In the history of the world, whenever something new, revolutionary or groundbreaking has been discovered, there’s a fairly good chance that accidents were involved. Penicillin. Post-it notes. Potato chips. Matches. Sometimes all it takes is enough presence of mind, curiosity, and a dash of risk-taking to see innovation in an oops.
One of the greatest mistakes turned miracle was the discovery of wine. Picture a giant round bowl filled with a few stems of dark purple grapes picked fresh for the family table. They’re nibbled at for awhile, and then set aside, maybe sat under a cloth in a dark corner of the room as days come and go. A few weeks later, someone decides to clean house, including that cool dark corner, only to discover that those glossy sweet globes have been transformed into – juice? Gross, right? But with one daring dip of the finger, a new industry was born into the world.
Since then, winemaking has become a meticulous blend of art, science, and management, and the winemakers a perfect distillation of the entrepreneurial spirit.
Caught in its fascination and now professional pursuit is burgeoning winemaker Rachel Silkowski. We first met Rachel just a few feet away from a blazing earthen oven over fire baked flatbreads and deep, round stemmed glasses, an unbeatable combination for forming friendships. Not far from the winery where our drinks were made, we sipped vintage Pinot Noirs from 2013 and 2014 side by side, both from bottles marked RASI, the moniker chosen to represent both the maker and the nature of its contents. They were each indeed racy to the taste, or lively, with vigor and spirit, as well as a small embodiment of Rachel Silkowski herself.
Across from us sat Rachel, responsible for the flavors filling our glasses, and her partner Michel DeAscentiis, up from Los Angeles for a few days to pitch in over a particularly busy weekend at the winery. Swirling the liquid in our glasses and swishing it between our cheeks, we noted the sweetness, dry but firmly decadent. As our senses narrowed we caught notes of warm blueberry pie here and chocolate covered caramel there, the differences between the two becoming stark as night and day.