Introduction to the Writer
"This just isn't real life," I said to myself.
The New Yorker in me, the fight tooth and nail to get what you want mentality, was still back there somewhere, wondering if happiness could ever be this easy or this frequent. But as I looked out across the pond, out over the valley quieting with dusk, a coy smile formed on my lips.
I found it, it is real, and I can call it home.
For those of you who don't yet know, I recently moved to California from New York City after 5 years of living and working there to take over management of our tasting room, wine club, and marketing. My boyfriend Matt and I knew our time in the city was coming to an end about a year ago but we didn't know where to go from there. How do you leave a place that works so hard to convince you it's the nexus of the entire world? A place that boasts the best food scene, best entertainment, best jobs? But like all things that are too good to be true, being the "best," will always be a subjective mentality.
In case you don't know me from Eve, here I am - at a wedding in New York actually...it's not all bad :)
So like all young people who can't make a decision, we went to South America and backpacked for 100 days.
...And it was awesome.
Sometime in the first two weeks, somewhere in the mountains of northern Colombia looking out over the sea, it settled into me that I was ready for change and that I was crazy not to respond to the call beckoning me westward, to a family business full of beauty and opportunity.
Oscar's Place, a hostel in Minca, Colombia, in the Sierra Nevada mountains
And so we did it. And I find myself at the end of a workday looking out over the Santa Ynez Valley softening away from the sun, and I can't believe that I live here. Granted I'm a couple glasses of wine deep (aren't we all?), so perhaps that's feeding some of my disbelief. But there's a difference here: at its best, a couple glasses of wine deep in NYC meant slowing down just enough to feel part of something bigger than myself, but something that I could never really touch or truly understand.
Here, we are all part of something bigger than ourselves and it's right in front of us every day.
It's on the ranch watching the vines grow each year, following the fruit's evolution like a child's learning. It's in the winery where the art continues, painstaking and daring. It's in the tasting room sharing the story of how this all comes together, how the labels and blends represent our love and care of a timeless practice. And it's in our living rooms and our kitchens, reminding us that we choose how to live and love and what we create for future generations.
We use the hashtag #wineisart, which at first I thought might be kind of kitschy. But in only a month's time out here, I realize how true it is, how obvious even, and more importantly how connected we all are to something that bridges all concepts of time. A community of people connected to the land, who respect the history of this beautiful art form and revere all the opportunity that the future brings.
Not to mention, people here are just...nicer. My first time at El Rancho, I think 7 people smiled and asked me how my day was! Needless to say at this point, I'm very happy we finally made it out here. And if you ever see me wearing all black walking unnecessarily fast through Los Olivos, just remember, transitions still take time. ☺
Thanks for sharing in such poetic detail your journey home.
Wishing you much success and joy.
Mike and Deeann Young