Part of me feels like I should apologize to you, my readers, for my absence from writing. The other part of me is still trying to realize that my life in Napa is real! I still can’t believe I live here. I am also still adapting to a new time zone and a new life and work schedule, and find myself with very little time to myself. If don’t write as frequently, it’s because I am taking in more of life than I have in a very long time. Oh, and I am taking the Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level 3 Advanced course by home study, which means that weeknight evenings, I am completing required readings and viewing WebEx videos of the live classes.
For those that may have been concerned, Einstein, my cat, made the trip with flying colors and seems to be happy because he knows that I am happy. I did decide at the last minute to give him a veterinarian-prescribed sedative for the big travel day, and I am glad I did.
Everyone I have encountered here has been so nice to me, genuinely nice. I’ve been asked a few times where I am from when I speak and my Southern accent reveals itself, but the conversation that ensues is always warm and friendly.
Napa Valley is gorgeous, in spite of the drought we’ve experienced. I find myself still amazed as I drive Silverado Trail to and from work, winery after winery, seeing some of the most famous vineyards and AVAs in the world. You might say I am star struck.
While I still love travel, I no longer feel the urge to go somewhere far away most weekends. In fact, I am exploring the area in which I live, with recent winery visits to Chimney Rock, Domaine Chandon, Flora Springs, Luna Sei, and Passaggio Wines at Dogpatch WineWorks in San Francisco, just to name a few. I am cocooning more, enjoying my small apartment and Einstein, as well as get-togethers with new friends. Maybe finally I have found a community with which I can connect.
Winery work is not for the weary. I’ve found myself feeling my way through the caves to pull wine, cleaning out a storage shed, and packing and carrying heavy UPS wine shipments. However, my winery role has mostly set hours. For me, those hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. I have never had a job that ends when one goes home. I was a graduate teaching assistant for two years, a college professor for 24 years, and then an independent contractor for multiple businesses last year. For 27 years, I’ve felt like I was working 24/7. I love that I am no longer giving all of my life to my career. We all need time for ourselves, our friends and family, our pets, and our interests to keep from burning out.
Everything that happened in 2012 must have occurred to allow me to reach this destiny. I had my first wine moment in 2008 when I tasted the 2005 Anderson’s Conn Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. Was that a precursor of things to come? I’m not sure, but now I feel like I am finally home. For better or for worse, and in my heart at this moment, I am in Napa to stay.