If you think about it, what COVID has forced us to do is change in some way or another. Whether it’s the decision to wear a mask or get vaccinated, we have been forced into making a decision that in many ways could be considered a life and death decision.
In one way or another, change makes us all uncomfortable, especially when thinking about one’s own survival and that of the people around us.
The decision challenges us to address our own “comfort” zones. If by nature you hate change you describe yourself as a “conservative” you want to conserve the status quo. If on the other hand you embrace change you have in theory the liberty to do that and you might be labelled a “liberal.”
This binary state, conservative against liberal pits us, one against another, and has done so since the beginning of civilization.
That polarization is, in my mind, the underlying cause of unnecessary conflict resulting from what I call the “human condition” or if you will human nature.
The way that we have been divided over whether or not to wear a mask, or even get vaccinated, made me think of the satire of Johnathan Swift who ridiculed human nature in his stories of Gulliver’s Travels. In book four the king of Lilliput decreed that his subjects should open their boiled eggs at the sharp end.
The people in Lilliput who, for as long as they could remember, had always opened their boiled eggs at the big end took great offense to this edict.
The People so highly resented this Law, that our Histories tell us there have been six Rebellions raised on that account; wherein one Emperor lost his Life, and another his Crown. These civil Commotions were constantly fomented by the Monarchs of Blefuscu; and when they were quelled, the Exiles always fled for Refuge to that Empire. It is computed that eleven thousand Persons have, at several times, suffered Death, rather than submit to break their Eggs at the smaller End. -1745Jonathan Swift, “Gulliver’s Travels”
The only real difference between now and then is that opening a boiled egg has much less consequence than not wearing a mask or not getting a vaccine.
So if I had to put a label on the last three months this has been the summer of change like no other. Change has affected us all in a personal way, within our own families, within our own social groups, within our own state and within our own country both nationally and internationally. Within these boundaries we (“we” meaning Veritas) have been among the lucky ones. Not for one moment do I want to imply that we were in any way instrumental in that luck except to say that we embraced the challenge to change and we got lucky.
First off, we got all our workers vaccinated through work done by Bill Tonkins and myself working with local authorities.
Interestingly, although vineyard workers were classified as “essential” workers, probably because of tax revenues on alcohol, it took an arm and a leg to get it done.
The vines grow on regardless of the human condition. All in all 2021 has been a good growing season despite the fact that we have weathered hurricanes Fred, Grace and Henri and most recently and, perhaps the worst, Ida.
Harvest started pretty much in line with previous years. We began as we usually do with the slightly under ripe Chardonnay that we deliberately pick early to make our sparkling wines like Scintilla and Mousseux. And as usual the early Chardonnay is harvested just before we bring in our beloved Sauvignon Blanc.
As we bring in our fruit, our hearts go out to one and every wine grower and wine maker in California where the combination of drought and fire have devastated their livelihood.
Our trusty field marshal (and Vineyard Manager) Bill Tonkins has kept most of the pestilence at bay using his experience with technology and spray programs.
Remember that not so long ago Bill was President of the Virginia Vineyards Association and sat on the Virginia Wine Board where he played an important role in guiding the Virginia wine industry.
Now, our CEO George Hodson has been elected as a member of the Virginia Wine Board.
It might be worth briefly elaborating on what the Virginia Wine Board is and does. The Wine Board was set up in 1984 by the Virginia General Assembly. It was initially under the control of Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to promote the interests of vineyards and wineries in the Commonwealth through research, education and marketing. In our early years there was much frustration between VDACS and the wineries primarily because of the red tape involved with any State-run organization. It was David King, of King Family Vineyards, who worked to make the Wine Board independent from VDACS.
The Wine Board is basically in charge of the future of the Virginia Wine industry; it is made up of ten individuals, nine of whom have voting rights who receive funds from the General Assembly. The budget varies from year to year and is derived from taxes on all forms of alcohol levied in the Commonwealth. In actuality, the amount spent on supporting the Virginia Wine Industry represents less than 5% of the total revenues.
The fact that George is on the Wine Board as well as President of the Virginia Wineries Association is both a huge honor and a huge responsibility that he will have to bear in guiding the future of the Virginia wine industry by emphasizing wine quality as the brand of Virginia wine.
This is a big one and one that my wife Patricia deserves most of the credit for leading the team that got the Farmhouse voted the sixth best winery restaurant in the USA AND the BEST winery restaurant on the EAST COAST!
Lindsey’s career in Marketing and PR took off when she moved to Australia to pursue a Master’s in Communications. While living in Brisbane, she managed social media and assisted with major fundraising campaigns and events for a non-profit advocacy group and freelanced with a public relations agency and a digital marketing agency.
Moving home to the D.C.-area after 4 years, Lindsey and her husband settled in Maryland along the Biotechnology Corridor where Lindsey worked as Senior Marketing Manager for a pharmaceutical manufacturing association. She is now the only marketing manager at Veritas and boy have we felt the benefit. The good thing is that she is learning about a whole new set of variables both in regard to wine and to ecommerce. She is a welcome asset to us all here at Veritas.
Despite Covid we managed as a family to get away to Sandbridge for our annual Beach week. Sun, sand and sea with a good dollop of sun screen followed by a good dollop of ice cream.
Unfortunately all good things come to an end and now thankfully they are all back at school for the first time in over a year.
Well folks, that’s it. The summer of change, yet the summer of continued challenge and adaptation to whatever comes our way.
Don’t forget, I’m an optimist and an optimist is a person who is not fully aware of all the facts…and sometimes that can be a good thing!
From all of us here at Veritas, please stay safe and have a wonderful fall.
Andrew Hodson, Raconteur and Dilletante