Go On, Label Me!

Go on, label me.

It is all in the name.

I love the names of the wine farms in the Cape.  I actually think about those names, even when it is a person’s name. Names have an origin and a meaning that is interesting to explore. Some tell a story in one word, worth digging deeper into. I have realised that I love translating the names, tasting them, rolling them around on my tongue, aerating it like the wine that is to follow soon.

Sure, you get ones like “Ernie Els” that do not require much thought and can accidentally be called “Gary Player” on a day when you have already done 3 hours of wine tasting.  As long as you have the right balls, right?  Golf balls, of course.

Then there are those with names that simply speak to those parts of ourselves that still believe in magic and mystery.  Names that promise a piece of that magic and mystery, in either the atmosphere, or the cellar, or the view, or the wines themselves. Sometimes all of those. Some deliver on the promise, others not so much.

Vrede en Lust.  Peace and lust.

Meerlust. A lust for more.

Although the word “lust” probably conjures up a sexual innuendo for many people – and let’s face it, wine can be very sexy – it also has another meaning.  In Dutch and German, it also refers to a lust for life and taking pleasure in something.

Allesverloren. Lost everything. There is a story there!

Avontuur – Adventure.  Oh yes!

Hidden Valley…  Makes you want to go and find it. Now. And spend a weekend there away from the hustle and bustle.

Morgenster – Morning Star.  A bright, shiny star, a new beginning. The mystery and magic of the stars, with a view and wines that lure you in.

Spookfontein – Ghost Fountain.  I mean, you can seriously play around with that name!  Unfortunately, the tasting experience did not live up to the name and was completely underwhelming. We were given three wines that we can’t remember.  The information was delivered in the 20 seconds it took to pour two tasting glasses, and was equally forgettable. It is a shame.  I mean, you have a name like Ghost Fountain!  Use it, make me remember more than your name. Make me feel something, even if you scare the hell out of me with a ghost story!  Okay, I mean, scare the hell out of Bev. It might be easier than getting me to believe in hell. Or in ghosts, but I still like the stories – of both hell and ghosts.

Then there are the wines themselves; often with their own beautiful names.

The Red Lady, The Blue Owl, The Runner Duck, Two Dogs a Peacock and a Horse, Steen op Hout (Stone on Wood), Inanda… Too many to list in this post. I like those names. I like the names of the wine cultivars too. Chardonnay. Chenin Blanc. Shiraz. Words that roll off your tongue.

I also like the labels.  Recently it has become very fashionable to say you hate labels. I know people don’t mean they hate the wine labels. It is all about the labeling of people, but while I am on the subject of labels, I want to say this:

I don’t hate labels.  Not wine labels or any other labels per se.  To me they are, in many cases anyway, just nouns, or names.  Just a common way of describing something so that we all know what we mean. I do hate bigotry though, but that is not necessarily in the name or the term. You can call me what you want; if you hate me, you hate me, and it is more in the attitude than in the word. The problem with hating labels is that you can’t consistently hate labels.  People end up hating those labels they don’t like while they use other labels freely. There will always be labels, and hating them just earns you the label of someone who hates labels.

I am a woman.  To me that is not a label. It is a way of describing me so that people know I am not a man. I am a lot of things.  I am funny, I am serious, silly, sad, weak, strong.

There are certain nouns that I will wear with pride and others I won’t like. I am not wine. To begin with, I don’t age that well. Secondly, I am not one thing, like Shiraz or Chardonnay, or even a blend of only three or four things. I am everything, at one time or another. Any label you hang around my neck describes only that one aspect of me in one context. In another, I am going to be the opposite of that. So I am weak? Yes, I am at times. More often to someone who sees depression as weakness.  To someone else, who understands it, I am strong for dealing with my depression and getting up if I have to claw my way out of a dark hole.

Labels are as diverse as people and context, so go ahead, label me if you want to.  It doesn’t change me, it describes me. Or rather, it describes who you think I am and if you are wrong it doesn’t matter what you call it, you are still wrong. If you are right in your description I will accept it, positive or negative. If you are simply using a noun against me, that is okay too. It says more about you than about me.

Having said all that, I have to point out – my favourite labels are wine labels. Or the odd Black Label.

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