Friday, January 9, 2009

Annual Sex and the Vineyard Edition & The Great Race

To pacify the insatiable and prurient interests of our readers – and to take a respite from continuing battles against the gophers who have morphed into plastic chewing varmints that devour water pipes -- we start the New Year with our annual Sex and The Vineyard Edition. President-elect Obama is inviting bloggers to attend the inauguration to record history for posterity and it is with utmost regret that this writing – and our publication of that interview with Obama-foe Joe the Wino – has resulted in my being banned from the Obama White House for the duration of the upcoming celebrations.
Let us begin the story with the exchange of Christmas gifts. Coyote Karen is given a sachet of lavender from the Blue-Merle Vineyard. "What shall we do with it?" she asked her winemaking partner Celestial Sandy from Ceilio Vineyards. "Put it with your panties," Sandra suggested shooting me a sly smile and a whisper in my ear, "We’re just pulling your rope."
"Keep pulling, baby, and I’ll be sure to stop by each month and put a refill of lavender in her drawers."

The next day I returned home from work to find a bottle of Nebbiolo wine delivered by the elves of Coyote Oaks. As we had made this wine together in 2006, I thought it might be nice to save her bottle for a year or two to enjoy after it had reached perfection (just like the maidens who made it). But the Queen in our house does not understand the concept of not drinking wine to let it age, so there was only one place to hide it: In my underwear drawer. Thus began the Pantie War between the neighboring vineyards and the grounds for a future divorce, full of sordid details about the mixing of lavender with panties and the discharge of fluids and stains [specifically wine] in a drawer of Fruit of the Loom.

Back at the ranch, the members of our local winemakers’ association felt it would be worthwhile to hold the 2nd Annual Three-Vineyard Fun Run, Walk, Mule Ride, which is our version of the Great Race overcoming mountainous hills, unmarked paths and beautiful, drunken sirens. On the Sunday after Christmas we gathered together at 2pm at the bottom of the slopes of Blue-Merle Vineyard, first the neighbors walking over, then the coyotes dressed out in bleach white pants-suits. Merlot Mike and Nancy came next touting the horn of their Gator as they rode up the hill and then came Jim on "the mule", a Vietnam-era army vehicle that he restored which has more torque than the Gator and Bluey’s (the Australian Shepherd who runs this place) hind legs. One of the coyotes snickered, "The boys will bring their toys," at which point Joe the Wino came climbing up the hill mounted on a shiny, orange, brand-spanking-new Kubota tractor wearing a red cap with white trim.
"Joe, good to see you. Welcome to the Blue-Merle. Did Santa Clause bring you that toy?"
"Nope – the Kubota dealer in town has a lot full of ‘em and can’t sell ‘notta one. I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and drove off the lot paying 1/3 price -- in cash." As I always say, the rich get richer in a recession and now is the time to make money. That’s why my wife bought up all the palm trees in town.
"Joe, why don’t you lead the procession?" I suggested.
"Thanks for the invite, but I can’t stay. As you read in the paper the San Diego Padres [baseball team] are for sale and I’ve got a meeting with the club’s CEO this afternoon to see if we can strike a deal." We took a moment to say a prayer of thanksgiving for all of our blessings and good friends and family – especially mom and dad who had traveled here from Virginia, and sent Joe on his way with a bottle of wine. Then Merlot Mike and I walked up the hill to survey the road before driving it, since no one had successfully driven the course since I slid off the dirt road in a pickup truck last March. As it had rained 5 inches the previous two weeks, I thought it might be a good idea to survey the course. I pointed out a trench in the road and an awkward angle around a curve at the steepest point (50 degrees).
"Mike, I hear those Gators are notorious for flipping over."
"Only when you drive them where you’re not supposed to." That assurance didn’t make me feel any better.
"What do you think about the safety of this road?"
"Well, tell me something. How much do you like your dad?"
"A lot." Then I borrowed a line from Jack Benny. "If it’s that dangerous, please, take my wife."

