“It’s harvest season in the Willamette Valley,” Kyle says. “Rusty is helping bring in the fruit for this winery.” He hands me a bottle of Bergström pinot noir and says, “I thought we might do a bit of a tasting tonight, maybe drink to Rusty.”
A drink to Rusty is always a good idea. I’ve known him since college, since the days of throwing water balloons from the third floor of Allen dormitory. He’s always been a man of afición, one of great gusto with a penchant for a well-spun Texan yarn and chaw of tobacco. He’s ranched in Texas, farmed in northern Mozambique, and now he’s harvesting the best Oregon has to offer—the rich fruit of good vines in the valley.
Rusty is a tall tale in the making.
“To Rusty!” I say as we cork the pinot and pour robust glasses. It’s a delicate wine, I can tell as it fills the glass. There is promise in the bouquet—cherries, chocolate, perhaps tobacco and some overtones of Oregon soil.
I consider the terroir of the wine, its sense of place, its connection with the good earth of the valley. I’ve never seen this wine region, but I imagine green vineyards, maybe dotted sparsely with lavender. Minerals of the field, they find their way into the vine, into the fruit, into the wine. Rusty and his coworkers toil there, and the sweat of their brows fall into Bergström’s fields; their work is in this bottle, too. It holds a part of them.
As the wine and the conversation open, we find high praise for this Bergström pinot. “It’s well crafted,” Kyle says, and adds, “I prefer this to my Napa cabs.” I agree with him and pull up the winery’s website where I see a photograph of Rusty smiling over a rotisserie chicken on harvest day. He seems proud to be a part of these people, proud to be tied to the moment.
I am happy for my friend and toast, “here’s to fine people who are bringing in the harvest. Here’s to the good earth. Here’s to Rusty!” We raise our glasses and drink heartily, just the way Rusty would were he among us.
Yes, I think the good people at Bergström are doing something special in Oregon’s wine country. They are conveying more than a sense of quality, they are conveying the essence of a place. And that’s something well-worth drinking to. Cheers!
*For a picture of Rusty holding a knife menacingly over a roasted chicken, check out this post at Bergström’s harvest blog.
This week’s poetry prompt: It’s amazing how particular brands of wine or beer evoke a sense of place or remind you of certain people. Remember your uncle’s crawfish boil where the Abita flowed near-endlessly? What about that anniversary dinner with your wife over the bottle of Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon? Do you have particular beers or wines you associate with certain places, events, or people? Share them in poetic form. Let’s uncork a bit of creativity!
Tweetspeak’s October Beer and Wine Prompt:
This month’s found poem theme at Tweetspeak is Beer and Wine, and we’re using words and phrases from beer and wine related products, articles, or musings as the prompt. We’d love you to join with is. How do you participate?
1. Grab a cold one or a bottle of wine, a magazine article relating to beer or wine, or your favorite short story touching on the subject.
2. Arrange a found poem containing words from the products. Make sure your poems touch on themes of beer or wine.
3. Tweet your poems to us. Add a #TSCheers hashtag so we can find it and maybe share it with the world.
4. If you aren’t a twitter user, leave your found poem here in the comment box.
5. Each week we’ll share a few of the poems. At the end of the month, we’ll choose a winning poem and ask the winner to record his or her poem to be featured in one of our upcoming Weekly Top 10 Poetic Picks.
I’m going to the Glynn Young well a good bit lately. I think that’s because this Louisiana native knows a thing or two about a good drink, ma cher. In “Art Form, With Beer,” he writes:
Done nobody put on a tailgate party
like us LSU fans do a tailgate party
and the beer do flow, ma cher, and
the shrimps do boil wit da crawfish
and we tro da potatoes in the pot
wit da crawfish and spill a little beer
for da seasoning but not too much
cuz da beer is brewed to be drunk…
Thanks, Glynn! And thanks to all of you who participated. I hope you’ll join in again this week! Now, let’s brew some creativity and see what we can uncork! Who’s first?
Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $2.99 — Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In October we’re exploring the theme Wine and Beer.