Here I write outside of Boonville in a beautiful leather bound journal gifted by A.L. of Adelaide, Australia. The voluptuous Italian singer, who made my recent four months down under more delectable and a lot warmer, airmailed it in June after I'd left Australia's clusterfuck of a wine harvest stint. Enclosed was a sweet note from her in cursive that was a blend of longing and farewell. I intended to write on the virgin pages during my first night in this trailer on Mountain View Road, but I'd yet to accept the reality of this cage as my living space for the next four months while working harvest for Goldeneye Winery in Philo.
Earlier today I vacuumed, scrubbed every possible surface with 91% isopropyl alcohol, and tossed out the shabby, stain-stashing collection of random floor mats that were in the living end of the trailer. The place is looking better already. Now Kris Kristofferson is on the docking station, 2009 Domaine de la Mordoree Tavel Rosé is in the glass, lamb shanks are thawing in the sink and I'm foolishly in love with a 21 year old college student incapable of such incomprehensible ideologies.
I've become irrational, tricked by lust, enamored by her nipple studs and inked up midriff, brainwashed by an unhealthy amount of intercourse, and am now assuming a romantically optimistic position on love for a change that would have my carnal interest in 2009 slapping me in the face (and rightfully so!). Who am I to fall in love? It baffles me how easily (and stupidly) a man will say the words “I love you” if the person is attractive and the sex is good.
A tasting note on the Mordoree Tavel: I bought this 14.5% alcohol pink wine at Bottle Barn for $23. Adult fruit punch appearance, and more California-Australia Grenache Rosé-looking than coppery French. Nose of the most insane fresh Grenache I've ever smelled. Strawberry-raspberry cheesecake, cinnamon, some red licorice in there. Drinkers can get annihilated off this since it's so rich, easy to drink and has high alcohol. Finishes dry with buckets of sweet red fruits, bright acids and spices. Will have to try their cheaper $15 Cotes du Rhone Rosé and see the difference eight extra bucks makes.
I'm one of four interns assisting with the 2010 harvest season at Goldeneye. I interviewed for the position in a glass phone booth in Port Macquarie, Australia last May, and based on my experience and places I've worked, I was hired on the spot by Assistant Winemaker Mike Lucia. “It seems like you've worked for some amazing wineries and people,” he said from the other side of the planet. “I guess my only question is how come you haven't stayed longer than two years at any of these places?”
It was a good question. I'd been a vagabond cellarhand since I left my wife in 2003, not working at any place for more than two years. For my Oaxacan readership, you could say I was siempre corriendo. I was prompted to pursue working for Goldeneye by two things. One: a coworker in Australia had done a harvest internship at Goldeneye in smoky 2008 and said it was hands down the best winery to work for on the planet. And Two: I had befriended the late GM Bob Nye in 2005 at the World of Pinot Noir tasting in 2005 and was introduced to their amazing wine.
It was announced on day one at Goldeneye that it would be Mike Lucia's last day, as he was getting married and moving south to work for Copain in Healdsburg. I was hungry for a full time winemaking position. Timing is everything in this industry. Some guys will work temporary harvest gigs for years before something full time opens up, where others just luck right into a career. Maybe this was my time to shine.
Our first week of orientation and work concluded with a half day last Friday, so I drove Highway One down to Rohnert Park. There was a south swell running and I was hoping to surf en route to the aforementioned lust interest's house for the weekend. I made the disgruntled discovery of bad onshore winds the whole way down and the fact that PCH consumes three hours in transit from Philo to SSU.
I arrived around 6pm at the salon she works at with a sixpack of Bridgeport IPA, a baguette and a Chevre round from Cypress Grove. Since S.S. is scared of driving, I drove her back to her house and started slicing up the baguette and prepping the appetizer. Her blonde, 20 year old roommate Kelly suddenly entered through a slammed door in tears. I'd soon learn that her older Frat boy boyfriend had dumped her again — right in time for his Frat's big party that night destined to be full of penetrable prey — and left all her belongings on the front porch. The two other roommates got up off the big L-shaped couch in the living room to console her in her bedroom.
They all reemerged a half hour later and I received a handful of suspicious, unamused looks by all of them. I represented the male gender now. I shrugged my shoulders and took a deep swig off the IPA and munched on a killer crostini. S.S. joined me in the kitchen to drink and snack for awhile.
I ventured out into the living room and tried to say hi to Alicia who was down on men as well since she'd just been dumped by a military guy she'd met via an internet videogame. He lived in Alabama at first, but he moved to California for her and administered a Deep South STD strain that broke them up in a bad way. “Hey Alicia how are you?” I delicately asked in practically a bunny rabbit's voice if one could speak English.
As I sat down on the couch next to her she said, “Not well. I have anxiety attacks and I haven't been sleeping or eating. I couldn't get any of my classes.”
“I'm… sorry to hear that.”
There was an array of junk food and a bong out on the coffee table, along with controllers for the X-Box. I worked on getting some niceties out of the plumpest roommate Jennifer and it sort of worked, but the truth of the matter is that she is a bitch. Even S.S. admits it.
Moments later S.S. lured me into her room and we're going at it. She's telling me to be quiet since her roommates will be “jealous.” It's hard to control myself though. I've been in a ratbox of a trailer all week and scrubbing thousands of square feet worth of winery floors with citric acid.
Afterward I sneak into the bathroom to wash up and see a huge, coiled, unflushed chocolate turd in the toilet. A statement of the house if I'd ever seen it. It's hard to believe that it wasn't intentional. In the midst of curling irons, pink towels, makeup, heart-shaped photo frames and bottles of perfume everywhere, the man's-sized excrement was a bit of a contradiction. Disgusted, I flushed it down and got dressed.
The night didn't get any smoother. The girls were all sad and staying in in their jammies. I used to take S.S. out to nice restaurants with expensive bottles of wine and all that, until I realized not only was I going broke, but she was equally content with driving through the In-N-Out burger across town. She and I tried to watch TV with the rest of them but something's awry and even she was starting to act up.
“You might have to go,” she whispered.
“For Kelly. It might be best if you're not around. She's hurt.”
“I didn't do anything.”
I stayed all weekend long in a haze of alcohol, cannabis, fast food and ejaculations. I lost track of time. On Monday morning I dropped her off at the salon. As her tall, water polo-toned body sauntered away from my truck, I had the distinct feeling that, with the harvest coming on in the next week or so, I wouldn't be seeing her again, and that an icepack for my genitalia would make the drive back to Boonville a lot more comfortable.