花簇酒庄榨季,致加州索诺玛海岸的明朗阳光 Flowers Harvest 2016, under the bright sunshine on California’s Sonoma Coast

晴格格 & Isabell

眼睛累了不想看屏幕?在路上不方便阅读?您可以来听作者们为您朗读的这个博客喔!Don’t feel like reading? You don’t have to! Tune in to listen to our authors read you this blog.

中文原声 – Chinese by 晴格格

英文原声 – English by Isabell

The Vineyard of Flowers under the Sonoma Coast Fog / 索诺玛浓雾下花簇酒庄葡萄园

榨期是一次热血狂欢、一场涅槃蜕变、一番青春梦想。有笑语欢歌、有坚定步履、有你、有我、有那些年、真挚而美好的韶华。这一个充满淤青、激情、欢笑和梦想的时段。我觉得我每天都变得更加强壮。越发感觉到肌肉的力量、也越来越觉得人生其实是非常可控的。同样对于人生也有新的解读视角:人生真正的幸福是什么,什么是有意义的时光?有一个清晰的方向、设立具体的目标、朝着一个目标反复训练技能,锤炼你与生俱来的技能来掌握自己的命运,并成为一个更好的人。的确、能到达的舞台越高,能看见的风景就会更加美妙。

The harvest is a burst of passion, a kind of nirvana where I feel reborn, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a youthful dream. There is laughter and song, unwavering footsteps on the ground, shared enthusiasm for winemaking…and bruises (can’t forget to mention that); more importantly, sincere and beautiful camaraderie. During this period, I felt I became physically stronger every single day. The more I felt the strength in my muscles, the more I felt in control of my life. I gained perspective, the ability to interpret my life in a way in which I had never done before. What brings true happiness in life? How does one create a meaningful life? The answer lies in grasping your destiny, by undertaking continuous training, honing your skills and having a clear vision – along with many specific goals, continuously searching for ways to push the boundaries and become a better person. Indeed, the greater the heights, the more beautiful the scenery becomes.

The Wines of Flowers / 花簇酒庄的葡萄酒

是在哪一瞬间你真正爱上了葡萄酒?到酒庄工作一个榨期吧,你会发现有太多太多的瞬间你会爱上葡萄酒。重要的是,这是一种不会违约的真爱。也许是在加州艳阳下一个接着一个的洗箱子:精疲力竭时眺望到远方山峰的英俊轮廓、感知到大自然生生不息的力量,也感知到潜藏在自己身躯里可以铸就一切美好的伟大力量;也许是下班后的与同事共享一瓶啤酒、在酒精微醺的快乐中畅聊人生,感觉到人与人之间前所未有的亲近和共鸣;也许是在数周清洗工作之后、看到清晨第一批运到酒庄连夜采摘的葡萄,真切的“一份耕耘、一份收获”幸福感;又或许是亲眼见证发酵罐中跃动的气泡,感知自己在孕育葡萄酒生命的最美形态;在给发酵罐换干冰时、闻到发酵中霞多丽传出的馥郁的、成熟加州鸭梨的怡人气息… …等等等等、不胜枚举。葡萄酒是有生命的饮品,酿造葡萄酒是在创造有生命力的、能给予人们快乐和幸福感的液体。也许生命的意义就在于创造一种能够给人们带来快乐的东西。酿酒师、这份听起来高、大、上,而实际上脏、苦、累的工作、恰好可以做到这一点。

When was the exact moment you fell in love with wine? When you come to work in a winery for a harvest, you will find that after so many moments, you will find yourself becoming attached to the wine like never before; I did. You will never feel the same towards the glass of wine in your hand again. It is a love that will never fade and will accompany you throughout your entire life. In the California sun, whilst continuously washing the bins outside, you may be lucky enough to glimpse a view of the astonishing mountains in the distance, you will feel the power of nature and the power within you, a force that drives you to pursue all the things you want to accomplish, in this moment, for life; maybe it’s the moment when you finally finish one extremely long day of work and you are sharing a bottle of beer (Yes, beer! As we always say, it takes a lot of beer to make a good wine.) with your colleague (friend, to be more precise), and have a tipsy conversation about every aspect of life, feeling the enormous connection to another person; maybe it’s the moment after you have been working on cleaning & sanitising for weeks, and finally the grapes arrive at the winery from the overnight picking crew, there is a genuine sensation of “every effort has paid off”; or the moment of witnessing the fermenting bubbles jumping out of the must from the top of the tank, you know that you are crafting wines in the best way possible; or the time when you changed the dry ice bag for the fermenting tank, the smell the fermenting Chardonnay has, drowning all your sensations with the vivid and mature California pear nose…these are just a few examples. Wine is a living drink. Making wine is to create a living liquid that can bring people joy and happiness. Perhaps the meaning of life lies in creating something that can bring happiness to people. Being a winemaker by profession seems fancy and fashionable, however, in fact, it is a dirty and backbreaking job, but one that can match all the criteria for living a meaningful life.

