series. The idea is to find a synergy between photography and words.

The whole thing started as a book project where I'm asking winemakers, owners, vineyard workers what life lessons they have learned from being in the vineyard. The goal is 100 interviews. So I'm talking with folks from the whole socio-economic spectrum, some don't speak English, some are very famous Napa winemakers, some are well-known wine writers like Eric Asimov, even Tim Mondavi and Francis Ford Coppola are on the list.

Right now I'm at about number 56 of the magic 100 goal and seeing totally different perspectives of and insights on life through the vineyard prism.

This quote is from Sue Parry, owner with her winemaker husband of Parry Cellars, a one acre front-yard Cabernet sauvignon vineyard/winery in Napa Valley. During our talk, Sue focused on the workers. When she works in the vineyard and it gets too hot, or too cold or too rainy, she says she quits. The workers can't.

One of the most interesting comments
from the dozens we received from this the Number 4 of the Lessons series was from my friend Edward Dong, who just quit working for China's largest winery to earn his PhD. He wrote: "in Chinese we also have such kind of proverb, 'Every rice in our plate contains the sweat of farmers.'"

So can you taste the sweat of the vineyard workers?

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