Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wine Club Party and Open House

Yesterday we had our Fall Wine Club Party & Open House at the Foursight winery and tasting room in Boonville. It was sprinkling, so we cleaned out the cellar, set up a bar and a table, and prepared to pour all our current releases, plus a preview of an upcoming Pinot Noir release and a 2010 Pinot Noir barrel sample.

We ended up with quite a few people throughout the day, including some friends and family who came up for the event or helped us organize and work it (thanks to Linda, Rose and the rest who made some absolutely delicious food and to Sara and everyone else who helped).

Even though the live band was late -- they somehow thought the event was today and not yesterday -- they helped round out the afternoon with music. We ate gourmet soups, tri-tip and polenta with black bean salsa, tiny chocolate cupcakes and raspberry cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake, a giant round of St. George cheese, gouda, and a host of other appetizers. Overall, I think it was a big success.

Every fall we like to throw this party to thank our club members for their support. Our club members are invaluable and truly help sustain our business, and we want them to know we appreciate them.

Here are some photos of the day:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pinot IN the River Photos!

Yesterday my mother, Nancy, and I went to pour at Pinot on the River. This was our first year at the event and it was POURING. Buckets. It was a fun drive to Rodney Strong in Healdsburg, where the event was held, and an even better schlep into the event with foldable handcarts. With all the rain we've had, the tent had accumulated water -- inches of it -- overnight, and only part of the area was even usable. Wineries were literally fighting for tables on high ground, with a river flowing down the middle of the grassy tent area.

We were there early enough to find a half-table mostly out of the water, although as we stood throughout the afternoon small puddles formed around our feet and soaked the bottom of our cardboard wine boxes, etc. Luckily all our paper materials and brochures were packed in a waterproof bag because of the rain.

What began as a river quickly turned into mud as people slogged through it that afternoon. We saw people who had been forewarned in rubber boots (lucky, as our feet were wet and cold), people in their socks because they had already lost their shoes, and even barefoot people who had just given up shoes altogether.
Here are some photos of the fun. I have to admit that I was impressed with the die-hard Pinotphiles who turned out and tasted, and all the wineries who stuck it out. Kudos to you who were there yesterday! My stick-it-out award for the day goes to the lovely ladies in the plastic bags. They're customers of ours - we're so proud!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Happenings

This month is an amazingly busy one for Foursight, without even factoring in harvest. Yes, we are spending quite a bit of time now pressing wines, getting them into barrel and preparing things for a long winter's rest. (Yesterday I spent the afternoon with my father, washing and ozoning barrels, brr.) However, October and early November always seems to be full of events and other to-do's that keep up hoppin'.

This Sunday we'll be participating in Pinot on the River (discount coupon code can be found here) for the first time. It's actually funny that we've never participated in this event as a winery because my first PR agency helped start the event. In its first few years it had some behind-the-scenes kinks that scared me off, but after seeing the esteemed Greg Walter at our Pinot Festival this year, I felt reassured and signed up. I'm looking forward to pouring, albeit in the rain. If you're there at Rodney Strong on Sunday, come say hi! We'll be pouring two current-release Pinot Noirs and one library wine.

On Saturday, October 30 we have our second annual wine club party and open house here at the tasting room and winery and we've been busy prepping the menu and planning the event. We have a rockin' band booked and my mother and family friend Rose have been cooking up course after course for us to sample with the wines (yes, we actually try every food item we serve beforehand to make sure they pair well). We're looking at some tri-tip and polenta, delicious cheeses, warming soups and more paired with the wines. Yum.

Then, on November 7, we have a winemaker dinner with Londer Vineyards at Rendezvous restaurant in Ft. Bragg, during the  Mushroom & Wine Festival. (Diver scallops, mushroom soup, wild boar and more will be on the menu - contact Rendezvous for tickets.) It's going to be an absolutely delicious dinner!

Following shortly after, we're pouring at the Abalone & Wine event at the Mendocino Arts Center (November 12). This is also the first time we've done this event, so I have no idea what it's going to be like, but if I get even a bite of Abalone, I'll be happy.

October and November are also wine club months. I'm in charge of planning, executing and sending off all the wine club packages: a big job but a fun one. See our clubs here.