Flowers Chief Winemaker Chantal Forthun at the Sorting Table / 首席酿酒师Chantal Forthun在葡萄人工分选台

Vinifera 欧盟葡萄酒硕士一二年的间隙,是我们到酒庄实习的时间。一直有想要去美国加州的想法,可以算是我的“美国梦”。很多“绝境逢生”美国励志的电影伴随我走过了人生中一段很孤注一掷、相对暗淡和孤寂的时光。《从无家可归到哈佛大学》(From Homeless to Harvard); 《当幸福来敲门》(The Pursuit of Happiness);《Forrest Gump》等经典影视作品一次次的激励我去战胜自己,实现更高的目标。成功申请到加州索诺玛海岸名庄Flowers Vineyards and Winery做榨期无疑实现了一个内心深处的真挚梦想。

The 3 month-gap between years 1 and year 2 of my Vinifera EuroMaster degree was a time for me to practice winemaking techniques at a winery. The idea of going to the United States had always been in my head; it could have been regarded as my own personal “American dream”. I had been inspired by the multitudes of American movies -their themes often told of those “rising out of desperation”; these accompanied me through a grey and relatively lonely time in my life. From Homeless to Harvard, The Pursuit of Happiness, or Forrest Gump among others, these films accompanied me, constantly inspiring me to become a better version of myself, to achieve great goals in my life. So, with this inspiration at heart, in 2016, I set out, applied, and was taken on as a Cellar Hand at the famous Flowers Vineyards and Winery in the Sonoma Coast, in California. This was indeed a dream come true.

Astonishing View at Flowers’ Vineyard / 花簇酒庄葡萄园美景

刚开始的肌肉酸痛让我开始质疑自己是否能够胜任这个榨期的工作。清晰记得那是和高压水枪战斗的一天:有一种身体的透支感。刚好需要参加一个酒庄工作安全培训,在顾不得评估自己是礼貌的或是不礼貌地状态下,在大家对这个中国姑娘食量的惊叹唏嘘中、消灭了一大盘在会议餐桌上做点缀的甜品。在体力满格后,开始了新一轮的战斗。一直和我对着干的高压水枪终于成了我格外珍惜的队友。在掌握了使用技巧之后,笨拙的我终于可以如鱼得水的享受工具带来的乐趣。

The pain in my muscles was real, especially since I had never really been that physically active, at least since birth anyway. (Gosh, where had I been all these years!?!) I can vividly recall it was a sunny day, we were cleaning the bins with the high-pressure gun, outside the winery. I recall that I felt like I was fighting with the gun, and I was so damn exhausted. It also happened to be a “safety training day” that day, and I happened to notice there were some desserts laid out as decoration, on the meeting table. I didn’t even have the courtesy to evaluate whether it was polite or not to eat all the treats, and to everyone’s amazement (my huge appetite as a relatively small-sized Chinese girl was shocking), I finished all the desserts on the plate near me. Regardless of the circumstances, I felt as if my fuel tank had been recharged, I felt more alive than ever before. That day I mastered the art of using a high-pressure gun and became a professional bin-cleaner! And you know what, people say that you should celebrate the small wins in life- well here’s to me, because it felt pretty good. I acknowledging that I can be the most clumsy girl, therefore, this small victory was definitely something to celebrate!

The Soil Study at Flowers / 花簇酒庄的土壤研究

同时,能为有自己坚持的酒庄工作是一件幸福感满满的事情。“人们都说这是不可能的任务,然而我们做到了”。花簇酒庄有许多自己的坚持:30年前在崎岖的海岸山坡上种下了喜怒无常的葡萄品种:黑比诺和霞多丽。索诺玛海岸的花簇酒庄的“露营相见”和“海景”山脊葡萄园临近太平洋,这里有着凉爽的日间微风来确保适宜的成熟度、夜间的雾气保证了灵动的酸度来确保成酒的新鲜感。排水良好的土壤允许酒庄酿造有着格外复杂、深度、矿物质和自然酸度的黑比诺。在酒庄首席酿酒师Chantal Forthun的带领下,他们退后一步,让大自然母亲做她最擅长的事——在葡萄园里进行生物动力法和有机耕作,以获得健康的土壤;在酒窖里同样做最少干预,包括使用100%的天然酵母,仅使用“重力自流法”(不用泵!?!)来转移葡萄酒、从而展示果实的纯度和土地的美丽。每一穗果实都是在夜间人工采摘来确保果实的品质及酿造出葡萄酒的新鲜度。

It is worth mentioning here that when working for a winery, you will find they have their own convictions, strong ones. “They said it couldn’t be done, we did it anyway”. Camp Meeting Ridge and Seaview Ridge Vineyard of Flowers have been planting temperamental grapes (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) in the rugged Sonoma Coast, in harsh environments, for more than 30 years. The vineyard is proximal to the pacific ocean, which provides cool daytime breezes to ensure proper ripening of the grapes, and evening fog to guarantee lively acidity, adding freshness to the finished wines. The well-drained soils allows the estate to produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with exceptional complexity, depth, minerality and natural acidity. Each cluster is picked by hand throughout the night and into the early morning, to ensure fruit quality and freshness in the wine. Under the lead of Chief Winemaker Chantal Forthun, they decide to step back and let Mother Nature do what she does best. The winery employs a mix of biodynamic and organic farming practices in the vineyard for healthy soil; there is minimal intervention in the cellar; including using a 100% natural yeast, as well as only using gravity flow (no pump!!!)  to transfer the wine; this is how they honour the purity of the fruit, and the beauty of the land.

The Chief Winemaker at Flowers: Chantal Forthun / 花簇酒庄的首席酿酒师:Chantal Forthun

榨期的故事太多,且美好到无法精简。我决定要多花些时间、一一讲述。更多故事,请阅读本博客的下篇。

There are so many stories to tell about my harvest experience at Flowers. This story meant so much to me-this single day was beautiful, therefore, I don’t feel like summarising the whole experience. That is I will continue on in another blog entry, see you there! 

Flowers’ Chardonnay / 花簇酒庄的霞多丽

Photo Credit: Flowers Vineyards and Winery’s Facebook account

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