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/)
It’s a menagerie here at the inn. In addition to the wild turkeys, the deer, the otters in the pond and the occasional mountain lion, this little guy has adopted our back deck as his home. He loves to hang out with the birds. He drinks out of the bird bath, he hangs upside down so he can get the seeds out of the feeder. Before he showed up, the Stellar Jays were the bullies of the neighborhood. But now the squirrel rules the roost.
Well, I can’t attest to the fact that it was the World’s Largest, but it sure was big.
I heard that more than 4,000 people were there, but it seemed to me that there were 40,000! They had several large barbecues going and chefs from every walk of life, in cluding local congressman Mike Thompson, manning them.
First held in 1970, the proceeds from the event go to restore and preserve the wild Pacific salmon resources. There was corn on the cob, salad, garlic bread and more slamon than you could shake a stick at. Live music was playing and everyone was having a good time. Set in picturesque Noyo Harbor, the day couldn’t have been nicer.
Everyone has a bucket list. On my daughter’s list, there was both a balloon ride and sky diving. For her birthday, a balloon ride in the skies over San Diego seemed the safer bet. Happy 20th, Taylor!
Fourth of July in Mendocino and the place to be was on Main Street. More than 5,000 people, locals and visitors alike, lined both Main and Lansing Streets to watch the parade of cars, floats, bands, circus performers and anyone else that wanted to get in on the act. The Kelley House Museum had a big barbecue that ran from the morning through the parade and then the big after-parade bash was held in Friendship Park.
This event never fails to entertain young and old alike. Sometimes, if it isn’t too long, it even goes around twice!
With the numerous fires burning in Northern California (1088) and Mendocino County (87), we have received calls from many guests asking if we have been affected. Fortunately, with the brisk ocean breeze we receive, we have had little noticeable impact from the fires. The air has remained clear, the weather sunny. Our thoughts are with our friends and neighbors throughout the county that continue to battle the fires sparked by a lightning storm last week.
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.
During this process, I have had a chance to meet many of the local wine makers. One of my favorite wineries, both for the wines it produces and for the people who own and operate it, is Londer Vineyards in Philo. This small winery was started in 2001 by Shirlee and Larry Londer. They produce an amazing Pinot Noir, a beautiful Syrah and a very dry Gewurtztraminer. Shirlee and Larry were kind enough to pour a tasting for guests at the inn tonight. Just how nice are they? They came to pour in spite of the fact it was Larry’s birthday.
One of the small benefits of being an innkeeper are unplanned things that happen. A friend of mine booked a weekend stay for her sister, her niece, her daughter and two friends to celebrate her neice’s upcoming wedding. They made friends with everyone at the inn and I think they had a pretty good time. I know the innkeeper did.