Monday, June 30, 2008


Since we have planted our vineyard in a series of stages, we have vines that range from brand new to a mature 5 years old. That makes training and shaping vines a complicated job. I was going to describe the task I’m performing in training this 2 year old Gewirtztraminer vine, but how boring that would be compared to Joan’s story of her encounter with a Mojave Rattler. She was struggling with the luxuriant growth of the root stock (called water shoots) at the base of a 5 year old Syrah when she realized that she touched a snake that was hunting a big black stink bug. We have many types of snakes in the vineyard, so that’s not unusual, but this one was different, she just had a sense about it. She hollered for me to come “Tim, I think there’s a rattlesnake here”. For sure it was. By the time I got there it was coiled and ready for business. I shoed it away with a shovel and as we both watched it slither along in silence I know we thought the same things. The snake was here first. This is its land. We are the ones who changed it and replaced it with a vineyard. Just let it be. Well no. It is a Mojave, reputed to be the most toxic of rattlers. There’s little Emma to think about and customers and the next time (God knows why Joan wasn’t bitten). I dispatched the creature, but not without a heavy heart. So here’s a picture of me training Gewirtztraminer vines (there was too much excitement to get a shot of the snake). But the real story is more interesting and more complicated.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Monsoon Rains are Starting!

We had our first summer rain this past Saturday. It didn't amount to much but it was fun to listen to the rain pelting the metal roof in the tasting room and to watch the clouds move across the sky. It was also nice to walk around outside in the cool air for a little while and snap some pictures before the sun reappeared and turned the little bit of moisture we got into a steam bath!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Rose is a Rose is not a Rosé

Back in May, Joan and I tested our new bottling line (in anticipation of the Chardonnay bottling party blogged last week) by bottling 50 cases of Nebbiolo Rosé. It has settled down after the trauma of bottling and it is ready for release this coming weekend. I think it’ll get even better in the bottle over the next year or so. It is a lovely clear pink color and tastes just as refreshing as it looks. Definitely Nebbiolo, it is tart but very smooth and pleasant in the mouth with just enough fruit (cherry) and oak in the nose to complement the perfectly ripe flavor of a “gotta eat this one right now” strawberry and soft tannins in the finish. It is completely dry at 11.9% alcohol and will be for sale for $15 a bottle and as always a 10% discount for any 12 bottle case.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Music to bottle by

As we headed into a full day of bottling the 2007 Chardonnay, Sonya, Karla, Alicia, Kathryn, Joan and I started out with no music.

Although the rhythmic “squeak – kashook” of the corking machine provided us with some distraction, real live music was called for.

With the help of a mix of pop love (mostly forsaken) songs and country love (mostly about trucks and beer and broken hearts) songs we were rolling along.

We rotated the jobs – moving the empties, filling bottles, corking filled bottles, shrinking the neck wrap, labeling and stacking full cases.

Eighty-two cases later we were done.

After a few weeks resting to recover from “bottle shock” it’ll be available in the tasting room.