COVID-19 affects everything. And just about everything it affects is more urgent than this article. But that does not mean this article is not important. It is important that we get a little bit of a respite from the daily….no, hourly…barrage of news about this pandemic. It is important that during these times of self-isolation and mandated isolation that we reach out to other humans and tell them our stories and listen to theirs. If we must remain isolated, it becomes all the more important that we not become disconnected.
The good news is that we know of absolutely no way we are going to get COVID-19 from drinking wine! I suppose if one of us has had it and we were to drink form the same glass we could. COVID-19 will survive on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours. Those who want to be extra careful could wash their wine bottles before service and wash their hands after touching. But that would apply to all things we touch, not just wine bottles and glasses. So, we are feeling pretty good about drinking wine during this crisis.
A lot has changed for us as wine-lovers since this pandemic began. We know we are blessed and incredibly fortunate not to be touched nearly as hard as so many. We feel for all those affected, for their health and for their way of life. We feel for our friends in the wine industry. We understand the financial impact of closing tasting rooms, closing wineries, laying friends off, losing livelihood, losing the social connection of a friendly workplace, and the rest of the financial hardships. We genuinely feel for all our friends in the wine industry at every level as we all work though this in our own ways.
We had planned to be in the Willamette Valley, Oregon this week and had lined up some great visits and winemaker interviews for this blog. Cancelled. In May we had organized a tour on a cruise ship from Barcelona to Southampton where we had curated a wonderful list of winery visits and special wine-themed lunches and dinners. Cancelled. Like everyone else, our plans to travel are put on hold until we get through this period of isolation. And we will get through it.
How are we going to get through it? One way is with the help of drinking some wine. We have about 700 bottles cellared here at home, so we should be able to get by for a few weeks anyways 😊. We are not going to drink any more because of the pandemic and we aren’t going to drink any less. We drink a responsible amount of wine…just. We like it that way so no change there. But we won’t be doing any winemaker interviews for a few months at least. One of the great joys we have known is to taste with a winemaker and learn the backstory of the winery and just what it is those winemakers do to get that wine into our glass.
And we have had some truly epic winemaker interview experiences! Like driving up into Wildcat Mountain Vineyard with Scott and Marta Rich of Talisman Wines in Sonoma.
Or the incredible lunches in their wineries cooked for us by Jim Clendenen when we visited Au Bon Climat or Paul Lato when we tasted at his Winery in Santa Barbara County. Or the raucous 5 hour lunch with Alejandro Fernandez at his dining pavilion adjacent to his Pesquera winery in Ribera del Duero in Spain. Or learning firsthand about biodynamics with Nadia Barnard of Waterkloof in South Africa or with Doug Tunnell of Brick House in Oregon. Or tasting through Chateauneuf du Pape with David Rocamorra of La Mere Germaine. Or just the plain, raw honesty of Dave Powell of Powell and Son in Barossa Valley in Australia or Stu Smith at Smith-Madrone in Napa. We do about 30 of these a year, between 2 and 3 every month. Hard to accept we won’t do any tastings and interviews with winemakers for a while.
We have to “social distance” or isolate so attending and hosting big dinner parties is out. We will miss that, but we are taking it as an opportunity for us to have more time together, just the two of us, and enjoy the closeness that will bring. But because we will distance from others does not mean we will disconnect. We will continue to reach out to our family and all our friends and stay connected. And we are organizing virtual tastings with our wine friends! We open the same bottle of wine from different locations and then get on Skype or FaceTime and discuss the wine and just talk about life in general. Almost as good as the real thing.
We are just now talking about what we are going to do during this period of social distancing to make our lives better. We are going to read more and maybe take a course. And we are going to expand our view of the wine world by trying some wines that we know little about and may not have tried before along with the varieties and the regions that are our standard go-tos.
We are not going to let this get the best of us. We are going to continue to live our ordinary lives extraordinarily and we hope that you will too.
Chris and Allison