A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to go skiing in Bulgaria with a couple of family members. Whilst there I noticed that in one of the shops they were selling ice wine from a local vineyard. I have come across ice wine before however not from this region and I was intrigued.
Ice wine is made in a very special way. Essentially the vines grow in very cold conditions and when the first freeze comes the grapes are ready to be picked. This is what the producers have been waiting for as there is a tiny element of the grape that does not freeze. This drop has sugars which is the backbone of the wine and as the bunches are collected in arctic conditions the tiniest bit is yielded from one grape. This drop is culminated with tons of other drops to bottle and ferment. The wine as a result is exquisite and sweet and unlike any other flavour you have encountered. As you can imagine this is an expensive bottle of wine. The process of collecting this nectar is gruelling, risky and only gives the tiniest of harvests. Why then do the wine producers do this? It is simple; true ice wine cannot be manufactured any other way and when it is collected, fermented and kept correctly it will bring connoisseurs of fine wine to their knees as all the work culminates in a fantastic result .
I managed to bring a bottle home from Bulgaria (it’s a lot cheaper than its Canadian counterpart!) to share with some friends and as we sipped it struck me how the production of this wine is so similar to the fostering life. Often it feels like we are operating in the most difficult of positions with such fragile material. We can feel like it can go wrong at any time. The return can feel tiny and the idea of doing this year on year can feel too tough. For many of us we worry about whether this year will be ok or whether we will see any return on our investment of love and relationship. I would encourage you however, keep going. Enjoy the tiniest return because just like ice wine the taste can be so sweet and just like the vines the longer we harvest and grow our relationships the better the wine gets.