The Corona Virus has changed the world. We can’t see our families. We can’t open our businesses. We can’t even bury our dead.

These are the awful realities of the COVID 19 pandemic. They are far reaching and devastating.

But…have you noticed the change in people as the weeks wear on? Take the grocery store, for example. Tell me one thing any of us dislikes more than going to the supermarket? We’re always rushing, pushing, grumpy. Talk to the person behind you in line? Help someone who can’t reach the sweet mustard on the top shelf? Are you kidding me? It’s every man for himself!

I have noticed a difference lately. Everyone is nervous for sure. But people seem more aware and considerate. I almost always wind up in a personal conversation with the woman or man behind me in the checkout line. We may be wearing face masks and standing six feet apart, but still we share our stories. We talk about work, kids, parents, people we know who’ve contracted the Corona Virus and recovered, as well as those who have not. We communicate in ways we never would have thought possible before.

And so in that same spirit, I would like to share some things about myself with you. If you’re a regular reader of my column, maybe you’ll find them interesting. If not, just pretend your standing behind me in the line at the supermarket…

As of April, 2020, I have been writing the column Through The Grapevine for 16 years. I have shared thoughts about everything from Pairing Wine and Mexican Food to the Wines of The Rhone Valley. I don’t get many comments from readers, unless I make a mistake. Then I get an earful! Like the time I called Pinotage a hybrid grape instead of vitis vinifera. Almost immediately, I heard from a Pinotage expert who set me straight. I welcome expert advice. I am

a wine professional, but I sure as heck don’t know it all. That’s one of the things I love about wine. You can never know it all. That what makes the subject of wine so fascinating.

Another fact about me. If you read my column each month, you will notice a list of my qualifications at the end. I earned the title “Certified Specialist of Wine” after a year of intensive study from 2014 to 2015. My credential is similar to a Level 1 Sommelier, but my certificate was earned through the Society of Wine Educators in Washington, D.C. I worked my butt off to get that CSW, and I’m very proud of it!

Since the conversations in line at Acme often get personal, I don’t mind sharing that I have been married to the same man for 49 years. Tom and I met in college, and I have never seen the man have a down day. Sure, he has down moments, but I guarantee you, they are passing clouds in an ever-sunny sky. Tom is an optimist, a risk taker, a salesman. And he’s always listening for that knock, knock, knock of opportunity he hears when most people don’t even see the door.

Which brings me to the subject of Crossing Vineyards and Winery. Now there’s a story! Tom and I moved to our farm in Washington Crossing in 1986 when our son was 10 years old. We were still unpacking cartons of clothes and dishes when Tommy informed us that our new home “….would make a great vineyard and winery.”

“…Shut up and eat your Cheerios,” we told him.

Eventually Tommy went off to college. After graduation, his life turned in a completely different direction. He moved to California to pursue an acting career. But he never lost sight of his dream of building a vineyard and winery on the farm he grew up on. Finally, in 2000, he called us one night and asked if we would go into the wine business with him. He wanted to plant his vines, and he wanted to plant his own roots here in Bucks County where he grew up. He’s my only child; so, believe me, it didn’t take a lot of convincing. Then Tom and I charged off into a brave new world we knew little of, determined to help make our son’s dream come true.

The three of us have spent the last twenty years building, sacrificing, investing in our family business, and we’ve accomplished a lot. Crossing Vineyards’ wines have won hundreds of awards in national and international competitions. We have four satellite locations, and our products are available in local supermarkets, as well as the state Wine and Spirits Stores. Crossing Vineyards has also been named Best Winery in Bucks for nine years in a row and Best in Bucks Mont for 6.

And then the Corona Virus hit.

Now, like everyone else, we are coping the best we can. Our winery is open for curbside service only. 90% of our employees have been laid off, and many events, both private and public, have been canceled. At the date of this writing, we have no idea how long our business will remain closed. All we know for sure is that Crossing Vineyards is “non-essential” and in the “red zone.” Companies like Crossing will likely be among the last to open.

Well, there you have it. My story. I thank you for letting me tell it, even if you’re not a regular reader of Grapevine. I wish I could hear yours, and if you’d like to share it, I encourage you to write to me at info@crossingvineyards.com, Better yet, when this crisis is behind us, come to Crossing Vineyards. We may need to wear masks and observe social distancing, but we can celebrate being together, even if we’ve never met before. Because now, we’re no longer strangers. We’re brothers in arms. We’re survivors. We’re friends.

Christine Carroll is a Certified Specialist of Wine. She is also a columnist for Wines and Vines Magazine in San Rafael, California, and one of the principals of Crossing Vineyards and Winery. You can contact her at: info@crossingvineyards.com

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