Updated: May 12
We are an ordinary family living everyday lives. Just like most people we pass each other like ships in the night, not always knowing what’s going on in each other’s lives, trying to keep all the balls in the air, solving problems, and managing (and it feels like the whole world’s) expectations while trying to synchronize the entire family's schedule.
Most days my husband and I communicate more on WhatsApp than we talk face to face (we do in fact share an office) and more often than I care to admit the mobile screen is the last thing I see at night.
Life and family are unpredictable, and complex and raise a lot of questions.
But if there is one ritual that we never compromise on its eating together as a family every single night. In many ways, our kitchen is the place where time stops. Where we breathe, work, and play together as a family. I find joy in being creative in the kitchen, where we drink wine, taste our new blends - most recently the new Agaat John David Cape blend, try new recipes, converse, change perceptions, and make new choices. For a while we stand still in the hurricane life is, we connect, we grow, and we love. Magic.
Loving a family takes time.
Wine is no exception.
Family dinners at our kitchen table, lazy Sunday afternoons on the stoep with friends, late nights binging Netflix or Pinterest, hours and hours of guidance to the kids with their studies, hot summer days in February when grapes ripen in the vineyards (I don’t do heat), friends just surviving divorce, raising twins while Hugo works tirelessly during harvest time… all these (and many wine tastings) have led me to become the wine drinker I am today.
Just like family life, great wine by its nature is mysterious, unpredictable, and perhaps ultimately unknowable. We understand a lot about it, and yet so much is unresolved. How does wine express a sense of place? How does it evolve and become complex with time? Almost every aspect of wine raises questions, which can only be answered with more questions. Good wine, more than any other drink, puts us off balance because it refuses to behave entirely predictable.
A great wine, to me, nuances the environment and vintage it stems from. It may show consistency through the grapes from the same piece of earth each year and are subject to our sturdy winemaking philosophy. But the wine itself will not be predictable. I embrace the many uncertainties every vintage, bottle, or glass of wine brings with it. The science of wine is fascinating, but no astrologer ever lost the sense of wonder that comes from gazing at a starry night.
Thinking of such a wine - Agaat Christina comes to mind - blended from Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Nouvelle, and usually a dash of Viognier - a white blend not prescribed by any association or organization, it is our blend, we make the rules. Although making a white blend is the road less taken, we have enjoyed every moment of it. The pure unpredictability of four varieties in one bottle has given us both the highs and the lows of our journey with wine.
We find joy in wine’s efforts to express itself and its place of origin. It’s like a live performance by our family from our kitchen. You never know what you are going to get. Magic.
It takes time to love wine.