Settling In

No we haven’t totally dropped of the grid, so it’s time for a quick catch up.  We did get moved in to our new place in September and finished our move out of Chaine d’Or and in to our new place in Salinas in December.  All our production was at the new facility last harvest and we have a bunch of new wines and some old favorites we’re working on from 2014.  We’re very happy with the new facility and it was much easier on us with the additional help to handle set up and clean up.  The drive was also much shorter and easier and we put far less miles on the FJ this Fall.

We’ve been very busy of course with all the moving and settling in to our new home.  The building that will become the tasting room is all cleaned up and ready to go, we’re just waiting on the government now for permits.

I thought the best way to run through an update was with some pictures:

First the little kittens are growing like crazy and loving their new home.












We got the bar set up in the new house right away:












We’re still eating Primal:












And we did go to New Orleans on our annual trip:










Spending way too much time in the care of Fay at Coops:










When we got home there were never ending chores and clean up to do.  We hauled away 8 truck loads of yard debris, cut down treees, repaired things and just general new home stuff like stacking a cord of wood:










We had frequent  wildlife visitors with the turkey’s being the most common:










And they like the backyard too:










Stefania hasn’t shot anything yet but she’s ready just in case:












We put a new cellar in and we’re trying to decide what to plant which means lots of research:












Which means more Primal food lick smoked duck legs:

primal duck









With the New Year I’ve started a garden:










And have more seedlings ready to go in:










All this is enough to tucker out a kitty and keep us from writing regularly.  We may be on a monthly summary now, at least until we get the tasting room going.





Nothing really wine related at all for this post other than I was on my way back from the winery doing punchdowns when I stopped at Ranch 99 Market. That’s a large Asian market in the Bay Area.  My objective for the trip was to pick up some ribs for dinner.  The pork there is always much fresher than what I can find anywhere else.  I also bought some pork belly to make bacon and browsed through the seafood section.

Ranch 99 can be a bit of a challenge for me.  Most of the guys there who are not Asian are ‘in the way’ while they shop with their Asian girlfriend or wife.  At the store on Wolfe Road and the one near my day job in Milpitas though they mostly recognize me and will help me at the counter.  The first few times though trying to buy a fish I actually had to hold the fish up to get my turn in line.

The Chinese granma’s though are another thing.  I get bumped, jostled, pushed and prodded to get out of the way.  It helps once I have a few things in my basket or if I hold up a fish!  One thing I’ll always look for is live crawdad’s.  They are not always in stock but when they are I’ll buy them.  The crawdad took a long route into the Asian Market.  It’s a New Orleans and Louisiana specialty that was picked up by Vietnamese fisherman who immigrated to Louisiana.  When I get crawdads I actually attract a small crowd seeing what I’m doing and how I’m picking them out (get the live active ones).  It’s all really fun though and the boil always makes me miss New Orleans.

cooked crawdads


At the end of August we made our semi-annual trip to Chicago.  We actually go more often than every other year but those other trips are usually for my day job.  This particular trip was all for fun.  Our friend Otis hosts a blow out wine party and that would be the main event on Saturday night.

We arrived in town to great weather.  There were a few thunderstorms on Thursday but other wise it was perfect.  Below is the view from our hotel room along the Chicago River.

chicago river

We arrived Wednesday afternoon in time to check in to the hotel and walk into the River North area to try out a place new to us called Havana that Stefania spotted on the way in.  We had a light dinner and a few cocktails including a really good Pisco Sour.

Thursday was our one ‘working day’.  We had a long lunch at the Frontera Grill while we waited out the thunderstorms.  We then went to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy wine glasses and then Fox and Abel for cheese and salami for that evening.  We hosted a get together of about 15 local Chicago friends and customers to taste 15 of our wines.  I brought older vintages and the 2011 Mourvedre and 2011 Santa Clara Valley Cabernet Sauvignon which we’ll release in a few weeks.

We were scheduled to run from 6 -8 PM but actually went from 5:45 to 11:30 PM!

the line up


Friday was all about beer.  We started the day at Binny’s buying a few things we can’t find in California.  The Goose Island brewery is right next door to Binny’s so we had another long lunch there.  We met up with a friend who also happened to be there for lunch and he took us to another small beer focused bar called The Map Room.


goose heads


Saturday we walked down State Street from our hotel and ended up at Hugo’s Frog Bar.  A friend in California had highly recommended it and our bartender Chris happened to be from New Orleans.  We had a great time and I worked my way through the Bourbon cocktails starting with a Manhattan.



Next up was an Old Fashioned.  We had a big long lunch with frogs legs, a wedge salad and gumbo soup.  Stef got the prime rib sandwich and I had a rib eye.  We ordered a 2001 Cos d Estournel to go with lunch.  It would be our only meal of the day so we went all out.
old fashioned

Saturday night we took a small bus up to Northbrook and enjoyed dozens of great wines on a beautiful Chicago night.  We had to hurry home on Sunday for work instead of staying to Monday like we’d usually do but had a nice lunch at Purple Pig and flew out Sunday evening.