Monday, March 23, 2009

Telephones, why I haven't called

I hate the telephone. But I love the new iphone. This piece of technology is very cool. I can still communicate without actually talking.

Here's the thing. The only time I'll answer the phone is if I happen to be sitting still at my desk and playing around, like now, writing a blog. This isn't exactly "work" and I will stop this to pick up, should it ring. Otherwise, forget it.


Because I'm always moving, I'm always doing something. If I had a Facebook account, my status would change every 15 minutes or so. "Stefania is.... checking the rose garden, taking out the trash, making the bed, paying bills, re-designing the next label, filing, sending a fax, checking the chemicals in the hot tub, in the hot tub(!), etc"

I don't take the phone with me everywhere I go and I don't drop whatever it is I'm doing to pick up. If it's important, leave a message and I'll call back...usually. I called my brother just before the San Diego trip and wanted to check in and tell him about my new phone.

He called while I was in the pool at the hotel and left a scathing (not really) message that I never pick up or answer. When I called him back I was like, hey, baby steps dude, did you notice there was a voice mail greeting? First time in 8 years I've recorded one. Baby steps.

My hearing has been compromised since I was in high school. I'm not deaf, but I do have limits to what I can hear, and talking on the telephone is generally unpleasant if there are any other noises or distractions. So I avoid it. There are times when it is necessary and I do conduct winery business via telephone, but socially, there are better ways to reach me.

It's even worse if you have an accent or are foreign born. I'm a lip-reader in those cases and you can't read lips thru the telephone.

Text: 408-888-0714
Yahoo IM:

If a phone call is more appropriate, feel free, but leave a message and a call back number because I'm probably already doing something else.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Update on 'The Guy With The Notebook".

In my blog about the recent trade shows I was talking about the public session and I said:

"I love the guy with a notebook... That notebook means the person is serious about wine, and more importantly looking for something new and memorable. I'm confident in my wine. I know if they are taking it seriously and giving it a chance, they'll be impressed."

Check out the posting below to see just what I meant:

Phil Carpenter actually introduced himself and we spent a good amount of time talking and visiting with him and his family. His Father-in-Law really liked our Cabs if I remember right and Phil sent me an email after the show offering to take our wines in to show a local retailer friend of his.

I never met Dustin Buchko. At least he didn't introduce himself to me, he was just one of about a dozen people who took long and serious notes. He gave our wines great scores, 92+ for the Eaglepoint Ranch Syrah, 92 for the Uvas Creek Cabernet and 93 for the Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet. I also think he took great notes, consistent with how I describe the wines. He also pointed out the floral noses on our wines. That's something I've very proud of and I work hard to get. I love that in a wine I drink and really want our wines to have that quality.

A thread like that can mean 10-12 new sign ups for us if people keep posting on it and commenting. I just know that from experience. 10-12 new people willing to try our wine is huge for us. That's exactly the connection we're after.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Road Tripping, Part II, the ride home

I have one diversion about our dinner date in Pasadena before heading home the next morning. We walked the neighborhood by the hotel and decided on a tapas bar called BarCelona, clever name, good food. Sat at the bar and quickly figured out it was amateur night...pretty much anyone who just turned 21 or 22 was out on the town hitting all the bars for St. Patty's Day.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, I simply don't recall putting on the green to go bar hopping on a Tuesday night ever.

And it was fun, everyone was having a great time, Paul and I were sucking down some suds and tapas and catching up on the very long day at the show. Then we got a surprise! A very loud surprise. A kilt-wearing-bagpipe-blowing group of musician people marched into the bar and played 3 sets of gawdawful "music". It was ear piercingly loud and horrendous. I'm getting too old for this bar stuff aren't I? Nah, it was bagpipes, you can totally relate, right???!!!

Anyway, next morning we got out of town early, 8:30-ish and got on the road.

Pasadena and the surrounding area is pretty nice, the view of the mountains was incredible and we had no traffic as we left town. There was significant stop and go traffic on the other side of the freeway headed toward Ventura and I was glad I wasn't in it this time.

After The Grapevine, as we headed off the mountain, there was a field full of purple flowers to our left and I could make out the snow capped peaks of the sierra's to my right. There was some overcast haze, looked like residual fog that was clouding the sky, but not too bad. The air quality was definitely a topic of conversation for the entire trip.

I thought I might knit while Paul was driving, but ended up goofing around with both our ipods. I love the new iphone, it's slick. I was able to pull up our route on the google maps and got it to link in to our mobile location. After toying around with that I put it away when I realized I could check email too, but decided not to risk being geeked again. So I sat quietly and looked out at the landscape instead.

