Alice’s Adventures in Naturaland, or Through the Isinglass

I wonder what the Looking-glass winery is like, Alice thought as she stared into the mirror. Alice often gazed at the mirror, but, this once, she was looking at the Looking-glass winery and not her own reflection. Though she did take a moment to meet her own eyes. “Eyes, Alice,” she said, “Alice, eyes.” Her eyes were cross about the introduction, which made things appear odd and fuzzy. “Oh, Kitty,” she said to her kitty, though her kitty was dead, or, at the very least, had mewtated, “what do you think the Looking-glass winery is like? It looks just like this winery, only everything goes the other way, like why Mommy divorced Daddy. There are so many beautiful things in there. I’ll bet the wines are better. Don’t you think, Kitty, they’d have to be better? I’ll bet in the Looking-glass winery they don’t use sulfites. Or filters. Or science. Wines are so much better without science."

“Let’s pretend the mirror is going soft like gauze, or like Wine Enthusiast critics,” Alice said to her stiffening puss. And the mirror suddenly did grow misty and cloudy! “Look, Kitty, I can reach through the fine mist now, and I can step through. I think I shall. You stay here and rot.” And in another moment, Alice was stepping into the Looking-glass winery. It looked so much like the other winery, only it felt more beautiful to be where everything was backwards. Going backwards, Alice thought, is the future. Going forward seems so human, and when are humans ever right? Why if everybody went backwards in the winemaking business, Alice realized, it would be so much better for the future.

Out the open Looking-glass winery doors, Alice could see a vineyard. It wasn’t like other vineyards. Everything in the Looking-glass winery was just the backwards version of what was in the winery she’d left behind. But everything else was different. The vineyard looked completely different. Alice decided to go into the vineyard and see how far along the fruit was.

The vineyard was quite beautiful, and very natural. So natural they were bush vines, which never grow in Brazilian vineyards. Alice plucked a grape from one of the clusters on the nearest vine.

“Hey,” the grapevine said, “what are you doing?”

“Oh, you startled me!” Alice exclaimed. “I’ve spoken to countless fruits, but you’re the first that ever spoke to me. I’m seeing if you’re ripe.”

“What day is it? What day is it?” the grapevine barked. It was an old vine, so it’s bark was very a-peeling.

“I’m not sure,” Alice replied, “though I’m pretty drunk, so it must be a Fried-day.”

“No, you twit, it’s not a Friday! And it’s not a Fruit Day, you wicked child. You cannot judge me when it’s not a Fruit Day. It’s a Leaf Day, my dear, so please leaf me alone.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, you silly plant. Fruit Day, Leaf Day? Those are not real days. Real days are Tuesdays, and birthdays, and panty days.”

“Panty days?” asked the perplexed vine.

“Yes, silly, the ones I always take off!”

“You are a wicked one, Alice. If you’re going to remove your panties, do not hang them on me. I don’t want your panties in a bunch. Now, let me recite a poem for you.”

“Must you?” pleaded Alice.

“AHHHHHHHH!” screamed the grapevine. “Never say ‘must’ around my grapes. They’ll be crushed. Now be quiet while I recite.”

And here’s the poem the grapevine recited to Alice:

“What makes a wine that’s natural?”
The Steiner asked the vines.
“It seems that everybody says
Theirs are authentic wines.”

“Is it the way we fertilize?
That shows the wine’s terroir?
Like girls who work their own front yard
By using balls ben wa.”

“Or is it that we wish it so,
Just simply our intention?
It’s easy just to tell a lie
‘bout minimal intervention.”

“Oh, Steiner,” said the tender vine,
“There’s no ifs or ands or buts.
The crap you preach for growing grapes
Was surely meant for nuts.”

“For those who seek out natural,
Beware of maker’s games.
The world’s awash in silliness
And semi-truthful claims.”

“I know,” the Steiner then replied,
“Just needs to sound legit!
Leaf Day, Fruit Day, Suck my Root Day,
Stuff cowhorns full of shit.”

“Why all that stuff is natural!
How can you say it’s not?
Not any writer on a trip
Whose thoughts were simply bought.”

“It’s natural cuz I say it is
Don’t feel that you’re a sucker.
Now you can sweetly kiss my ass,
I won’t forget to pucker.”

Alice clapped in appreciation of the grapevine’s lyrical prowess. “I’m going to dedicate my life to natural wines,” she declared.

“More’s the pity,” said the vine, and went dormant.

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