As a young boy, I used to stand on the terraces of Oakwell Stadium watching my local football (soccer) team in northern England, wholeheartedly singing (when the going was good) a made-up chant to the popular Doris Day track, Que Sera, Sera.
For those who are unfamiliar, the lyrics of the football chant go like this;
“Que Sera, Sera. Whatever will be, will be. We’re going to Wembley. Que Sera, Sera.”
The chant denotes a team’s progression to the next round with ultimately, a place in the final (after multiple rounds throughout the season) staged at England’s footballing mecca – Wembley Stadium.
It only occurred to me recently, after wondering what will become of the 2011 vintage and the 2012 growing season, that for us, life at the winery is very similar to this chant.
As you can see from the lyrics, it doesn’t mention the fact of winning the final – although that is indeed the hope. It’s about the journey, the progression with a view to arriving at the destination. And the rest? Out of our hands.
I find late spring, early summer to be the same in the vineyard. By the end of May, most of the hard work has been done. Shepherding aside, we are left to the whims, or major tantrums of Mother Nature. No matter how far we have come, she and only she will decide how much human intervention is needed to ensure we have some grapes of value come harvest.
At the winery, we have coached, policed and become friends with the wines. Each stage of their evolution has been met with love and attention. And then finally, in to a bottle. We have done all what we can. What remains is a vacuum of anticipation and hope. Only after the wines have been released and tasted will our journey be judged and the fate of the vintage confirmed.
Howard Goldberg, wine writer for The New York Times recently tweeted; “Again troubled by the in-built unfairness [of] commercial tastings; winemakers labor for months on wines, [wine writers] assess them in mere minutes”.
For small producers like us, these minutes matter. But so do the months. Now we’re in the difficult space in-between.
Que Sera, Sera.