There was a rancher rounding up the rams with his pick up truck - don't cowboys ride horses anymore? And we saw a dead and bloated cow in a field. It reminded me of when I lived in Hayward years ago. There was a ranch on Mission Blvd. that had a sign saying they did Livestock Transportation and Deadstock Removal.

I did see a bee-keeper dude today too. He was all beekeeper'ed up in his suit and moving the boxes. As the windshield became more and more splattered with bug guts I wondered if the pollen gatherers binge during bloom time. Some of the splatters were so yellow I had to figure that there was some big time bingeing going on. Or they were yellow bugs (?).

That just about wraps up the road trip part of our travels - I didn't take any pictures, they would have been thru the windshield and it was pretty gross.

The Pasadena -- SJ section was just 5 hours and 8 minutes, not sure of the mileage...Paul wrote it down somewhere.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Road Tripping, Part I

Pauls version of our trip was lacking in details - other than pointing out that the highlight of the drive down to San Diego was the rest stop on I-5. Let me provide some more color and romance.

Things he failed to mention about the trip south:

We passed Famous Daves BBQ, where a recent food reviewer said: "I don't really believe vegetarianism has a place in modern society, much like communism or the recent films of George Lucas. Anyway, it's a barbecue place." I'm pretty sure we'll go eat there one day.

Right before the turn that takes us up and over Pacheco Pass I was mid-sentence about something and did not stop and blurt out "Look! A goat!". I'm easily distracted and since I'm a Capricorn I totally dig on goats. It was looking at the cow in the shared space with it with disdain, I'm pretty sure he was about to put his horns down and ram the back end of the cow just for the heck of it.

Did you know that Casa de Fruta has a Pick and Pull? No kidding, they have everything!! Petting zoo, train rides, wine tasting, cup flipping...pick and pull. Ok, I made that last part up, but it's been about 20 years since the last time I passed by there and I do not recall there being rusted out, dilapidated, worn farm/other equipment lining the perimeter of the property up by the RV park. "Cool".

Alongside the road to our left as we made our way up to the reservoir a coyote was trekking by. He looked like he was having a pretty cool morning jog.

We peaked and rounded the bend where you get the first glimpse of the reservoir and yep, it's pretty low. Not like I remember it from the early 90's at all. Still impressive and when we got around the bend and started south I got a great view of the bright blue sky and deep blue reflection of the water and our now vibrant green hillsides behind it all. I actually wondered if the hills would be brown by the time we drove back, it seems like it happens overnight.

Paul admitted having camped at the other side of the dam, I asked him why, "was the water treatment plant all booked up?". It's bleak, and ugly, unless you really dig on fantastically huge power lines, and lots of them, surrounding the landscape.

Highlights on the drive south on I-5 were the numerous orchards in bloom. To my right all white blossoms, many of them dropped leaving the ground between the rows blanketed in white, very pretty. On the left, some new trees blooming in bright pink, they were so small compared to the mature orchard.

We passed some grape vines that were like none I've seen before. I've heard about and seen pictures, but never really saw them in person until this trip. So bizarre to see them trained for mechanical processing. Paul pointed out another vineyard that was on a different trellis, but mechanically pruned. They looked wiry, like a crazy old womans head of hair. Frizzy and out of control.

I watched a crop duster do laps across a plot of land. On the west bound pass he had a sharp uplift to avoid power lines, but as he came back across toward the east side, he had a long leisurely ride before swinging back around. When I was a kid I had always thought that would be a great job, I had loved flying with my dad so much that it appealed to me.

We passed a poop farm. I mean dairy. Happy cows definitely do not live on a dairy or stock yard. How could any living thing enjoy being surrounded by that much methane? Whoooweeee. Ripe.

There were some other luckier cows on another plot of land roaming around at their leisure and I'm pretty sure they were feeling a lot happier about life.

Oh, and sheep. It's lamb season! Yahooo. I asked Paul what our upcoming plans are for this weekend and he said we're free. Fantastic, I'm going to rotisserie a leg of lamb! And just up ahead on the road, the next agriculture was citrus trees. Lamb marinated in lemon and lime juice (and garlic and rosemary if you really want to know).

Bla Bla Bla, over the Grapevine, bla bla bla, LA BASIN. Oh wow. Yuck. We decided to take 5 all the way to San Diego. I'm certain the locals down south will tell us 50 different ways that are better that we could have taken, but after 5 hours of road time, the fewer interchanges to navigate the better.

