Things I’m Thankful For …

What a wonderful thing to have the opportunity to be thankful for, the opportunity to write another Things I’m Thankful For post!

I began this tradition in 2009, when 4488: A Ridge Blog was not yet even a year old, and I have had the good fortune to be able to contribute a new rendition every year since.

(past years here: Things I’m Thankful For)

In years past, I have always been home on Thanksgiving; this year however, I was “on the road,” visiting family over the hills and far away.

So this year, I sit down to write this on a Friday. Black Friday, to be precise. As all of America roils and boils in the throes of shopping hysteria, I am quiet in my writing room, grateful for my blessings.

In that 2009 debut post, I began with my gratitude for my wife and my daughter. Four years later, my gratitude, my appreciation, my love, my humility; it has all expanded exponentially. Such a fate, that these two perfect souls; these two most lovely, beatific, benevolent, loving persons; these two vibrant and magic females; these two fine spirits, these two bodhisattva saints, these two perfections, should choose me. I am so thankful. My wife, Amy, I love you so much, thank you for choo-choo choosing me, in every new moment. Clara Bay, my daughter, thank you for selecting me, among all men, to be your father. For being willing to be born, to me. I love you so much. I am thankful.

For my families, I am thankful. My parents, so alive, so present, so vivid, so brilliant, such grandparents you’ve become! My parents-in-law, matched step by step in life, vividity, and brilliance, what breadth of emotion you’ve brought to my life, what grandparents you too are! All my family, cousins, uncles, aunts, brothers, the whole mad holy goof lot of you, huzzah! I am thankful.

Oh, the things I am thankful for …

Like Snoopy. As with every year, we watched Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and as with every year since I first watched it as a child, I laughed, and laughed, and laughed, as Snoopy fought the Chaise-Lounge …

And Thelonious Monk, who, if his melodies were indeed child-like, then proves again with every song that children do know everything …

And I am thankful that the boy voted Best Sense of Humor got the girl voted Best Smile.

And Ridge Vineyards. Oh, Ridge Vineyards, where would I be now without you? The Jazz Winemakers, Ridge. The Fellaheen Winemakers, Ridge. Mother Ridge. Father Ridge. Saint Ridge. Buddha Ridge. Transcendence Ridge, Samsara Ridge. Here a Ridge, there a Ridge, everywhere a Ridge Ridge. The alpha and the omega of my working life, my Ridge. Thank you for taking me into  your galaxy; the swinging and galaxial staves of your barreled universe, thank you. That I should be a Ridge person! A waking dream, a sleeping miracle, a living truth. I am thankful.

My colleagues! My teachers! My saints, my patrons, my North Stars in the journey of my longest nights! The winds by which I’m blown through all the days, my maps, my compasses, my partners, my friends! Oh, my colleagues … To Paul, Eric, John, David, Kyle, Will, Muiris, Shun, and Karen, what don’t I learn from you? What don’t I learn from you??? Everything I still have yet to learn!!! But in your hands, I am learning, thank you, I am thankful! To Mark, David, and Ryan, the signs we sight by, the maps we read by, the compasses we direct by, the leaders that lead us, the guides that guide us, the heroes of The Great Grape March! Thank you for your wisdoms, your kindnesses, your guidances! Thank you for your patiences, your strengths, your visions! Thank you especially to you Ryan, agitator in chief for us, defender of the faith for us, protector and benevolent crusader, thank you! I am thankful. My colleagues to the North: Sandy, Jason, Eliot, I am thankful! For your hearts to share with, for your ears that listen, your eyes that watch, your minds that think, your words that teach, with you we share, with you we succeed, with you we commiserate when down, and celebrate when up, with you we are with you, I am thankful! And oh, my colleagues here, my Monte Bello brethren, my companions in the trenches, my bandmates in the studio, my castmates on the stage; sailors on the sea we are, pirates of the grape; through hurricanes and doldrums, high seas and low, my life is in your hands, and yours in mine; together we rise, I am thankful. To Miss Monroe, with whom I’ve been through so much, look what we’ve done! A great big hospitality castle on a hill! You are a true friend, Miss Monroe. To Mr. Howles-Banerji, who may have changed steeds but still rides in our pack, your cowboy-knight valor is on our crest! To Aaron and to Michael, ye young faces in the tribe, the paint is on your cheeks, the great wisdom silence of the spiritual ages is in your hearts; with glasses in hand, decanters in your rucksacks, Ah Sos at the ready, to the bar with you, host, host, host! I am so thankful you are with us, I am thankful! To Lauren, we barely know you yet, but you are ours already, and we are yours, I am thankful! Oh, hear my St. Nick cry, my friends, my colleagues! On Antonio, on Barry, on Chela, on Emma, on Jane, on Jenny, on Jillian, on Kareasa, on Karen, on Kathryn, on Kim, on Lori, on Michael, on Nancy, on Peter, on Samantha, on Sonja, on Tara, away! Away into the good holiday night, there are grown children all over the world asleep with dreams of Monte Bellos in their heads! They have hung their wineskins by the firesides with care, all hoping that you all will soon be there! Oh, my friends, my colleagues, thank you for scaling the heights of this hill and being with me, I thank you, I am thankful!

