If Each Tear of Self-Pity Were a Buck, I Could Pay Off My Harvest Bills.

If October is to be remembered for the incessant slog of harvest, then November’s notable for my unrelenting and freakish bad luck.  First we stared down a major sewage catastrophe, like we peered into the crawl space with a flashlight and stared into a murky pool of raw sewage.  Four plumbers declined the job before the fifth called in a Hazmat crew to suck out the liquid poop and excavate the top 8 inches of dirt saturated by the raw dump.  For weeks I’d blamed my kid.  His room smelled wretched.  I kept thinking, he’s only 8 years old, but he already stinks up the whole house.  Turns out his room sits atop the lowest point in the crawl space, and a five person family’s worth of sewage output had accumulated in a fetid pool under his bedroom.  Sometime after our enforced 3 night sojourn at the Hampton Inn while plumbers worked overtime, the first kid succumbed to a school scavenged viral affliction.  It was the same fever/ sore throat constellation as his table partner, who’d been out sick from school mere days before.  During the ensuing weeks, each of my three kids proffered the same weary “Mom, my throat hurts,” while never actually overlapping with a sibling.  It’s an algorithmic anomaly not to be reproduced until spring fever 2012.  And oh yeah, my kid broke his arm at school.  I’d been in a lunch meeting and forgotten my cell phone in the car.  While I was nibbling chevre, the school was leaving frantic messages as my son writhed in pain and apologized to the school nurse for crying.  My shame was wrenching.  For penitence, I’d schlepped him down to the ER at Oakland Children’s Hospital.  That’s right.  We walked into an Oakland ER.  Need I elaborate?  After that, I thought I was in the clear.  With only 48 hours to go until the calendar flipped from November to December, we squeezed in a well visit peds appointment that had been ignored and punted during October harvest.    At precisely 3:17 pm, the doc assured me my son was the pinnacle of 8 year old health and shooed us home.   Then faster than you can say “shadenfreude,” my son awakened at midnight with a high pitched, barky croup cough.  Not twelve hours had elapsed between our “well” visit and a brand new bronchitis.  We are blessed to wrestle two distinct viruses in the same month.  Is this winning?

Of course of all my self-blathering pity is just a front to sequester my real anxieties in some remote, impenetrable cortical recess.  December 11 is pinot judgment day.   

I’ve been sluggish about composing tasting notes and dragged my feet on the 2010 tech sheets.  Each bottle opened and analyzed has made me retch a little in my mouth.  The 2010 pinots are my first big test, my first solo vintage.  Last year, I implemented winemaking decisions that others may not have made.  Every step in the journey from grape to bottle has been on my watch, my call.  And now I’m sending out mass market e-blasts inviting you to judge me.  Angst does not sit well with me.  Don’t you remember what happened to Britney Spears or LiLo?  Serious melt down material. 

My hope is that all three pinots show brilliantly, or at least there’s something for every palate.  I made three different pinots as distinct as my three kids.  None of them overlapped with their viral hiccups.  Why should all three wines taste simply like “cherry?” 

(The aforementioned blog title was optioned to Garth Brooks for an upcoming album.  He declined since you don’t need no stinkin’ French wood to make moonshine.)