food, Galleria, Happiness Project, Wine Wednesday, Winery

Rhone Rangers

“Wine … offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than possibly any other purely sensory thing which may be purchased.” Earnest Hemingway

As a winery owner it is my job to get out there and experience what other wineries are doing. So, I was happy to dive in and taste wine for two days at the Hospice du Rhone. I attended one of the lectures, two days of tasting, and Farewell Dinner.

I enjoyed the lecture, and the wines were delicious as well. Jeb Dunnuck, was the moderator, and he really gave us extra insight on the St. Joseph area of France and the wines that are crafted from the region. After a taste, I was sold, so delicious, and vibrant. The minerals of the area are in the background notes of the wine too.

I met one celebrity wine maker. I had never heard of him until that day, and just made it a goal to have a photo taken with him.

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He wasn’t thrilled to have his photo taken with me. Geez, I didn’t ask him for his autograph. Whatever, I got a photo with him. It was a fun challenge.

These were the stand outs for the weekend. The 2010 was my absolute favorite. So smooth, and had such a long decadent finish. Chateau St. Nabor, Cotes Du Rhone, is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault.  Raspberries, and blackberries immediately hit the nose, and the palate is clean and so damn refreshing. I was so bewitched by this Rose.

At the end of the evening of the 2nd day, I met a couple from the area. I so enjoyed their conversation and shared wines and food. I even ate a cricket. IMG_0767

It was crunchy, and super spicy. Not really sure I will ever have another one, but at least I did it once.

 

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Harvest Season

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” William Blake

There’s something magical about harvest season when you live in wine country. It’s a current of electricity that runs through the everyone and everything. I always think of Dr. Seuss. Ya know those giant machines that come in to clean up after “It 1 and 2 and the kids? Well, there are grape. Picking machines driving on the roads at this time, and Dr Seuss is at the forefront of my thoughts…I kind of giggle like a child when they get in front of me. I can take it for a mile or so, but then I have to pass them, but not without waving like a deranged lunatic. It is just exciting!!

We don’t use machines to harvest our grapes, we have to hire people. My husband as well as our winemaker get out in the field and pick with all the other people working in our fields. Just this past week we have already processes several tons of grapes, and pressed them. So, the fermentation process is already starting for the 2017 wines. I believe the Merlot for this year has already been picked, destemed, and pressed. 

These were photos of the grapes before some of the fruit was dropped. We have to drop fruit so the healthiest grapes will get the most water, and the best sunshine. Depending on the variety, canopy may have to be cut back to get the right amount of sun, or less sun. We want to pick at just the right amount of Brix, which is the sugar content in the grapes, too high, and the wine is too sweet, you want just the right amount to make great wine.

 We try to maintain a sustainable vineyard, and keep the dropped fruit for compost. Once the grapes are pressed the must will be used for more compost to mix back into the soil and boost the soil with microbes that recondition the soil.  Our ducks are always in the vineyard taking care of the slugs, and soon we want to introduce babydoll sheep and chickens. The sheep will help with the grass and cover crops, and the chickens will take care of the insects in the vineyard. The chickens will also give us fantastic eggs to eat. It all makes for better wine every year. A wine that you can enjoy and feel good about drinking. We look forward to getting closer to becoming more biodynamic! 

Collections and Obsessions, country, farming, Fountain of Youth, Fruit, Happiness Project, Photography, Wine Wednesday, Winery

Harvest Festival Time

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It’s that time of the year again. This year we are having chicken pesto sliders with a side of chips, and some favorite dips with assorted yummies (to be determined). Our beautiful cow is new, and so is Casa Dell Arte. We will have an open studio on Friday, and on Saturday we will have two classes. One class will be for anyone 8 to 108, and the adult class is for 21 and over.

 

We are excited to see some of our old friends, and make some new ones too.

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Winery Ducks

Recently, a lady brought over her rescue duck Aflac, and I want to tell you he has made friends with these two white ducks and the one black duck. These three were added recently by an unknown person. We happened to see the two white ones and the black one hanging out together. We do have several wild ducks that stop at the pond, and help the domesticated ducks finish their food at the end of the evening.

We are so happy that Aflac is adjusting to life at the winery.

Collections and Obsessions, country, Design, farming, food, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Museum Monday, orchard, organic

Nun Playing A Violin

Although this is a print, it is an antique print. The original was a painting from the Italian Renaissance. The painter and subject are unknown. The face of the nun appears very young. Which is not a surprise, since families often sent a daughter to the convent. Often, the families just couldn’t afford a dowery for more than one girl, and sometimes they couldn’t afford one. A young woman would go to the convent ready to serve the church. Gardening, cleaning, praying, helping the poor. Mother Superior was in charge of the fate of the young lady.

This print reminds me of an educated lady, grieving for her family. Maybe it is an evening of a full moon where the light hits the courtyard just right, and the echo of her violin playing brings tears to the eyes of the other young ladies that have come to the convent. Young ladies that miss their families, and their old way of life.

