Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An Ode to TX Wine Club Members

An Ode to Wine Club Members

They deliver in rain,
sleet, snow; an intrepid bunch
that braves the elements

to gather,

to sip and savor
each sample poured
and each nibble provided.

They gather
to listen to each melody
harmonize with the beat
of the rain.

This group comes together
to share a word
and a gesture, their common bond
in a fraternity like no other.

For every winery,  there are
who put aside the world
to share their love.

It has been busy. This week saw the start of my gauntlet of fall wine club events, one that will last into October but mainly covers three key weekends in September. Sean and I will make the trek to Fredericksburg at least four times to fetch our most recent shipments. On the way, we will enjoy the great hopsitality of each winery, as well as the wine, some food, great music, and great company.

The Ode encapsulates weekend one. We put off our first foray until Sunday. We awoke to clouds and rain. The weather forecast said it would lighten by noon and would move off shortly after. We dawdled that morning, not heading out till after eleven, all in hopes that the rain would slow during the trip. The rain was our constant companion all day. Despite that, we, and many others, came to celebrate each of the wineries.

When we arrived at Becker for our first gathering -- they do a regular small scale party with cheese and crackers, live music, and private tastings -- we found a growing number in the "party room." The tasting tables were lined, not several people deep as it is sometimes, and the tables were full with guests. The room bustled with life as the rain poured down around us. The crowd still came, despite the weather. This contrasted greatly with the normal tasting room. On the weekends the Becker tasting room is packed. There are groups huddled around every spot tasting is occuring. Well, on this dreary Sunday, spots and wine stewards were plentiful, a testament to the wine club members that visited despite the weather (and despite the fact that this was the second day).

We moved down the road to the always vibrant William Chris. The Sunday Hye Society release parties bring out the members in droves; they seem to grow every season. Today was no different, despite the mud and the rain. When we arrived, we were told that they didn't have parking space. We were directed to park near the feed store and a bus would drive us back over. The bus was just about to depart when we arrived, and Mary Beth kindly shuttled the slightly soggy group back to the winery. And once there, it was evident it was crowded.

Generally, the folks at William Chris tried to make it possible for the guests to stay dry (plenty of tents, additional seating in with the tanks and barrels, etc.). To do that, these dedicated people were often the casualities of the weather: Carol spent most of her time running about taking care of everyone and getting wet, and Bill, as he lead us through our tasting, stood just on the edges of the rain (looking a bit drippy himself). This level of service -- Chris later described the winery as feeling like a large family that was always happy to have their guests -- proves why their wine club keeps growing and their members will come even in horrid weather. The tank and barrel tasting of the new Merlot and the Blanc du Bois/Vermentino (which was amazing) also helped.

The good cheer of the event was never drowned or washed away by the rain. Many members sat out under the trees in the rain, and others were willing to spend some time getting a bit wet as they waited in the continually long line for Chef Jesse Lemos' delectable barbeque. Of course, the dogs and the kids in attendance played in the rain, the perfect symbol for the day.

Now, I don't have pictures; I opted for keeping the camera at home and storing my phone (to keep it dry and not have issues in the crowds), but I do have memories. Sometimes I think, I want to join that wine club or that one. Of course, I do really want to join more (I have a list), but I just can't afford it. With that in mind, I ask myself, which one should I drop (for now? for good?) so I can accommodate another. I always end up not being able to decide. I enjoy all that these wineries offer to us -- besides the wine -- and would hate to give it up. I, and many, take pride in our memberships and do whatever it takes to be active within the club. So, I find  myself waiting till a bit more extra income shows up, and I pledge it some place else.

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