I am thankful!

For pie. Just about all pie. But especially Michigan Sour Cherry Pie.

And for manners, as opposed to etiquette. And to those who eschew the empty latter in favor of the substantive former.

And for hats, and those who wear them.

And complicated and ritualized hand-shaking.

And the fact that there are no balloons in sight as I write this.

And those who, of napkins, origami make. I love a restaurant with ornately folded napkins.

I am thankful for people who are thankful.

And for those who ask, Do you allow dogs? As opposed to those who ask, Are you dog friendly? Because we love dogs, and are accordingly friendly to them. But they’re still not allowed.

I am thankful for those who understand the above.

And for pizza.

I am really thankful for pizza.

And that my daughter loves pizza.

I am thankful for the lotus position, or, as my daughter calls it, criss-cross applesauce.

I am thankful for apples.

And grapes.

Oh yeah, grapes. Obvious, sure, but still, I am thankful!

I am thankful for anyone who reads this whole post!

I am thankful for Kathy and Ingrid, because they are true chefs. And for those smoked mushrooms. And those mini-cupcakes. And all the other deliciousnesses.

I am thankful for ankle boots.

And those who wear them.

I am thankful for people who rinse with wine.

I am thankful for well-timed rain.

I am thankful for Basho.

I am thankful for Nicole, for thinking I was a Ridge person.

I am thankful for Mike & Max, and for everyone who has brought heat to the Torre Winery Barn. And for everything else they make work.

I am thankful for work, for things that work, and for Kool Moe Dee.

I am thankful for Chuck, and Daniel, and Kool Moe Dee.

I am thankful for you at Bubb, I am thankful for you at Piper Lane. You know who you are, and I know who you are. My yellow marshmallow chicken pals — aka peeps — Mahoney, Cecilia, Mary, Jamie, my lord, how long have we striven together? And may it be forever more, my friends, my colleagues, I am thankful! Charles, Mary Jo, Lisa, I know myself and numbers are oft opposable magnets, but by your good graces, we rise, we rise, and by your fine patience, we rise, we rise, and by your broad visions, we rise, we rise, I thank you, I thank you, I am thankful!

I am thankful for chocolate, but not so much fudge.

I am thankful for plaid.

I am thankful for breastpockets. And those who keep notebooks in them.

I am thankful for black, and for brown, and the chance to wear them together.

I am thankful when you don’t wear fleece.

I am thankful when, when reaching for a hat, you reach for the one I’ve never seen before.

I am thankful for the uilleann pipes.

I am thankful if you are thankful for me.

I am thankful for the flip-flops –aka slides — that don’t go between your toes.

I am thankful for Yamamoto-San, for sharing those Beethoven variations, and for so much else as well.

I am thankful to the vineyard teams, for tolerating my camera in their way; your story is the story of magic; of our connection to the land, of our connection to our bodies, to our health, to our spirits. You Shamans, You Poets, You Farmers, Your Growers, You Magicians, You Craftspeople, You Artisans, You Wonders, I am thankful, I thank you, I am thankful.

I am thankful that rarely am I asked to select the color.

I am thankful for desks.

For space pens.

For pianos.

For handkerchiefs, and those who use them. Correctly.

I am thankful for RSM, which, tho it may technically stand for Regional Sales Managers, means, to me, Ridge Soul Mates. Christina, Dan, Michael, I am thankful.

I am thankful for those who are cool. And not the other. Because in the end, there are only two ways to be in this world. Cool, or the other.

I am thankful when you don’t rely on irony.

I am thankful when you are emotionally brave.

I am thankful when you are really, really, really excited about something. Even if it’s golf.

I am thankful for how Jack Kerouac wrote, if not always for what he wrote.

I am thankful for the off button on your remote.

I am thankful for people who take walks. I like walking. I don’t hike, per se, but I walk.

