As if the backdrop of the Andes Mountains sitting against a gorgeous vineyard in Argentina isn’t enough to fall in-love with the area…they brought in the horses. We spent the day harvesting grapes at a different vineyard and experienced really being a part of the process before heading back to O’Fournier where we were invited back for dinner and a sleep-over. But first, Jose, the owner had horses waiting at the winery! They put cowboy hats on our heads and helped us up onto a horse. I have to admit…I am not so comfortable around horses, they are so massive and what if they take off galloping into the horizon? Or kick me off? These particular horses were older and very calm. They walked us gently around vines and we really got to see the whole property as the sun was setting behind us…Argentina was definitely romancing us.
After about an hour of horseback riding, Jose was waiting for us and walked us into the restaurant which was closed to the general public but open only for us and one other traveler who was a wine merchant. Jose himself had to leave to attend a work event but sat us down at a table lined with white linen and of course filled our wine glasses with estate wine. The food was both beautifully presented as well as delicious. We enjoyed talking to the wine merchant about how he runs his business of exporting wine from Argentina back to Europe. We wondered if Jose strategically set up this dinner meeting to give us an opportunity to ask questions about the wine business. We asked things like; What is the cost of exporting? How does that impact the final price of the bottle to both the end-user merchant and the customer who drinks it? How long does it take to bring wine on the slow boat from Argentina? and what government restrictions were in place from a tax stand-point?
After the horses, the food and the wine with great dinner conversation…we drove the short distance to the small condo amongst the vines. Jose thought it was important for us to get a feel for the property not only in the evening but specifically at sun-rise. We settled into bed and made sure our alarm was set for about 6:30AM.
We tried to get some sleep but visions of vineyards danced in our heads…
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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