When I read Deborah Brenner's book Women of the Vine about women wine makers, I was impressed that many of the women she had interviewed had come to wine making later in life as a second career. The women all shared a devotion to good farming practices, good business practice and good wine.
After writing her book, Deborah found that she herself was on a new path. She formed an all women wine company and called it "Women of the Vine".
Deborah said after she listened to my CD Slingshot, that she found the lyrics of my songs meaningful because they came from a place of change in a woman's life. The themes resonated with her, like the stories of the women wine makers.
And so because we thought these nice things of each other, we started the "Wine Women and Song" tour and went on the road.
We have seen vineyards, talked to farmers who care about sustaining the land with good, organic farming practices, we have tasted great wine with the women who made it, we have played and sung songs to fabulous audiences, and we have stayed up late. Well beyond our bedtimes.
I once innocently asked an audience after they had been at a wine tasting, if they swallowed.
A restaurateur in Paso Robles taught us how to make gnocchi. We went to the Single Pebble in Burlington and had their famous "mock eel".
Other good things happened. I got two legal bootleg live Lucinda Williams records as a gift.
I learned what a "thief" was in the wine world. (It is a siphon for tasting wine straight out of the barrel). We are living a life of suitcases and hotel rooms, with trips back home to see the kids.
We are back in the touring van of old, the one we used to live in when we were young and in a band.
There is a lot of van humor going on, stops on the way at funky little places, and world of culture that we never knew about.
Farm Aid was started in 1985 by Willie Nelson, Neil Young ,John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews as a concert to support small local farms in the US. Since that first concert it has grown into a national organization to raise awareness about the loss of family farms in the US, and to raise funds to help support and keep these farmers on the land.
"Women of the Vine" is the first all women wine company to partner with Farm Aid, and so our "Wine Women and Song" tour will be part of the Farm Aid concert which will be held in Kansas this August.
We are very excited to be a part of it.
If you plan on going to the concert, look out for a bunch of women with wine glasses. That'll be us. Also of course you can see me perform songs from my CD Slingshot, maybe pick up a book and CD and have a nice glass of wine.
If you can't be there, but would like to follow our progress, I will be blogging from the road about the women, about the farmers we meet, and the places we play. And of course the wine that we drink.