I should have trusted my weather intuition yesterday or the fact that a portent of the impending storm was purchased the day before, a new pair of sneakers! And so my day began as a wine host at a wine and pork festival, called SWINE Festival, located on a lawn of a community college campus north of Des Moines.
Leaving home late in the morning to meet my wine tent colleagues, temperatures around 80 degrees and the potential for severe weather in the forecast, I left unprepared for what was soon to become my Woodstock or should I say “Winestock”, but I am getting ahead of myself.
By 3pm the tent was erected, winery signs strategically placed to attract the crowds of wine lovers, and cases and cases of wine ready to be served. Ominous dark storm clouds passed overhead as the humidity increased. The crowds arrived at 4pm. Our wineries tent, a portable contraption with a canvas top, held up by an aluminum frame – the kind of structure one person can set up alone, was to be our base for the next four hours.
Within moments of opening our serving tables were inundated with thirsty wine imbibers. No trickle of visitors, it was a full-on, onslaught of $35/person wine drinkers and pork eaters who wanted to taste! We obliged with a counter offensive of “Hello, welcome to…” and “Hi, may I offer you a tasting of…” and with bottles in both hands we were pouring as quickly as the controlled, one-ounce dispersers would allow. This was serious – this was combat wine serving at its best! Fun!
The first indication of a problem began around 6:05pm with a parcel of condensed water vapor landing on my friends’ bald head. Drip. “Oh, that’ll pass” someone laughingly said. Then drop! Then Deluge! The sky opened up and rain drops whose life began 50,000 feet above us gave up to gravity and started their free fall. The 435,305,020 rain drops descended on our tent and brought along with them the ten miles of rain-generated wind – aimed directly at us and our thirsty customers.
At the same time drenched wine lovers waited in line to purchase a bottle, a dozen or two stood firm to sample, a freaked out few dove for cover under our flailing tent, while others holding stead-fast in their positions reached above their heads and securely grabbed hold of our aluminum frame to keep our tent grounded! Assessing the situation, our team continued selling wine and pouring samples while the torrent of rain was unleashed upon us. With sample bottles in hand, I exited the tent and surveyed the damage, pouring samples to our dedicated customers whose outstretched arms were holding our structure in place and whose free hand held an empty glass that received my appreciative pour.
In the wake of the storm we, all of us, stood drenched in sopping wet clothes and laughed out loud at our condition. We were a mess, soaked from head to toe, one of our aluminum frame pieces was broken in half (we secured it with some rope and our tent remained standing), and the ground was now the consistency of light brown goo. This was our Woodstock of a sort…our “Winestock”- great music, fun people, delicious wine and food, and a wonderful mess.
Next time I’m wearing my old sandals!