Do you remember when you were young and had made something you were sure would make it onto your family fridge? That hope, dream, and determination to see the approving look in your parents’ eyes. That satisfaction, surprise, and jubilation to their realization that what you made was, “pretty good.”
You couldn’t wait to see your hard work up there. For your brothers and sisters to see, for your family and friends to marvel, and the pride your parents would show you for what you made.
Now imagine, as you take your proud object of perfection to the fridge. Between the awkward Christmas photos and last year’s awful Halloween pictures, you find the perfect spot.
Only to be stopped.
The imprint our motivation leaves on the world, on people, on organizations, is our legacy.
Your weird uncle standing only a few feet to the side reminds you that you can’t put that there. You need to put it in an art gallery with all the other artists. He mumbles about taxes and something about Area 51, but you sadly accept that your beautiful creation won’t be something your family will get to share or enjoy with others here.
Instead, it will be there with all the other artists creations. Although great and amazing to you, the art teacher is clearly a hack and everyone’s an art critic all of the sudden. You get lost in a sea of artists only to watch the douche with all the Instagram followers take away your thunder.
Ok, I get it, a strange segue to small family farms, but bear with me.
Family farms are dying. There. I said it. Even now in the farming industry, family-owned farms are a thing of the past.
Soon your wine will come from some huge corporation like Buy N Large from the Disney movie “Wall-E” (great film, by the way), which owns most of the land, has a generic “the original owners did this and that” sales pitch drilled into every tasting room in Napa Valley, and all we growers can do is weep as we pass on the keys of our families homes to them.
Small family farms are the true legacy of Napa because they keep our founding traditions alive. Napa Valley is originally a community of famil…
All we ask is for the simple things.
Blood, earth, and legacy.
Grapevines are all of these things for small family farms. They are the lifeblood of a happy growing home.
They are the earth their forebears worked, protected, and loved. They are the legacy of a family, whose hard work aims to give you an experience we hope you will think is, “pretty good.”
I beg you to take a minute and look on your kitchen counter. Look for that bottle of wine that made its way to you. Think of people like me who desire to rise to the challenge of inheriting a family farm and hunger for that opportunity to show you where that bottle of wine came from.
No, not some generic vineyard name and block number. I mean the very vines. The soil and water.
Let me share with you my blood, earth, and legacy.
And now watch that dream be taken away from me. Current laws financially denying my sister and I from ever earning my families vineyard or affording to have our wine ever available at our ranch.
Having farmed in the Napa Valley for the past 36 years, I have seen many changes during that time. Some good, some bad. But what I haven’t see…
We will watch my family’s world go to another giant in the industry if we do nothing.
And nothing is something I cannot do.
Please, take a moment to sign up and support Save the Family Farms. The aim is to allow us, the small family farms, to take our hard work, turn it to wine, and from our homes, share with the public our beloved creations.
This cause affects many who, like me, see our family farms going the way of the small family dairies. We want that chance to earn our blood, earth, and legacy.
Dylan Rahn is a vineyard manager/viticulturist who grew up working on his family farm, Rahn Estate, which he and his sister will continue to operate. He wrote this for the Save the Family Farms blog.