A single cluster of pinot noir over my backyard condo trellis: shows you can grow pinot, even on the upper east side of Santa Barbara
Bob, for whom the sangiovese is named: he caught a full, falling barrel just after we had pressed it, got a face full, and was game from start to purple finish.
wine has been transferred to 15.5 gallon half kegs from barrels to make it easier to hand bottle
Middle ages lighting as Rosemary and Gregory study the art of the siphon fill, and crank it out
Bob and Jennifer intently taking advantage of a vaccum. The bottles are sexy and Burgundy and heavy: note how little wine has spilled.
Uncrowded, wine flowing
Dave (Doc) Schiedermayer for whom the grenache is named: he picked up the harvest, helped destem, watched over initial treatment, insulated the fermenter and generally did everything possible to ensure a soulful yet easy to drink wine: and he's an amazing doctor, harmonical and piano player, runner, and cider maker. I love him. He gets his own named wine.
Dave "Doc" Schiedemayer: the cap is from the humane society, btw, where Doc volunteers several times weekly.
Jennifer and Gregory's lovely dog finds a mover's blanket hideaway, and avoids the leash above his head. Smart dog.
Siphoning takes all afternoon...actually, we bottled (in this little 1 car garage) 70+ cases in 4.5 hours.
Once filled, the bottles are assembled and then carried to the quality control folks.
Quality starts with a syringe, and a drink
Actually, quality starts with a primitive but highly effective measuring tool: paper marked with pencil for the proper fill, exactly 1/2" below a properly seated 1.75" cork. Leslie measures.
Injection for a perfect level.
Another view. Notice the greenhouses in back. Another story.
Richard and Leslie are a team, poised with syringe and paper. Highly effective.
Next, a lot of corking.
Garry knockes one in: Chris behind him rowed all day. Seating the cork is a little trickier than it looks.
Chris lifting the arm up: he's actually 109 years old.
Roger has been chief quality officer for many years and identified bottles that had slipped past quality control with levels too low or high, and corks too far in or out. We corrected about 5%. Walter gets the extra corks
Beautiful Annie smooths out a label, once the bottle has been capped. The labels can smudge, so she's using a cloth.
Chief Labeling Officer Rose is capping: these visplus capsules just push on and seal, and their manufacturer is no longer making them. I got some of the last ones in the U.S.
Dusk, near the end of the bottling.
The gang in motion.
The labeling table: measure the label from the bottom, put it on the label face, smooth, keep the rhythm. Beautiful.
Pat came up from LA for this, and worked as hard as anyone...and is so gracious to boot.
Wineglasses everywhere, absorbing work in front, dogs behnd. Sharon is hard at work.
One of this year's labels, peel and stick, nurtured in a lap, and smoothed off with a paper towel: no wrinkling, no misalignment.
Coffee klatch, with cases ready for transport
Isn't she lovely?
Although there was lots of food (and Emma brought her pistachio pesto with toasted croutons, and Jennifer baked bread, and 4 people brought flowers) people ate very little. We like to work and chat.
Very old school with the music: we put on DVDs and smelled lilies and more. Note the bottling instructions, upside down, thoroughly absorbed.
Walter and Sharon rescued Kendra (sp?) from a south of the border life of poverty: she now happily, gratefully roams and plays with us.
Shirley, who with Roger came up from LA for this, is not sure why I'm photographing her, when she really is the amazing photographer: she found colors, textures and lines in the property I didn't know existed.
Mom, for whom the 2008 killer Petite Sirah is named Linda: she knows how to call in the troops, warm souls, dress with color, lend a hand.
Lacy, Leia and a very happy retriever whose name I forget, camp out after a long bottling: note fertilizer tanks in back for the greenhouse system, with backflow valve, and bougainvilla the size it was meant to be.
A finished case, ready to be stacked in the basement
It must travel by car, as none of the vehicles on the farm run, and most do not have pink slips. Details, details.
Men with stained hands, a print of pride, after all day bottling. They're heroes to me.