Keeper of the Wine by Dennis Z. Smith

     It somehow seems appropriate that I should share this beautiful poem with all my readers after completing our 2015 Vintage harvest this past weekend.  I was at the winery this past Summer fretting over some detail of the weather that was beyond my control when a couple, whom I had never met, introduced themselves and told me how much they enjoyed our wine.  As we spoke, I must have said some of the things that were on my mind about the fear I have for our grapes all through the Spring, Summer and Fall and he asked if I wanted to hear a poem to sooth my anxiety.  Of course I did and I thought he would run to his car to get a book.  Instead, he began reciting the lyrics which he had memorized in perfect style and cadence.  I was completely captivate to hear all of my fear, joy and expectations perfectly summed up in a beautiful poem.  When I found out that he wrote the poem himself, you can imagine my surprise and appreciation.  Here is the original composition sent to me by the author himself for exclusive publication in Cassel Vineyards of Hershey's Blog.  Thank you Dennis for these beautiful lyrics.

Keeper of the Wine

As he sits upon a porch step looking down upon his vineyards

The keeper of the wine wipes off his face

The rain is somehow warm this morning but a chill inside feels like a warning 

There’s a constant ache of thoughts he can’t escape

Will the water from the skies that burns my weary eyes

Once again be too much for my vines this year... I fear

It’s been so long I wonder why Dionysus doesn’t hear me cry

For a season and a harvest oh so rare… to share

A taste that you just can’t describe it simply brings your soul alive

With a body oh so deep and rich it flows

A color that can mystify would surely blow Bellini’s mind

This yearning for perfection haunts me so… and it grows

Get up off of those steps of stone there’s a fire to ease your aching bones

Denis come inside and spend some time with me 

Winter’s come and gone and spring is here a master’s touch you have my dear

But nature has the say of what will be… you see

He prunes the branches with such care as a wind blows rumors through the air

A slate grey hound named Irish by his side… in stride

Along the rows of green he walks with blossoms gently formed he talks

Now see there girl the grapes are finally here… a tear 

For a taste that you just can’t describe it simply brings your soul alive

With a body oh so deep and rich it flows

A color that can mystify would surely blow Bellini’s mind

This yearning for perfection haunts me so… and it grows

The blackened babes hang from the branches whatever caused these circumstances

Must be an answered prayer from heaven’s dove

Athena come and see the harvest along with me you’ve borne the hardness

Of a dry spell in my life with all your love… your love

The cellars full their shelves will coddle the masterpieces in the bottles

Developing a palate so silky soft and sweet

When the smoky notes caressed his nose the spirit within him now arose

To the calmest place he ever took a seat… complete

From a taste that you just can’t describe it simply brings your soul alive

With a body oh so deep and rich it flows

A color that can mystify would surely blow Bellini’s mind

That yearning for perfection, it no longer haunts me so… and it grows

 

The day we finished harvest, this rainbow appeared over our vineyards.  I take it as a good omen for the 2015 vintage.

The day we finished harvest, this rainbow appeared over our vineyards.  I take it as a good omen for the 2015 vintage.

This is a more tangeable measurement of the fruit of our labors. The final tub of the Chambourcin dumped into the crusher/destemmer.  That makes 31 tons of our own grapes for us all to enjoy! 

This is a more tangeable measurement of the fruit of our labors. The final tub of the Chambourcin dumped into the crusher/destemmer.  That makes 31 tons of our own grapes for us all to enjoy!