Isolation and Collaboration

Though the etymological origins of “collaboration” means, literally, to “work together”, the most gratifying collaborative efforts I’ve been involved with always begin in isolation.  By isolating myself with the object of my affection; a vineyard site or a wine already being raised in the cellar, I can better determine where it seems to want to go. Really, the act of isolation is one of extreme listening; if I am distracted by others or by my phone, technology…whatever the case may be, I am no longer present. I am no longer open to receiving any inspiration that may exist in the moment.

By isolating myself with the object of my affection; a vineyard site or a wine already being raised in the cellar, I can better determine where it seems to want to go.

It appears that the winemakers and vineyard managers with whom I’ve worked in the past, and with whom I am working now, are very much the same way. Perhaps that is why our collaborative efforts have proven to be successful, insofar as we are proud of the work we’ve produced together.

As individuals, we interpret a vineyard site or a wine through the prism of our own experiences, perseverance and creative impulses. Then, when we come together to move a project forward, we each share our insights with each other. The most satisfying acts of collaboration always have about them an element of surprise and the unpredictable. While I am considering the direction of a certain project, or vineyard site, or wine, others are doing the same, but from their own perspectives. I do enjoy when I’m sitting in a room with co-workers and discover some element of a project that had not yet occurred to me. It could be that someone has an historic understanding of a site that I don’t have, or perhaps I’ve discerned something about a wine’s potential texture that hadn’t yet occurred to someone else. Those moments solidify for me that misanthropy, which can be a tendency of mine, is not as sustaining as communion.