It wasn't too bad. Mostly I was discouraged by how grubby it was. The air quality was the pits, turgid doesn't begin to express it. There were sections were I could see there was some really cool architecture and history, but it's been developed all around so haphazardly that it's lost any charm it may have once had.

Some of the new freeway sound walls were so fancy that I was wondering where the money came from to pay for it. I mean really, there were sections with these artfully crafted painted squares that were inset along the concrete. Like, why bother I wondered...but that's the cynic in me. I'm glad there is some beautification plans in the works. It caught my eye.

We didn't actually go all the way in to San Diego, we were staying in Del Mar, about 25 miles north of SD. It was gorgeous.

And that was Part I of Road Tripping: SJ -- SD, mileage count forgotten, but 7 hours almost to the minute, not bad....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"For our company the public session makes sense."

Stefania said that as we walked up to our hotel room in Pasadena tonight. We had just wrapped up the Trade Only show at the convention center a few minutes before. The show was ok, but for us it was really slow.

The crowd is about a 50/50 mix of people. Half are people who work at restaurants or distributors and have been given the tickets by their employers as comps. They treat it like a party and a chance for some free booze. The other half are big brokers and distributors and they mostly wander around to wineries who sell through Safeway or Von's and try and steal business from each other.

Leaves us with not a lot to do. I took the picture below of a winery across from us. It was so slow for them I actually caught them both checking their email.

And this is why it's slow. These old coots are lined up at a winery with a popular $15 supermarket wine. They taste through the line up of higher end stuff and try and impress each other with the latest pallet they've moved. Pretty boring stuff. I can't see these guys helping us sell wine. They wouldn't be able to pick out an up and coming winery if it fell on them.

In fact they are so out of touch when this famous character came shooting by they didn't even stop to take a double take. That's Gary Pisoni. He stopped to try our Eaglepoint Ranch Syrah, and quickly wrote down our name and gave the glass to his significant other. "Wow, really good", and then he was off.

Still Stef and I kept smiling.

For us, the public session is much more where it's at. Meeting people and connecting with them, that's what our company is all about. We'd rather spend that time getting to know people a little and making a connection with them than playing to the suits.
That's why I love the guy with a notebook (Or woman, there were lots of women with notebooks in San Diego). That notebook means the person is serious about wine, and more importantly looking for something new and memorable. I'm confident in my wine. I know if they are taking it seriously and giving it a chance, they'll be impressed.
Maybe they'll just move on, maybe they'll sign up on the mailing list, or maybe they'll write a blog or put up a posting and we'll get a few dozen sign ups. No matter what, the odds are much better for us in that case than the trade section. That also fits better with what Stefania and I have wanted to do from the start. We never wanted to make thousands of cases and sell them at the Supermarket. We wanted to make enough wine to make a living, and good enough wine that people would enjoy it. Most importantly we wanted to connect with people. Share wine with them, and let them know we appreciate their support.
We'll probably mostly skip trade events from here on out, but we will continue to go out and meet people whenever we can.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ode to My Inner Dilbert.

I had wanted to do a little bit about people with note books at trade shows, but that didn't come together today. Look for that tomorrow, but basically, show up and take notes at my table, and you'll get 100% of my attention.

As for today, it was a tough day at the day job. We were stuck for a big part of the day at the hotel as I tried to get emails, voicemails and conference calls done.

On the way down to San Diego we passed a lot of places that I remember from business trips in the past. Hotels and convention centers that were familiar and brought back lots of memories. Some of them going back to my days in college working on political campaigns.

On all those trips, probably in the hundreds now after 25 years of business travel, I can't ever remember standing out. I was always just another 'Dilbert' or 'Pointy Haired Boss' in the crowd of travelers. This trip though, as we've been stuck in the hotel a bit, I've had a much different experience.

When I'm usually on business, my job is hard to explain. I've always worked for medium or small size high tech companies that most people would have never heard of, doing things that are hard to explain on products that most people will never see, touch or know about. The front desk, the valet, the bartender, they all ask what you do. You try and explain, pitifully, and you can see their head click off: "oh another Dilbert."

So now I say: "Winemaker". "Oh, wow, really? Why are you in town?". Something different, something that hasn't been in a Dilbert cartoon. And they remember. At the bar, in the restaurant, at the valet, at the front desk, everyone has remembered who we are and what we do. A totally unique experience for me. We joke a lot about the 'celebrity winemaker', mostly when we make our friend Kathy drive us somewhere and I sit in the back of her fancy BMW, but there really is something a little celebrity about it. At least in that people remember you and what you do.

