In Winemaking and Life, Rule #1 = Sense of Humor. (Check.)

So, this week, we've shown our beach house rental to approximately one million interested parties who've called in response to our carefully crafted Craigslist ad (Kids: a creative writing major is, in fact, useful and fun!). 999,999 of these folks have been oddly enthusiastic, turning directly to flaky ("I'll be right back! With a check!" - then they drop off the planet and stop answering their cellphones). I'm holding out high hopes for our one seemingly respectable couple who may or may not be coming back tomorrow morning. With a check.

*Saturday afternoon update: They, too, dropped off the planet and stopped answering their cellphone.*

In any event, we're moving to our new place next Saturday, so if anyone wants to come on by and lend a hand, that'd be lovely. Let me know!

Enough of that. This blog is supposed to be about our winemaking adventures. (Which are by no means interrupted by the business of regular old daily life.) Onward!

Fruit of the Vine

Stop me if you've heard this one before: "Great winemaking starts in the vineyard." It's cliche, but of course it's true. Crappy fruit will never give you good wine. You've got a much better chance at making seriously good wine if you start with premium fruit that's been tended by someone who knows their stuff - and who also knows their wine. That's why we couldn't be more thrilled to be purchasing fruit for our very first vintage from the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, managed by none other than rockstar Lino Bozzano, vineyard manager for Laetitia Vineyard & Winery (and small-production winemaker in his own right).

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SBHV Grenache - this is our stuff!

Last month, we headed up to the Highlands to meet with Lino and tour the vineyards. We talked grapegrowing and parenthood (I have a feeling mad skills in one of these areas must translate into the other ... it's all about tending, nurturing, and knowing when to prune and when to protect, right?).

What a beautiful site. The heat wave was pushing to about 100 degrees, but we managed to stay cool enough while we checked out the blocks of Grenache (we're going with the Alban clone - as Lino described it; "This is Chateauneuf-du-Pape style Grenache," which is exactly what we're looking for). Then we went up to the part of the vineyard they call the Mesa - a section of flatlands perched at 3,200 feet - to visit the Syrah growing up there in their transitional-organic blocks. We're thinking a ton of Grenache, a half-ton of Syrah - unlimited fermentation and blending possibilities. Hello Rhone Valley, Cali style.

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Sweet Syrah, growing in the Mesa

In the meantime, we're visiting our vineyard vicariously every day by gazing at the Grenache photo, which we enlarged and placed in our homemade corkboard-of-massiveness, or as I like to call it, "Jody's crafty phase." He built and stained the frame, and I hot-glued in each and every cork over the past many, many months. It's a lot of corks. Any guesses? (Hint: More than you think.)

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That's a lot of wine. And we enjoyed every minute of it.

Life, Interrupted

It hardly seems possible, but next Friday, we'll be packing boxes and readying for the next day's move ... so if we miss a week of blogging, don't stop reading! It's only two more weeks 'til September, when Harvest Watch begins. We'll keep you posted. And hey, if you would - send some reliable-renter vibes our way. (What's with all these flakes? Didn't they have parents? Who taught them you should call somebody who's expecting you, if you've subsequently decided you're not going to show up?)

Until next time...