It’s early and the winery is silent. The whoosh of water, thrum of pump, and whirr of machine has yet to begin. I’m plunging the Malbec, pushing down the cap of skins that have floated to the surface of the ferment, bubbled aloft by carbon dioxide produced during fermentation. And for the first time ever, it is quiet enough for me to actually hear what plunging sounds like. It has the resonance of the sea. Each plunge elicits a wave and reverberation. There’s a rush of tide created by the seeds tumbling in the wash and plinking against the side of the open tank, like waves breaking on a pebbled shore. Each motion sets up the soft swoosh and ebb of the wine dark sea. She churns and seethes and bubbles and pops, pulsating with vigor and life, all set in motion by the plunge.
The wind shoves in through the marris, rattling the leaves, and causing a sentinel pair of cockatoos to lament. The energy of that translates into the wine through the kinetics of plunge. I clench bandhas, control breath, reach to make each thrust a graceful vinyasa. I will myself into a clear focus, only to catch a random cloud casting an impish shadow across the fields. And in that moment I feel like the world has just moved through me, and on through the wine, and it has. This moment, and then this one, will reverberate in the drinking.
It’s profound and inexplicable. It’s part of the transmutative magic.
I continue the motion, breathing a heartbeat, now setting up a diastole, systole, a thrust of intention through the lifeblood of the ferment. I pause to test a sample of this living beating concoction. I have my hands in her, my arms. Everything has gone purple. I taste her with my nose, throat, lungs. I’m intoxicated and haven’t had a drink.
A living current has flown into me through the ferment and back out of me again. She is making herself, and I merely follow her command, caught up in her immensity, her power, her inexorability.
Hours later, I still hear her powerful song, still breathe her heady scent. Something still resonates in my spine. It is her breath. She breathes, inspiration and expiration, with a breath so great, it encompasses the region, and time itself. This is way bigger than I am.