Of course, there were young ladies that came to the convent and had a better life after they were surrounded by other young ladies. There would have been young ladies that would be able to eat good food once they were in the convent. I was once told that city poor was much different than country poor. If you were poor and lived in the city it was a little tougher to obtain fresh food. If you were poor in the country one could glean from neighboring farmers, there were eggs from chickens, and one could grow some of their own food.

Looking at old images really makes me grateful to live here and now. I am so thankful, and appreciate our ancestors, each and everyone of them. The lives they had were not easy! The choices they had to make were so different, and so far removed from the world we live in today.

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Finally Done

San Marcos Creek Villa is done, and here are the results of all our hard work…

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Marcela Bennett

I have always loved bell towers, and when Marcela told me she would create a bell tower, I was excited. This particular bell tower is the San Juan Bautista, it was the 15the Mission that was founded in California. The color of the sky is a bit exaggerated, but so lovely with the light colored mission. Each of the bells have their rope hanging down, ready for the monks to pull at hours for service and prayers.

 

 

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country, farming, food, Fountain of Youth, Happiness Project, Photography, San Luis Obispo Sites, Wine Wednesday, Winery

Aflac at the Winery

The other day, a lady comes to the winey and ask me to allow her to release her duck. The name of the duck Aflac. She even brought a giant bag of food to feed her duck, and ask me if it was ok to bring some apples to feed Aflac. We took the very large cage over to the pond to allow Aflac to see the water. Here are some of the photos of his release…

The other duck with the red bill is Matilda, and she is the other loner that I believed might be a friend or buddy to Aflac. The two mallards are the bullies of the pond. Once Aflac got into the pond the two mallards went after Aflac. I have found myself looking for Aflac in the afternoon, and making sure he has food. It is a little heartbreaking that he hasn’t made any pond friends. Maybe, he just needs time to fit into the pond with the other ducks.

Collections and Obsessions, country, farming, food, Fruit, Galleria, Happiness Project, Saturday Special, Winery

One Year Anniversary

September 9th is our anniversary day, we have been winery owners for one full year. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and there was lots of work to do. We got grass added to the back patio area, bocce ball court, a beautiful fountain, and Reale Leone Inn open.

After I had it all decorated, and ready to go…Roberto tells me, “Honey, there needs to be a pressure pump for the water.” Tears started welling up in my eyes. I didn’t want to cry in front of everyone, so I went over to the Inn. I went upstairs and starting wailing like a baby. We’ve spent millions of dollars and we still can’t make money until we have the Inn open…Oh, what have we done?

I hear someone is in the Inn with me. I see our air conditioning technician. He tells me “Kimberly, we may have to open this wall to get this air conditioner to work correctly.” What? We just finished the place, and you may have to open the wall? He reminded me that it would be the last thing they would do if nothing else worked. I hid upstairs again, and cried, and cried, and cried. I’m not exaggerating when I am telling you that I cried all day long!

I have learned that it takes a little while (months) for people to spread the word about a place of interest. Before we opened, people would tell us “Oh, I can’t wait to rent the whole Inn.” Well, that hasn’t happened as of yet. We have been full for several days at a time, and now, most weekends are full. It took a while before it happened though.

We just opened our “Casa Dell Arte“, a place where young and old can learn paintings, crafts, yoga, dance. A destination where people can learn. Paint and sip classes for adults, and painting classes for children. Yoga classes in the morning, and dance classes in the evening. Craft classes for fun and exciting activities.

We are about to open villadelsole-logo-rgb

The big house on the hill that is 5,000 square feet. The last few items that need to be finished are wireless, washer and dryer need to be installed, and direct tv. The villa has a wrap around porch. Huge kitchen for several people to gather at the same time. Comfy and beautiful rooms, super spacious bathrooms.

We love our winery, and it’s even more gorgeous than it was when we purchased it. We are expanding on the dream of the original owner, and trying to preserve his legacy as well. I’m sure I haven’t spent my last day crying, but most days are fantastic. We are going to carry on, and get better with every year!

Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Wine Wednesday, Winery

Art, Learning, and Laughing

Before we came down to San Luis Obispo county one of our goals was to create a space that was a center for learning. A place where people could go not just to be artistic, but where they could learn. At Casa Dell Arte, we want to include lectures, crafts, dance, yoga, and various other activities. A place where kids can do science classes, women can learn about empowerment, and we can share ideas and beliefs with each other.

This month at Casa Dell Arte, which is located on the property of the San Marcos Creek Vineyard and Winery, we are offering something new. We are not only going to have classes for adults, but also something for children and adults. Children, with their parents can come together to paint and have fun.

Once we find more teachers for more classes we will keep you all posted about what is happening at Casa Dell Arte. It’s going to be a great place to learn something new.

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