Joy and contentment are not easily encountered in our times. It seems that maybe our grandparents and ancestors found happiness and gratification in the activities of their daily lives, their labour and their vocation. We, however, appear to have come to expect contentment and fulfilment mainly from our bank statements. We have all become hostages to the rule of the zero, the infinite number of zeros that we wish to find on the balance of our bank statements. One might say that our forefathers had a better deal by far, with less stress and less pressure. Without any doubt, our ancestors had their problems too, but they were perhaps less affected by the mercy of the banks, the global chemical conglomerates and the restrictive demands of politicians, the marketplace, wholesale distributors and the competition.
When you work in agriculture, as we do, one is easily overwhelmed by the sheer weight of responsibilities and the daily chores, not to speak of the intricacies of the weather conditions, which are often adverse, and the fickleness of nature in general. Here in Mallorca, due to the absence of large expanses of farmland, agriculture does not feed the farmer any longer, the way it used to. The young generation says that there is no fun in farming anymore as there might have been in the old days because there is no money to be made, at least not here on this small island. There is no profit possible in the harvest of almonds or carobs, for instance. The cost of labour involved in picking the fruit is higher than the price paid by the merchant dealers. Almonds are often left on the trees. The young generation prefer to work in the finance sector and banking, as well as in the tourist industry, in hotels, bars and restaurants, because income earned there is much greater than any earnings from the land.
At Vineyard Son Alegre, however, we enjoy our work on the land on a daily basis. We did not go into the business of making wine to get rich quick. Profit is not our main concern and financial gain will never be our principal motive. We take an organic and biodynamic approach to agriculture, focusing on grapes, olives and Xeixa wheat, because we simply love nature and see the challenges it presents us with as part of our personal way of life, of growth, acceptance and continuity. Wine making to us is a matter of the Metaphysics of Quality. We see ourselves as part of the greater good that the universe is and see our role on the land as one of nurturing and of giving back to the land what life has given us all along. It is really an assessment of values.
We find contentment in looking after our plants, vines, trees and produce, because we believe that we are but a small ingredient in the holistic existence on the planet with its clockwork precision. We enjoy knowing that our part is essential to the ecosystem, vital to the natural structure of it all and also, significant to the social context.
It gives us pleasure when we have another successful harvest of grapes or olives, even though there may be the occasional hailstorm or flood, or other blight. It gives us joy to see bees and ants, bugs, ladybirds and insects at work on our land. We feel grateful listening to the birds on our estate. It makes us happy to see the buds burst open in the springtime and to watch the growth of our fruit in the summer. And we feel fortunate to be allowed to pick the grapes and harvest the olives when it is time to reap the benefits of what nature has given us. We believe that nature teaches us about harmony and empathy every minute of the day and we feel that humility makes for happiness because of that.
As Mahatma Gandhi said it so perfectly: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”.