Sacred Winter Wine

Why do I write?

Two wine barrels, weighty beyond what I could ever manage in my own strength or experience, are before me bursting with priceless liquid and only me to tend them.

I could watch as the overflow spills, disappearing into the ground.


I can carefully gather every possible drop into cup after cup, drink up my grief, taste my beautiful memories and offer a portion timidly to others.

I know not everyone will want to drink this cup,

not even a sip,

not caring for sunset wine

pressed out through a pen.

Angelo's generous spirit , his example,

uncorks this cherished vintage so precious to me

that I offer it to others who love him,

who love me,

who loved us together.

As I listen to myself and others

I sometimes find the words to describe the complexity of what my soul is tasting.

I hold out a glass of this treasure

to those who are grieving or love someone who is,

and are struggling to communicate details of their experience to themselves and others.

Two people can taste the same wine and describe it similarly or differently or both. Wine tasting is uniquely individual with the opportunity of the added aspect of comfort and joy when shared.

Greif can feel like the loneliest of places.

I raise this glass of heartache, because it’s never good to drink alone.

While listening to others and sharing the unique experience that only my heart is tasting, I’m offering to share a glass of honor, comfort and joy.

I pour mourning and memories into glass after glass, so that they don’t spoil and go untasted turning to bitterness.

I pour love and loss out in hopes of finding warmth and comfort,

notes of sweetness and depth,

richness and fullness of color and flavor

from beginning to end.

This is how Angelo described his wine.

Fullness to the end.

He was most pleased and proud about this quality of his wine.

He was always disappointed with a wine that had a flat finish, when the taste ran out.

If you knew him, you have generously been offered a glass of this treasure. It was an invitation to benefit from his hard work and genuine hospitality, to share his joy of life and to know goodness.

So I pour out our life in words, hoping he’ll be proud of my attempts, sharing all of it in its fullness from beginning to end, this generous treasure of sacred wine and goodness.

Salud Angelo!

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth-

For your love is more delightful than wine.” Song of Songs 1:2

“Place me like a seal over your heart,

like a seal on your arm;

for love is as strong as death,

as unyielding as the grave.” Song of Songs 8:6

This brief timeline of the wine making process speaks so much of how Angelo lived and loved. I always saw the poetry in it. I can see his smile and feel him encouraging all of us in it.

Vine distributer delivering vines to Angelo and I, it was a happy day, symbolic of so many hopes and dreams and new beginnings we welcomed from God.

Planting his vineyard with family and friends. Working, digging deep and celebrating life, his birthday together. It felt like Eden's vineyard.

Weeding around young plants, carefully protecting them. Our hearts toward our children.

Setting fence poles with his youngest son to create safe boundaries. May 11, 2019

Family working together to complete security.

Checking for sweetness to decide if it's time to harvest, submitted to process led by creation.

Harvesting together, working hard to gather up all the goodness, everyone, children and grandchildren. When the harvest is a bit disappointing, remember the good harvests and look forward to the next season.

Crush, press, wait. Pain, process, patience.

Enjoy life with family.

Invite others into the joy

Be at peace with your Maker.