We arrived at the Utah vineyard on a cloudless July weekend and were able to meet the other volunteers and hosts in a state of relaxation. The multi-acre property had many unique features: a wine cave built directly into the red rock canyon wall (hidden behind 9 foot doors), an outdoor wooden-planked bar called “The Goose” that was converted from an old farm animal pen, a swimming hole situated next to the grapevines (perfectly located for an icy dip after a long day working in the sun), fruit orchards, and a wooden wwoofer cabin with a large front porch suitable for lazy days.
On our first workday, we were introduced to the unruly merlot vines that needed to be pruned and “trained”. We first needed to remove/trim the vines that were non-fruit bearing, and therefore unnecessary. After the vines were trimmed, we had to direct the remaining shoots upward and outward onto the wire trellising. We did this for the duration of our 6 hours days, split between a morning and afternoon shift.
Before and after...
When we weren’t working in the vines, we were being spoiled with delicious home-cooked meals. My absolute favorite dinner was when the neighbors invited all of us to their unique home for homemade pizza. Our generous hosts were Phil and Barb, an older Mormon couple who told us that decades ago, they had a vision for building their house into a cave of the canyon wall. After years of hard work and unwavering dedication, they completed their home, which looks more like a work of art.
There is something about being in an entirely new and unfamiliar environment that heightens your senses and forces you to live in the moment. We all sat around a long table, surrounded by new friends from all over the world. A lot is learned about people by sharing a meal together, it is the common human experience that brings people closer. Missed part one? See it here.
What meal stands out in your memory? What makes a dining experience unforgettable for you?