The State of the State
Yesterday was spent on the sorting line of RR Winery. Pinot Noir grapes came in from our original vineyard on Ribbon Ridge–beautiful, plump clusters, sweeter than table grapes, fresh and bright tasting, in compact, tight clusters. For all the years I was involved with helping to start a vineyard and winery, I’ve never sorted grapes during harvest. There were crews for that.
But this year is different. Chehalem no longer is part of the family, and we have moved on. Wynne and Harry’s boutique winery takes us back to our roots–very small and family-owned, bucking the trend of the big fancy wineries with big fancy tasting rooms that have become such a part of the Willamette Valley landscape, or the corporate wineries now moving into the area in droves.
When we started out, Wynne–winemaker and co-owner of RR–was a baby. There were maybe 15 wineries in Oregon in 1980, the year we purchased the vineyard property on Ribbon Ridge. Now there are several hundred. On days like this one, however, it still feels the same to me. Same gorgeous skies, crisp air, and the smell of fermenting fruit. Like going home.
But it’s not. Emma talks about that in the Emma Golden Mystery Series. She misses the old days. She’s lost some good friends–age, disease, misadventure. She carries on, and so my friends do I. It was a spectacular day!
(Wynne also is the new winemaker at 00 Wines. Both are located in the Carlton Winemakers Studio, Carlton, Oregon).
The State of the Novel
Very good news! A great deal of steady labor has gone into Blackthorn (copyright 2018 Judy Nedry) during the past month. Editing, changing, adding, deleting. I’m down to the last two batches of pages for my Faithful Early Readers. Among other things, I have learned the difference between a rifle and a shotgun. (Those of you who do know the difference, give thanks!)
My first novel, An Unholy Alliance, was published in 2009. It was, at the time, one of the benchmark achievements of my life. As of now, I’ve completed four novels–three in the series, and this newest, a stand-alone gothic set in the Columbia River Gorge. I am not certain how soon Blackthorn will be available to readers, but you, my friends will be the first to know. In the meantime, I will bring you along on the journey.
Omar and I had a bit of drama over the summer. My poor cat has anxiety, partly because of younger cats outside who want to beat the crap out of him, and partly because of my necessary absences. We have addressed the issue with cat Prozac. It seems to be working, plus I am home now so he can do the happy cat dance. This is a six-week regimen. By then, I hope, everything will be back to normal.
For August book group we read Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, a sweeping family saga about Koreans in Japan and how this family of “others” fared. It spans four generations, 50 years, and was a National Book Award finalist. There was no putting this one down!
Another great read is Dead Wake by Erik Larson. It’s the story of the Lusitania sinking on May 7, 1915 off the Irish coast by U-20, a German submarine. As we’ve come to expect from Larson, one gets impeccable research and a cast of character–British, German, and American–brought to life by the letters they wrote, ship logs, and other means. I thoroughly enjoyed them both, and now am deep into an Ann Cleeves mystery, The Seagull.
Until next time, dear friends,