Category Archives: country

The Groves on 41

I met Jennifer when I first came down here to SLO county. She is one of the warmest most genuine people you will ever meet. Being around her, you just feel like you may be family. She and I have been telling each other how we were going to get together. In fact, we had to make plans a month in advance. We are business owners, and our days are filled with making our businesses stronger.

She and I finally got together. I went to the Groves on 41, and she showed me the property. The last time I was there, I was there for a party, and did not get a private tour. Jennifer took me around to the their vacation rental, wedding venue, and into the groves.

Being out in the groves was fun. It was super muddy that day, and she and I were talking as we were walking. She was educating me about olive trees, and things to look for in the grove. As she talked, and we walked, we also were picking off the fruit that was still on the trees. I felt as though I left with a whole new understanding about olive groves. We also agreed to carry their line in the tasting room.

Here are some of the photos from the day…

Cinquain Cellars

Beth and Dave Nagengast are the owners of Cinquain Cellars, which has some awesome wines. Cinquain Cellars is on the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail, and is open with an appointment. They are also open during our special weekend events that the trail offers.

This simple 5-line poem, called a Cinquain (pronounced sink-cane), embodies the spirit of Cinquain Cellars, from nurturing 10,000 vines on their estate vineyard, to crafting small lots of artisan wines for your pleasure and theirs. They like to think of their wine as bottled poetry and hope you will agree.

If you’re interested in knowing more, here you go…The owner and winemaker, David Nagengast, graduated from the Fresno State University Enology program in 1985 with the dream of someday having his own vineyard and winery. In 2000, the search for the perfect site culminated in the purchase of a small hillside property, overlooking Hog Canyon and the Estrella River basin from 1000-ft elevation, in the Northeast area of the Paso Robles Estrella Appellation. In 2002, the 14-acre vineyard was planted with 10,000 vines including nine different Bordeaux, Rhône, and Port varieties. In 2007, the construction of their simple 1200 square-foot winery was completed. And now, after 31 years of making wines professionally for a variety of small and medium sized wineries in Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Clara County, and Oregon, the culmination of this dream is evident with the establishment of Nagengast Estate Vineyard, Cinquain Cellars and the availability of 1500 cases annually. Please, don’t be shy about making an appointment, they are happy to share their beautiful facility with you.

http://www.cinquaincellars.com/#contact

 

Here are some fun photos of the property…

The Sounds of Living in the Country…

We moved from the city to the county almost four years ago. It took all of us a couple of weeks to learn to sleep with so much silence. In the spring, there is one refreshing sound that is heard on our farm at night. When it is silent, we know there is a predator lurking around the house, office, garage, or stalls. Most of the time, this is the sound of spring in the country…

 

 

 

Diaries and Journals

I can’t even begin to tell you the thrill that I get when I find someone in our family that has a diary or a journal. I have read a few journals of family members, and honestly…once I start reading the journal, I can’t stop. Usually, before I have been handed a journal or diary there is a preface of “there are lots of misspelled words or something to that effect”. I am not reading about a slice of their life without knowing that this person that wrote these words was doing so with little light, some education, and who knows how tired they were. Let’s not kid ourselves reading and writing before 1930 was done at leisure time. Some people had very little, if any leisure time.

If they had a farm, they had to think about their crop. Their crop was their livelily hood, without it they could not sustain themselves. The work was grueling, they were up with the light, and sometimes worked until they had no light. Children had to be taken care of, and the water had to be brought in the house. Animals had to be taken care of, and sometimes there was a crop grown just for the animals.

It is remarkable to me when I stumble on to a person that has something that has been treasured from one generation to another, even with misspellings and bad grammar. In the end that doesn’t matter, its the time they took from their day to give us a glimpse of their life. People they mention, sometimes there are recipes. I have a blueberry lemon cake in one journal that is so wonderful. They took the time to measure all the ingredients for the recipe to hand over to a daughter in law. It was a favorite of her son.

There is one heart wrenching journal that tells of a mom that lost her son. He didn’t die, he went on to disguise himself as an Italian. He was mixed with Black, Native American, and White. He found a job with some Italians that excepted him as he was, but he was infatuated with a girl. He told her he was Italian, and he moved up north to work in construction. His mom got the letter that he would never come back to see her because he didn’t see himself as the mix he was, but as an Italian. He wanted her to know how much he loved her, but hoped that she would understand. Her journal told of her heartbreak, and how she felt betrayed by her son. She would also write how much she loved him, and how her retreat was going down to the river to cry for the son she lost.

