October came to Napa Valley bringing with it heavy rain and one final frenzied rush to bring in the last of the grapes. Then, unexpectedly, rather abruptly, an almost eerie post-crush hush fell upon the vineyards. It was as though a curtain had fallen at the close of an epic stage play. The Valley fell silent and reflective. As did I.
Living in Napa Valley these past six months has brought with it an ever-changing array of challenges and rewards. This month, amidst a monumental heat wave -- temperatures soaring emphatically and relentlessly into the 90s and 100s -- the air conditioning in my car went out. In this land of high-cost-of-living-induced microbudgets I found myself faced with the choice of either cocooning myself in clean, cool air or being able to afford the next couple thousand dollars' worth of certification courses.
By nature, my mind has always rebelled against being force-fed facts like a goose whose ultimate destiny is foie gras. But comes a time.....Comes a time when you need to prove you know the difference between your Charmat, Crémant and Charente...your Brouilly, Rully and brouillis...your Guyot, Grolleau and Grillo. And evidently, for me, the time was now.
Month four, job two since I moved to Napa Valley and things have changed a lot. I've found a wonderful new job that I really enjoy and I'm learning tremendously much. I've recovered from Napa Valley Sticker Shock Syndrome and blithely shell out fifteen bucks for a burger. And though chances were iffy at first at best I can honestly say I'm now happy.
Three months now since I moved to Napa Valley. Where does the time go! An alarming amount of it seems to have been spent spraying Wine Away on red wine spilled on my white carpet and then blotting it up with paper towels. Any landlord who rents an apartment with white carpeting to a wine professional is placing their property in grave danger.
I've been living in Napa Valley for two full months now and many things have changed in my life since I first arrived. For example, the first thing that now pops into my head when I see the letters "NV" is no longer "Non-Vintage."
Surely it's just situational stress. A temporary period of adjustment. Frayed nerves. Depleted bank account with its bottom line rapidly diminishing. Nearly one month after moving to Napa Valley from 1200 miles away with the goal of taking classes to further my career in the wine business I find myself sharing a house with three people and a poodle while waiting with bated breath for the valley to emerge from its long winter's nap and start hiring again when the onset of Tourist Season (roughly concurrent with Bud Break) becomes clearly imminent.