The perspective of age

A winemaker friend of mine likes to mention the perspective of age. The use of the phrase ‘traditional winemaking’, for example, takes on much more meaning – and depth – when the window of time considered stretches back several hundreds or even a thousand years. ‘Old methods’, ‘ancient techniques’, etc. When we speak about these terms, often the window takes into account a rolling 50 years, 100 years, possibly more. Its important for me to keep a wider window of time in mind for my personal perspective of things.

With that in mind, I have been quite curious about the age of things around me. In the U.S., here in Burgundy, etcetra. Buildings, common objects (often discarded from a different time), wine making techniques/methods, agreed upon theories thought to be knowledge that have since changed, at times reverting back to a previous chain of how things were done many years ago.

The perspective of age and the objects from a different time are of great interest to me. In fact, this has had a large influence on how I view Burgundy and France in general. It’s a romantic notion, sure. However, in Burgundy, I find a chain of methods, of technique which pull back into a concept of ‘tradition’ that intrigues me immensly.

I have wondered recently about the age of the cave below the house since first viewing it. As I mentioned in another post, there is a door inside the cave sealing off the barrel room. There are no markings inside the cave to hint at the age of the cave. I do know that existing homes in the area have caves which well outdate the house. When a house was rebuilt, the cave would still be left intact.

The wooden door is the youngest item in the cave. I figured it went back maybe to the 1930’s. There was a key which is well rusted (yet functioning) that I wanted replaced. The locksmiths commonly can replace keys dating back to the 1800’s, often consulting a catalogue with 1:1 scale illustrations for reordering. As it turns out, the key is atleast 200 years old, possibly as old as 250. Long story short, the dimensions of the key aren’t in the catalogue (the key is too old) and in the event that it had been, the replacements run upwards of 100€. I think I’ll keep my old key and look for a way to restore it rather than find a replacement.

I know this story is a departure from other posts. However, I thought it may provide an ounce of interest.


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