Raised by Dolphins in the Sahara Desert, made his first $3 fortune mowing the neighbor's lawn
Wine & Surfing Part Deux
Wine and Surfing Part Deux
It has been a while since I wrote something about the parallels I see between the worlds of surfing and winemaking, so here I go again. Back around 1981 I was airbrushing and glassing surfboards (painting and applying fiberglass resin) for MOOSAH on the boardwalk in Tel-Aviv. Life had a sweet simplicity to it; you had a job to do and as long as you made your weekly quota, no one cared how much time you spent surfing… There were days when I would come into the shop at midnight, airbrush a batch of boards while listening to late night radio, move to the glassing booth and get into the rhythm of masking, cutting cloth, mixing resin, glassing, installing fin boxes and finishing boards. With no phones ringing and no 13 year-olds asking me to reproduce the cover of Pink Floyd’s latest album cover on their surfboard order, I’d get a lot done in 6 hours. By the time the eastern horizon started to glow with the warmth of a new sun, I’d be done with my chores around the shop. I’d quickly undress to my blue “Hang Ten” board shorts and slip into the 75 degree water north of the Tel Aviv Marina entrance for a sweet morning session of shoulder high glassy waves. We had enough business to keep everyone happy, work 9 months and go surf for 3. We did what we loved doing and it showed in the brightness of our eyes and the lightness of our steps.
A short time later, we held the first Israeli surf contest in mushy, choppy surf in front of the Tel-Aviv Hilton. As a judge, I remember saying to myself: “This is true Male Bovine Excrement” (you know what I mean..). There is absolutely no way to objectively measure who surfs better than another. At best, the results are some kind of a popularity survey. In fact, those that I considered to be the best all-around surfers in the country at the time did not even participate in the contest. Forward to 2008 and see that some of the best surfers around (anyone willing to argue that Laird Hamilton is not at the top of the surfing world?) do not take part in any surf contests.
The parallels to the world of wine are obvious (at least to me). Wine is, after all, as personal an experience as any wave dance. There are those who cherish tube rides and those who seek nothing but huge monster waves… some of us may like black licorice, some of us hate it. The need to rank wines (or waveriders) and declare a winner can be directly traced to someone’s wish to gain a marketing advantage for financial gain, nothing more. Make no mistake, when Longboard get’s a score of 93 (The 99 Rochioli Cabernet in case you forgot) I will gladly publish it and take the credit, after all we are trying to run a winery, not a non-profit organization. But, early in the morning, having sucked down a cup of java and while I walk the vineyards with Bear (my Australian Shepherd) thoughts of scores and competitions are not even close to my universe. More likely, I am thinking of weather patterns and soil moisture or just trying to suck in the fresh smell of mustard weed crushed under my boots, wondering if any of it will be expressed in the wine you will be sipping. Just thought you’d like to know.