Fall 2023 Letter

Fall 2023 Letter

Dear friends,

Just a little over a century ago, the Sevillian poet Antonio Machado wrote one of his most famous poems, Provervios y cantares, XXIX, also known as “Caminante, no hay camino” (“Traveler, There is No Road”). Below I’ve included it in the original Spanish and have translated it to the best of my ability:

Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace el camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante no hay camino
sino estelas en la mar.

Traveler, your footsteps
are the road and nothing more;
Traveler, there is no road,
but the one you forge as you go.
Walking is the forging of the road,
and when you turn back
you see the path
through which you will never again pass.
Traveler there is no road
only ripples in the sea.

The poet tells us that life is not a determined and predictable path but a vast open sea with no map or blueprint to tell us where to go. This does not mean, of course, that all things are relative, or that we can just do as we please, or that we don’t know how we should live. We do not have a road or a map, but we have the sun during the day and stars by night. We have storms and shifting clouds, and the wind, always the wind. We do not have absolute certainty of the path or knowledge of the future, but we have a sense of direction, dim and diffuse, but a sense nonetheless. In other words, there is truth, but truth never subverts freedom. Truth is not something we can hold and tame, control and deploy; it's a reality in which we participate, and which we can only know by living.

Our natural sparkling wine, Espumante is a sort of homage to this way of understanding life, to this poem, and to the open sea. We used the closing line “Caminante, no hay camino, sino estelas en la mar” as a kind of epigraph on our label because we recognize that agriculture and winemaking are metaphors for life. This is especially true of pétillant naturel wines, also known as pét-nats or natural sparkling wines, because their essence is to be mysterious and unpredictable. Making pét-nats is inherently risky because the wine is bottled before fermentation is finished. Therefore, the winemaker can’t have total certainty over the evolution of the wine, can’t monitor its development, or do anything to change its course. All winemakers can do is look at the constellation of bacteria and yeasts, at the light of experience, make the best possible decisions, and then abandon themselves to the wind. Like in life, we can’t control all reality, but only the modest influence of our hands, the direction of our steps, and our disposition to the unknown. Yet in those humble tasks we are transformed, like grapes into a natural sparkling wine; and the traits that we bear in our personality, like the characteristics of the wine, are the evidence of the road we’ve traveled: the expression of the seed, the fruit, and the process by which we became who we are.

Therefore, regardless of how favorable the winds may be, we would do well to aim to live well, rain or shine. And we may say with Antonio Machado once again:

Cuatro cosas tiene el hombre
que no sirven en la mar:
ancla, gobernalle y remos,
y miedo de naufragar.

Mankind has four things
that are of no use at sea:
anchor, rudder and oars,
and fear of sinking.

Friends, may this season bring you the courage we need to sail these waters. May it infuse your spirit with the humility to see the right direction and with the conviction to follow it. May you be at peace with the mystery of a world in which there is no road but the one you forge. May you be friends with the ripples and the sea and the wind.



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