At Bucher Vineyards

Going by most of the charts and timelines that attempt an illustration of the lines dividing one generation from the next, I’m technically a millennial [GASP!] and Sauce is a GenX-er [eye roll].   This would explain why his taste for music far exceeds my taste for noise but it is still a mystery why he is so much better at social media than I am.  Somehow, someway we have managed to come together on most topics concerning world politics, we don’t argue over religion, and we have a deep respect for each others’ work ethic.  So it seems that the dividing lines between generations are not as straight or narrow as one would initially assume.

Naturally, I am in favor of blurry generational lines because they allow me to extricate myself from membership in the “worst” generation.  But wait, weren’t GenX-ers well-hated by the Boomers?  And Boomers just being “kids these days” as their parents and grandparents wagged a finger in their direction?  It is a perpetual cycle that we search for disdain – we cannot approve of the next because it makes ourselves the last.  It is so hard to face the imminent arrival of our own irrelevance.  And this is where I have to drag myself away from the pull of negativity, force myself to stop categorizing, and adjust my focus to see the good [deep breath] – the good in the millennials.

Lucky for me, a breath of fresh air and a change in the view are just the thing for accentuating the positive and encouraging a new perspective.  And what do you know?  Sauce and I found ourselves rolling through the bucolic hills and dales of the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County.  Bucher.Cows-and-vineyard-looking-east-panoVineyards as far as the eye can see…wine tasting…Pinot Noir!…and…Dairy Cattle?  [Grrr].  Sauce, this better not be one of your crazy cheese things.  As we turn up the long drive bordered with white rail fencing and fringed with electric green grass my reality snaps into focus; this is not the midsummer Pinot Forum jaunt of my pre-children years.  It’s January.  It’s pouring rain.  The seats around me are occupied by Nona, Sauce, and our toddler happily munching his second packet of fruit snacks and it’s only 10am.  I just realized I’m the mom.

Stepping out into the persistent drizzle, we were greeted by Diane Bucher at Bucher Farms / Bucher Vineyards & Winery.  Her wide smile was welcoming as she invited us to explore the family farm

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Mr. Hollywood visits the Bucher Farm.     

operation and familiarize ourselves with the lay of their land.  After a few layers of rain gear, a pair of rubber boots, and my brief but earnest explanation of why not to jump in the puddles next to the cows, we were off on our adventure.  Simply stated, farm life is every three-year-old little boy’s dream.  There are large vehicles, tall haystacks, cows that moo, and doggies that bark.  I don’t think that Sauce and the mini Sauce could have been happier with the sights, sounds, and even the smells of a working Dairy.  They were in their element together and only the offer of a warm & dry seat in front of a glass of Pinot could pull the Sauce from his frolic with the milk maidens of Bucher.

 

Back up the hill we climbed and ducked under the flying Swiss flag to find ourselves around the table with Diane & John Bucher and daughter, Hannah.  John’s firm but friendly handshake was a familiar reminder of his likewise personality  – we had met a number of times over tastings down the road at the Williams Selyem winery featuring the single vineyard line-up of Pinots that includes a bottling from the Bucher Vineyards that stretch out before us just beyond the panoramic window across the room.  John pours us his Rosé of Pinot Noir to start with and as we taste through his line that includes an unoaked Chardonnay, the barrel fermented Rio Oro Chardonnay, and three smashing Pinot Noirs, the conversation drifts between cows, grapes, land, cheese, business, and Family.

My happy, warmed up, cow-whispering toddler is busily crayoning his next masterpiece on the broad antique living room table that Hannah Bucher has so graciously spread with layers of newspaper.  My mother-in-law has a contented I just sipped amazingly creamy Chardonnay grin across her lips.  There’s not a cell phone in sight (save for the dormant device in front of Sauce – discreetly set to silent mode).  My pencil is down and my glass is up.  There is a millennial amongst us and my aggravation meter isn’t zipping off the charts.  It’s actually not even registering – my inner grouch is flatlining here folks.  There is a pair of vibrant, attentive, curious eyes across the table from me and they are attached to a twenty-something that is fully engaged in a conversation about agriculture, family-owned businesses, and social media [of course].

