‘He Who Knows He Has Enough is Rich’ -Lao Tzu

(This month’s wine-writing challenge as put forth by Sally of MyCustardPie is on the theme of ‘possession.’ Here is my submission:)

Benziger Family WineryIn her book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, Francine Jay takes a famous Claude Debussy quote, ‘Music is the space between the notes, ‘ and re-purposes it to illustrate her minimalist philosophy, ‘Life is the space between our things.’ It isn’t that possessions in and of themselves are bad. They have their place, many of them a necessary place in our lives. However, while possessions can give our daily lives structure, they cannot give our lives purpose.

Recently, I visited Benziger Family Winery in Sonoma. The Benzigers are a leader in the Biodynamic movement in California. They were certified in 2000 and released their first Biodynamic wine in 2001. They use principles from sustainable, organic and integrated pest management along with Biodynamic principles in farming.

Upon entering the property, one cannot help but notice the Scottish Highlander cows grazing in an open pasture. They are there to replace chemical fertilizers. The various plants that grow all over the property are there to attract the natural predators of the grapevine pests. They have replaced chemical pesticides. The wastewater from the winery is used to feed those plants. The Benzigers do not simply own a vineyard; they have created a diverse habitat full of varied plants, birds, insects and animals. In doing so, they are caring for the land and all that is on it. Everything is there for a reason. They have created a healthy environment for the plants and the animals. From that land comes a more vital, textured and interesting wine. It is what is between the vineyards that makes the wine interesting.

Simply owning things does not make our lives rich. It is in how we care for our possessions that determines how much our possessions will add to our lives.