Any successful endeavor demands dedication. Challenges arise, foreseen and unforeseen, and only those committed to the dream will persevere to the finish.
Sunday evening we marked the completion of one phase of our dream, the tasting room, by inviting members of our small group, as well as our pastor, to join us in celebration.
The event was warm and wonderful, gratifying and, in a way, humbling. Twenty of us gathered in the tasting room for dinner and a dedication. Our group always has a good time when we are together. It is church in the best sense of the word. There is good food and wine, and meaningful conversation emerges unplanned out of the events of our lives.
We started the evening with a wide selection of cheeses served from samples we are testing for possible presentation in the tasting room. We sipped from our five current wines. Our dinner was a ham and bean soup with cornbread, swiss cheese fondue with a selection of french bread and vegetables. The dessert course was from a tray of Christmas cookies and fruit with a chocolate fondue.
We were gathered around a large table and the conversation was robust and joyful.
Following dinner, Our pastor led us in a brief benediction (the humbling part for Larry and me). But first, he read what he called an "Unblessing", from Proverbs 23:31-35:
"Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
At the last it bites like a serpent,
and stings like an adder.
Your eyes will see strange things,
and your mind utter perverse things.
You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
like one who lies on the top of a mast.
'They struck me', you will say, 'but I was not hurt;
they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
I will seek another drink.'"
Acknowledging the irony of those words in our context with a chuckle, Larry spoke up, saying that we appreciate these words of caution. Many of us have family or friends whose lives have been troubled by the abuse of alcohol, and we will be vigilant in awareness of our responsibility to our customers. We will all take the RAMP training (Responsible Alcohol Management Program). It is something wineries must
The scriptural introduction was followed by these words of dedication written for the occasion by our pastor:
IN DEDICATION OF THE TASTING ROOM
OF THE VINEYARD AT GRANDVIEW
DECEMBER 16, 2012
This is a sanctuary.
For many the stately rows of fruit,
the trickling creek and restful glade
amidst the trees
of worship, of celebration, of shared work,
witnesses of the raising of children into men and women.
This tasting room is
just a prettied-up expression
of the hospitality, generosity and community
you have been living here
for many years.
We invite the same spirit
of life, laughter, friendship, creativity, enduring work and beauty
that has been here all along
to embrace this winery
with its presence.
May all who come here
feel the joy of friendship,
the loyalty of family,
and the satisfaction of the well-crafted
in all things.
May such generosity be given,
such warmth be expressed,
and such beauty bestowed
that every bottle
as a gift
no matter the exchange at the counter.
May you, who birthed this dream,
giving it flesh and bones, bricks and mortar,
may you find a joyful journey in this enterprise.
Through all the planning,
may you be patient.
As you work and work and work,
may you take care of yourselves
and each other.
When success comes in waves,
may you be prudent and wise.
When there are setbacks, hardships, fights and losses,
may you heal.
may your kinship come first.
May you not be too proud or scientifically-disposed
to ask God's grace and blessing on this vineyard.
May you remember the Sabbath.
That is, (Ahem!) may you rest well.
As often as you can, sit in awe of this vista,
put your feet up,
and with glass in hand, enjoy
these fruits of your labor.
May the grapes always be luscious.
May the harvest always be plentiful.
May the wine always flow freely.
And may those who come here be
nourished with conviviality and peace.
May their communion be sustained by
the cup of blessing.
With deep gratitude our family accepts these words of blessing and dedication. We are going to frame and hang them somewhere in the tasting room, a constant reminder of our mission and the community of which we are a part and to whom we are dedicated.