the first



As I sit here, waiting for the press cycle to finish, my mind is racing with a million emotions. I took a leap, to make a wine of my own, and no matter how many times I thought about the day in my head, I could never really imagine the feelings I would feel today.

The feeling of the three hour drive to the pick in Calaveras County, past the lights and picking bins of Lodi, moving furiously in the dark.

The feeling of getting to the motel, to try and catch an ounce of sleep, but the excitement, anticipation, and sheer nerves set in, leading to that feeling of tossing and turning. The feeling of an alarm at 4:30, without sleeping one wink.


The feeling of leading your family and friends to the vineyard you have so carefully visited over the past few months, anxiously waiting for the grapes to ripen.

The feeling of the first grapes, dropping into the bin, just as a glimmer of light sneaks over the hill.

The feeling of filling those bins, one by one, as the sun creeps higher, and the temperature rises.


The feeling of the drive back to home, back to the winery, with precious cargo carefully tucked away in the back. 

And finally, the feeling of knowing that you did it. The pick, is done, the drive, done. The grapes are yours, waiting for your next instruction. They'll patiently wait their turn to become the wine you'll share. 

Jennifer Reichardt