Clouds and Sunsets

Since moving here, one thing we get to enjoy over and over again are the sunsets, moonrises, and all things cloudy and celestial.  As much as we like to travel we are really enjoying the country life.  It’s been an awesome journey so far and one we enjoy sharing with you online and in person.  The Friday evening happy hours in the tasting room have been a huge success and are a great way for our friends and neighbors to come by and unwind and catch the sunset.

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Food and Wine Pairings

Sometimes a beer just tastes good.  I’m sure Paul would rather I not post a photo of cheetos next to a glass of wine, but to be fair, that was Superbowl Sunday and I was on the cusp of getting one of the nastiest colds I’ve ever had. The wine was sauvignon blanc from Chile.  And then finally a proper food and wine photo.  It was my first time roasting cauliflower and it came out pretty fantastic.

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Chicago February

When the airline deal is $99 one way for a direct flight to Chicago, I have Paul book it and we go.  This time we were able to meet up with friends and customers over the course of an extended long weekend.  We shopped at Binny’s and had lunch at Goose Island one day, lunch at Frontera Grill another, lunch with Otis at Purple Pig, and then dinner with “the gang” at BellyQ.  On our own we had a late dinner the night we arrived at the Turtle Club.

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Photos January

Sunset taken from Marina, CA after a day of unusually high surf.

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Crimson Clover Vineyard in Morgan Hill, behind El Toro.

This year we paced ourselves and pruned the vines over the course of a couple of days.

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20160119_104241_001The accumulation of rain in our nearby hills is dramatic. The swale was running at a good clip several times this past winter.  It was good get so much rain.

RAIN!

We’ve been in Gilroy just over a year now and there have been so many new and exciting things happen in the past 12 months that I’m not even sure where to start.   The biggest news by far is the storm that came in unexpectedly last night.  Normally the pitter patter of rain will keep me awake at night as I lay worrying about what might have been left out of doors that is getting soggy.  Not last night, I was lying awake in the dark with a huge grin on my face and the knowledge that the patio cushions were getting soaked and I couldn’t have been happier or less worried.  To describe the scent and aromas this morning is nearly impossible if you’ve never lived in the hills of California.  It’s sweet, pungent, aromatic and exhilarating.  It’s wet hay, soggy sage, crunchy pine needles, fresh redwood, wet dirt and also wet cat.  I’m not going to complain because this is so wonderful right now I’m euphoric, but, there are little kitty cat muddy paw prints everywhere today.  They are just as excited as we are for the change in weather and have been literally bouncing off the walls, I know, there are muddy prints there too!  As I was headed to the back to snap photos, I happened to walk past one very frisky kitty sitting on the bar in her most regal pose.

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Just a couple of days ago I snapped the  photo of this pumpkin that Paul is growing for me.  He put in several plants, but only the ones in the raised boxes produced.  There are three adorable little pummers out there and I’m beside myself with how cute they are.  The watermelons did ‘ok’, will have to revisit the garden growers manual to see what we can change to get a deeper red flesh and sweeter taste.  I take that back, they were sweet, just not very flavorful, maybe too much water?  Could have been the varietal too I suppose.  I don’t know, Paul is definitely the gardener in this family.

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This sunset photo is from two nights ago, the pics from the sunset last night are brighter orange and are exactly why I said the storm overnight into this morning was completely unexpected.  I mean, we had clouds and it was a spectacular sunset and all that but it certainly didn’t feel like rain was coming.  All day the accuweather app on my phone kept giving me rain updates and warnings but no rain appeared.

The tasting room is open this weekend:  Friday night we’ll do happy hour(s) from 4-7, Saturday 11-4 and Sunday 12-4.  I’m looking forward to this weekend and pouring during milder weather.  Opening weekend was 104° but we managed to keep the wine cool with multiple blocks of dry ice in the tasting room.  Having a space that is open frame and not insulated has charm and country aesthetic, but not so great when the summer temperatures spike.

Coming up Next:

Our First Wine Club Event is on October 10th, there is still time to join and get on the list for the pig roast.