I understand that there is a major gripe about the work ethic of millennials and I am certainly guilty of proliferating this complaint; but I’m turning a long slow corner.  The further I navigate into my own journey of parenthood the more obvious it becomes that the state of the next generation [whichever generation that may be at present] is a  direct product of those who came before [read: those who are griping].   The deeper I dove into the conversation at The Bucher Farm, the more inspired I was to take ownership of my parenting possibilities and to proliferate forward thinking with this next generation.  Accepting responsibility for the future generation seems to be a daunting task but there is no other way unless we plan to stop time in it’s tracks.  How will I make it through this?  My advice to myself is this:  when this task seems overwhelming I will make pit stops along the way to take in the view and adjust my focus.  These diversions will include places like the vineyards of the Russian River Valley and The Bucher Farm.  These backroads jaunts will lead to conversations with people like Hannah and Diane and John.  And these talks will continue to bring new perspectives that drive us to seek out the good – the good people, the good wines, and the good in ourselves.

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The Bucher Family

 

 


More Reads & Sites:

Get Inspired by Hannah Bucher – here’s her Bio.

Virtually Visit Bucher Vineyards

What’s that Williams Selyem wine we mentioned?

Get yourself a bottle at Falling Bright.

 

 

Cultivated: Growing Our Gratitude for the Farmer

Kalon at Laguna Beach on the evening of September 28, 2015 - Total Lunar Ecclipse Blood Moon

The Blood Moon rose over Laguna Canyon as we wound our way back towards the city lights after a late September evening on the beach.  It was nearly in total eclipse with a sliver of red peeking out.  The universe gifts us with moments like these.  We take notice and as the moment passes it may fade from the memory until the next time nature jostles our mind a bit.

To be closer to the Earth or closer to the glories of nature is an aspiration for many, myself included.  But reality for most of us is that we dabble here and there in the natural world.  We rake up the leaves.  Refresh the tired herb garden.  Cultivate a small patch of veggies in our backyard gardens.  These small connections with the dirt serve to keep us grounded, both literally and figuratively speaking.  It is my trials and errors at making a better connection with the earth that serve as natures little reminder to me that I should have a greater appreciation for those who achieve this connection on a grander scale – farmers.

Lee Martinelli Sr. Farming Jackass Hill Vineyard

It’s so gratifying that our four children really like being part of a family farming operation and are dedicated to seeing it continue for generations to come.  I am so proud that our family works together in this agricultural business and plays together as a family.  -Lee Martinelli Sr.

There is no better time to celebrate the life and work of those who cultivate the earth than at the close of Harvest.  Most California vineyards are through the pick, Oregon finishing up as well.  For winemakers the fun is well under way.  For the growers, most express a sense of calm or feeling of relief that their fruit is in and the season is drawing to a close.  The calm will be but a small pause before looking forward to the next task, the next chore, and natures constant string of small nudges to jostle the mind.

For those who make their life of the land – the farmers – these nudges are taken in such stride it’s almost as if nature was but a cadence keeping the time.  They can show calm in the face of adversity.  They find peace and tranquility when the task at hand is insurmountable.  Their existence is at the mercy of nature – we all are but some of us refuse to live by that mercy – and they accept this arrangement with humility and grace.

Donnie Schatzberg of Precious Mountain Vineyard

I think what needs to be changed is the sustainability and farming practices have to be more widely accepted.  Humans are not the only creatures on this planet you know, we have to share it.  -Donnie Schatzberg

We’re not waiting until Thanksgiving to be Thankful.  We’re thankful now for the people who still find value and purpose in cultivating the land and we’re Thankful to the God who has made it so.  We will continue our trials and errors in our own gardens as well.  Perhaps these small rituals really can be big victories for the soul if we capture them and transpose them onto other areas that might feel barren.


Related Reads:

The Martinelli Family on the History of Their Land

The Legacy of Jackass Hill – 2015 Wine Spectator Video Contest Winner

Precious Mountain Vineyard

Williams Selyem Video Interview with Donnie Schatzberg


Kalon at Laguna Beach on the evening of September 28, 2015 - Total Lunar Ecclipse Blood Moon