It's cool to have a job like that. One people know right away and understand what you make. It's easy to relate to and easy to talk about. For me that's a great thing in the job. At least on a few trips a year now, I'm not Dilbert.

As for Stefania, I'm a little worried she's turning into Dilbert. She's always been one to shun technology, but now she has a new IPhone. I've never actually texted anyone from the bathroom, but she thought that was funny. Right now she's learning the calender application. I just hope she doesn't get mad and pull out the hands of death.
We wound up the day about 5:30 by the pool. My self portrait is above. Tomorrow I'll have more pictures from the Pasadena show and more thoughts on our trip.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Quick Update From Day One.

We're back at the hotel now after a fun day at the trade show. I'll have some more thoughts tomorrow, but wanted to get up a few pictures and links:

Today we poured three wines:

2007 Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch, Mendocino County
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Uvas Creek Vineyard
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains

For everyone we talked with you can sign up on our mailing list at:

For us the highlight was the public session. We had maybe two dozen people stop by who have been following our blogs or posts and that was very cool. We enjoyed meeting all of you. We also got the chance to meet many new people, and we really love the chance to talk about our wine and our story with people.

The day started with a shoe ware emergency. Stefania didn't think her tennis shoes would hold up so we stopped to get her a pair of slip ons at a near by shop.

I got the shirt on our last trip to New Orleans. It's my 'official' trade show shirt.

This was the show just starting as it opened to the trade at 1 PM

And in full swing with the public session.

When we arrived back at the hotel Stef grabbed her knitting and we stopped by the bar to relax for a bit before dinner. That's my Manhattan.

We've had a very nice stay here at the Marriott in Del Mar. One really cool thing about making wine is people remember your job and the entire staff has been following our progress and asking us how things are going. For you serious wine geeks, the restaurant here has a very nice wine list with some great gems on the list. We meet the wine manager last night and chatted about his great list.
More tomorrow after a little rest and water!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

On The Road Again

I can't help it, I sing that Willie Nelson song every time we start off on a road trip.

We slept in a little but still got on the road at 8:22 this morning.

And 0 miles on the trip meter. It was 437 miles to Del Mar in San Diego.

Not 10 miles from home we passed another winemaker heading south. The license plate was BW Syrah, with a UC Davis license plate frame. That was a sure give away. They stayed on 101 though and we cut over Pacheco Pass to Hwy 5. I've probably done this drive 50+ times, but it's been 15 years since I've done it.

The glamour of Hwy 5. This really is the highlight of the drive.

Because this is what was waiting for us when we hit Los Angeles. The air was terrible too and it was slow going.

We arrived fine though just about 3:30 and got settled into the hotel. We're headed down soon to see the workout room, pool and sushi bar!

Friday, March 13, 2009

First Sign of Bud Break.

Bud break is when the vine first opens up in the spring and new green growth comes out. It's also call bud burst. We always see this at home first, since we're warmer on the valley floor in San Jose than in the Mountain vineyards.

These pictures are of the original Grenache in the Haut Tubee vineyard at home. The pictures are a bit blurry from the IPhone but should give an idea of what happens.

In this first picture you can also see 'weeping'. As it warms in the spring fluid that has been stored in the root system over winter begins to rise in the plant. Where there are open wounds from pruning the vine will 'weep'. Small amounts of fluid will come out. This means the sap is rising in the plant:

As it rises it pushes the new buds and gives them the nutrients and energy they will need to get leafs out. The picture below shows the first bud of the year swelling and almost ready to open. The buds turn from brown, to white to green during the process and get a little down like fuzz.

We will probably miss the first leaf this year. We will be in San Diego all weekend at the Family Winemakers event and the first leaf will likely come out Sunday or Monday. We'll do our best to get out updates from the road on our trip down to San Diego, and progress reports on the show.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Match on Wine TV

Stef and I have been buying Randy's wines since his first release of his 2002. We actually went up to visit him before the release and I was so impressed with the vineyard and barrel samples that I was hooked then.

Stef usually buys a few 1/2 bottles and I get 4-6 full size bottles. Over the years I've dropped almost all of my Napa Valley purchases. The wine just got to expensive and was a poor value for the money. This past year I stopped buying Lewis, and Match is now the only Napa Cab I buy regularly. Stef also buys Karl Lawrence, and I buy Lagier Meredith Syrah from Napa, but otherwise we've both mostly looked elsewhere for wine.