We tested out the logistics in June and had a pig roast for our neighbors, friends, and family with great success and looking forward to sharing this fun event with all new friends!

Also on the agenda for this Fall:

A “Garage Sale” probably in November.  A couple of years ago when we were in Newport Oregon, the Rogue Brewery had a garage sale and we are borrowing their idea.  On our inventory sheets from the warehouse, we have a handful of wines with fewer than 5 cases left that we’ll discount and sell out of the ‘garage’ (tasting room).

Alright, well the sun is starting to peek through the clouds, the little furry ones have settled into their napping spots for the day and I need to get on with my bookkeeping and close out the last quarter.  Welcome to October everyone and let the rains begin!!

-SR

Grand Opening this Weekend August 15th and 16th

It’s finally here the grand opening of our new tasting room.  We will be open this Saturday August 15th from 11-4, and Sunday August 16th from 12-4.  The tasting room is located at 1800 Day Road in Gilroy, CA 95020.  We had a successful soft opening two weekends ago which we used to test everything we needed to have working and delivered.  Thanks to all our friends and neighbors who stopped by to kick the tires!

Now we’re ready to invite everyone over!  We will be pouring 5 wines for $10.  The tasting price is refunded with any bottle purchased.  Wine Club members enjoy free tasting and an additional assortment of wines.  This weekend  we will be featuring all of our recent medal winning wines including three gold medal winners: 2013 Chardonnay, 2012 Nueva Casa de los Padres and our 2012 Mourvedre (wine club only).   Our tasting area includes picnic benches so bring your picnic with you!

Many of our local friends will also be open this weekend so come make a day out of it.  There are 15+ wineries within 10 miles of us now and we have lots of good recommendations for everyone.  See you this weekend!

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We Are Open!

It’s on!

All the forms are filed, all the permits are signed off, we are ready to host at our new location in Gilroy!      This past weekend was all about having fun with our friends in Tacoma, Washington.  We were hosted and treated to awesome VIP service at the Tacoma Dome to see Alice Cooper and Motley Crue.  During the day we goofed around Tacoma, visited nine micro-breweries, took in some local art and let our hair down while the last of the legal permits were being processed.   We flew home Saturday afternoon, unpacked and reconnected with our fuzzy butt family, had a quick swim, then settled in to the home routine.  On Sunday we went to the Annual Garlic Festival, because as you know we are now Gilroyans and I have to have an opinion on everything!  The Festival was awesome and I do highly recommend it, especially to anyone who hasn’t been in the last 15-20 years.  This was my first time attending so I have no previous experiences to compare it to but I’ve heard from plenty of other people (my age) that would rather have a root canal done than ever go back to the festival.  Let me tell you this; the parking and shuttle system was efficient, the ticketing process was smooth and efficient, the shade tents, mercantile, beer tents, wine pavilion, arts and crafts and even the portable restrooms were all set up in an accommodating and efficient manner.  I had a fabulous time.  We each had a couple of beers, we bought some neat trinkets, we ate a deliciously garlicky sausage with sauteed peppers, and got the heck out of there in time to watch the Giants and A’s game.

Anyway, a great way to spend a weekend of fun and entertainment to keep our minds off the pesky annoyances of dealing with various agencies and logistics of getting a tasting room up and functioning.  We are going Country Feng Shui for the “theme”, meaning, we’ll be natural with the area and landscape. No castles, no fountains, no pavilions, no italian marble, etc.  It’s all about being in the country, where the oak trees surround the area, you might see a cow or two, or resident turkeys and deer that wander our property and we’ve set up some picnic benches for you enjoy a meal or glass of wine.  It’s casual. We’re casual.  Enjoy.

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Welcome to 1800 Day Road Gilroy.  I had to add this number sign facing the approach from Watsonville Road. Now that we’ll have people driving ‘the back way’ to see us you’ll need to know where to turn!

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We are relatively new members of the Santa Clara Valley Wineries Association, I’m headed over to Morgan Hill Cellars later this week to get our official Member sign to hang up, and any other swag I think we might want or need.

