Friday, April 29, 2011

May Event @ Twist

We are filling up the calendar fast!!

On tap for May 22nd (Sunday) is a winemaker dinner at Twist in Campbell. We are hosting the Friends of the Winemakers but have reserved a small table for our friends.

If this is something you might like to attend, send me an email:

Sunday, May 22nd at 6pm
Twist Bistro

Daily Fresh Roasted Vegetables OR Baked French Vegetarian Onion Soup OR Eggs Meurette

Marinated Tritip & French Fries OR Catch of the day OR Vegetarian dish or vegan plate

Your choice Dessert:
Semi Sweet Chocolate Mousse OR Espresso Ice Cream OR Dominique’s cheese platter

$56/Person all inclusive (wine/tax/gratuity/yadda yadda)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Upcoming Event, May 21st - Downtown Saratoga

Paul and I have signed up to pour at "Bonnets & Blooms" in Saratoga on May 21st.

We haven't decided which wines we'll pour (we usually only take two at events like these) but we have committed the last magnum of Haut Tubee for the Wine Magnum Auction.

The website says 2-5pm, the flyer says 3-6pm......Advance tickets are $35 and available online

Hope to see you there!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shipping Complete!

Quick Shipping update. Stefania got the last boxes out the door yesterday. There are a few on vacation hold for people, or holding for pick up at the winery, but unless you've asked us to hold your box, it's now gone out.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers Japan Benefit Concert

Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers Japan Benefit Concert on April 29 (Fri)

Play for Japan USA, a project launched by Japanese working mothers in the SF Bay Area, presents a benefit concert featuring Anne Akiko Meyers, one of the most celebrated violinists who has been the featured soloist with the world’s leading orchestras and collaborated with such artists as Michel Bolton, Chris Botti, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Anne was flying over Japan when the earthquake hit the country (for her performances in Osaka, which eventually got canceled) and thus has graciously agreed to perform for us.
All proceeds will go to the Japan disaster relief efforts through the American Red Cross, Give2Asia, and the Japan Center for International Exchange.

Date: April 29th, Friday
Place: Woodside High School Performing Arts Center [Map it]
Time: 8pm (doors open at 7pm)
Ticket: starting $35 -

For more information & buy tickets, visit:

Play for Japan USA is started by Japanese working mothers in the Bay Area who wanted to take action to contribute to the Japan relief efforts (for details, please read SF Chronicle's article). This concert is officially endorsed by the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco and fiscally sponsored by the Kurosawa Piano Music Foundation, a 501(c) (3) tax exempt organization. All proceeds will go to Japan disaster Relief effort through American Red Cross, Give2Asia, and Japan Center for International Exchange.

As you may know, Anne is one of the most celebrated violinists who has been a featured soloist with the world's leading orchestras and collaborated with such big names as Yo Yo Ma, Michel Bolton, Chris Botti, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Anne was flying over Japan when the earthquake hit the country. As a mother of a young child herself, she has graciously agreed to perform to support our cause. Please come join us to enjoy her beautiful performance by ex-napoleon stradivarius!

I've attached a short description of the concert and E-flyer below.
You can also find our paper flyers at

This is a great opportunity for you to stand in support with hundreds of individuals and organizations in the Bay Area for the Japan Relief efforts.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Road Trip Part II

One of the things I wanted to do on this trip was see 'fly over' country from the ground. I've been across Nevada and Utah many times but never through the back country except for one trip up Hwy 95 to 168 with Stef in 2001. We decided to take 2 1/2 days getting back and stay off the interstate.

It would be a good time to travel in the desert as it was cool and there had been lots of recent rain which left everything green instead of brown. The first leg of the trip would be through the town of Santa Clara and up old hwy 91 through Gunlock to Vejo and Hwy 18. This was the only time we got lost on the trip, missing the turn to Gunlock and not knowing we were lost until we hit the 'Welcome to Arizona' sign about 9 miles past our turn.

An interesting thing about Santa Clara was that many of the yards in town had grapes growing. We guessed they were not wine grapes but probably planted for jelly making by the early Mormon settlers in the area.

Once we got on the right route to Gunlock we came across this rare sight of the Gunlock Falls.

Stef and I hiked down off the road and up the falls away to take these pictures.

We heard many of the locals hiking the falls that day and on the road say they had never seen them flowing. The reservoir was full and the falls serve as an overflow. It's been a very wet year in the west.

From Gunlock we continued on hwy 18 through Enterprise and to hwy 56. This is 'Crop Circle' territory. When you fly over the desert and see the giant round circles and wonder who in the world is farming out there? This is the place, Western Utah, and every farm seemed to be owned by someone from the 'Holt' family.

