The Zen of Wine poem below was inspired by a very recent trip (Super Bowl Sunday) we took to the vineyards just north of Santa Barbara. It began as an incredible morning with the sunshine beaming through the window calling to us to start the day with a hike. We loaded up the dog and a change of clothes and took off. But this was not a day for our regular 4.5-mile hike-run; it was too beautiful. We opted for what I call K-2, which is a 5-mile vertical climb and descent along a narrow trail up the Santa Monica Mountains to the top of a ridge.
From that vantage point you can see for 40 miles in either direction; from Santa Catalina Island to the Angeles National Forest to Big Bear. It was a spectacular day to be on top of that mountain. We paused for a brief meditation, and then jogged along the ridge to a 200-foot vertical descent to dirt Mulholland Drive. We stopped again to quench our thirst with the water I carried in the backpack, gave a little to our Boxer, Kokoa, and then ran a couple miles down the trail to the car.
About an hour and a half later, we were eating local, fresh Ridgeback shrimp and homemade clam chowder at our favorite little fish shack at the end of the Santa Barbara pier. Enjoying the water, wine, and amazing food, we stared at the scenery and then each other and couldn’t help to feel really blessed in this moment. We laughed like Hotei—the laughing Buddha—knowing a secret of life that he’s bursting to share with everyone. And that secret is simple: enjoy the moment because it’s all you have. And be the moment because that’s enlightenment.
Well, it was about 1pm by now and we headed to the first vineyard. We love our reds, and especially have a soft spot for a good Pinot Noir or a nice Chianti-Sangiovese. But today we decided on one of our favorite vineyards that produces a Sauvignon Blanc that is unmatched in its subtle grapefruit taste with the perfect blend of fresh squeezed citrus and a refreshing splash of coconut. This time was different.
We took the taste outside the tasting room—slowly taking in the stunning view of the vineyard with rows of winter vines and rolling green hills that lined the backdrop. We tasted slowly and enjoyed mindfully, absorbing not just the wine, but the earth, vine, sun, and soil in every drop. It was Zen in its essential form. It was as if we could taste everything we looked at through this wonderful essence of the fruit of this scenic painting. Everything around us was embodied in this wine. It was an experience of all the senses and spirit.
It was inspiring and set the tone for the entire rest of the day. We looked at each other and knew we couldn’t have imagined a more perfect time! Throughout the day and with each taste of everything around us, I thought of the Zen of Wine and was inspired to write the poem below and gather the appropriate movie and book quotes.
The Zen of Wine
Another poem by Master Nomi
Behold the Zen of Wine
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