Those of you that have been reading my blog for a while know that I like drawing wine maker superheroes. Recently I realized there are wine writer superheroes too.
A Knight of Malta, his Lady of Honor, and their little one
click on comic to enlarge
The Sovereign Military Order of Malta
The longest established chivalric order in the world, the Knights of Malta, is generally considered a sovereign body within International law, that is, the organization holds its own independent legal authority under agreement with the United Nations. The group reaches back to the middle ages having been established originally as the order of Saint John of Jerusalem, but became a fully independent military entity after the close of the crusades. Founded to provide medical aid to those in need, the group’s membership is dominated by medical providers of varying degrees and holds established charity projects on five continents, and more than 120 countries. In short, the Knights stands as a modern day superhero organization–people determined to do good wherever possible.
In Italy, the Knights of Malta own several wineries, including the Rocca Bernarda, which we were able to visit, as a means of funding their other projects. We were able to taste in the castle of the Rocca Bernarda with its sweeping views from atop the hill, and its terraced old vine vineyards. After tasting through their portfolio, our trusty guide, Jeremy Parzen excitedly asked if now that we’d had their wine, he could wear one of the helmets of the Knights of Malta.
Jeremy, Tracie, and Georgia Parzen
As is well shown already on this blog, I was lucky enough to travel in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, touring the appellation Colli Orientali del Friuli, recently with Jeremy Parzen as the trusted guide to our small group of plucky wine writers and bloggers. Before beginning the journey, Jeremy and I spoke over the phone. During the conversation, he and his wife, Tracie, drove south in Texas with their baby girl, Georgia, to visit Tracie’s parents for a weekend. It was clear in this first interaction not only that Jeremy was a man of understanding and generous heart, but also that he acts in glowing devotion to his two loves–his partner and daughter. During the phone call he took the time to explain to me who I’d be traveling with, how the trip would be handled, his experience that would serve as support in the experience. He also took pains to inquire as to my own needs and interests on the trip, and to investigate the degree of privacy I’d prefer both in being introduced and in posting on our adventures. (All intermingled with appropriately timed accolades for his wife and daughter.)
Upon arrival in Friuli, the same generosity of spirit showed itself in person. Jeremy did a wonderful job of balancing his own needs while tending to the well-being of our group. His ability to coordinate our travels, translate those we visited for us from their Italian to our English, and to both observe on his own and check-in on how well we were doing was a blessing. Further, he was willing to compliment any of us on what he appreciated along the way.
Tracie and Jeremy Parzen have both written on Italian wine for years via their individual blogs, offering their personal views and insights into the world, the politics, and the history of Italian wine to both other devotees and newer initiates. Their investment in such a project even brought them together.
One of the unexpected benefits of being able to travel with the #cof2012 group was Jeremy’s own appreciation for his family. As I explained to him one afternoon, I am someone that is grateful to witness and celebrate the joys of others, as they are willing to openly share. I’ve been lucky enough to raise my daughter on my own for over a decade now–she’s a real sweetheart and a total kick to help grow up. It’s a gift I wouldn’t miss, and also its own peculiar project, since from her toddler years it has been just the two of us. In being with Jeremy as he talked lovingly about Tracie and Georgia, I felt able to freely celebrate the pleasure he feels over having his family. It’s a real gift to see a man so in love with his wife and child. To put it another way, his joy deepened mine.
In thanks for inviting me to participate in #cof2012, and for his great work there, his dedication to celebrating the world of Italian wine, and his wide open loving heart for his family, I wanted to help Jeremy don that helmet, his family alongside. He is a superhero–one of the best kinds even–a real life grown man, well-grounded, and devoted. Thanks for everything, Jeremy!
Cheers to the wine writers’ Knight of Malta, and his Lady of Honor, plus their dear little one, Georgia!
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