Go To Page #1  #2   #3  #4   #5  #6   #7  #8   #9  #10   #11  #12

Zin Avenger LOGO

Awakenings Chapter 1: Dreams, Page 2

“I promised to help set up tables, so I have to be there at 4 o’clock.  Are you helping with the hor’dourves?”

“Remember, I volunteered to bring my famous meatballs.  I also need to be there early.”

Joe realized that today there would be no time to return to the tunnel, especially if he was to keep it secret at this point.  The tasting room would be open at 11:00 and he was not sure if all the staff would show; good help was hard to find these days.  Most importantly, this morning he was meeting with an irrigation engineer who would be installing soil moisture sensors in the vineyards.  This was really high tech; the whole thing would be viewable and controllable through the computer in the winery office.  As a bonus, he would get vineyard temperature sensors installed also.  Zinfandel growers use as little water as possible in order to create grapes with intense flavors.  They all wait until the last possible minute to begin watering, usually sometime in mid summer.  The best old vine Zinfandels, including Joe’s own, are seldom watered.

Walking past the wine refrigerator in his den, he noticed the glass that he had used to drink his great grandfather’s wine last night.  There were faint lavender colored crystals coating the entire inside of the glass where the wine had been, quite unlike anything Joe had ever seen from a wine.  As he placed the glass onto a shelf so that it would not accidentally get cleaned, he thought about a wine chemist he knew that might be able to analyze these crystals.

As Joe walked over to the winery, his thoughts returned to his morning’s waking dreams.  They made absolutely no sense.  They were mostly a series of images, kind of like memories, but of events he had never experienced.  What did old military trucks parked in a vineyard mean?  Why was he dreaming of somebody with a right hand missing portions of two fingers grabbing luggage off of an airport carousel? What did containers being loaded off of a cargo ship in Oakland mean?  Now young, newly planted grape vines he could understand, he had just planted several more rows this spring.  These thoughts quickly changed focus as he reached out to shake the hand of the irrigation engineer.

Sure enough, one of the tasting room employees didn’t show, on a weekend when several stretch limousines were expected.  So by the time 3 o’clock rolled around Joe and Elise were loading wine and food into El Zin, their hot rod 1956 Chevy panel truck.  Joe was not able to make it back to the mine tunnel.  All day, he kept recalling the random images of the morning.

Later, Joe drove El Zin past the grass parking lot for the fair and into the gate to take his wines right up to the tasting area next to the main exhibit hall.  He was pleased to be able to set up his truck right at the tasting where he could display the Gambaro Hat wine label logo painted on the sides.  In the distance, the engine noises from the midway mixed with rock music and screaming from the rides.  He could smell the livestock pens.  This year, for some reason, the fair directors had placed the antique one-lung gas engines on the grassy area right next to the wine tasting area, which was not a good idea due to the smell of gasoline interfering with the tasting of the wines.  Joe then remembered that a cable TV channel was going to be out filming these engines and guessed that the fair directors wanted a photogenic area.

Joe and a few of the other winery owners/workers grabbed tables and set them up in a large circle.  Some tables were set up in a long row along the fence.  Several were set up in the middle of the circle to hold the hor’dourves to complement the wine tasting.  Joe set up one table directly behind the open back doors of El Zin, prominently displaying the wine barrel made into a wine bottle carrier within El Zin, which was set up for tailgate wine tasting.

Joe saw one of the local winery managers setting up wine bottles on a table next to his.  “Hi Ed, so Chateaux Ponderosa is setting up two tables this year? I see your other table across the way.”

Ed smiled. “I went to work for the buyers of the old De Marco winery.  When old man De Marco died, none of his kids cared about the winery and sold it to the Fairchild Group out of Fresno.  They have renamed the winery Etoile Rouge.  Check out the new label.  We got a gold medal for the remaining vintage of the De Marco Cab Franc.  The winery property had over 100 acres of unplanted land that we now have planted in Zinfandel.”

Continued ...     Back to Page 1