It is that time of year when we are meant to reflect a bit on gratitude. At Windham Wines, we are grateful always to those who continue to support us. Without your support, we won’t be here. In the age of Amazon Prime, and next to a state that locates massive single-buyer driven liquor and wine outlets on its borders, we need you. American Express, ironically enough, is a big proponent of small businesses. It has worked to reclaim the Saturday after Thanksgiving as a day to support local businesses. It’s slogan for Saturday, November 24th is “shop small, and make a big difference.” We have observed to you before that for us, every bottle sold counts.
It’s a bromide to say that the market reflects consumer preferences. We shop at the farmers’ market or Walker Farm because we like what they offer and, by shopping with them, we ensure their survival and therefore our consumer-interest. In that case, we are supporting local farmers over large scale, corporate farming. The marketplace is a political sphere in which our choices help us influence the kind of world in which we want to live. At Windham Wines, we try to be attentive to the preferences of our customers. We hear from you that you like small-scale, family-owned, place-driven, at least sustainably but ideally organically or biodynamically-produced wines.
Why these wines? These are wines rooted to particular people and to a particular place; they have a story to share. Our customers provide a means for that story to be heard, to have it survive in the context of corporate vineyards, glossy adverts, grocery stores, state liquor stores and Amazon.
Each tasting we host at Windham Wines, our presenters, whether winemakers or importers, leave buoyed by the appreciation of our wine-curious customers who listen, ask, and engage with them and who ultimately preserve their producers by buying those wines. Writer-importer Terry Theise identifies the “confluence of terroir, family and artisanality” as the “soul” of a wine. It elevates wine from a “mere thing to an actual being” (Theise, What Makes a Wine Worth Drinking, 38). Our customers get this, and the winemakers and importers see that and love coming here. We are lucky to have customers who recognize that wines can have soul and who come to us for those.
I am grateful to live in an area of incredible beauty that attracted such interesting people. We give thanks for our customers who continue their quest to know their palates, and who want to drink honest, authentic wines along that journey. We made recommendations for some of those below for you to invite to join you this Thanksgiving. Each will be a gracious companion at the table.
At our Bosnian tasting with Indira Bayer, Patricia Whalen and Bob Madrigan, among the many things that we learned was the word Bosnians use to toast-Zivjeli, which translates approximately “to live.” Seems like the right toast to use to close this email about our gratitude to our customers who choose wines that live.