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The wine garden is ready! Country Feng Shui does include the propane tank and water tank I’m afraid. That’s part of living out in the sticks, oh wait, they call it ‘off the grid’, it’s all good and it’s a fun space to hang out.

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This weekend “Coming Soon” turns into OPEN!

Friends, Family and a Pig Roast Party

Summer is officially in full swing for the Romero’s!  (you know, while we wait for concrete to dry and the real work begins!)

The pig party weather started off cold, windy, and gusty and I actually had a hard time getting the coals lit for the caja china.  Given the nature of our circumstances and the crazy dry country side I carefully selected the pig roasting area where I could keep an eye on it and have a hose handy.  Paul’s garden ended up being the ideal location and I chose it because the large live oak tree keeps that spot well shaded.  Turned out I didn’t need the shade, not with the extreme cloud cover we had, but the canopies came in extra handy when it started to sprinkle on us. Yes, rain! Not measurable, but enough to energize the party.  We invited our new neighbors and visiting friends and family from around the country.

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Friend Allison was visiting from Portland.

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Paul’s nephew was here from Tennessee, Dad and Sandy came down from Santa Clara and Mom A. joined us too.  Our neighbor teases Paul all the time about the tie dye shirts, says he needs something a little more country and less hippie.

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The finished piggy came off after 5 1/2 hours in the box, Paul is visiting with Ron while it cools.  The pig came fresh from a ranch that is less than 5 miles from our home.  We didn’t pick her out from a living pen, she was already dressed when we picked her up.  Coming in at number 6 for the number of pigs I’ve roasted so far, she was the best tasting and overall best experience.  Partial credit is given to the new location and having enough space to spread out and have enough room to handle the roasting, cooking, serving.

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Friends from Tacoma came down for the weekend, they arrived the same day as our other friends from Virginia headed out.  We did some local sight seeing, had lunch in Mountain View and then wine tasting at Ridge.  It had been many years since the last time I was up there so it was a good experience to see how much it’s changed.  The view was so-so the day we went, but typical for this time of year.  After wine tasting, we arrived back in Gilroy in time for a dip in the pool.  From the water looking up the hill from us we watched a mother deer and her fawn make their way along the fence line eating the low hanging branches of trees and hopefully some of the poison oak.

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The billy goat beard started growing over winter break and seems like it will be a permanent addition for awhile.  I’m just glad to have a new ‘couple’ picture of us, we take too few during the year. Last but not least, the sunset from the other night after the storm passed through.  We have some of the most spectacular sky viewing out here.  We saw Jupiter and Venus in conjunction last night and the night before, so amazing and awe inspiring.

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Country Livin’

No, we don’t have goats, but our neighbors do and we are having too much fun visiting with them and getting to know country livin’.  We’re working on a chicken coop, fruit orchard, margarita grove, vineyard, tasting room, and overall general upkeep of our first experience with acreage.  I’ve had my hands full dealing with day to day activities and keeping things moving along at a steady clip with the tasting room construction, meeting and greeting new neighbors, learning how to garden for the first time and really, just trying to adjust to our new home.

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Across the road from us I often see these guys in the morning.  The cows move around these hills and nearby properties for grazing and a couple of times this past month I’ve seen the cattle trucks come and go.  I figure this is what modern cattle drives look like anymore.  My plan was to follow these trucks and see which ranch they are servicing but that’s just silly.  Instead I loiter in my own front yard til I can snap a photo.

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I figure what they did was truck the cows in, then two weeks later came and picked them up after grass finishing them.   I base this assumption on the fact that when I first saw these trucks go by, they returned within 30 minutes, my guess was they offloaded at that time.  When they came back through, I was anticipating a short wait to snap the pics but I waited a full hour in the driveway. When Paul got home he wanted to know why I was out front loitering.  They were traveling at a slower rate of speed and sounded heavier and not that I know anything about loading or unloading a cow, I just figure it has to take longer to get them in the truck.  If I’m wrong, please feel free to correct me, as I said, we’re new to this country livin’ thing.