As we entered Nevada hwy 56 became hwy 319. We turned in the town of Panaca north on to hwy 93, the 'Great Basin Highway'. Other than the town of Ely, which I would guess has 4000-5000 residents each town we'd go through was no more than a few hundred people. Some that showed on the map would turn out to be modern ghost towns, with 10-15 empty buildings and just 3-4 occupied.

At the hwy 93 turn we stopped at Cathedral Gorge for some more hiking and picture taking.

We'd hike up to the little overlook below only to find out you can access it from the highway. There are hundred of little caves in the sandstone and original facilities built by the CCC in the 1930's.

On Sunday we saw more elk, deer, antelope and a golden eagle among the highlights.

Sunday night we stopped in the Hotel Nevada in Ely and had dinner at the Jailhouse Restaurant. This is completely Chevy Chase/Vacation movie stuff. We stayed in the Micky Rooney room at the hotel. Each room is named after a star who once stayed in the hotel.

Monday we headed west on hwy 50, 'The Loneliest Road in America'. I didn't take pictures as we went that day, just enjoying all the mountain passes covered with snow as we went through them and more deer, antelope, wild horses and wildlife. The entire time from leaving St George in Utah, until arriving in Fallon Nevada I would pass just two cars and be passed twice also.

The highlight of day two came about 90 miles outside of Austin Nevada, a town marked with a large hand painted 'Speed Trap Ahead' sign. As we rounded a large turn Stefania said; "Why are there so many cows moving along the hill?" As we cleared the turn right along the road there were five cowboys moving the cattle on horse back. I know this is a rare sight. In New Mexico when my uncles moved cattle, horses where mostly brought just for nostalgia. Most of the work was done with trucks and ATV's. I always felt like the horses came out just so the kids from California could ride them and I always looked like Billy Crystal in 'City Slickers' with sneakers and a ball cap. There were no trucks or ATV's in sight though.

We arrived in Tahoe about 3PM and I had reserved us a room in the Marriot Timber Lodge with a full kitchen. Stef and I cooked dinner that night and enjoyed the luxury. The next morning we continued on hwy 50, then 5, 580, 680 and 87 to home. We arrived back at 2:30 PM with 1527.6 miles behind us.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Road Tripping Part I

Last Friday Stef and I headed out to visit her brother and mother in St George Utah. We got on the road and took our traditional picture. 5:44 AM and 44 degrees. Most of the trip would have temperatures in the 40's or lower. A cold front was passing through the desert as we traveled.

Our first stop for gas was in Tahachapi Pass. In all we'd go through about two dozen mountain passes on our trip and almost all of them had snow. On the way to the Central Valley we saw Tule Elk along the road. Interstate 15 had the worst drivers I've ever seen. Friday afternoon from Los Angeles to Las Vegas brings out a terrible group of drivers. There were always 15 cars in the fast lane for every car in the slow lane, which meant the slow lane moved faster. Still no one would get right.

We made it through Vegas with just a slight traffic delay and passed through the Virgin River Gorge. We rested that night and the next morning went out visiting and then on a hike to Snow Canyon in the Red Rock Mountains. The storm was breaking up and it stayed cool with high clouds all trip.

One of the trails on the trip was called 'Butterfly', so I kept my eyes open for caterpillars and spotted this little blue colored one almost right away. I was thwarted in all attempts to figure out what this little guy is because 'blue caterpillar' is a character from Alice in Wonderland and every Google image was either from the movie or scores of mommy blogs featuring their little precious dressed for Halloween.

The desert was in full green bloom. A pretty rare thing from my trips through and this little cactus I particularly liked.

We hiked out to an overlook of the main valley and across a series of lava flows.

Stef and I took turns taking pictures of each other.

I spotted this little tunnel and climbed up the rocks to get a better view.

This was the view from the top after the tiny bit of rock climbing.

And these little red flowers had just bloomed in a crack in the rock.

The activity was full justification for Stef's brother to BBQ up a huge plate of ribs for dinner that night!

And he opened one of my favorite wines a 2001 Cline Mourvedre Small Berry Vineyard.

Saturday afternoon we visited a few art galleries in St. George after the hike. Sunday we packed up and had brunch with Stef's mom then headed out across the desert, deciding to avoid the Interstate's. More pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Mineral Hill Update

Sunday morning the whole crew was out at Mineral Hill to complete the installation there. Jerry and Millie had finished the wiring on Saturday morning after Millie spent all day Friday prepping the wire and connectors.

