Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Winemaker’s Dinner at FnB - May 11, 2010

Pavle Milic and chef Charleen Badman of FnB Restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona, have created a stir in the restaurant world by building a wine list that is entirely devoted to Arizona wines. Pavle is committed to the concept of focusing on local products and tastes, similar to what is the case in most of Europe. To support this vision he is hosting a series of winemaker’s dinners at 6 pm on Tuesday nights.

On Tuesday, May 11, Canelo Hills will be the featured winery and Tim and Joan Mueller will be presenting the 2008 Chardonnay, 2007 Sangiovese Select and 2008 Estate Syrah, perfectly paired with courses that will reflect the creative genius of chef Badman. The menu has not yet been set, that will depend on what fresh products are available in the local markets. We have eaten at FnB. The cuisine is inspired. The wine-food pairings will certainly be exceptional.

The cost for food and wine is $48 plus tax and gratuity. Space is limited to the first 36 people who call. To reserve a spot call the restaurant directly at 480-425-9463.

Dogs and wine go well together

We Muellers love dogs as much as we love wine, so why not bring them together for an afternoon and encourage visitors to bring their dogs to Canelo Hills?

We did just that last Saturday for our Dog-Friendly Vineyard Party. The Santa Cruz Humane Society was there with a bunch of friendly dogs available for adoption, and George Rosberg of Digital Muzzle Photography took some beautiful photographs of people and their dogs.

Dogs romped, people tasted our wines, everyone came on a vineyard & winery tour, and we even had a dog contest with winners in categories such as Hairiest Dog, Prettiest Eyes, and Longest Tail (had to get out the measuring tape for that one).

I couldn't have pulled off the event without Karla helping to manage the happy chaos, and Fred running the tasting table with the help of Desiree, Jana, and Donn. Thanks, all!

We'll just have to do it again next year...

Monday, April 19, 2010

From Buds to Leaves

The fun is beginning. The Syrah always buds and then leafs out earlier than I would like. We still have a couple of weeks to go until the threat of a late frost is over. If you look closely at the second Syrah photo, you can see the very beginning of the grapes tucked inside the bud. They aren't actually grapes yet, they haven't even flowered. But they will be grapes soon if a late frost doesn't zap them.

The picture of the vine that is already a foot tall is a second year Malvasia. I have to say, I was surprised at its exuberance. Again, if it frosts, it, too, will be history. We just have to wait and see and hope for the best. And, dream of the wonderful crop the 2010 harvest will give us.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Legal side of the wine business

When the Supreme Court decision of a few years ago threw out individual states efforts to restrict interstate wine sales to wineries in the state, the industry celebrated. Finally consumers could have wine shipped directly to them from anywhere and small wineries around the country could sell directly to consumers in other states. What followed in many states was a renewed effort to limit interstate shipping of wine. Backed mostly by the might of liquor distributors, states passed laws that said "OK no shipment of wine period unless it goes through a liquor distributor". In Arizona the Arizona Wine Growers Association partnered with sympathetic members of the State Legislature, most notably Barbara Leff, and fought a long and expensive battle that permitted sales of wine made by any US winery that produced less the 20,000 gallons a year and held a state winery license. A Michigan winery and a local citizen challenged the law as de facto discriminatory since all but one Arizona Winery makes less then 20,000 gallons. Although many of us thought this challenge might prevail and would then lead to another legislative battle, one in which we would argue to lift the 20,000 gallon limit totally, no one wanted to wage that battle. Fortunately the district court judge ruled against the challenge, preserving the ability of Arizona citizens and Arizona wineries to receive and to ship wine. Check out the newspaper article that features a picture of my neighbor Chris Hamilton of Rancho Rossa.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pop! Pop! Pop!

It's April! Sometime during this month the buds always swell and then unfurl their leaves. It is quite an exciting time of year for wine grape growers. I think of it sort of like making popcorn. You put the kernels in the machine or the bag of kernels into the microwave oven. Then you wait. After a little time you hear, p---o---p, then a little while later, p---o---p. Then, all of a sudden it is pop! pop! pop! The kernels are going crazy. The vines are now in the p--o--p, p--o--p, stage. I think next week is when things will speed up to pop! pop! pop! and it will be my time for going crazy. The next several months are busy times for grape growers. Exciting!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bottling Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc

My sister, Sue, flew all the way from CT to help bottle two white wines. I'm not sure she would agree that is why she came but she was great as the bottle filler in our bottling line. We were also lucky enough to have Kathryn home for a few days to join in the fun.

We now have two of the four whites ready for our white wine release slated for Memorial Day week-end. Our much sought after Riesling will be out again as well as a new white for us. Tim has made a delicious, crisp Sauv. Blanc from grapes the Hamiltons of Rancho Rossa Vineyards, Sonoita AVA, were willing to share with us. Check back to see when the next two whites will be in bottle. One is another Canelo Hills Vineyard and Winery favorite, Malvasia, and there will be a second new white, Gewurztraminer, for you all to sample Memorial Day week end.