Even if you live across the U.S. from sunny California, you’ve probably heard that we’ve had a bit of a deluge here this January. With over 10 inches of rain falling for the month, we greet February with a total this season nearly equal to what we get all year. And more rain is forecasted to come our way before the season is over…
What does that mean for our grapevines? As they are dormant through these winter months, the excess water doesn’t affect them one bit. But come summer, when their deep roots search the water table below for a drink, it will be there, ready to help our vines grow and produce an outstanding 2017 vintage!
Dana Stemmler, Winemaker
Wine was a staple in my family and so I was familiar with it for as long as I can remember. Being a child of the 80’s and having parents who never discouraged curiosity, I imagine my first “tastes” sitting around the dinner table were followed by, “that tastes gross.” I really didn’t enjoy it until a trip to Italy with my aunt just after high school graduation.
My love affair with wine practically began at first “Cin cin!” Being able to choose a wine to accompany a meal was fun. I felt grown-up and sophisticated, and bonding over a glass of wine with my aunt was a special experience. It was exciting not knowing what a particular wine might taste like and learning that each bottle was different than the next was inspiring. Suspense and anticipation when a bottle is uncorked are emotions I still get to this day. Sure, I can anticipate the varietal character that should be there, but all the additional layers and nuances that harmonize together is what I have come to appreciate. The geekier side of me loves wine because it is a consumable art form that is fundamentally shaped by science and the enjoyment of its composition is subjective to the consumer. But, what I love most is that a glass of wine enhances every experience, whether it is a meal or a conversation shared with another. Wine enriches the soul!
Photo: Dana in Venice on that fateful trip to Italy with her aunt.
Enrico Franceschi, Grower Relations
I took my first sip of wine when I was 18 months old. The year was 1989 and my family was gathering at my grandparents’ house for an occasion. I was seated in a high chair next to my mother as she allowed me to take a small taste of red wine from her glass. And while an old home video of my first sip reveals that I did not much care for the sour, fermented juice, this did not discourage my intensely Italian family from continuing to instill in me a love for wine. Growing up, wine was not just a simple beverage in my world. Wine was an integral part of the meal, a necessary complement to any course. My agrarian roots taught me that wine could even be a livelihood, a way to provide, as my own father did for his family.
Today, some 27 years later, my fondness for wine still grows. Wine has afforded me the opportunity to travel and work in some of the most beautiful regions around the world. Wine has allowed me to meet interesting people and develop new bonds. Most importantly, wine is something that I am a part of; it is the tangible outcome of a year’s worth of hard work that I am able to share around the dinner table with the ones I love.
Kristen Bruce, Key Accounts Manager
It was August 1992, and I spent the fall quarter of my senior year at Cal Poly University working harvest for Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma. I was hired as a lab technician and spent many hours in the cellar, checking fermentations and taking yeast samples. It was heaven! I loved the sweet smell of CO2 blasting my cheeks as I would squeak open the top of those tanks…what a rush! The cellar workers (or ‘rats’ as we called them) were buzzing around, working hard, moving hoses and forking out pumice from the tanks. They worked their tails off and loved every minute of it!
I saw the passion that went into making wine: from the guys bringing the grapes in from the vineyard, to those working in the cellar, the barrel room, and in the lab. It was a true labor of love and I knew I wanted to be a part of this culture!
As the very first wine competition of the year, we are pleased to usher in the season with 10 of our wines taking medals! What an honor!
2015 Sauvignon Blanc
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
2014 Essential Red
2014 Petite Sirah
2014 Petite Sirah Port
2014 Pinot Noir
2014 Old Vine Zinfandel
Congrats to everyone who contributed to the quality craftsmanship of these wines, including our growers, winemakers, cellar crew, and bottling team! Well done!