When I was a seven, I started tape-recording my family. I would hang a microphone from the chandelier like a boom, push play, and after 45 minutes, flip the cassette.
Generally, these recordings took place during Thanksgiving or winter break because that was when the grandparents, uncles, and aunts came to visit. I had three generations of pure comic gold present.
Why tape-record them? First, entertainment. I would capture their voices–their essence–and then spend months perfecting my imitations.
In later years, I would extrapolate these. Many of the personality traits or situations ended up as part of a character for a short story, stageplay or screenplay.
So what’s the connection to wine?
Underneath an interest in tape-recording my family was a primal instinct to hold onto something that I knew would pass. I knew on some level that moments were fleeting. And you couldn’t get them back. That particular gathering, and ultimately, the people present, were not going to be around forever. I was desperate to capture their essence and preserve it. Today, I still have these recordings, and can play them–and it feels exactly as if they were still in the room with me.
I think that’s why I ended up developing an interest in wine. For me, it’s a way to preserve something that was alive in a particular time and place. And you can experience it years later. Wine recalls a particular year, particular weather, soil, and all the history that comes along with that vintage. The difference is that, unlike those recordings, it continues to evolve and change in the bottle. And, you can taste it. It ends up enjoyed very much in the present. Maybe it’s savored with a particular meal, good friends, family, or in quiet solitude. Wine works like those recordings because it holds a sense of history and truly captures a moment that will never come again.