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M6 Saga

The Saga (As the Barrel Turns...)

As the Barrel Turns...

I have always been a dreamer.  I often daydream about starting one venture or another.  However, If I overanalyze an idea enough, the urge will pass.  Most of my ideas are labor intensive and I ultimately decide that they are probably not profitable.  Sometimes, I try something just for fun; just to see if I can do it.  Then I am satisfied and move on to the next big adventure.  Evaluating these ideas has become a hobby.  Clinton told me once that I was the only person he knew who took pleasure by thinking of new “work” projects.  Most people dreamed of relaxing on a tropical island with nothing to do but eat lobster and drink rum drinks day after day.  Yeah, right.  Who wants that? 

I think it was the fall of 2003 when the idea came to me.  I was considering Christmas ideas.  An ad for a beer kit caught my eye.  Hummm, how would Anne take it if I gave her a kit to make homemade beer for Christmas?  Yeah, even I know the answer to that question.  But, I looked into it anyway.  My research led me to wine making kits.  I found that I could make a wine similar to one that we liked.  After some brief justification, I decided that Anne would appreciate the end product.  Merry Christmas, Anne. 

Her curiosity was almost untamable when she saw all of the boxes and packages wrapped in disguise.  When she finally got to open them, well you guessed it.  She looked at me and said, “You expect me to start making wine?”  She was disappointed.  It reminded me of the time I gave her a Marlin 30-30 rifle for an anniversary present.  She missed the point.  I was giving her the wine, not the kit!  After all these years, she still remembers it her way.

I made the wine and it was good.  It was very good.  I made more.  I made wine regularly and made new friends by doing so.  People were fascinated about my new hobby.  They asked about it and thought I was smart or creative or something.  We all like some attention every now and then if it is positive attention.  Sharing my hobby was fulfilling and rewarding.  Our friends liked my wines (or at least they acted like it) which helped to perpetuate the venture.  Sharing my hobby with family and friends made me feel special.  It made me feel like I was sharing something a bit unique or out of the ordinary. 

Over the years we included wine more and more with our evening meals.  As the children came of age, they tried a bit here and there.  We came to realize that by pouring a glass of Merlot with our lasagna, or a Cabernet with our steak made the meal more special.  It turned something ordinary into something special. 

I picked grapes, bought juice, and tried making wine from apple juice which flopped.  I Poured out bad wine more often that I like to admit.  Each year, Bob would share grapes from his Merlot harvest.  I brought my must home to East Texas and we consulted over phone calls.  We compared acidity, SO2, yeasts, fermentation time, color extraction and other things that sounded good.  More than once we thought we knew what we were doing until we tasted it.  I consider those early attempts as the “learning curve”.  As I poured out yet another batch of bad wine, the foxes and other wildlife that roam our neighborhood got drunk once again.  They looked forward to the event.  Sometimes, I see them at dusk looking longingly at the back door just hoping.

For better or worse, wine became a part of my identity.  We enjoyed visiting wineries and tasting rooms.  We tasted wine from the West Coast to the East Coast, from Canada to Mexico, and in Europe.  Many discussions with friends or new acquaintances included the topic in some fashion. 

Anne often reminded me in her gentle way of how much time and money I was putting into my hobby.  I made the wine at home in our laundry room.  She did not appreciate losing her countertop space for sorting and folding clothes.  Once again she saw it all wrong.  I was not making wine in her laundry room.  Instead, she was doing the laundry in my winery!  

Whenever Anne was ready to complain about the inconvenience or the expense, I would just pour her another glass.  I knew how she really felt because she never let a new visitor to our home leave without a tour of the wine stash and current vinting effort.


As the Barrel Turns...

David is the youngest; the baby of the family.   He acts like the youngest.  He works that angle for all its worth.  Although he is the least experienced wine taster, he heads up Quality Control.  David now knows that red wines are generally red in color and white wines are not actually white.  The pink wine is called Rose’ (rose-ay).  He is very encouraging as a taster because he likes everything.   I hope he is fairly representative of the general populous. 

David thought the dump bucket was a decanter.  After a contemplative sampling the content, he asked which food paired best with that particular selection.  I suggested some of Pappy’s moonshine to kill whatever germs he had just consumed. 

David is single (dating with a purpose) and an Engineer in the Houston area.  He is particularly interested in computer software and programming.  He is currently designing an app for wine tasting. At least that is what he said after spilling wine on his new iPhone.  I believed him, so I dunked the phone in my Malbec.  I then learned that he was kidding...


As the Barrel Turns...

Molly is also very artistic and creative.  She is an accomplished Photographer.  (  Hence Molly is the M6 Director of Photography. She is also learning how to run a business.  She gave us a fairly good "family discount" on the license to use a couple of her vineyard photos.  Molly plans to have some of her photography adorning the walls of the Gift Shop alongside Chelsea’s works.  She has “studied” abroad (at my expense) and has some fantastic photos of European vineyards and a bunch of other old stuff. 

Molly and husband Chris don’t live here either.  They actually live in another state.  Don’t ask me why.  It has something to do with jobs.  I know, lame, right?  However, they are still newlyweds and they need their own space (which is code for learning to live life together without the undue influence of the in-laws).


As the Barrel Turns...

Chelsea is the M6 Design director.  She is our little artist.  Her artwork hangs in the M6 Gift Shop Gallery.  She drew our M6 Logo and illustrations for our labels.  It is nice to have an artist in the family to get illustrations drawn for free.  She and husband Robert do not live locally.  They have real jobs.  They are expecting their first child very soon.  Expect M6 to be closed for a month when the baby is born.  What’s more important anyway?

Chelsea and Robert have a name picked out for our grandson, but will not tell us his name.  Therefore, The rest of us have named him Chelbert (Chelsea / Robert).  Robert’s Dad also came up with the same name independently, so it can’t be ignored.  Chelsea is getting a bit concerned that the name Chelbert is gaining popularity.  She thinks the name might stick.  We all assure her that it will.


As the Barrel Turns...

Clinton is the eldest of the children.  Mr. Personality.  He is just like his Mom.  When he enters a room, you know it.  He does not lack in self-confidence.  He does not concern himself with the mundane, nor attention to detail. He too likes to talk.  He will talk until there is nothing left to say.  Then he will just start making things up.  Because we never know what he might say, he can’t be the Marketing Director.  We do not have a Director of Bologna, so Clinton is our Food Manager.

Clinton is the only one of us that actually has experience in food handling.  He watches over our health standards and really likes to  point out things we do incorrectly.  He likes the authority and abuses it regularly.  Clinton also like managing people.  His concept of management is to insure that someone else does all of the work.  He can brainstorm, discuss the issues, decide what needs to be done and then leave.  Sometimes, I think that I am the only one who is not in management.