Monday, March 29, 2010

Wine, Food and Educational Fun

On March 13 we hosted our first Wine-Making and Wine-Tasting class at Canelo Hills. The event was sold-out, and we were happy to welcome everyone, from loyal Wine Club members to people who’d stumbled upon the class online and were at Canelo Hills for the first time.

Tim led a discussion about winemaking and gave a detailed tour of the winery workings. Our guests followed along, passed around bags of winemaking yeast in the hands-on portion of the class, and asked excellent questions.

Then Joan outlined her simple steps to wine-tasting, and everyone in the class tasted our wines, made notes, and worked together to find descriptive words for each wine. They even got a preview of some yet-to-be-released Canelo Hills wines that are on their way to the tasting room.

After the class, six of the guests joined our family for a winemaker’s dinner in the private dining room at Canela Bistro. Canela’s Joy and John paired each exquisite course with a different Canelo Hills wine. Joy and Tim talked about the food and wine as each course arrived to interrupt the lively banter that ranged from wine to beer, travel, and beyond.

We’ll definitely do both the class and the Canela dinner again. Make sure you’re on our email list so you don’t miss your chance to sign up!

View more photos from this event on our website.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Winter Into Spring

I am constantly amazed by the beauty surrounding me as I work in the vineyard. In the winter while pruning I often look up into the snow capped mountains and exclaim to myself, "Where else could I be in the midst of such beauty?" Then I look down and see the juice running down my fresh pruning cuts, blooming cactus and little vineyard creatures. Life, all around me!
I remind myself over and over again how fortunate I am to be living the life I have.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gewirtz Gets Haircut

Pruning vines this time of year fills me with hope. Joan does this task for our 7000+ vines, but she usually leaves the job for the small experimental plot near the road for me to do. Hope - because the weather is intermittently gorgeously warm, the earth begins to smell like Spring and I can fantasize about the wine for this coming vintage - 2010. The vine buds are beginning to get fuzzy which means bud burst is at hand. The Gewirtztraminer in the experimental plot got a little wild last year. They were struggling so we decided to let them do what they wanted to do. As a result most of them looked like a bush. I flailed and cut away to tame them into their proper shape - one upright trunk and one arm or cordon snaking along the lowest trellis wire.

As I cut the unwanted grape vine wood, the pruning wounds were a brilliant green (alive!) and glistened with bleeding sap. I thought it might taste like grape juice, or wine or at least sweet, but no, just water. Very watery water. Clean, fresh, cool. Grape vine blood. Maybe there's a vampire screen play in that!

Friday, March 19, 2010


Well, for all you who eagerly awaited the debut of Canelo Hills wine at the Tucson COSTCO and then discovered I was nowhere to be found, I am sorry. I hope you did not inconvenience yourselves. If you did, the next time you are in the tasting room, mention the title of this blog and I'll pour you a free tasting. There was a problem with the necessary financial arrangements to be able to pay me for the wine ("product" in business-ese). As I stood in the receiving section of the store on Friday morning, product and fork lifts whizzing and beeping around me, I was overwhelmed by the scope of the operation. In spite of the well organized chaos Josh (manager of the day) and Skip (receiving manager) treated me well. "We really want to do this. We'll have to reschedule", said Lisa the manager of liquor purchasing of the San Diego region of COSTCO. Indeed. I'll keep you posted about the next opportunity to pick up our wine. I hope Canelo Hills is the first of many local 100% Arizona wines to be featured at COSTCO's in the state. (AFGO is a counseling term I learned from Joan - Another (insert favorite F word) Growth Opportunity). Oh yeah, Kathryn designed the poster and the little attached fly-sign says "Meet the Winemaker, March 19 & 20, 11am - 4pm".

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

COSTO - March 19 & 20

Canelo Hills Vineyard and Winery will be featured at COSTCO this Friday and Saturday. COSTCO has a wine program that periodically features local small production wineries as a way to interest their customers and highlight local products. "A Road Show" is what they call it. Shannon Reed from COSTCO wholesale in San Diego had done her homework by searching web sites, commented on the quality of ours (Thank you Kathryn) and was especially drawn to our mission to make wine from 100% Arizona grown grapes. Off I sent some wine samples and the wine tasters/buyers settled on the 2008 Chardonnay and 2008 Sunrise. This coming Friday and Saturday, March 19 and 20, I will be at the COSTCO in Tucson on Grant Avenue, talking about my wines to the wine crowd who will hopefully take some home. I think these two wines are especially good with Spring meals and Easter dinner in particular. If you are a member come on down between 11-4, say hi, and pick up some Canelo Hills Wine.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


On the way home tonight NPR had a story about this phenomenon. Since there is a wine barrel in the music video I figured it was ok to blog about it. OK GO - This too shall pass. Otherwise it really doesn't have much to do with wine or winemaking or a vineyard. But what imagination creating the machine, timing it with music and managing a a bunch of visual gags. Enjoy.