Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Writers' Group

I met with the women in my "In Over Our Heads" writers' group this morning. We had a great time visiting but eventually got down to business discussing the upcoming April 28 Wine and Farm Festival. Kathy Goodwin will have her book, "Zopilote," a history of the East Santa Cruz County, Keri Jelks will be signing her cookbook, "Yum, Yum," and Betty Barr will be there with copies of her book, "Hidden Treasures of Santa Cruz County." It'll be a great opportunity to meet some long time residents of Santa Cruz County and have their books personally signed for you. I'll soon have more members of the author's group to tell you all about. So stay tuned!

Monday, March 26, 2007


On St Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2007, we bottled our first wines – the 2006 Riesling. The wine analysis for relevant physical qualities was perfect and the individual barrels were tasting just great. Besides, we needed about 3 weeks in the bottle to get past bottle shock in order to be ready for the Wine and Farm Festival on April 28. Chris Hamilton loaned us his bottle filler (reverse milking machine Bob Westlake christened it) and with the help of Kathryn and Nathan we bottled 70 cases. Actually we ran out of bottles and will need to finish the rest later, not to mention the remaining bulk wine will give me an excuse to try sparking some Riesling. It turns out to be a very repetitious task, made easier by loud music and the company of friends and family. It is also fairly backbreaking and I was stiff for more than a week. But for the lack of a pile of cash I would buy a bottling line – hook up the wine, stick the bottles in on one end and out pop labeled, filled, corked bottles on the other.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pruning Time

Pruning is a time of suspense, hope, anticipation, disappointment and joy. Before I cut into each vine I wonder if it has survived the winter. Fortunately this spring I have experienced much joy, as with most cuts I felt the blade slide easily through the vine and saw the green wood start to ooze its life blood. This signals that the vine has indeed survived. This is the first season I have experienced so little winter kill. It’s nice to start the season so positively, since I’ve learned that with farming things can change in an instant.

The pruning is almost done for the season, thanks to help from Tim, daughter Kathryn and my friend Kathy. It is none too soon as we have been experiencing temperatures 10 to 15 degrees higher than normal. Let’s hope we do not get a killer frost in the next month!

Friday, March 9, 2007

The Fire

Tim had today off, so we drove to the vineyard early. I had pruning to do and Tim had wine to tend. When we turned into the driveway we saw a fire burning over the hill, behind our property. I drove up to take pictures and was mesmerized watching the orange fingers of the flames crawling at a fast pace through the grasslands. Although the fire looked close I knew there was at least one road between it and me so I felt safe. It did make me think, though: we need to clear around the perimeter of the property. Another task to add to the list.