Wine is alchemically transformed into vermouth through the addition of botanicals: aromatic and flavorful plants. To make Z Line Vermouth, we steep plants in brandy for several days to extract their scents, and then mix the filtered tincture into the wine.
All of the botanicals in this year’s vintage were growing wild on Sam’s farm, or in his parent’s garden. Sam and I went on a bit of an adventure to harvest these plants; the highlight was paddling a canoe across the canal where Sam located patches of wild mint by their scent on the breeze, and we braved brambles for the last wild blackberries of the year.
In these photographs, you’ll notice that the sky and the sun and the light were eerily orange/gray because of the wildfires; those wildfires have been raging through the entire process of making this year’s vermouth. The memories of pallid skies and unbreathable air and the horrors of wildfire have left their mark on this year’s batch, just as these botanicals have.