Recently I’ve been very frustrated. Frustrated I have to stay inside, frustrated with all the rains that won’t let me work when I want outside, frustrated with myself. I have been quiet for quite a while, observing the world, but it is time to let the world have a piece of my mind so that my mind can have some peace.
I have moved back home, after almost seven years. It is not the place I have left. All the people I knew have gone. Escaping the “prison” called Samos. Trying to find a better life in the bigger cities, with everything they need at their fingertips, like having the option to choose between Chinese food and burgers for dinner, or even drive to Venice in a day if they want.
I could have had this life. But I would be miserable. Living the 9-5 life, and spending 2 hours every day in cramped buses. So I left my old life and pursued a new one, far away from people I knew, to find languages I didn’t speak and drink drinks I didn’t know existed but became my favourites (mate, I’m looking at you). And then I realised, that no matter how far I searched for it, I always knew deep inside where to find what I wanted. I want to be free, sit down in the grass between my own vines and hear the undisturbed sounds of nature. I want to be able to walk to the beach to see the sunset. I want to be able to live.
So I returned to the starting point. Samos.
Loving is tough and loving wine is no exception. Sometimes you think the world revolves around it. During my travels, I was always surrounded by equally passionate people. We would spend hours discussing our favourite wines or having endless arguments regarding tilling. We would eat pasta for days to save up and we would spend all the extra money on wine trips and random bottles for blind tastings. For a while, it seemed that wine was the only thing that mattered.
And then I returned home. Where people think that Muscat grows only in Samos, and “vinegar” is a common nickname for wine. Where people treat wine like it is water turned bad (sorry Jesus). Where everyone was amazed that viticulture and winemaking can be something you can get a Master degree in. Where nobody understands why I am who I am.
Maybe I’m still stuck in my own little bubble, but I do believe you don’t truly experience life until you explore wine. Wine carves paths in your brain you didn’t even know you had. My ability to precisely remember a wine, describe it and recognise it is still a miracle to me. It is like being an athlete, but you train your senses instead of your muscles, and it is truly rewarding. It makes you feel powerful. Wine also lets you explore the history of the world in an interactive way, starting from prehistoric times. And it is part of a history that hasn’t stopped writing itself and is still active today.
Most importantly, wine is part of our social life. Wine isn’t meant to make you drunk. Wine is meant to be enjoyed with food on the Sunday lunch, or with your best friends in the afternoon while you talk about your days. Wine will be there to break the ice on the first date, and a nice red wine will always guarantee a good laugh once you look at your purple teeth in the mirror.
Unfortunately here in Samos, none of this happens. Wine is the concoction that arrives in a metal 0.5L jar. Wine has a terrible sweet and sour taste, that could potentially be turned into a great salad dressing. Wine is drunk fast in tiny shot glasses. Wine is there to get you drunk.
I greatly miss having friends over, talking about the next-big-thing grape variety we’ve heard of while holding a glass of Cab. I miss seeing people treat their vineyard with love and not like it’s a burden. I hope I can find this kind of joy again in my everyday life. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter that I spend my days in the vineyard that I love. It doesn’t matter because here I’m alone in this wine-loving quest.
So come join me, while I go on and on about random ideas, and please argue with me when I support dumb things.
Until next time,