I'm exhausted and excited just thinking about the next month. As soon as it wraps up, we're off for Thanksgiving and the holidays, and then we close the tasting room in January to clean and finish our office work. Given the drizzle and gray sky today, it certainly feels like winter's approaching. Time to light the wood stove and snuggle up!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Harvesting Semillon - The Final Pick

This week we harvested the last of our grapes - Semillon! It's currently in barrel -- mostly neutral -- and starting to ferment with wild yeast (we love it when we hear that gurgling noise that means fermentation's underway). Our harvest video is below (it's a bit rough, but there's no using a tripod when you're trying to work AND film and change tractors constantly).

I have to admit this harvest was rough, but fun. Every year I try to learn a little more vineyard Spanish. I call it vineyard Spanish because they don't exactly teach you how to say things like botrytis and leaf stripping in school, so you have to learn it on-site. The guys really stepped up and helped me this year, and I enjoyed it. Granted, Joe ended up mistakenly calling someone a pig (a word I had never heard in Spanish for pig), but that's the downside of trying to communicate in another language. Sometimes you mess up. To this day I'm terrified of saying pregnant instead of embarrased and generally avoid talking about being embarrassed to avoid that whole catastrophe (wouldn't be the first time I've stuck my foot in my mouth in another language).

Back to the winery. We're currently doing punchdowns on the Pinot Noir in the cellar. Fermentation on that lot is peaking, meaning that we're doing punchdowns three times a day right now, but soon to go back down to two. I don't mind the punchdowns as the smell of fermenting wine is intoxicating, but I do admit that it's been a bit difficult to do in the middle of the afternoon when the tasting room's open. I've been bringing groups back to watch me do punchdowns just so I don't leave them alone for half an hour. This works well until their glasses are empty or I have to run outside and clean all of the tools. But, c'est la vie I guess. We strive to be family staffed only, and sometimes that means multitasking and giving our customers a unique experience. :)

Watch the Semillon harvest video on our You Tube site, here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Almost Done With Harvest!

We've been harvesting almost every day the past few weeks, right alongside all the other wineries in our area. In fact, last week we couldn't even get a crew from our own vineyard management company and had to call around to see if any other companies had free crews. All this even though we pay a monthly fee just to ensure that we can get help when needed. (Sigh.)
Picking with our regular crew.

We're on the low end of the totem pole with the management company because we do most of our own vineyard work and only use them for the big jobs (pruning, harvest, etc.) We also don't have vast acreage or a famous winemaker (although ours is better!). :) Normally we pick early enough that it doesn't matter. This year our whites seemed to fall smack dab in the middle of the fray.

In order to get our small lot of Sauvignon Blanc off the vine toward the end of last week my father had to call around to his connections to see if there were any other crews free for a morning. We found a crew out of Sonoma County that we had used before. So, the day of the pick we went out shortly after six a.m. and waited for everyone to arrive, per usual. And we waited, and waited, and waited. We started stripping leaves off the shady side of the vine to occupy ourselves and clean things up. My father fielded a phone call saying they'd be late. So we waited. And waited. And stripped leaves. And they never showed. Once it reached 11 a.m. it was too warm to bring fruit in regardless, so we finished pulling leaves and left to go pick up bins and do the rest of our harvest chores. About 12:30 p.m. they finally called and said they were on their way from Ukiah. Obviously, they were told to just forget it.

So, the next day the crew showed up for their second try at our vineyard. They seemed a bit confused, and I speak some Spanish, but all the questions I asked were just received with blank stares. I assumed that I wasn't making sense, so one of tractor drivers from our regular crew (begged from the management company for the day) helped sort them out. Then they started picking. And they were slow. REALLY slow.  Terribly slow. Well, maybe they were just tired, we thought, and continued along until it was time to call it a day due to heat. We didn't understand until the end of the day that this crew wasn't from Sonoma County, or Mendocino, or even Napa. They were called up for harvest from Fresno! They had spent the night in a pear barn in Ukiah before coming over to pick grapes for us (poor guys).

This crew from Fresno had never picked grapes before! It explained a whole lot about the day when we discovered that little tidbit. But, such is life, and we got our regular guys back the next day and have been merrily picking our way toward the end of the vineyard.

After this morning we just have Semillon left (a night pick on Tuesday), and we'll crush it here and be done with harvest. Woohoo!