Friday, May 30, 2008

Harvesting Hay - Our Other Farming Venture

For a long time, off and on, my family has planted and grown oat hay on a field adjacent to the vineyard. When I was growing up, we fed it to my horses and our cattle (we probably had 30 head when I was younger).

I remember the cattle fondly - finding the new babies where their mothers hid them in the grass while they grazed. Being able to pet the youngsters before they developed any fear of humans was a thrilling thing as a child. I also remember doctoring them, running them through the corral and head catch for their check-ups and fix-ups and carefully avoiding the bull (he was mean).

As for the hay, after it was harvested I remember my parents would place me on top of the growing stack on the trailer. It was a whole family chore. They would lift the bales up to me and I was responsible for stacking them neatly on top. In that way we'd slowly circle the field, collecting bales as we went around, then taking them, pulling them off the trailer, and restacking them in the barn.

Here are some images of our most recent hay adventure. To be honest, I think I was stronger as a kid! To much desk jockeying in my recent life...

Above: baled hay around the outside, cut hay on the inside.

Above: Kristy hauling bales onto the trailer.

Above: Kristy watching Bill pick up bales with the tractor.

Above: Looking toward the vineyard.

Above: Kristy and "Old Blue."

Above: The baler spitting out a new bale of hay.

Above: I'm a lucky girl. Joe did most of the heavy lifting.

Pinot Festival - Photos

Here are images from our debut pouring event, the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival on May 17. We poured our 2006 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir, a barrel sample of a 2007 clone 777 from our vineyard, and a 2007 barrel sample of our All In blend during the tasting.


Above: Our booth in the corner, packed!


Above - Extended family. From left: Deborah, Bob, Norma, Ethan and Colleen.


Above: A look down the tent, toward our corner.


Above: Colleen, taking a blackberry break.


Above: A little hard to see, but it was in the upper 90's that day and Joe used this temperature gun to make sure our wines stayed between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit - and no higher. How's that for quality control?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Re-tasting our New Releases

This past weekend my Bill, Nancy, Joe and myself sat down with some friends to re-taste our 2007 Anderson Valley Sauvignon Blanc and 2006 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir in the comfort of the Foursight guest house (which we recently decided to start renting out, actually - contact us if you're interested).

Because they're our debut releases, it's fascinating to note the changes in the wines as they mature - a learning experience for all of us.

The 2006 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir displayed aromas of fresh raspberries, strawberries, and hint of toasty oak, which carried into the mouth and was enhanced by rhubarb and more acidic, red fruit flavors. The mouthfeel was full and the finish lengthy. We were impressed all over again by this wine, which I think is really maturing and coming into its own now.

I can envision this with some savory pork with a cherry sauce, or perhaps duck or venison (which we just happen to have in our freezer). The Pinot currently retails for $46 and is available on our Web site

The 2007 Anderson Valley Sauvignon Blanc (from Ferrrington Vineyard) had been suffering from a bit of bottle shock a few tastings ago, but is now fully recovered. Aromas of tropical pineapple, lychee, and passion fruit mingle with bright acidity in the mouth and finish. It's refreshing, and especially great with one of Joe and I's favorite meal when we lived in Santa Rosa - "Oliver's dinner." We'd go down the street to the local gourmet grocer, pick out fresh bread, smoked salmon, brie and other spreadable French cheeses, olives, asparagus, and every other item that caught our fancy. We'd take it home, place everything on a large cutting board, and dig in.

The Sauvignon Blanc retails for $20 and is available on our Web site

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Craziness Ensues


Well, it's been a while. But I do have a good excuse - my lack of posts recently directly relates to my participation in the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival. I'm still recovering from the May 16-18 event, which showcased approx. 40 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir producers during the Saturday grand tasting, one of whom was Foursight Wines.

It was a great event, albeit scorchingly hot, and required a lot of work from yours truly as a representative of both the Winegrowers Association and Foursight Wines. I think I'm just now finally caught up on my sleep.

The most exciting part of the event was hearing people talk about how great our wines were, not knowing that our friends and family were standing somewhere in the near vicinity and would be reporting promptly back to us (how could they not in that situation?). To have people that you don't even know that well tell you that there was a buzz about your wines is great validation that you are not the only one who loves the wines and your friends and family aren't just saying they're great because they required to by the friends and family code.

Honestly, we're biased. We love the wines, but know that, realistically, not everyone will love them as much as we do. However, the response was overwhelmingly positive at the AV Pinot Festival this month, and we're really looking forward to Pinot Days in the city on June 29th. (www.pinotdays.com).

Saturday is girls' wedding dress shopping (it's finally started - the horror!), followed by dinner at Masa's and a stay at the Renaissance Hotel near Union Square. All in all, a very nice weekend in the city.

If you're in the area, come visit us.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Frost damage in the vineyard

I promised photos of frost damage, and here they are. We were lucky, but the damage is obvious in some portions of the vineyard. When it looks dead, it usually is...


No green leaves in the above photo, which is not good for this time of year.

Overall, it's going to be a tough year for farmers, albeit it may be good for the wine market due to a shortage of grapes for the 2008 vintage. We just have to see how it plays out.

Friday, May 9, 2008

WE'RE OFFICIAL!

We officially launched Foursight Wines this week, unveiling our Web site (www.foursightwines.com) and, for the first time, making our 2006 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir and our 2007 Anderson Valley Sauvignon Blanc available online. (Ahem. That's a hint to all you friends and family out there. Share the love.) ;)

Anyway, sales pitch or not, I can't even begin to describe how excited we are. It's been several long years of paperwork, ordering supplies, working harvests, making wine, and, of course, writing checks, and it's so satisfying to finally see the wines out there, available for sale. So of course we toasted this with a bottle of Roederer L'Hermitage - our homegrown favorite from the valley. Twice.

The wines are tasting great, we're happy and busy, and it's all finally rolling along.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Very Cold Spring

The talk in the Northern California wine community has been all about frost this spring. I know in our area there is anywhere from 10-100% loss from the night-after-night freezes we've had in the past few months. I'll put it this way - we've turned on our overhead frost-protection sprinklers more times this year than the past two years, combined!

Hillside vineyards that normally don't frost because the cold air filters down onto the valley floor have been hit especially hard, as many don't have any frost protection measures at all (well, would you bother if this is the first time in 30 years that you had to worry about it?). Here on the valley floor, we've been so cold - in the mid-20s too often - that wherever multiple sprinklers don't overlap, the baby leaves are burnt to a brown, brittle mess. And that includes the developing flowers, which will never turn to grapes as they're now completely dead.

Mendocino County is now asking all its growers to send in information about their damage this year, as they're considering asking for federal emergency money for the crop, which is looking to be very low.

I'll post some pictures soon. It's not pretty.