Find Your Shine Insights
So I’m studying to become a Sommelier through the International Sommelier Guild at Metropolotian State University in Denver Colorado.
What, you may ask, does that have to do with Find Your Shine?
I’m glad you asked.
I have been a wine enthusiast, possessing a passion for learning about it’s complexity from viticulture (vine planting/tending/farming) to viniculture (producing wine from grapes) since my mid 20’s. Like most of my friends, I drank wine coolers and an occasional white Zin until I started dating a guy who introduced me to a wine-tasting group so it wasn’t a hobby I sought out. It just happened to stick – though he didn’t.
I grew up on a farm and although I moved away from the farm many years ago, my love for making things grow never ceases. That’s the reason I write this blog. I hope that I write words that become seeds that are planted in rich fertile soil and that grow up inside you to reveal your special uniqueness.
Vineyard farmers know that to produce good yields from grapevines they need to be specific about the type of vines they plant in the soil. The best vineyards in the world are known for their limestone, chalky, granite, schist and gravel soils.
That doesn’t sound like the kind of dirt that you would imagine would produce good grapes but the reason the vines yield good fruit is because the soil they are planted in allows them to go deep. The roots of the vines push their way through the limestone and gravely soils to go deeper and deeper each year, that is if they survive harsh seasons, pests and diseases. Not unlike humans.
Some grapevines are hardy and can grow in a variety of climates and in diverse soil while other grapevines need a specific kind of soil to survive.
We are as individual and unique as the grapes that produce wine. Like grapes that prefer a specific type of soil to thrive, where we are planted plays a big role in our productivity, known to winemakers as “yields”. The climate, the dirt and the seasons influence the grape just as the conditions, the place and the seasons in our lives influence our outcomes.
Right now I’m sitting in my study looking out my window at glorious sunshine. Three days ago I woke up to white powder 3 inches deep covering the landscape. The weather is a bit temperamental here in Colorado but that’s what we expect in Spring, right? Very soon I will sit here writing and the bud break now present will create a luscious canopy on the trees. It will pain me stay seated and do my work because I’m a hiker. I love the outdoors. I enjoy the gentle breeze blowing through my hair while the afternoon sun tans my hide. But, I can’t do that very often. I’m a redhead with fair skin and prone to skin cancer. So, like certain berries that are prone to rot or fungus, if I don’t tend to my unique skin type, I will become diseased and could even die. I guess you could compare me to a Pinot Noir grape – thin-skinned, early ripening and prone to disease. It just so happens that Pinot Noir is my favorite varietal. Does that mean I love an accept myself thin-skinned and diseased? I guess it does!
There is nothing quite as beautiful as rows of well-tended grapevines especially in the fall when the leaves on the vines turn golden, burnt orange and deep purple. In the spring, when the vines begin to bud they flower and then produce small berries that grow and ripen under the canopy of the leaves above that shield them from the heat of the day and the cold of night. During harvest they produces mounds of succulent grapes that when vinified, make delicious wine.
These lush green vines that yield juicy grapes for wine, also need a time of dormancy. Winter must come and strip them of the fruit, leaving them bare against the harsh wind, sleet and snow. All the while that the vine above the ground is dormant, the roots beneath are stretching and growing; digging deeper. It is during these grey skied wintry days that the vine-dresser takes out his pruning mechanisms and begins to lob off branches – training the vine to produce concentrated grapes that make rich, full-bodied wines.
Remember the grapevines when you find yourself in a non-productive space. Instead of bemoaning the harshness of the season, remind yourself that this is your time to dig deep and find out what you’re made of. Ask yourself questions that reveal your character. Questions like:
- What do I believe?
- Where does my belief come from?
- Is my belief rooted in wisdom?
- Do I live what I believe?
I remind myself when God chooses to remove something that I have grown accustomed to or comfortable with, He ultimately has my highest good at heart. He knows me and therefore knows where to plant me so that I will produce the highest yield.
After you’ve considered the questions above, compare yourself to your favorite varietal. Are you be more like a Chardonnay? Cabernet Sauvignon? a Sauvignon Blanc? or a sparkling wine? I think I’ll go for the sparkling! (Pinot Noir of course)
Who knows, if I stay planted in the right soil and bear up under the master winemaker, someday I may rival Champagne Krug Clos du Mesnil.