By: Sean D. Pitts
Dear Friends and Family,
Happy New Year! 2017 will forever be etched in my mind as the year of fire and the glory of our resilience that brought us through. In June, we had a 5-acre fire on our ranch within a few steps of our Block 7 vineyard. It was truly one of the scariest moments of my life. That vineyard is less then a stones throw away from our house, where my wife and kids were celebrating the last day of school and the first days of summer. It turns out the fury of that day was only a premonition for what laid ahead for the entire state of California. As the summer peaked, the Whittier fire burned fiercely, providing a nightly show of brightly colored awesomeness, packed with mountains of fear. Then onto winter where a band of fires that deeply impacted our neighbors to the north, turned out to be some of the most destructive our state has ever known. Now as we turn our eyes to the New Year ahead, the Thomas fire has set the record for the largest fire in California history. Seeing the destructiveness of nature, right in front of our eyes, has renewed our understanding of the fact we are not in control. We are reminded to focus on those things that matter the most; our family, our friends, and those that dedicate their lives to keeping us safe and free.
We continue to pray for all of those impacted by the fires, and we thank all the fire fighters, police officers, and aid responders that risk their lives to ensure our families and our businesses survive. I have a deep respect for these wonderful people. When you see a fire fighter, a police officer, an aid responder that has stepped into the battlefield of a raging fire, hug them, shake their hand and most importantly thank them.
As the smoke filled days have faded, the clarity of the air brings a renewed strength and excitement for what lies ahead. We recognize that the weather conditions that create a perfect environment for fire, are the same conditions that make our wines and our California life so enjoyable. The rainfall this past winter created beautiful green fields of grass and brush. Our cover crop was as vibrant and lush as it has ever been. This rainfall, as is typical of our climate, faded to hot, dry beautifully sunny conditions. It was the perfect fuel for the fires that decimated our landscape. However, this fuel of rainfall and the CA sun also created a vintage of grapes that will for sure result in some of the greatest wines we have ever produced. I spent a lot of time in the winery praising these conditions and getting excited about the wines we were producing. It’s seems so awkward to feel so happy about something, while understanding the devastation it had also caused. I suppose its just like the complexity of wine, where our emotions, our feelings, our attitudes create a something special that provide memories that will last forever.
My New Year’s wish for us as we go into 2018 is to go hug your family, your friend, and your neighbor. Let’s all go be awesome together! And let’s do it while enjoying a glass of wine. Cheers to the New Year!