by Terry Lynne Meyer
Here’s how it all begins. One day you are on vacation in the Okanagan and you say something to your spouse like, “wouldn’t it be amazing to live here all the time, honey?” Then, you drive by a vineyard for sale (make that 100 because now you have been bitten hard by the infamous Okanagan bug) and find it’s the perfect one! Mainly because it has a view that would make National Geographic bite their lip – not because it makes any economic sense – but then you tell yourself that it will actually support itself when you sell the grapes making it practically a steal! You don’t worry about things like servicing the tractor, the ridiculous cost of fertilizer, crawling on your hands and knees to sucker the damn vines, or about the thousands of dollars for sand and snow tires you will need to get up the driveway to your beautiful view in January. You buy it and move in.
Then it happens. Hubby comes home with a manic gleam in his eye and says, “Guess what, I’ve just purchased a French oak barrel”. You try to remember to only use your ‘outside’ voice and reply, “really, why would you do that?” and not your ‘inside’ voice that is saying “are you freaking crazy?” Then you ask, “so, how much is a French Oak barrel?” still behaving remarkably calm in the face of the unknown tsunami heading in your direction. “Only 1200 dollars, but it will make amazing Chardonnay.” You reply calmly, “and where shall you make this Chardonnay?” His response, “Your brother has offered to do it at his winery.” You then make a mental note to strangle your brother.
Then somehow you miss a whole bin of Chardonnay grapes on harvest day, the same day you insanely invited 30 people for Thanksgiving Dinner. Hubby says it is “a sign from heaven” and before you know it, your crazy Calgary friends are foot stomping the grapes and another French barrel purchase is underway.
After agonizing over yeasts, ferments, and finishing, you agonize over names. Anarchist Mountain Vineyard wins and the birth of 69 cases of nicely French-oaked Chardonnay appear. Logos are designed by a guy in Czechoslovakia and printed madly the week before bottling. Then you figure out how much of it you will personally drink, because NOW you love the wine and think that making it was maybe it was your idea after all.
Hubby announces: “Think I’m going to make some Pinot Noir…” You immediately up the amount of Chardonnay you think you will drink, leaving very little to sell.