At this point, most people know we’ve tagged Block 1, Row 1 of the Bells Up Estate Vineyard with a plaque honoring the memory of Sara’s mentor, Kelly Palmer, whose diagnosis with—and subsequent death from pancreatic cancer—at age 40 was one of the inspirations for us chucking our Midwestern suburban existence to establish this winery and vineyard.
We’ve since continued to add plaques to many other posts every year around Memorial Day, but we haven’t blogged about it because, well, it’s just been too hard. This past couple of years have been particularly difficult and devastating. Both we, and some of our dearest friends, have lost loved ones—mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, godparents, grandparents, children, sisters, brothers, friends. So while we’ve continued to hang the plaques on the end of the vineyard rows, writing about it hasn’t been as easy an exercise.
But this year we harvested every row in our estate vineyard over two consecutive Sundays in September rows for the first time ever to produce our very first Estate wine (2017 Prelude Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir), and now seemed a good time to remember that we’re seizing the day and the moment for everyone who has left us. Grief, like wine farming, is a process. We like to think of the roots of the vines growing stronger into the ground and our hearts and memories, while the vines reach their shoots and leaves heavenward.