Monday, November 15, 2010

A Napa Story (Part 2 of 2)

There were vineyards as far as the eye can see. There's a kaleidoscope of colors - the auburns, crimsons, yellows weaving through with the greens and the earth tones. Sunshine spilled through what's still left of the leaves of the trees and everyone you meet greet you with beautiful smiles. It was an utterly magnificent day. We just left Clos du Val and made our way north to the Robinson Family Vineyards. After a quick wine sample at the main tasting room, we were instructed to go out on back. What a surprise. They have a great backyard with the greenest grass complete with a hammock, a swing, huge trees, and a yellow labrador to complete the movie set. There was a brick oven where Elliot was baking the pizzas. Susan was on one side of the counter rolling pizza dough. Is this for real?

I planted myself at the "bar" and David immediately struck a conversation with me about the history of the winery as he poured me some Cabernet. "Too bold", I told him with a wince. He then poured me some Merlot which is smoother, less macho, just how I like it. Elliot the sommelier would pipe in every once in a while with his expert take on grapes and the soil as I stuffed my face with some homemade walnut brownies.

This is why I travel at all. For me, it's not about wine or parties. It's not about collecting fridge magnets or key chains. It's about the connections and the stories that unfold before you. It's about the fascinating world of human beings and how that transformation happens from being a stranger to a friend. It's about experiencing the place not as a tourist but as a local who belongs. I am pretty out there. I am a sucker for love and I am unapologetic. I bask in witnessing people manifest love. I sit there and I watch love ooze from handmade pizzas cooked by a wine connoisseur. David reads my mind. He verbalizes what I was thinking, "If it's not made with love, why do it at all?"

The next place we found ourselves was Titus. There was a Mexican Taco Truck parked outside and the soft tones of a Tito Puente Pandora radio wafts in the air. Something tells me this is going to be magical. The winery was small and they had picnic tables. I felt like I walked into someone's barbeque. Someone I grew up with. There was so much familiarity and intimacy in this place that we made up a story about "Doug and Cathy" who threw this "party".
We tried their wine and Michael and I could not resist. We HAD to dance. How could you just sit there with Ibrahim Ferrer cooing in the background? I took my shoes off and then we were gone. GONE. Lost in the music. After a delicious song and a half, some people applauded. It was cute.
On my way to get some more wine, a woman in her late twenties/early thirties approached me. She's from South Africa but lives in San Francisco now. She told me that watching Michael and I dance was the highlight of her day. My heart dropped to the ground. What an amazing thing to hear! That is one of the things I love most about dancing. It is completely transportable thus enabling you to touch something raw in people anywhere with expressions of dance.

I would like to say that this is the end of this Napa story, but life is not that rigid where we draw clear lines of where things end and where they begin, of when past disappears into the future. It's a continuum. Experiences alter and shape, morph and change. They get sucked in to who you are so that who you were no longer existed.

Namaste and Love,

Gratitude times two million goes out to
Lynette for being a fabulous designated driver,
Michael for booking the rooms, and
Alma for the thought provoking truth game (dirty or otherwise!).

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