The Pollak Family
Posted on Thursday, Aug 05 2010 - 12:00 am
Henry and I were avid wine enthusiasts in the late 1990's. It was during this time and our many trips to the Napa Valley that I became completely enamored and fascinated with the science and artistry of making wine. The dream of owning a winery and planting a vineyard seemed like just that, "a dream".
Our lives were entrenched in Southern California, Orange County area, where Henry practiced medicine as an Obstetrician/Gynecologist. He had an amazing career as a devoted physician with an endearing bedside disposition. I couldn't imagine asking him to give that up so I, the quintessential "city-girl" and lover of all things "urban", could try my hand at farming and creating my own wine. It was an impossible fantasy, but one I thought of often.
However, just as you think life will never change, there are surprises around every corner. These "surprises" are not always ones you wish for, reminding us just how precious life and good health can be. Henry was suddenly diagnosed with Meniere's Disease, a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance to a varying degree. Unable to continue working as a surgeon, he gave me his blessing and a big push to finally pursue the "winery-vineyard" dream I had only pondered in my mind, sometimes only in my dreams.
Without much contemplation and to the surprise of many, we pulled up roots, packing up our lives on the coast, along with our two young sons, Benjamin and Jonathan, and never looked back. We ended up in Northern California where I studied and received a Bachelor of Science in Viticulture & Enology from the University of California, Davis. To add insult to injury, it was during my time at Davis that Henry was also diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, another unfortunate hurdle we continue to deal with everyday.
However, this did not stop us from pursuing the path we had started. While at Davis, we extensivly searched the West Coast (California, Oregon & Washington) for a place we could call home. A place to cultivate a vineyard and craft elegant wines. It wasn't until we came to the Willamette Valley of Oregon that we knew we had found the perfect environment to rebuild our life. The beauty we have found in this rich agricultural region has been nothing short of an incredible experience and not to mention breathtakingly beautiful when you take the time to look around.
While this life and the fulfillment of my dream is bittersweet, as I would exchange it all for the good health of my husband, it does not overshadow the passion I, and we as a family, have for wine and being stewards of the land we were blessed to find.
Our passion for wine enhances our lives in many ways - through food, friendship and the many celebrations we share at our table. We can't wait to share it with you.
~"Wine to me is passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It's culture. It's the essence of civilization and the art of living...When I pour a glass of truly fine wine, when I hold it up to the light and admire its color,when I raise it to my nose and savor its bouquet and essence, I know that wine is, above all else, a blessing, a gift of nature, a joy as pure and elemental as the soil and vines and sunshine from which it springs."'
-Robert Mondavi, Harvests of Joy