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A lifestyle blog by Allison Arbuthnot on The Whole 9

Allison was raised on the vine in Sonoma, California, and believes that life is too short to drink bad wine, count calories, or second-guess your destiny. She now lives in Los Angeles where she practices many things, the two most important being contentment and tricks for opening a wine bottle without a wine key.

The Call of the Wild

On the west side of Sonoma Valley, Sonoma Mountain lies like a heap of cool granite boulders covered with gnarly, old oaks punctuated by tufts of hay-like grass. For the most part, the mountain wears its shade like a cloak, unobtrusively casting shadows long across rocky soil. Smooth-trunked Pacific Madrones create mazes lined by sneaky shrubs of poison oak and it is here, down a lonely, craggy hollow, that he lives.

He was older than the days he had seen and the breaths he had drawn. He linked the past with the present, and the eternity behind him throbbed through him in a mighty rhythm to which he swayed as the tides and seasons swayed. (Jack London, The Call of the Wild, Ch. 6)

His shack is just that—ill fitted planks of wood hastily thrown together—but wild mint mingles with untamed blackberry bushes on three sides of the structure and, on the fourth, he has a small stoop where he sits nightly to smoke his hand-rolled tobacco pipe, sip his dark red wine and listen to the tree frogs.

And when, on the still cold nights, he pointed his nose at a star and howled long and wolflike, it was his ancestors, dead and dust, pointing nose at star and howling down through the centuries and through him. (London, The Call of the Wild, Ch. 2)

The man on Sonoma Mountain is not like his fellow men. Ripe, wild black cherries and the smell of dried leaves and smoldering wood make his heart pound more than any woman’s perfume ever could. He has found companionship with the wind, society in sunset. He is the Kenwood Vineyards Jack London Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard 2006.

It filled him with a great unrest and strange desires. It caused him to feel a vague, sweet gladness, and he was aware of wild yearnings and stirrings for he knew not what. (London, The Call of the Wild, Ch. 7)

He has heard The Call of the Wild, and he’s followed it.

I suggest you follow it, too. Sweet, untamed gladness awaits.


  1. Been waiting patiently for a new review! You are such a wonderful, descriptive, poetic writer I want to run out and taste some of this untamed wildness right now. Thank you.

  2. Alli,
    Have been waiting for a new review. As always I am daunted by your description and cannot wait to buy a bottle.
    Love you

  3. Wow…now I’m craving some call of that wild ;)

  4. nice. and i always preferred sonoma over napa. my favorite sonoma wine is loxton. try it, you’ll love it.

  5. You make something so unknown ( at least, to me) seem so desirous and attractive. I’m confused…poorgood was talking about loxton….don’t you need a Dr.’s prescription for that? I want to know more about you methods for opening a wine bottle….I have used a shoelace….

  6. Your way of waxing words is really beautiful. I find myself visually there on the mountain side. Sitting in the old pungent smelling shack sipping a deep red drink.
    Thank you for the distraction and information.

  7. I had intended this image. :)

  8. I traveled to the shoulders of Sonoma Mountain many Christmas overlooking the Valley of The Moon. To a converted garage of a modern house on the parceled Spreckle’s estate. On a quiet Christmas eve Glen Ellen sank into the melancholy twi-light brightened by a few string of lights. Silent laid the stately ruins of Jack London’s ill-fated redwood Mc-Mansion. Really, how did the loss of this great house, burned before it was even occupied, affect the life of Jack London? Fate changed the course of his life at that site. Fire. And yet he never re-built his dream home when the forest was offering more trees. I wonder, as I sip my Le Vieille Ferme Rhone Valley 2009.

  9. Hey, great post SmokinJoe! Very poetical.

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