You can buy a single bottle from Match if you're interested in trying the wine, or come visit and we'll open a bottle for you too :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Spring Release

Stefania and I spent last night signing all the letters for our Spring Release. She had spent the entire day printing the letters and offer sheets. The offers are a little bit more complicated this time than in the Spring Release and she had to do a few runs through the printer.

We're waiting on the printer to finish envelopes for us. He should have them done today and then Stef will stuff all the envelopes. I'm banded from stuffing, I'm too slow at it. I do get the lick and seal job though. If all goes well we will drop them in the mail on Friday.

We will be releasing two wines: 2007 Stefania Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch and 2007 Stefania Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains.

We made a total of 144 cases of Syrah and people at the top of the list will be allocation 12 bottles. Most people will be allocated 6 or 3 bottles with an option to request more. We are pretty sure we will be able to fill all orders for our Syrah.

We made just 46 cases of our Pinot Noir. The cut off for an allocation is over 800 points and most people on our list will not get an allocation. Only six people have a six pack allocation. It took 3216 points to be offered a six pack. I suspect a few people who got an allocation will not take them, so there is a chance if you mark additional request, you can get some Pinot Noir. Extras will go out based on requests and points standing.

The Syrah is priced at $32 a bottle, $96 for a three pack and $180 for a six pack. We did lower the price this year. We had actually planned to do that well before the current economic situation. Our 4 rows at Eaglepoint Ranch produced over three tons in 2007 and with the extra volume our costs were just a bit lower. We had wanted to pass that savings on.

The Pinot Noir is $45 per bottle, $135 for a three pack.

We're trying something new this release too, we're going to offer a 'Combo Case'. Twelve bottles: 8 2007 Syrah, three 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains and one 2007 Pinot Noir. Price will be $390 and shipping will be free. There will be a total of just 20 'Combo Cases' available on a first come, first serve basis. Look for the letters to start to arrive next week.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Family Winemaker's Event

This coming week we will be at two events in Southern California sponsored by the Family Winemaker's. Sunday we will be in Del Mar near San Diego. There is a public session from 3PM - 6PM. Tuesday we will be in Pasadena for a trade only event:

Please stop by and say hello if you are going to be at either event. This is our first Family Winemaker's event

We will be driving down on Saturday something I hope we can do in less than 12 hours and heading home on Wednesday. I'll try and take pictures at the event and get comments up from the road.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Hard to Taste

If you read a lot of barrel reviews like I like to do, you hear the term 'hard to taste' often. Steve Tanzer in particular uses this phrase when talking about Burgundy.

Yesterday was a perfect example of 'hard to taste'. I was in the winery all afternoon. The wines needed topping off, the Chardonnay needed to be stirred and I had to take final sample to send to the lab of our last 07's still in barrel.

I wanted to taste all the barrels of 07's left. 13 barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon in all. I also wanted to check on select 2008's. Yesterday was a hard day to taste wine. It was cold in the cellar. The tanks read 48 degrees, which meant the wine in barrel was probably just a bit cooler. At that temperature the tannins will really stand out in a red wine and the nose will be muted and dominated by less volatile smells. Less volatile means less fruity in general.

It was hard slugging getting through the samples and getting through the cold induced limitations. I was happy with the 2007's. The 2007 Chaine d'Or vineyard has a good classic Cab nose, with black fruit and tobacco notes, with a peppery finish. The tannins are big, but round and the wine is very dark. Removing the press wine seems to really have helped tame the tannins in this wine. It will still be very long lasting, but this may be the most approachable young CdO I've had.

The 2007 Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon is not as dark, but still full of color. There are deep cherry notes and notes of dusty plumb, mint and tobacco box. It's very fruity and the tannins coat the palate. This will be a good follow up to the 2006, with less of the minty notes on the nose.

I also sampled our 2008 Chardonnay and 2008 Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay is pretty amazing. It's sitting in 70@ new wood right now, but it's hardly showing any wood notes at all. There is deep ripe peach, figs and apple pie flavors. It's very full bodied and extremely rich.

The Pinot Noir is going through it's 'light' stage right now. The color is light, but I know it will darken some in barrel. The nose is all cream and strawberry right now. The wine really seems like it will have loads of fruit as it ages and this wine is showing a firmer structure than the 2006 at this point. It could be a Pinot Noir to hold for a few years, but we'll see how it develops. I think at this stage it's much better than the 2006 was at the same stage.

