A New POV…

If you had told me as a wide-eyed college student in NYC that I would someday run a winery, vineyard and farm for almost four decades, I would have said you were nuts. I was restless and I needed to move. I had my sights set on becoming a photojournalist, armed with a press pass license to live many lives through my subjects; to constantly put myself in challenging situations while shining a light on humanity’s rights and wrongs. I believed one image or one photo essay could change the world. I was inspired by the masters – W. Eugene Smith and his heartbreaking story on Minimata, an essay that forever changed corporate responsibility and the environment. The many war images of Robert Capa that put us on the front lines and changed the way we perceive the human cost of conflict. Mary Ellen Mark, with stories of teenage homelessness in the Pacific Northwest that brought us into the lives of the forgotten and discarded. Dorothea Lange and Arthur Rothstein (who also happened to be my senior thesis advisor) and the indelible dust bowl images that graphically illustrated the cost of ignoring nature’s rhythms. Then there were those who celebrated humanity, like the whimsy of Elliot Erwitt, the decisive moment of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Smith’s Country Doctor and one of his final images of children walking from a dark forest into the light; “The Walk to Paradise Garden.”  These icons approached photography, a craft of beauty, with a POV to enlighten; to have an impact and instigate change.

Here we are, at a crossroads with circumstances not too dissimilar to what brought us the dust bowl. Turn on the news and hear scientists caution us that if we do nothing to avert a climate crisis, we will have a similar, if not worse fate. Governments look for grandiose and expensive solutions while ignoring the little things that can make a huge difference. It is under our feet – the soil we trample on, pave over, spray with chemicals, till and farm until we extract all nutrients and life so it no longer has a purpose other than being a sterile medium, exhaling carbon. The soil is the key to life. It deserves our respect.

It is time to celebrate life in all its forms; to take our farm to the next level. We want to go from telling cautionary tales to actively pursuing the solution. RSV has a revitalized point of view. We want to evolve into an incubator of progressive ideas to farm better, make better wine and grow better produce by celebrating the microbe, the fungi, the farm animals and the rhythms of nature to have a positive impact on the planet; to do our part to undo the damage done by past neglect while creating things of beauty and deliciousness. New projects are on the horizon that will slowly be revealed over the coming months and years. Programs that we we can hopefully watch evolve for the next four decades.

Rob Sinskey