COMMENTARY
A vineyard laborer picks Grüner Veltliner at Raptor Ridge’s estate vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains. ##Photos by Andrea Johnson

Energy Well Spent

Power to the people who unify, not divide

By Hilary Berg

We live in disjointed times. Whether you are on the left or the right, or somewhere in the middle, we are all losing.

Facebook and Twitter only fuel the fire, flaring its influence during dinner or at a party. We all acknowledge what happens when mixing politics with pleasure, but alas, it happens: I’m certainly guilty on occasion.

As humans, it is in our nature to debate, analyze, think. We are also a passionate species, which gives me hope.

Passion, an intensity of emotion, requires an immense expenditure of energy. What if we took some of that power and focused, instead, on unity? I am not merely referring to reaching across the aisle. We need to connect, fervently, to our fellow beings, no matter the creed, color, history or nationality. We are all in this together — so let’s start acting like it.

For those of us in the wine industry, we have the opportunity to bring people together, and not just with wine and food. Our relationships with and conversations about the vineyard laborers can make a difference.

These are some of the hardest working people. Toiling in the blistering heat, torrential rains and all intervening elements, these individuals command our respect and require our voices.

¡Salud! has been a huge success with its vineyard worker health care program, but, I know we can do more. So does Jesús Guillén, Sofía Torres McKay and Miguel Lopez. The three Mexican-Americans are working to bridge the gap with their grassroots efforts. (See cover story on page 35.)

Their passion for wine, community and partnership translates in any language to energy spent wisely — a goal we all can support, regardless of left, right or center.

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