Friday, March 27, 2009

Tasting Room Opening

Photos from our first day of tasting! We amazingly had a few random group, even without advertising, and of course lots of friends!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And we're off!!!

We just got it - our official approval to open the tasting room. So we'll be open starting this Friday. Our hours will be Fri-Mon, 10-4:30! HOORAY! We've only been working on this since 2006, so you can understand we're absolutely elated. Wish us luck or come visit us - or both, preferably.

Great new find - red wines

On Sunday my parents, Joe and I did a little Yorkville Highlands tasting and discovered what we believe to be one of the best-kept secrets of our area: Pendleton Estate. They are on Highway 128, not too far from the Cloverdale side, and produce some fantastic Cabs, Zinfandels and red blends from grapes like Grenache and Mourvedre. Yum! And the pricepoints are more than fair ($17-35 for most of the wines). My parents even signed up to the wine club during our visit, which says a lot.

The reason why we went is actually a bit funny. When they were building their French chateau on the hill, I bet everyone that it would be a winery. No one believed me - not a single person. Well, I won, and I'm very glad I did. Check them out at

Monday, March 23, 2009

Big Cold

Last night was our first frost night of the growing season. Our tiny little buds are just beginning to peak out here and we got down to 27 degrees - not a good combination. So, about 11 p.m. (VERY, VERY EARLY for it to be that cold), on went the sprinklers! This morning we awoke to a vineyard covered in frost and ice, although not quite as dramatic as last year's icicles (see below for the 2008 winter vineyard wonderland).

I think the hardest part about it is that, in most cases, the vines don't exactly have indicators of damage. They don't have leaves this time of year (the leaves are in the tiny buds), so it's not like a house plant where you see wilting or discoloration and you know the plant's not happy. Their roots are feet below the soil (and a permanent cover crop, which we keep to allow beneficial insects in our vineyard and to cut down on vigor), so no clues there. In really bad cases of severe frost, all those little buds will just fall completely off and all that year's growth to-date is lost. For anything bad but not that severe, what we mostly see is a decreased crop load and that's not evident until much later in the season. So, as a grape grower, roll the dice and hold your breath! And we'll be hoping for a mild spring - I think everyone (my father especially) could use one.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Still Waiting...

We had hoped to have the Foursight tasting room officially open this weekend. As you can tell because I'm in front of my computer right now instead of pouring wine, that didn't exactly work out for us.

Unfortunately, our final paperwork didn't go through in time for the weekend. So Joe and I find ourselves with a rare weekend off, after scrambling all week to try and prep the tasting room for our soft opening. I took the week off from my day job and have been making tasting sheets, laminating materials, trying to get some photos framed, washing wine glasses - you name it. You learn in the wine business to be very patient (or to pretend to be at the very least). We deal with state, federal and local governments offices so there's a lot of waiting and signing and fees and then some more waiting. Right now we're in the final waiting period. Hopefully we'll get some good news next week.

So what do we do with our first few days off in months? Today Joe's playing frisbee golf with some friends that had planned to come up for our first weekend (at the AV brewery - a great course). I'm doing taxes (hooray!) and making our grand opening party postcard. Yeah, I should have gone to play frisbee gold and drink beer. Tomorrow I think we'll try and taste through some of the Yorkville Highlands wineries that we have yet to visit. Weekends around here, even if they are technically off, involve some fixing of broken things in our 30-year-old house (toilets leak, septic systems malfunction - you name it) and cleaning. Lots of cleaning. Such is life, right?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Puppies and Weddings

Ozzie is growing, growing, growing. Today he's spending his first day with my parents in the vineyard - lowering and raising wires. After we prune we have to reset the wires (they keep the foliage going straight up during the growing season). The bottom wires get pushed down and the top wires up to the very top. This is because the foliage starts out small and grows rapidly and it's easier to match the wires to the foliage as it grows than visa versa.

Look at thos paws - he's going to be BIG.

Bob and Pam, Joe's parents, made us an arch for our wedding this summer, which after pruning we wrapped with canes from our vineyard. It's gorgeous after a little decoration and we're going to use it in the tasting room landscaping after the wedding. Joe and I have also finally booked our honeymoon tickets to New Zealand, so now we just have to plan the rest of the trip. Three weeks, both islands - paradise! Although we will be wearing long johns because it will be winter. On the upside, we'll get some skiing in.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A return to normalcy

Things are just now beginning to get back to normal in our lives here. The Alsace Festival went as well as can be expected for any large, consumer event. We had some snafus (like the coffee vendor being an hour and a half late on Saturday morning, and believe me, when farmers and winemakers don't get their morning coffee by 8 a.m., they're not happy). We had some press juggling and other items that kept me busy (and exhausted) but everyone who was able to just pay for the ticket and go had a fantastic time and didn't see any of the chaos behind the scenes.

The building was gorgeous (see below - these were taken before we let anyone in so you can actually see the set-up) and it didn't rain the day of the grand tasting, so that made us all happy. Overall, we barely saw the effects of the poor economy - our attendance numbers just about held to last year's, so I consider that to be a good thing given people's lack of expendable income.

On the home front, this week is my week to catch up on all the tasting room preparations that I've been putting off: ordering sandwich signs, getting some printed materials prepped, ordering boxes and bags, and many other items. I kind of forgot to date an important document amidst event craziness (oops), so our tasting room has been pushed back about a week - we'll be opening the doors in late-March, not mid-March. I'll announce the date when we get there - I'm now afraid to commit to anything because the ABC makes you start your 30-day waiting period all over again every time they find something not exactly right. It's a frustrating process, but we're getting there...

In other news, we're still getting a lot of rain and our pond is nearing full, so we should be able to irrigate and harvest a crop this year. Just a minor thing. :) We also finished pruning for the year - sorry there aren't any photos but I actually didn't have the time to help this time. I was stuck in the office. And finally, Bill and Nancy Charles are off to pour at the World of Pinot Noir this weekend, so please stop by and say hi if you plan to attend. They'll be at the grand tasting on Sunday in Shell Beach.

Until next time...