I am thankful for people who ride bikes in street clothes.

I am thankful that my daughter loves The Muppets.

I am thankful that my wife loves Portishead.

I am thankful for garlic.

And for salt. Without salt, none of us would be here. I am thankful for salt.

I am thankful that Basil Rathbone played Sherlock Holmes.

I am thankful for Nelson Algren.

I am thankful that Smitty brought his family to the promised land.

I am thankful for California.

I am thankful for trains.

I am, accordingly, thankful for train tracks. And the people who walk them.

I am thankful for skipping stones.

And wine at a Northern California beach.

I am thankful for wine, and where it takes one.

I am thankful for Son House.

I am thankful for Miles Davis and John Coltrane, who surround me in my writing room.

I am thankful for the opportunity to prepare the Holiday Feast.

I am thankful for barbers with the red-and-white poles.

I am thankful for when, when you say “slice,” you get a cheese slice.

I am thankful when there is none of that Marshmallow-Sauce-In-A-Jar stuff around.

I am thankful when The Beatles aren’t on the radio.

And when Jacques Brel is.

I am thankful for Merlot, and the Merlot Ridge makes.

I am thankful for press fractions.

I am thankful that we are putting ingredients on our labels, and I am thankful for anyone else who will as well, or already does.

I am thankful for olive oil.

And olives.

And people who pronounce sandwich “sang-which.”

I am thankful for people who are happy when poetry succeeds.

I am thankful for typewriters and moleskins.

I am thankful for my wife. She is so pretty, and so wise, and so smart, and most of all, so MINE!

I am thankful for words that are not words but you know what I mean when I say them.

I am thankful for people who say thank you.

I am thankful when people do not act or feel entitled.

I am thankful for breakfast, and the people that eat it.

I am thankful for Cabernet Franc.

And acidity.

And white pepper.

And people who count to themselves when they buff glassware.

I am thankful for Salle Alle Erbe.

I am thankful for Martin, and Elaine, Fred, and Thea, and Jeff, and Robyn, and Liren, and Ward, and Melanie, and Jen, Erin, and Ed, and Rachel, and Richard, and all my wine blogger friends. I love that you write. I am so thankful for writing.

I am thankful for the Wine Bloggers Conference.

I am thankful for Ireland.

I am thankful for Big Sur.

I am thankful for Carmel.

I am thankful for Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

I am thankful that my daughter was born. For I was too, then. For her, I am so thankful.

I am thankful for railroad toast.

I am thankful for belt buckles, and those that wear them. Particularly when they’re unexpected. Less so when they’re a state.

I am thankful for the Coravin. I hope you are too. You should be. It means more wine for you!

I am thankful for Wine Club Members who don’t know which program they’re in, even though they’ve been with us for years. It’s a beautiful and silly version of trust, and I love it.

I am thankful for morning on the mountain, and evening on the mountain.

I am thankful for the mountain. I am thankful to arrive safely to the mountain, I am thankful to get home safely from the mountain. I am thankful for everyone who comes to the mountain, works on the mountain, believes in the mountain.

I am thankful for my wife, my daughter, my parents, my colleagues.

I am thankful for people who don’t write down their dreams.

I am thankful when you don’t bring a yoga mat to the tasting room.

I am thankful for water.

I am thankful to be thankful.

I am thankful for this blog.

I am thankful that you read this blog.

I am thankful that Ridge asks me to write this blog.

I am thankful that I am awake.

I am thankful.

I am thankful.

I am thankful.

I am in quiet love with the quiet world.

I am thankful.

Thank you.

Deep Bows.

Thank you.


Categories: History, Ingredient Labeling, Lytton Springs, Monte Bello, Paul Draper, RIDGE Staff, Tasting Rooms, Things I'm Thankful For, Viticultural Salmagundi, Wine & Art, Wine & Health, Wine & Literature, Wine & Music, Wine & Philosophy, Wine & Poetry, Wine & Spirituality, Wine & The Holidays, Wine Accessories, Wine and Jazz, Wine Blogs, Wine Clubs, Wine Quotes, Wine Tales, Winemaking

4 replies

  1. Wow, Christopher!
    I’m thankful that you exist and that I know you. I’m thankful for your unique perspective. I’m thankful that the folks at Ridge appreciate your special gift and that they allow you to write – about wine and jazz and everything else that’s important and fascinating and true. And I’m thankful that I get to read what you write. Amen.

  2. I am thankful for your wine, your blog, and this post in particular.
    You are my jam, Christopher.
    Now, I’m gonna go write something.

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