I headed home about 6PM, and never did get warm. It was one of those chilled to the bone days and nights. I'm glad to have the work done though as we're heading out on the road the next few weekends.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Spraying Starts

Yesterday I sent Jerry out to spray for the first time this season.

We spray to prevent Powdery Mildew and to a lesser extent, Grey Rot or Botrytis. The plants have not yet started to grow so this was a dormant spray.

Normally I don't do dormant spraying. There's no scientific evidence that it does anything, and there's not even a really good hypothesis on how it could work. Because both Powdery Mildew and Grey Rot need green growth to attach spores to there's no reason it should help to dormant spray. Still this year I decided to do it. There's a lot of 'field' evidence that it helps. Which is a way of saying people think it helps.

I have read a lot over the past year though that Stylet oil is more effective if you first do a dormant sulfur spraying, and that does seem to make sense.

I haven't used sulfur for a few years now. It is an organic, but the amount we have to spray and the discomfort it causes when spraying make me an anti-sulfur guy. The bad part about using sulfur to is that it requires not just a high dose, but a lot of spraying through the year. I was glad to get away from it, and this might be the only time we use it this year.

JMS Stylet oil on the other hand, I really like. It works by coating the plant with a micro layer of inert mineral oil. The oil prevent the spores from Powdery Mildew from attaching to the plant and growing. It uses a low dose and I don't have to spray as often as with sulfur.

Both are 'contact' sprays though. If it rains, you have to spray again because the treatment is on the surface of the plant, not inside it. Stylet oil is also an organic.

This year we will treat all our vineyards except Vista Verde with 100% organic treatments. Vista Verde is a new vineyard and I had really bad luck a few years ago trying to take a non organic vineyard to all organic in a single year. Now I phase out the systemic chemicals slowly over a year or two and phase in the organics. Vista Verde may complete the transition this year, I'll just have to watch and see how it goes.

Jerry finished Vista Verde and Arastradero then helped stack some firewood at home. Monday he'll do Crimson Clover, and Sesson, then Tuesday Chaine d'Or. The weather looks good for the next week and we may see bud break at home next week.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Broken Ass

I've had lots of bumps and bruises since we started, and more soreness and stiffness than most people would guess. In fact I did an interview for a blog last year and the question was, "What would surprise people the most about winemaking?" and my answer was - "How physically demanding it is.

Still I've avoided anything really serious in the vineyard or winery. Until Sunday. Stefania and I were out looking at a new vineyard site and I took a bad tumble down some old wet stairs. It had been raining all day, and was still coming down when I started down the stairs. My boots are a size 15 and my feet don't really fit on most steps. My right boot slipped and down I went.

I twisted my ankle, and bruised my wrist. I put my right hand down to stop the fall and hit my thumb hard. My thumbs are already in bad shape from old hockey injuries, and this aggravated that injury. Worst though was I really landed hard on my right thigh.

The bruise is about the size of a cantaloupe and dark black and yellow now. I can't sit for long and it aches most of the time. It's a bummer because the rain is just ending and Jerry and I have a lot of work to do in the vineyards, but it looks like for the next week or two, he'll be on his own.

Stef wanted to take a picture and post it, but I didn't really think a picture of my butt with a bruise was a good thing to put up. I just hope it's better by next weekend as we have a long drive down to San Diego.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Chronicle Event Recap

We arrived early for the event yesterday. There's not much to our set up, especially compared to some of the elaborate displays some people put on. Stefania got us all ready to go, and our award was waiting for us on our table.

The hall was large and the event well run. We had been to other events at Fort Mason that we're overcrowded and under spaced, so it was nice to see we would be in the big hall. We spent the time before the show started playing gin and catching up with friends and other winemakers.

One of the strange things about making wine in the Santa Cruz Mountains is that events like these are the only time we really get to see other winemakers. The mountains are so rugged and the drives between wineries so long that we rarely get to visit. We talked with Ted Mederios from Uvas Creek, Therese Martin from Martin Ranch and met the winemaker for La Honda for the first time.

Stef and I took turns doing the pouring and had help from Alice. One thing we wanted to try was putting one of us in front of the table to talk with people. We know one of our frustrating things when we go to these events on the other side of the table is that people can crowd around the winemaker and it makes it impossible to get to the table to get a pour. We thought if one of us was in front of the table it would encourage people to step away to talk with us and let other people come up for a pour. That actually seemed to work.

The crowd came early and the hall filled up. We had a good time and enjoyed talking with people. I still don't think events like this do much to sell any wine, but it was still enjoyable for us. We will probably do one more event like this in San Francisco this year - the Family Winemaker's this summer.