Soft soils and cool mornings.
Wine is civilization, and has been since time immemorial. To walk through the vineyard in the cool of the early morning has been a part of the human experience for as long as there has been what could reasonably be called humanity.
The Russian River wanders west on its seaward path and in so doing passes some of the most beautiful vineyards I've yet seen. I had spotted one in particular, along Westside Road south of Healdsburg, where old growth, Gobelet-trained vines marched from ravine to hilltop upon loose, brown-sugar soils and were there silhouetted against the eastern sky. I woke early to catch sunrise.
I drove east. For an instant the clouds flushed the sanguine garnet of a Pinot. Caught unaware, I fumbled and failed to make a decent composition. I was looking for something different than the typical idyllic photos of grape arbors and tasting rooms.
Unguiculate and veinous and bound by lashes to stakes, there was something at once beatific and dreadful about these vines. It was, after all, Easter weekend and I was upon the hill; and we are all born and reborn, generation after generation in the arterial blood of Pinot and Cabernet and Chardonnay. Here is a tradition older than any religion—one whose fruits are enjoyed by sultan and serf. Life is made of the little things that are, in reality, great privileges.