Oh, I tell ya, having to do all this research for my new novel, set in a Texas vineyard, is just so tough.  But as they say, somebody’s gotta do it, and I volunteered me!

Antiquity : Trampling the Grapes - Piétiner le Raisin

So, I’m doing lots of things, getting hands-on experience in every way I can think of.  And I’ve loved every second of it.  From picking wine grapes to searching vintners’ expertise (they’ve all been so willing and helpful!) to pruning vines, to this event that was truly just a hoot.


The Lightcatcher Winery, nestled away in the woods not far from Ft. Worth, is an especial favorite of mine.  I’ve dined at their bistro, sipping their wonderful wines many times.  Which reminds me—I need to schedule a day there soon with friends!  But again, I digress.


Caris, the winemaker, is quite gifted in her artistry.  She’s produced award-winning wines (I’m especially fond of the Remuda Red, a delicious blend of Cabernet and Merlot), and the cuisine there is always just marvelous.


As with all businesses, from writing books to selling pastries, the artist/entrepreneur must find ways to promote their products, and wineries are no exception.  In addition to having tasting rooms, sometimes cafes, etc., pretty much all wineries in Texas have events.  Since I’m not much of an event person (get my hands picking, pruning, measuring into the must, etc., and I’m a happy camper), I hadn’t attended those.  But figured hey, every oenophile needs to go to at least one grape stomp, no?  And at Caris’s place, it was sure to entertain.


OMG—all these people dressed up like Lucy!  I mean, how do you get that many folks out there acting a fool in their tied-up skirts and bandana-capped heads, stomping through big vats of purple grapes, juice splashing everywhere and laughter filling the patio?


My friends and I didn’t dress up, sadly.  Next year I surely will!  But of course that didn’t diminish our laughter and fun.


And, ah hum, perhaps more than two bottles of their chard was consumed.  Well, it was a really hot afternoon (summer in Texas, you know), and there were several of us.   And they had a great jazz band (they often do), and the music, the grape stomping, the laughter, the food (scrumptious cheese, fruit, and cracker plate!), well, all that helps more wine to flow.  And of course, with it, more of our words.


As Robert Louis Stephenson said, Wine is bottled poetry.


Couldn’t have possibly said it better myself.   Although my main character in the new novel is prone to these sentiments, finding bursting taste sensations and starshine in sips of pinot noir.  When she’s not fending off greedy relatives trying to steal her vineyard, or stashing an abused runaway in her cellar.  All while testing brix and sugar in grapes, those near-ready to burst on the vine, awaiting picking time.


But then again, I digress!   It’s a habit of mine.


Next year at the grape stomp though, I’ll be prepared.  As Lucy.   I’ve got my eye on the prize!


How do you celebrate wine?




This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Scott

    I will never forget those episodes with Lucy and Ethel, whether stomping grapes or packaging chocolates. The throwback in homage by the winery is so clever. Here in Puglia, we celebrate wine each day by drinking it but twice a year with cantine aperte, occasions when the wineries open their doors to visitors to listen to local musicians, taste regional dishes and, of course, drink the wines they produce, i vini della casa.

    You should try it sometime, Susan.


    1. Susan Malone

      Oh, Scott–you’re killing me! Ahhhhhhh. That sounds so fabulous. Okay, on my way!
      Thank you for the images!

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