I promised you some symbols for January and what better way to start things off than by introducing you to a really neat place I visited down in Paso Robles, CA; Graveyard Vineyards.
Paso Robles, CA (about 40+ miles from Hearst Castle) is making its mark as one of the places to visit for wine. If you prefer boutique wineries to big, sprawling corporate ventures, Graveyard Wineries is about as boutique as you’re going to find. After all, few wineries can claim their own historical cemetery.
According to the website: “This landmark began back in the 1860’s, when the surrounding area of land was the town of Estrella and the original landowner donated an acre of his property for the new First Presbyterian Church. Once the church was built, the landowner’s wife passed away and was buried next to the church, creating the “graveyard”. Many towns’ people followed suit until the church burnt down in 1896. Neither the town of Estrella nor the church lasted, but the little graveyard continues on to this day. It is now named The Pleasant Valley Cemetery and is cared for by community volunteers just as in the 1800’s.”
The actual cemetery is rather small, but just about all the stones are well-preserved, including the carvings. I chalk that up to the dry, hot weather. There were several interesting examples of symbols I’ll share throughout this week – here’s one of the better known ones out there.
And no, this symbol does not mean, “pull my finger”.
Rather, it symbolizes the hope of heaven, of going to a better place.
When you do get around to visiting the tasting room at the top of the hill (and you really should), don’t forget to look down at the flagged walkway leading into the main area. It’ll give you a good idea of just how devoted some of the vineyard’s followers are. I particularly like the brick on the upper left that was given by the local homicide department.
Oh, and as far as the wine goes? I recommend the Paso Tombstone White and Red. If you love dessert wines, then you absolutely cannot go wrong with a chocolate port-styled concoction aptly named Deliverance.
Wine and cemeteries. What more could you want?