November 23rd, 2011

As you may have noticed, a part of what I do every month is visit winery websites. I’ve seen quite a few by now and they are almost entirely lovely. They tell stories of family and architecture, of tradition and sustainable agriculture. The owners and winemakers are pictured, alongside tales of the wonderfully successful careers of the former that allowed them to afford their own personal wineries, and a list of the degrees and world travels of the latter that qualify them for these idyllic jobs. This is all great, in my opinion. I love wine and, what’s more, I love this culture of boutique wineries that I am so privileged to live in the neighborhood of, so I’m happy for the success of the people who make it happen.

Today, though, I found something on a winery website that I’ve never seen before and, because I’ve now seen it, suddenly I’m aware of its absence on any other winery’s self-profile. The St. Clement winery has, among photos of all its crops and facilities and staff, two photos of the farmworkers who pick their grapes. The transparency and candor of that inclusion, simple though it is, are kind of moving to me. Silly me, maybe, but I feel like if those men are being highlighted as the important part of the winemaking process that they are, perhaps they’re being respected in other ways too. Of course, I know nothing about the farmworkers at any other winery and very little about the ones at St. Clement. Still, I feel like I know a bit now, and a bit more than I know about any other winery, and that bit seems good.

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