‘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.

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25 comments on “‘He Who Knows He Has Enough is Rich’ -Lao Tzu

  1. Beautiful. As always. Nicely dealt with the challenge!! Chapeau.

  2. Duff's Wines says:

    A great post and brings me back to what’s important. True that we get hung up on ‘stuff’, as George Carlin once waxed eloquent. But, when it comes down to it – we WANT stuff, we NEED purpose, substance, and love in our lives. Sniff.

  3. Sally says:

    Beautifully done. Really interesting to learn more about a biodynamic vineyard too.

  4. Nicely done! Especially the last 2 sentences — they could be on a plaque. And for the record, I take very good care of my stemware hoard . . . 😉. Salud!!

  5. Short is sweet.

    And thank you for the info– I’m working on a novel about the clash between profit/productivity and stewardship/biodiversity and I was wondering whether there were any wineries committed to this. I applaud them, and you.

    • foxress says:

      Thank you, Tracy. Your novel sounds intriguing. Visiting Benziger was an eye-opener. Because of its biodiversity, it really was much more vibrant than any other winery I’ve seen.

      • Novels take a long time for me to bring to fruition (sort of like wine). I expect it will take 6-7 years before it’s finished.

        But, it’s definitely got me intrigued. I can only hope I’ll write it well enough that it will also intrigue readers.

  6. coastalcrone says:

    i really like the quote and and glad to know that a winery is conservative. I will check it out the next time I am in the area.

  7. Great interpretation of the theme. I guess I should get to work on mine!

  8. […] – Foxress – writes about putting perspective around possession  […]

  9. The beauty of words and how one reacts to a word is as unique as the winery you discussed. Bravo.

  10. […] ‘He Who Knows He Has Enough is Rich’ -Lao Tzu by From Vinho Verde to Barolo with Love […]

  11. Bernie says:

    Thought provoking. As we prepare for a possible move, we are cleaning out attic and basement. Decisions around possessions are at the top of our minds.

    • foxress says:

      Ever since I read, ‘The Joy of Less’ I’ve been giving away and throwing away things like crazy. It’s been such a pleasure getting rid of things we never use. Good luck with your cleansing.

  12. […] ‘He Who Knows He Has Enough is Rich’ -Lao Tzu by From Vinho Verde to Barolo with Love […]

  13. […] ‘He Who Knows He Has Enough is Rich’ -Lao Tzu by From Vinho Verde to Barolo with Love […]

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