My job was to dig holes. Stefania was officially the 'supervisor'. She made sure all the wire work was polished off, trained the homeowners on how to plant (they did 90% of the planting) and see to all the details including pounding in 90+ rebar supports. Millie finished up support nails for the catch wires and rigged up the drip line so it was off the ground. Jerry cut rebar for Stef and helped with planting.

I also planted a few of the plants including the three table grapes at the end of the vineyard. The table grapes need some expert care and pruning so that's how I ended up with that job. Below is me finishing off hole #91. I did about 60-70 of the holes. Stef is in the background making sure the catch wires are attached correctly.

It was a really great morning. Blue skies and temperatures in the high 60's and low 70's. Great conditions to work in. Below are a couple of shots of the almost finished vineyard before we started digging holes to put in the plants.

The site is now complete. We installed 5 additional plants as a nursery in case any of the main plants don't grow. We also set up a watering schedule for the first few weeks. For the rest of the summer we'll have a few check ups to do to see on progress.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Open House Review

Last Saturday we held our Spring Open House. Usually we send out an announcement to everyone on our mailing list within the Bay Area. This year though we had rain the entire week before the open house and one day in particular that Jerry said was the most rain he'd ever seen in a 24 hour period.

The net result was that the little field we usually use for parking was too wet to mow and too soft to park in. We decided rather than trying to do traffic control on the street, or worse have to tow cars out of the mud, we'd cut back on the email invites and just send them to people who had checked off 'hold for pick up' on their order forms.

This gave us a small group of visitors and a much more low key event. The first picture I took was for some people on the Wine Spectator forum. There was a question about 'gunk' in wine and I thought I'd take a picture of some Syrah we have in a carboy. This is the net result of letting 5 gallons of gross lees settle for a few months. The lees are on the bottom and the wine is on the top.

Now a better picture of our hostess with a bottle of wine in the cellar getting ready for visitors.

Here is our little low key tasting table. I actually forget sometimes I'm supposed to do the pouring and tend to think people will just help themselves. Not your normal tasting room experience I'm sure. I was feeling like celebrating the opening of a new Chavez Supermarket near our home so the treat were chips, red salsa, nopales salsa and queso fresco.

I opened 5 wines in total the three from the current release: 2009 Chardonnay Chaine d'Or Vineyard, 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Crimson Clover Vineyard and 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains. The other two wines where a 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Uvas Creek Vineyard and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains.

The Uvas Creek was best after being open about an hour. I think that means it's almost out of the odd stage that this bottling has always gone through from age 3 to 4. If you want to open one over the next few months I'd decant it for about an hour to let the cherry fruit open up. Right out of the bottle the fruit is a little muted but with air it comes back around. I saw this in the 05 and 06 also at about the same age so I think it's something with the aging profile of this particular vineyard.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Bud Break at the Home Vineyard

I've been having some terrible issues getting pictures off of my Samsung Fascinate so I've been slow on putting blogs up. Verizon and Samsung like to send out updates to the phone regularly. Here's a picture of the Engineering and QA teams at Verizon and Samsung preparing for their next update.

So basically every updates totally and completely breaks picture transfer and it takes hours to sort it back out. With that little rant out of the way, here's some happier thoughts.

We've had bud break in all the vineyards now and as usual the home 'Haut Tubee' vineyard led the way. This is a Thompson Seedless vine in the front parkway. One of our neighbors asked us if we would plant some table grapes so we did.

This is one of the remaining 'old boys' from the original planting. This is a Grenache. That's Italian Parsley growing around it. Stefania planted all kinds of herbs and flowers around the vines. We've been using the parsley a lot and I actually discovered that the stalks get pretty thick and if you peel them they are a good addition to stews.

This is a Mourvedre vine with some California Poppy's in the foreground. This little plant will send runners down the line this year that will become cordons. The plants in the background are a mix of Crimson Clover and wildflowers. It will be another two weeks or so for the colors to really start coming out.

Here's a more mature vine closer to the house and some Crimson Clover that's already started to bloom. This plant will send out the start of spurs this year and should produce about 10 pounds of fruit.

This is one of the 'old boys' in the backyard that we've retrained to cordon and spur training. I used this particular plant in past blogs about pruning and thought I'd give an update on how it looks this year.

Another one of the 'old boys' in the backyard sending up two new shoots from its spur. This little growth here will eventually produce four clusters of grapes that will weigh in at about 6 pounds. Everything in the backyard now is Syrah.