After our Vino Moda event last weekend (which I would highly recommend next year to anyone who likes clothes and jewelry and has a little money to spend) we are coming to the end of the event season. This means a slow-down for us from working 7 days a week to hopefully just 6, and considerably less time in the car. We love doing the tastings, but sometimes it's nice just to have an afternoon off.
Yesterday, for example, we did some work at the tasting room and talked with journalist Heidi Cusick Dickerson who will be writing an article about us for the Ukiah Daily Journal (also syndicated via Business Wire). Afterward, we gathered with family friend Andy Berry and had an extended, European lunch outside in the sun. We spent the afternoon making barley wine - one of Joe's favorites.
We try and make a few batches of beer every year but have been putting it off for quite a while. So yesterday we finally got out the carboys and beer kits and found a burner to cook it on (the 5-gallon pot ruins electric burners, trust me on that one), and we started the process. Barley wine yesterday, amber ale today, and oktoberfest tomorrow.
Making beer is about 10,000 times easier than making wine. Especially since we use clone kits - pre-packaged beer kits you can buy at the local home brew store that imitate famous recipes. One of our beers this time is a clone of Sierra Nevada, and we love it because we know this way what the final product will taste like. The hardest part is hand-bottling the beer. We're starting to think about going with kegs, which aren't quite as convenient for giving away to the family, but they eliminate the bottling process, which takes hours of prep and sterilizing, and then hours of filling and capping.
What else is up for us in the next few weeks? Thanksgiving, for one: Joe's family is joining us here on the compound this year, which will be fun. After that, a trip to Tahoe for Joe's birthday (and possibly the city beforehand - we're trying to go to both Bubble Lounges in NYC and SF within a month). We're going to stay open for tastings on Thanksgiving weekend and probably the week of Christmas (minus Christmas Eve and Day), so we'll continue to take appointments. Then - 2009 budget time (yuck).