There is a large statue of Our Lady overlooking the vineyard, a chapel on the grounds for daily Mass, and a wine named for Pope Benedict. This is Trinitas. And it is beautiful. Trinitas Cellars has a small vineyard of its own, but sources out for most of its grapes. On the grounds of the Meritage Resort and Spa is the Trinitas Tasting Room, a cave that is home to a beautifully appointed bar. There, we met an incredibly personable (and knowledgeable) young man named Michael, who introduced us to the wines.
Among the Trinitas wines is one called ratZINger. Every year, the founders of Trinitas travel to Rome to present bottles of the wine to Pope Benedict. Steph and Tim Busch are very active in Catholic ministries and organizations in the United States and this winery truly reflects their authentic Catholic sensibilities.
A sweet picture book on the shelves amongst the wine bottles captured my attention while Mike was chatting wine and baseball with Michael. The Grapes Grow Sweet is the story of a family bringing in California grapes at harvest time. Beautifully illustrated with rich, watercolor pictures, the book tells the story of Julian and Adrienne Rossi, two children growing up in the fourth generation on a Napa vineyard. The story is tenderly told and every time I read it aloud to my children, I'm drawn into the warmth of this family and the love and respect they have for the people who work with them. The pictures are incredibly detailed and with each reading so far, we've noticed something new. My girls were so inspred by this book that we took off last week for an impromptu visit to some Virginia vineyards, hoping to see the harvest gondolas.
But back to Trinitas:-). After we spent a very long time learning ever so much in the tasting room, Mike and I walked the vineyards. We read each of the placards and got to know the grapes a little better. We also introduced ourselves to an impressively large jackrabbit. I was surprised by how large and muscular those rabbits are compared to my Virginia garden bunnies. Alas, no picture. He was much too fast for me!
In a place like Trinitas, it's impossible not to think of the first part of John 15. I was disappointed in my (in)ability to recite it from memory on the spot and have since endeavored to commit it there.
The Vine and the Branches.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.
This time away with only Mike gave me the space I needed to really consider what God has been trying to prune and how He calls me to lay down my life (and for whom). We don't, of course, need a vineyard and a wine named for the rosary to do that, but I am astonished at the generosity of both God and my husband, who provided them well before I even knew to ask.