Another relative wrote about her family building a town, and having a saw mill. They also had an inn, and one day they found a pregnant run away slave. It was just before the civil war, and they brought her into their home. She would have a little girl and her name was Hazel. Mary and Hazel lived in the house with the family, and my great aunt was named after Hazel. This same family had arguments at the table about how to help the slaves and not helping the slaves. One of the older sons wanted to buy slaves from the market, and then free them once they have worked off what he had paid for the slave. His thought was, if they purchased the slaves and educated them they could have a good life. The father did not agree with the son. He said if they purchased slaves they would be contributing to more slaves being sold. Mary would often tell the family of her days in bondage, and how she was treated before she ran away. If the family were caught harboring a slave, the family would have had to relinquish Mary, as well as pay a $500 fine. During the civil war Mary and Hazel were sent up north, so they would not have to endure the war.

When you are lucky enough to come upon a diary or journal, treasure it! It will transport you to a place that you’ve never dreamed.

Meet Matilda…

We have several ducks at the winery, but Matilda is special. She gets so excited when someone walks to the stainless steel garbage can, that is full of duck food. As soon as one nears the food can, she is wagging her tail, and panting like a dog. I mean, it is an audible pant…HEAVING BREATHING. Our theory is…she was raised with dogs. She likes people, and likes it when people come near her. The other ducks are a little skittish when people come to close, but not Matilda.

She really has a great personality, truly, a one of a kind.

When Life Gives You Sh*t…

When life gives you sh*t, you make compost. Farm life isn’t always about the cute animals, they have a lot of crap. We compost all our garbage, and even the poo. Nothing, really goes to waste. LOL!

Not only do we compost, but we also have a vermicompost. What is vermicompost? So, we have been utilizing this system since our eldest child was 18months old. We wanted our children to understand the cycle of life, as well as start them young with finding an alternative to the landfill. This is such a great way to incorporate your shredded paper, coffee grounds, apple cores, banana peels, etc. I don’t mix the two systems. The animal waste products and the vermicompost.

The bigger pile has to be rotated, and it takes about a year to use in the garden. So, it may not be pretty, but it is a part of farm life. Sustainable practices like our grandparents and great grandparents used as they farmed. Caring for the land, and not striping the land. Every living thing is important, including the worms.

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RiverStar Vineyards

 

Riverstar Vineyards is an 80-acre ranch located in the heart of San Miguel, in the Paso Robles AVA. There are 60 planted acres of grapes, including six varietals that they use to produce their estate wines. They are a family owned and operated winery, and pride themselves on utilizing the fruit grown on their vineyard to create well balanced and easy drinking wines. Riverstar is a beautiful piece of land, with a scenic meadow in the front of the property that is used for concerts, weddings, and events.

Their boutique tasting room is open Thursdays through Mondays from 11-5, where you can taste their award- winning wines and fun red blends that Riverstar has been known for. They offer a wine and cheese pairing with six of their red wines. They will soon be featuring sparkling wines as well, stay tuned!

Extend your experience at Riverstar by staying in one of their vacation rentals. The “Ranch House” is three bedrooms and two bathrooms with a wrap- around deck, just perfect for watching the gorgeous sunsets over the vines.

The “House on the Hill” is nestled in the middle of the vineyard, with a private pool in the backyard. This home is three bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms, with a fourth room that has a futon and couch to fit all your guests under one roof. More information and photos can be found on our website and on VRBO/ Homeaway.com.

Riverstar is hosting some great concerts this fall. Saturday, September 10, 2016 the Blimp Pilots, a rock n roll cover band, will be playing from 1-4 pm on the meadow. Chaco’s Mexican Grill food truck will be on site cooking up delicious tacos. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and come hang out with them to listen to some awesome tunes, and enjoy some of their great wines!

The next event will be Saturday, October 15, 2016 and will feature the JD Project from 1-4 pm, as well as Chaco’s Mexican Grill food truck. Come celebrate this year’s successful harvest with live music and flowing wine!