At Frey Vineyards, they’re planting a biodynamic native plant garden to provide a habitat for local pollinators and birds. The winery was closed to the public after a wildfire in 2017, but once it reopens, visitors will have a chance to wander among the gardens and learn about migrating Monarch butterflies and their hives of honeybees. Native flowering shrubs, milkweeds, and perennial bunch grasses will be part of a nature trail where visitors can enjoy the beauty of the vineyard nestled in the surrounding oak woodland. They can learn about key plant communities and the wildlife they support. “This kind of immersive experience links us to understanding where the wine came from and what went into making it on a deeper level,” Martensen says.
When you find a winery that resonates with your soul, consider sampling its classes and workshops. AniChe Cellars, for example, offers a tarot and wine class and full moon vineyard walks. Membership in a winery club can aid you in tuning into the natural cadences of the season by participating in their spring releases and fall harvests.
Communing and Pairing in a Wine Tasting Experience
If you’re not visiting a winery, you can still experience wine in a spiritual way. Horn recommends sensing it on the palate. “Ask the wine about the vine. Attribute any emotional resonance within the wine while asking about the experience of growing.”
In Martensen’s estimation, when we taste wine along with bridge (complementary) food ingredients, the experience can be next to ecstatic. She identifies bridge ingredients as those foods that help connect us to the wine through their interactions either in flavor, body, intensity, or basic taste (sweet, sour, salty, bitter).
For example, an arugula salad with ginger-roasted beets paired with a dry Gewürztraminer. “This combination can launch us into orbit by bringing out the best of both worlds: the sweetness of the beets vibrating a tension with the dry minerality of the wine, and the nuttiness of the arugula playing off the distinct floral aromas of the Gewürz.”
Horn reminds me how the humble act of consuming a meal can become a revelatory experience. “Our glorious taste buds and olfactory bulbs are designed for largess, and good food and wine pairing demand immediate attention,” she explains. “The aromas, flavors, and textures of food and wine are sifted through our limbic systems for a reason; gustatory experiences can be deeply emotional and transformative.”
Looking for a simple summertime spiritual practice? How about a wine and chi party.