Sunday, May 29, 2005

Trouble in Eden, or The Other White Meat...

“It seems so glamorous, the life of a winemaker. It’s all about lazing around on dreamy summer afternoons, counting profits in the shade of grapevines while birds sing a merry tune and cherubs flit about bringing snacks and replenishing beverages.” [link]

Well, I guess there’s no use trying to deny it any further…the secret’s out of the bag now.

Years ago it was all right - even downright ‘homey’ – to see the Cherubs and the birds flitting to and fro. But that all changed with the burgeoning number of winemakers here in Northern California. You see, according to nature’s plan each winemaker must have his (or her) own birds and Cherubs in attendance. With the boom in the number of wineries, almost all of which feel the need to have their own winemakers, there’s been a nearly a 100-fold increase in the number of song birds and Cherubs in the past 10 years.

These days the shrill cacophony from the song birds is enough to deafen even the most ardent music lover, and the Cherubs – The Cherubs!...the sky is lousy with Cherubs! – it’s a rare day that you can drive from your doorstep to the market without having half a dozen of them face planted on your windshield or smeared on the grill of your new Thunderbird (man! And I just washed it too…). And at large tastings with many different winemaker guests there’s so many Cherubs in attendance, it can get so dark it’s like there’s a partial solar eclipse going on. It’s certainly enough to give any claustrophobe (or for that matter any fan of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds) pause for thought.

And be careful where you step…they aren’t known for wearing, well, anything really. And when nature calls, oh boy! – too late, now your best wool jacket’s completely ruined (people have been mistakenly blaming the wild turkeys all these years for the mess)…

The time has come to take care of this problem before it gets worse, and as I see it, there are two options: get rid of either the winemakers or the Cherubs. With fewer winemakers there will be a natural decline in the song bird and Cherubic air traffic, as the Cherubs, out of boredom, will find other areas to haunt. However, that would probably be opposed by those who fear the ‘homogenization of wine’ (fewer winemakers = less diversity, so they say).

Now there are potential benefits from both of these paths, but let’s be real: there are laws against culling humans, and for good reason, while there are none on the books about Cherubs. So in the tradition of my Italian progenitori (I think his name was Facillus Descensus of Averno), on viewing anything with wings that flies overhead as potentially something that might go well with polenta, I say we get the duck blind & shotguns out.


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