Friday, 15 November 2013
A few weeks ago my favourite importer came to visit and to taste my wines. I'm of course talking about José Pastor, of JosePastorSelections, who is in fact my only importer! And he imports my wines to the USA. It was him who 'discovered' me back in 2010, see this post! Until then I'd been making wine for about 7 years in splendid isolation, as it were. I had no contact with anyone and didn't even know that there was such a thing as 'the wine world', let alone such a thing as 'natural wine' and I cared even less. I'd started writing this blog about a year before in 2009, but I don't think many people read it. Not many people read it now either, about 50 pageviews/day. Well, at least José read it, as that was how he found me. From that moment on I was doomed! Because I then started thinking about wine and getting aspirations! For 7 years I'd been making wine as a sort of hobby, mostly for my own consumption and also selling some to friends and contacts in the organic vegetable co-op that I was a member of (and still am). About 2000 bottles max. I suppose I was happy and innocent - I had my day job (I still do!), I grew grapes and made wine at weekends, and I didn't worry about a thing. :)
But then I got hooked. Via the internet, via blogs, via Twitter and FaceBook and all the other social media stuff. Then I started going to wine fairs, and to winebars, and to wine shops, and hanging out with wine people, both physically and virtually. No looking back! Now I'm poised to start a viable wine business. Poised. Not actually starting a viable wine biz yet, but at least poised and with some chance of success if I take the plunge!
Life is short, we all know that. Apart from being too short to drink bad wine, it's also too short to spend all of it in an office doing useless, meaningless tasks all day every day, which is a great incentive to give up the day job and go for it. But then again, on the other hand, I like to think that I'm not a complete idiot, and I have to remind myself that I have two small children that I have to educate and feed, and that I'm not a carefree student anymore, but instead have great responsibilities to
avoid deal with.
Yes. So basically, that's why it's taken my 10 years to get where I am today in
the wine world, ie not a very meteoric or impressive trajectory. But, I'm happy
with it, and happy with the direction I'm going in, and happy with the speed
I'm going at. Wine, like food, should be slow, I say.
What's all this got to do with my importer? Well, nothing really. It's just that spending a whole day with him set me thinking about the past and about the future. The thing that gives me the greatest satisfaction I think, is the fact that I'm making/producing a quality product that is really appreciated by a lot of people, some of them very knowledgeable. And making a product that is not only delicious and tasty and enjoyable, etc, but made in a natural, organic, ecological way that doesn't impact on the environment and on people's health. All the rest is icing on the cake. So if I could make more wine, and more types of wines, not only could I give up the day job, but I could be contributing more to making the world healthier and less polluted. And so go my thoughts, .. round and round and round!
In the morning we visited some high altitude vineyards in the Sierra de Gredos mountains. We saw 7 tiny plots planted to Garnacha, tended by fellow winemaker Alfredo Maestro, from which he makes a beautiful wine called El Marciano. I was so happy to be there with Alfredo and Richard and José, I don't know why. I was so happy that it made me sad and want to cry! I was just existing in the present and enjoying the moment. I had no worries or pressures or expectations or anything that morning.
Then we went for a beer in a bar in Navarredondilla, which is a tiny village high up in the Gredos mountains. All the houses were made of stone, and were integrated with the boulders and outcrops of rock that stuck out all over. I think it's the only village in Spain that I've seen that didn't have a housing development next to it, created during the construction boom bubble. We were sitting outside at a table in the street, and must have been lunchtime because the owner of the bar came out with a second tray of beers, said they were on the house, locked the door of the bar, and left us to it!
Then we went for lunch to El Rondón restaurant, in Cebreros, a village a bit lower down in the Gredos mountains, and there we met Daniel Ramos and Rubén Diaz, also winemakers. So four winemakers, times about 3 or 4 wines each, equals 15 wines which we tasted before and during lunch. Too many wines for me! I obviously haven't been practicing enough, because after about 8 or 10 wines, they all start to taste the same to me :(
Then it was time to head back to Madrid, and another reality!