Blowing leaves

On a recent extremely over-the-top horribly tree branch breaking windy day, I finished some yard work and decided to head indoors out of the blustery weather.

Stepping into a sheltered spot I noticed what a pleasant day was being presented to me and I began to notice nature.

It’s amazing what one can see in nature if you look, you listen, you feel and take the time for it.

It was late afternoon, and, after the arduous yard work, it was time to look, listen and feel what was happening around me. It was also time to have a sip.

Pouring myself a small glass of Concannon Cabernet Sauvignon, I sat down in a sheltered area and quietly took in what was occurring around me. It brought a smile to my face.

Nature was playing a game with the wind and the fallen leaves.

Taking a taste of the Cabernet Sauvignon and enjoying its nice soft cherry taste (couldn’t really smell it because of too much air movement — even in the sheltered spot) and heady finish, the wine’s vitality matched the vitality of the yard. As the yard was alive with movement, the wine was alive with flavors — a perfect match for the setting.

I looked at the leaves blowing around the yard and watched them form mini cyclones. The leaves were on the move. They would be blown from here to there at one time and then tossed to somewhere else the following minute. They formed furrows (yes, we have a lot of leaves and “inherit” some from around the neighborhood) of dried foliage that then whipped into the air as a clout of wind hit them.

I listened to the wind and tried to predict when that gathering rush of wind would hit the waiting leaves. The wind would form in the distance with its distinct whooshing sound as it gathered in speed and then blow through the yard. Immediately, the leaves were off on another journey. Listening to the wind was like listening to a symphony with its quiet interludes followed by its formidable forte movements — awesome!

I felt the wind and realized that, although it was a big pain, it was a necessary part of nature. It cleansed, moved things and brought winds that both cool and warm us.

I felt thankful to have taken the time to see what nature was trying to tell me that afternoon — always take a moment and enjoy what you can. The glass of wine reinforced that thought.

Wind has a major impact on the grapes that make our wines. In our northern climate, the nasty cold northern winds make grape growing a challenge. However, thanks to our state’s university system, cold climate grapes have been developed so we can taste our region through our wines.

Painted Prairie Vineyard has a gorgeous vineyard that produces Marquette grapes that, lo and behold, become their Marquette wine. You know when you’re drinking a Marquette because of its strength, boldness of taste and delicious long lasting finish. Painted Prairie doesn’t disappoint on any of those elements — their Marquette is our Marquette grown outside of Currie — just a few miles down the road from us.

And, here’s a word of warning to the wind gods, I wouldn’t mess with Krista Kopperud at Painted Prairie!

In other parts of the country, the winds bring welcome coolness to a warm region Sonoma (Calif.) Anaba Wines is located in a warm location that flourishes because of the cooling night winds coming off the Pacific Ocean. Anaba’s Turbine Red is a blended wine: Granache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Petit Syrah. The cooling winds help produce a nice raspberry and spicy tasting wine.

14 Hands Winery located in the Columbia Valley of Washington state also benefits from not only the winds but from wind turbines, too. Because of the valley’s northern position, it can encounter the tough growing challenges we have here in Minnesota. However, the area is very resourceful and when the weather gets too cold, the vintners will use wind turbines to keep the warming air circulating through the vines. That results in grapes that can hang longer on the vine so they can become more fruity and tasty like 14 Hands Run Wild — another juicy blended wine with similar grapes as the before mentioned Red Turbine. Run Wild is racy and sassy. It pairs nicely with a windy day.

Yes, the wind can be a big pain in the rear. But, it’s here and, hopefully it will always give us the opportunity to listen and learn from it. We all know it can be a bit unfriendly at times and so it would be wise for us to study it, listen to it and learn about it as we sip a glass of our favorite beverage.