A new experience! Today I had the chance to press grapes and help create wine. My friend, Barry, has been doing this as a hobby for over 30 years and he has all of the equipment. A wine press, a pump, 4 wine barrels, a wine cellar.
I learned it is a lot of work making wine like this. It’s nothing like the I Love Lucy show.
The Nelson family settled in the hills between Ukiah and Hopland back in the 1950s. Today, their 2000 acre ranch runs from the Russian River up over the hills and across Highway 101. On it, they grow pears, Christmas trees and amazing grapes.
We were lucky to discover Nelson Family Vineyards shortly after I bought Brewery Gulch Inn in 2007. Since then, I have gotten the chance to know not only their wines, but Greg and his family as well. Recently, Greg and his wife visited us at the inn and poured a tasting of their Cab, Zin and several other wines. If you are up in the area, take the opportunity to stop by Nelson Family Vineyards .(http://www.nelsonfamilyvineyards.com/)
One of the tedious tasks of being an innkeeper is selecting the wines to pour during the evening wine hour. This involves sampling countless wines at numerous tastings. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
This past weekend, the 11th annual Pinot Noir festival was held in the Anderson Valley. The only festival of its kind to celebrate a single varietal from a single appellation, the event kicked off with a technical conference and a barbecue at Standish Vineyards on Friday. On Saturday, a Grand Tasting featuring over 30 wineries was held at Goldenye. Following that event, 6 separate winemaker dinners were held at venues throughout the region. The festival concluded on Sunday with open houses at most of the vineyards throughout the valley.
The spectacular weather, combined withe the opportunity to sample close to 100 different pinots, made this a memorable weekend. I thought it was interesting that there were winemakers from not just Anderson Valley, but from Napa, Sonoma and other regions pouring wines they produced from grapes grown in our valley. In talking with a number of these wineries, I learned that Anderson Valley yields some of the finest pinot grapes in the world.