Sunday, May 31, 2009

Author Signs Book!

I really like Joan’s book about tasting wine (Drinking Wine Is Simple!). In her usual straightforward and clear style it describes the process of drinking wine with the goal of demystifying what is really a simple experience. “Just drink it”, she often says to me as I labor trying to describe the tastes, smells, and feelings of drinking wine. Sometimes people who buy the book ask Joan to sign it, which is always a proud moment. So when Erin and Doug asked for the author’s signature, they all consented to having me take their picture. Erin and Doug – welcome to our blog space. Drinking Wine is Simple.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bottling Hypnosis

Volunteers are the backbone of our family winery. This is especially the case when a large task comes along such as harvesting grapes or bottling one of our bigger batches of wine. On Memorial Day Nikole, Matt, Mike, Steph and puppy Ella all pitched in to help bottle the 2008 Chardonnay. Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to bottle wine. As I’ve mentioned before, farming and wine making consist mostly of a collection of repetitive tasks that in the doing lend themselves to contemplation and meditation. But in this case having two aerospace engineers, a planetary scientist and a health care professional involved in the job, turned a routine assembly line task into a challenge of process engineering and planning. Remove empty bottles from case, fill bottles with wine, stuff in cork, shrink capsule, apply label, fill empty case with full bottle, stack case. Repeat. Shave a little time here, reduce movement there, cross train at each station, find the task each one is most efficient at. In very short order we were all a finely tuned machine and at our peak we were sizzling along at a rate of 28 cases an hour.

Pretty darn good. Good company. Good wine. Many thanks from Joan and me to Nicole, Steph, Matt, Mike and, of course, Ella.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Vineyard and Winery 101

Canelo Hills Vineyard and Winery had its first crash course in vineyard management and wine making on April 18 with a group of cracker jack students who tended the vines, labeled their very own bottles to take home and celebrated the completion of their program with wine tasting. New let's see if they come back for Vineyard 201 where they can pull weeds, move rocks, pick off green worms and maybe even paint the white picket fence!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mother's Day at Canelo Hills

Last Sunday, we celebrated Mother's Day in the tasting room with 10% off specials for all moms and kids who came in together or who brought photos of their families.

We had fun talking with all the moms and their children, and we took photos of many of them for our blog. Here are Jane with Tiffany and Jacob (Tiff and Jacob often help out at Canelo Hills and they wanted to show us off to Jacob's mom when she visited), Kathy with Kaprii and Mike, and Wendy with mom Shirley.

It was a busy day at the winery, but we Muellers had our own Mother's Day celebration with a quick lunch together in between customers.

We'll run the same special on Father's Day, so join us June 21st. It'll be a great day for a day trip (or weekend escape; check out the local B&Bs on our website) to the cooler climes of Sonoita's grasslands and enjoy fine Arizona wines!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Where there’s smoke . . .

This is a very nerve wracking time of year. The vines are beginning to burst into life, the weather is not predictably done with the freezing thing and the dry spring winds create a gigantic fire danger. Saturday Ann Roncone called to see if the smoke was anywhere near us. She was at the Vaughn Loop vineyard (Lightning Ridge Cellars) and could see smoke just to the East of our vineyard. A blistering Westerly wind with gusts up to 40mph fanned a small plume of smoke into a grass fire that quickly roared to the East up the slope of the Mustang Mountains. Fortunately the exact direction away from our vineyard, and our neighbors, but threatening to a couple homes and the surrounding country side. Sadly Todd and Kelly Bostock's home was right in the path. Fortunately they weren't home and were thus safe as was their adobe home, but unfortunately their truck, greenhouse and surrounding landscaping were destroyed.
It took that entire day and the next for the firefighters to control the blaze, mostly by dropping fire retardant along wide swaths of grassland thus containing the advancing edge of the fire. Masterful work, but an absolutely awe some sight as flames leapt 30-40 feet in to the air. This is a very nerve wracking time of year.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

April Haiku Winner!

John from Tucson submitted this winning haiku in April.

And next, the Estate Syrah.
I'm in heaven now.

This is our last haiku for a while and it is a great one to end with. Thanks, John.

We will be transforming the haiku wall into our Mother's Day Wall of Fame on Sunday. Bring a picture of your child or mother to add to our celebration of all mothers everywhere!