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And then lastly, I put in a photo of a cropped version of our plans sheet.  It shows the road, main house and ag. support structure (second garage/future tasting room).  The building was installed back in the 70’s and was used, from what the neighbors have told us and what makes sense for the property, as a roadside farm stand. The first owners to develop this parcel were Italians and they are the ones that planted the grapes on the property.  Apparently they had a sizable vineyard which has since been downsized to just a few plants.  They also grew many fruits and vegetables and did all of their own canning and processing, which partially explains the accessory building.  We converted their pantry into a walk in wine cellar and their gun closet into a humidor.  We inherited the original plans for the residence and they show a very specific cubby in the kitchen pantry that is labeled for card tables. Wouldn’t you know it, they exactly fit and so that’s where I put mine. Why not!

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I don’t have a date yet for the tasting room Grand Opening, but we are “coming soon”, in fact the banner I ordered the other day should be here by now and I’ll need to get that hung up out front.  There are still a million and one things left to do to get ready but we’re not rushing it, that’s not the way we do it out here.

Cheers!

New Releases

We have a new release coming out this week.  Letters are in the mail.  If you don’t get one let us know.  We have three wines we’re releasing.

2012 Stefania Cabernet Sauvignon, Crimson Clover Vineyard, Santa Clara Valley

Release Price: $45 per bottle.
Total production: 108 cases

We harvested on 9/22 and sorted it in the field before transport to the winery. The grapes were 100% destemmed and crushed into 2 bins for fermentation on native yeast. The bins were moved inside the winery and punched down twice per day. We followed our normal pressing and settling routine and the wine aged in 2/3 new oak for 21 months.

The wine is typical Crimson Clover Vineyard with expressive black and plum fruit framed with spice and floral notes. There are notes of mocha and blackberry on the finish and round tannins. We expect this wine to age very well. Alcohol 13.7%

2012 Stefania Mourvedre, ‘Restitutor Orbis’, Spur Ranch, San Benito County

Release Price: $32 per bottle
Total production: 101 cases

Our second year of Mourvedre fruit from Spur Ranch. Paul had so much fun with the Latin quote on our first Mourvedre that he had to keep the tradition up. This one is about a 3rd century emperor. We had the chance to use whole berries in the fermentation process in 2012 and combined that with 40% new oak for a very round and flavorful Mourvedre.

The wine has everything someone who could defeat the Alamanni, Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi could want. There’s plenty of dark wild fruit to power you on to crush the Palmyrene Empire and Gallic Empire as well. Alcohol 14.4%

2013 Stefania Chardonnay, Chaine d’Or Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains

Release Price: $25 per bottle
Total production: 95 cases

We continued retraining to the Guyot method in the vineyard based on the experiments we had done in 2012.  The results were excellent and on 9/14 we harvested 143 bins or 4290 pounds and pressed the must whole cluster in one pressing. The must was transferred to a chilled tank for settling off the gross lees. Brix was 23 with pH 3.36 and TA .82. On 9/15 the wine was transferred off its gross lees into a chilled tank inside and inoculated with QA-23 yeast and yeast food. We maintained temperatures under 65 degrees during tank fermentation but did not super chill the must before transfer.

On 9/22 the wine was transferred to 7 barrels which were filled 2/3 full to finish fermentation. On 10/5 the wine was showing as completed primary fermentation and was reduced down to 5 full barrels + one keg. Lees were stirred at that time. The wine went through Malo with no issues and for the first time since 2008 we did not have to haul the barrels out into the sun in the Spring to finish fermentation.

The wine showed excellent chemistry and we decided to bottle with out fining or filtration. The wine will appear slightly cloudy in glass but is full of ripe fruit and wonderful crispness. Stefania loves this Chardonnay and it’s her favorite we’ve made. There is just 20% new oak and the stone fruit flavors really shine in this wine. Alcohol 13.7%

Anything that does not sell out in from the mailer we will add to the website in mid-April.