First and foremost, all of us at OregonWines.com would like to wish you a Happy New Year. We hope you enjoyed the holidays, found some time to relax, and are ready to greet the new year!
2004 has at last arrived. I'm sure it will be another month before everyone is comfortable using the new date in place of the old. In the past four days, you have probably caught yourself accidentally using '2003' when writing a check, or when speaking with someone else. While humans are well adept to day-to-day shifts in their lives, the sudden change from one year to the next -- which forces us all to change a habit which had been valid for the preceding 365 days -- is one that will doubtless trip us up for many years to come, and is probably one reason we choose to make such a big deal of New Year's Eve celebrations!
The measurement of time is an important aspect in Western cultures. All of our movements and processes seem carefully measured by the ticking of a clock. Systems are set in motion, cycles put in place, and the world continues on.
For Oregon wines, the new year restarts an ages old cycle. In January, grape vines are in a state of near hibernation. While vines and root stock above ground appear brown and dead, the plant is fully capable of surviving even the harshest of winters. Beginning in early spring, new buds will begin to form on trimmed vines, and develop throughout the spring. The vines will begin showing fruit during the middle of summer, ripen into lush grapes, and finally be plump and ready for harvest by October. Following harvest, the vines will settle in for the remainder of the year. Then, the entire cycle will begin anew the following year.
In a business sense, the same is true for the wineries. While early months of 2004 will be relatively quiet, and permit the growers time to trim back the vines, starting in early March, wine enthusiasts will begin visiting area wineries. The pace of business will increase throughout the spring, blossom in the warm summer months, and be in full swing for harvest times during the fall, before trickling off towards the end of the year.
More than the start of a new year, 2004 is a reconnection with a cycle. Not so much "out with the old, in with the new", but rather getting back to how things were this same time last year: peaceful, calm, ready for the cycle to start again, and with great anticipation of the bountiful year to follow.
The new year brings with it fresh expectations of the year ahead. What new challenges might we face? What new opportunities may lie ahead? How will be meet with those uncertainties, and how might we prevail at the year's end?
For our answers, we should turn towards the grape. Just look at it. It rests there, in the winter snow, seemingly dead, but it is not chilled or threatened by cold. Rather, it is waiting for the moment when it can again grow new vines, when the fruits of its labors can show their fullness under a warm summer sun, and continue on to produce a new vintage better than the last.
Truly, the grape has the answers to the riddle of the new year. It is all about a continuing cycle, and we need only to watch its progress to know how we might overcome our own challenges, and prevail when the time is right.
Happy New Year from OregonWines.com!