Food * Travel * Projects

Happy New Year!

In an effort to recap 2011 there will be a series of blogs with photos that capture the highlights of last year.   It might take me a week or longer, but hopefully I can keep it interesting.

As I scrolled through the photos, it’s clear I have a problem taking pictures of my two cats, loaves of bread I’ve baked, and pretty much food in general.  We did a ton of travel last year, spent a lot of time with our friends here and around the country, and enjoyed a couple of road trips to see my family.

We were in Miami in February and experienced our first Cuban Pig Roast in a Caja China box.  By September I had my own box and did the first pig for Labor Day weekend.  In October we went to New Orleans and met  friends of the owner at Finnegans Easy.  They invited us to a pig roast in the French Quarter which we gladly attended.  Then in December, to celebrate a milestone birthday for Millie, I roasted the pig shown in the photo above (heavily seasoned with Paul’s dry rub mix).

We actually hit New Orleans twice in 2011, once in February, then again in October.  The flights from San Jose to Miami stop and change planes in New Orleans, so we took advantage of an extended layover.  Paul found a cigar shop on Canal Street that we popped into to take a break from walking.

With money leftover from tax refunds, Paul finally got to see the deck built – something he’s wanted to do for the past several years.  With the help of our friend Eric, we demolished the concrete patio and prepared the area for Millie to build. She finished it just in time for the pig party in September.

Up next, pictures from work.  Vineyards, bottling, harvest, etc.

Harvest is Upon Us

It has been a combination of getting used to the new blogging tool and being really busy that’s limited our writing. Neither Stefania nor I are really comfortable yet with the new blogging interface so we’re not writing much. Hopefully we’ll pick it up some in the next few weeks.

We did get to Vegas and had a fantastic time at Rock and Roll Wine.  Train was much better than I expected.  The concert was a blast and we partied and hung out in the cabana all night.  The next day we swam and sunned and watched the football games outside.  If you can make it to Vegas next year for the event, it’s highly recommended.

Offer letters have gone out and orders are humming in.  Almost everyone seems to want more Haut Tubee and I don’t think we’ll have enough to go around.

We’ve also been out checking on all the vineyards.  It looks like Pinot Noir will be first up this Saturday, then the Crimson Clover vineyard next weekend.  Stefania and I will be in the winery Friday getting everything cleaned, prepared and ready to go.

We’ll try and pick up the blogging some more as we harvest and work over the next few weeks.

This Years Training Camp

Each summer we start a ‘training camp’ to get ready for harvest.  Normally it’s more time at the gym and a regular hike schedule.  It gets us ready for the long days up and down the hills in our vineyards that are coming up.

This year we’re starting with something new though and a little extra motivation.  The picture above is the base of Communication Hill in San Jose.  There are 56 steps and a 2 block walk up to the main stair case.  The main run is 224 steps that cover about 180 foot climb.  We’ve been on a schedule so far of about every other day and are up to 5 consecutive climbs.  We’ll keep working towards being able to do the flight at least 10 times in a row.

We also have a training plan sent to us from a personal trainer in Colorado.  The extra motivation is a plan for us to climb a 14,000 peak in Colorado next year.  We’ve picked Mount Belford as our target climb and late July as the date.

I’ve added in some other local hikes that we’ll do over the next year to help get ready, including climbing Mission Peak here in Milpitas and the 10 mile Bald Peak trail at Calero Park.  If all goes well we will also try and work our postponed Grand Canyon hike in either before or after Mount Belford (I want to try April, Stef wants to do it after in September around the time we’re usually in Las Vegas).

The hardest time for us will be November and December.  In past years we have been in good shape going into harvest and then done well through October.  By the middle of November though we’re exhausted from harvest work and just as we’re finishing up cellar work when Thanksgiving and then Christmas are on us.  We might only get to the gym 2-3 times in those two months.  This year we’ll have to stay on a schedule though to be ready for our 14,000 foot climb!

Sabor Del Valle Recap


Friday night we poured wine at Sabor Del Valle for the second year in a row. We enjoyed this charity event last year and we were looking forward to doing it again this year. The event is at the San Jose History Park in Kelley Park and it was a beautiful evening. It just takes us 5 minutes or so to set up so Stefania got to go visit some of the other wineries:








There is really great food at this event and lots of seating which is very nice for a wine event.  I really liked the fish empanadas.








There was also some really nice local art .








One of the highlights was this band that strolled through the park for the first hour of the event.  Then there was more live music and dancing until well after sunset.










We had a great time again and look forward to doing this event again next year.

Wine Amplified – Rock and Roll Wine

Saturday September 17th we will be pouring at our only public event for the year. This will be the second year in a row we are attending Wine Amplified by Rock and Roll Wine on the Beach at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The headline band will be Train. For more event details and ticket information see:

For the event we have a full cabana at Mandalay Bay with room for up to 12 people to hang out and watch the concert. We don’t really consider this a promotion trip as much as a great concert and a really fun time. This year we’d really like to open the cabana up to friends to hang out with us. No extra charges or strings, just show up and drink wine with us in the cabana. It’s really a great experience and we’ve asked for a cabana next to the stage. If your interested and will be in Las Vegas drop us a note.

We’ll be sending out a note via email to our mailing list members as well. We hope you can make it. It’s really a great event!

Sabor Del Valle

As most of you know we don’t do many events each year. We’ve completely stopped doing any commercial events except for Rock and Roll Wine in Las Vegas (more on that later this month). We do a few charity events. Our criteria is first that it’s a charity we believe in and want to support and second that it’s an event we’ll enjoy. Most that we do are to support the charities that are near and dear to personal friends.

Sabor Del Valle hits on all those counts. It is also a really great time. The food and music are fantastic and there are a number of small tequila makers there, which I really enjoyed sampling. It is also the largest gathering of Latino winemakers that I know of.   Last year Mi Sueno and Ceja were too of the highlights for me to try.

This years event is Friday July 22nd at Kelly Park in San Jose.  Start time is 6PM I believe.

Tickets and more information can be found at:

or on Facebook at:!/profile.php?id=100001304017240&v=info

May Event @ Twist

We are filling up the calendar fast!!

On tap for May 22nd (Sunday) is a winemaker dinner at Twist in Campbell. We are hosting the Friends of the Winemakers but have reserved a small table for our friends.

If this is something you might like to attend, send me an email: [email protected]

Sunday, May 22nd at 6pm
Twist Bistro

Daily Fresh Roasted Vegetables OR Baked French Vegetarian Onion Soup OR Eggs Meurette

Marinated Tritip & French Fries OR Catch of the day OR Vegetarian dish or vegan plate

Your choice Dessert:
Semi Sweet Chocolate Mousse OR Espresso Ice Cream OR Dominique’s cheese platter

$56/Person all inclusive (wine/tax/gratuity/yadda yadda)

Upcoming Event, May 21st – Downtown Saratoga

Paul and I have signed up to pour at “Bonnets & Blooms” in Saratoga on May 21st.

We haven’t decided which wines we’ll pour (we usually only take two at events like these) but we have committed the last magnum of Haut Tubee for the Wine Magnum Auction.

The website says 2-5pm, the flyer says 3-6pm……Advance tickets are $35 and available online

Hope to see you there!!