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Native Red
El Dorado, CA 

   One morning a cool breeze came down from the Sierra Foothills and passed across a farm in El Dorado California. It woke the rooster who cock-a-doodle-did his thing and announced the new day to the sleeping farm. Farmer Skinner opened his eyes, stretched and got out of bed to go visit the grapes in the vineyard. "C'mon, Dog," said the farmer. "We have to  tell the grapes about the big party."

   Farmer and Dog walked out to the vineyard and Farmer stood up on a box so that all of the different grapes could hear him. "Morning, Grapes! Dog and I have a big announcement. We're going to be having a great big harvest party and we want you all to come!" The grapes were so excited that they couldn't say a word. Farmer Skinner and Dog headed back to the farmhouse for farm breakfast.

   After a few minutes the delighted grapes began discuss their plans for the big party. What were they going to bring? Petite Bouschet was the first to speak. "Since I'm the only grape here with red flesh I think I'll add a little color to the party."

   Trousseau spoke next. "Well I've been called a lot of things, like Bastardo and Gray Riesling, but I'm not going to let that stop me from showing up to a party. I'm going to bring flavors of red berries and sour candy." 

   One by one, all the grapes called out what they planned to offer. "Strawberries and rhubarb!" exclaimed Mission. Carignan shouted "I'll bring raspberries and baking spices." "Tart cherries and violet" said Cinsault.

   The excitement in the vineyard grew. Grenache agreed to bring citrus rind, strawberries, black cherries and some tobacco. Grenache was always an overachiever. Plum and pepper would be provided by Counoise; blackberries and roses from Mourvedre; and bramble, raisins, fig and currants from Zinfandel.   

   Marsanne and Rousanne, both white grapes, weren't sure what was left to bring to the party. "I guess I could bring some quince and apricot" said Marsanne in a quiet voice. Rousanne lit up and  asserted "Yes! And I will provide chamomile, meyer lemon and beeswax!"

   That afternoon all the happy grapes arrived at the barn. Farmer Skinner invited them all to get in a big tank where they could mingle. Then he smooshed them and squashed them until there was nothing left but juice. He added some indigenous yeast and went back to the farmhouse to do farm stuff. When he returned to the tank he poured some of the juice in a glass. He took a drink and smiled. "That's what I'm going to bring to the party. They're going to love this at Divino" said Farmer Skinner. And that is exactly what he did, calling it Native Red. And Divino loved it. 

-Don Ryan

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