With the fate of my father in the hands of Merlot Mike, the procession began, with the Gator speeding up the hill, making it to the top and out the back gate quicker than the Blue-Merle can make it to the nearest rabbit hole. As they recalled the journey afterwards, "It was a piece of cake." And, it looks like we’ve got a property designed for a Gator advertisement. Given the emerging pain in my knee after hauling 5-tons of rocks over the Christmas holidays and 5-yards of dirt to box up the remainders of the 46 palm trees, I’d save money buying a Gator vs. the surgeon’s bill for getting my knees rebuilt.

The purpose of the Fun Run was to promote fitness and exercise by running the Three-Vineyard course, or if you couldn't run, walk. And if you couldn’t walk, we encouraged participation by all by offering a ride. It was a fine California winter day as we hiked up the hill – no one running this year – and I was proud of my retired neighbors for walking the entire course. As the boys with the toys raced around the countryside giving Dad a tour, we summited Nancy & Mike’s Escondido Sunrise Vineyard and stopped to take in the view of the valley below and the mountains on the horizon and the floating hawks above. Mike came back from the wine cellar with as much Merlot as he could carry which was about more than we could drink and we were sloshed as we began the descent. It was all downhill from there. We passed the famous sign declaring the law of "0 to Naked In 1.2 Bottles of Wine" and since everyone had their clothes on we knew that no one had consumed more than 1.2 bottles yet and that we were sober enough to keep walking while the rest of the boys continued their race of Gator vs. The Mule. We approached the hidden gazebo in the middle of the Olive trees half way down the vineyard and stopped in our tracks in front of a line. Not a booby trap but a line flying a flag of victory. A pair of panties. "Mike, what the hell was going on out here?"
"Fiiiiidellllllllll!" Mike called .
"Yeah Mike, what is it?" Fidel said as he waddled over from the tool shed.
"What are these panties doing her?"
"I don’t know Mike, they’re not mine."
"Which senorita do they belong to?"
"Mike, I have no idea. I swear."
The Coyote said, "Looks like there’s been a little hanky panky in the vineyard."
"Maybe they’re left over from the picking when all those people were here," suggested the Celestial one.
"Yeah, it must have been from the harvest, when all that wine was flowing," I said. "You see, the sign, it’s true!" To that we all agreed, and toasted: "To the sign! Zero to naked in 1.2 bottles of wine! Cheers!" We left the lone pantie in the tree as a memento (Mike said it was good for his vineyard’s "branding") and we arrived at Coyote Oaks, where as many bottles of wine as the Coyote could carry were brought out to the band for another toast and another taste, while back at the ranch the Celestial one’s mom, my mom and the Queen were busy popping pastries and chicken wings into the oven and putting Champagne on ice. It seems that the gourmands of the Hidden Meadows Vintner’s Association can’t get exercise without eating 2,000 calories afterwards. Mike was so fascinated by how Karen was dressed in white but did not have a single spot of dirt or wine stain on her lovely clothes after all of that hiking and toasting that he drooled wine on Nancy. No worries. Karen brought out her bottle of wine-away which Mike sprayed all over Nancy which left several wet spots in embarrassing places. The motley group rallied forces for the final assault up the big hill back to the foot of the Blue-Merle, picking up Judy & Jack along the way – so now it was a real party with all the neighbors and the Three Vineyards.

Meantime back in the winery the true coitus of the afternoon was taking place as the bung slid out of the hole of the barrel. Pop! The bung had come out of the barrel exposing the wine’s treasure to risks of contamination, infection disease and ruin. If there was any Viagra, it was within the wine, climaxing with a spent bung on the floor…. And the wine, she tastes delicious.

1 comment:

Craig Justice said...

Worst 10 Pick-Up Lines Heard at Today's Meeting of the San Diego Winemakers' Association:

1) "Is that a bottle in your pants, or are you just glad to see me?"

2) "May I stick my "bung" in your barrel?"

3) "Would you like to come over and help me bottle the wine? I'll let you insert the cork into the bottle."

4) "I really like your carboys."

Please fill in the rest.