August 20, 2019
I was thrilled when Tablas Creek invited me back out to photograph another event for them.
This time for their annual Pig Roast.
By the time I arrived, the pig was already done roasting and well on its way to being plated for the dinner, but it was still a sight (and smell) to behold.
Tablas Creek is a certified biodynamic farm.
Though wine grape growing is their main farming practice, they also farm olives as well as livestock, which includes the pig being enjoyed in that evening's dinner.
Demeter states that the goal of Biodynamic practices is "to create a farm system that is minimally dependent on imported materials, and instead meets its needs from the living dynamics of the farm itself. It is the biodiversity of the farm, organized so that the waste of one part of the farm becomes the energy for another, that results in an increase in the farm’s capacity for self-renewal and ultimately makes the farm sustainable."
When I first got into the wine industry, I was intrigued by the idea of biodynamic agriculture and its stipulation to treat the entire farm as a self-sustaining organism. It spoke well to both the analytical and idealistic sides of me. It just makes business sense to have a diverse farm, right? If one crop fails, then you at least have one or more other crops to help keep you solvent.
But beyond that, it harkens back to the age-old way of farming, done for hundreds of years in the old world: livestock, produce, and wine growing together harmoniously, feeding each other and complementing each other.
Which brings me back to this pig.
Have you heard the saying, "What grows together, goes together?" It's one of my favorite proverbs of the wine industry. The idea behind it is that wine and food cultures evolved together over time (like how the bright and fruit forward wines of Chianti pair so well with tomato-based dishes). There is another interpretation of this proverb though: in short, terroir. Foods and wines will come to express characteristics of the soil and climate of the region they grow in; making them well suited for each other on the dinner table.
This was the case at this dinner in August, where the pig grew up alongside the wines being poured, creating an absolutely unforgettable meal.
I could talk for days about the food But the other intrigues of the event beckon.
Yes, this was a sit-down dinner, but what dinner would be complete without musical entertainment?
Chris Beland is an incredible performer and is impressive in his own right. But then his daughter came out and performed with him and I. was. shook.
Harmony Chabot has a voice like honey.
She and her father played covers of several of my favorite songs and as if that wasn't enough to make me weep, they began playing a few originals of hers that were incredible. I honestly have no words, you really just need to hear them for yourself.
Thank you so much to Tablas Creek for inviting me out again.
Your kindness and support of my burgeoning photography business has meant the world to me. I can't wait to work with you again.
Heather Daenitz is the founder and photographer of Craft & Cluster, a wine & beer photography and social media marketing company based in Santa Barbara County, California.
When she isn't photographing events with talented musicians that make her cry, Heather can be found hanging out with her husband, two dogs, and three chickens in their backyard garden, contemplating biodynamics on a small scale.