Tin Barn Vineyards | Amy Tsaykel

On Thirst

In Uncategorized on 08/01/2009 at 7:05 pm

Thirst no more ....

Thirst no more ....

I drank at every vine.
The last was like the first.
I came upon no wine
So wonderful as thirst.

—Edna St. Vincent Millay, ‘Feast’ (1923)

Thirst is more alluring than wine itself—so goes the famous poem.  The poet’s true preference, however, was evident in her notorious love of the bottle. Here at Tin Barn Vineyards, we share that love.

Yet Edna made a good point: One of the most satisfying things in life is learning new things. As the new Tin Barn tasting room associate, I have the golden opportunity to do just that.

Among my teachers are you, the friends of the winery.

During the 15 years that Tin Barn winemaker Mike Lancaster has been practicing viniculture, I’ve been working in the arts—first as a painting teacher, then as a writer. Most of that time, I’ve been a Northern California resident, sampling my share of the region’s fine wines. But I’m no connoisseur; as the industry goes, I’m a downright rookie.

So why did Mike hire me to host the Tin Barn tasting room? Industry veteran Sandy Maus (who’ll now be focusing on her marketing role) left big shoes to fill, after all….

I have a hunch it had something to do with my fierce appreciation for winemaking as an art—which, like any other, requires sensitivity, precision, and hard work. From the immaculate condition of his cellar to the rigor of his daily schedule to the fine quality of his wines, it’s plain to see Mike’s devotion. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be learning from him.

I have also been lucky to learn from guests.

CIA Instructor Brenda Anderson LaNoue and winemaker Mike Lancaster discuss food and wine pairings for a Tin Barn Open House.

CIA Instructor Brenda Anderson LaNoue and winemaker Mike Lancaster discuss food and wine pairings for an event. (I take notes!)

One man, a horse rancher from Petaluma, strolled through the cellar with me, pointing out the “MT” on the barrel heads. “What does that mean?” he quizzed me. I get a lot of questions at the winery; this one was posed as a test.

I could only shrug and bite my lip.

“Medium toast,” he offered helpfully. “The insides of the barrels are toasted to varying degrees.”

Note to self. I reached for my little brown notebook, which is almost always with me.

Perhaps my favorite teacher was a young South African visitor with an unusually well-developed olfactory sense. She smelled each wine carefully, using words to describe them that I never would’ve considered. Ultimately, she ranked the pinot noir (“like rose petals”) as her favorite.

As harvest approaches, I’m eager to observe each stage of the winemaking process. I also look forward to meeting you all, hearing your insight, and welcoming you to learn alongside me. Together, we can quench our thirst for knowledge—and enjoy some very fine wines, too.

(If only Edna had known she could have it both ways…)

Read all about it right here at The Trough. And come see us sometime!

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