Note from Home

  • A Tale of Two Visitors

    January 10, 2022 09:32

    A Tale of Two Visitors

    It is New Year’s Eve, 2021. Ed and I are working in the tasting room because something told me to open it up even if it might be a slow day. Geographically we are off the beaten track—the only winery on Canyon Road between Dry Creek Road and Highway 101. When people make their way to the winery that means something to us. I figured if traffic was light I could work in my office and help out when it was busy. The first two visitors of the day were not on the reservation list. In this case, the stories came to me rather than the other way around.

    Since we were tag teaming I was in my office when the first car arrived. I can see the parking lot from my desk and watch as one fellow gets out and the rest wait in the car. A few minutes later he comes running out with a case of wine and holding high a bottle of our Rosé, hooting as he ran. It turns out he had tasted our Chardonnay in Vero Beach Florida. He and his friends were on their way to a tasting appointment when they drove by and saw the Pedroncelli sign. He convinced his friends to stop. He came in to inquire about the Chardonnay. He then had Ed pick out some other wines for him and, as I witnessed, celebrated as he sprinted to the car. I knew we had a happy wine lover as a result. Turns out, Ed had given him the bottle of Rosé to thank the waiting friends.

    Curious to find out more about this fellow I walked over to the tasting room. As Ed was relaying what happened, a car pulled up near the door and two women entered. One of them, Anna Regina, started talking right away about a Mr. Pedroncelli who used to call on her parent’s store in Santa Rosa and sell them our wine by the gallon in the 1950s. The store was named Ricca's Corner (formerly located on Irwin Lane and Occidental Road for my Sonoma County friends.) I told her I was sure the man was my grandfather. There was more to her story. He gifted her twenty dollars upon hearing she was getting married. She was so thankful for the generous gift. (Today it would equal $230.)

    She continued her story and recalled my grandfather brought in his son who was going into the service. I figured this had to be my dad Jim. I knew he was in his office so I called him over. They chatted for a few minutes and he remembered the store. It turns out he later on delivered wine to the Ricca's Corner when he returned from service in the Army, taking over the duties from his dad. It was a wonderful experience to meet Anna who knew my grandfather and remembered his kind gift. How did they happen upon the winery? She and her daughter were out on a drive, saw the sign and turned into the parking lot. A story that came to me, bigger than life and fun to hear.

    You have shared your stories with me over the years and during the pandemic. When I think of all those memories and bottles of wine that have been shared and enjoyed by thousands of people it makes my heart glad. As I consider the new year I wonder what 2022 will bring. The pandemic is still with us nearly 2 years down the road. Trying to plan travel or market visits seems a bit surreal right now. We have some industry events planned but are waiting to hear while the variant seems to make decisions for us. Balancing this all out here are some things which are certain: we’ll celebrate our 95th year in July, the vineyards will continue their march toward harvest and our cellar door remains open. I look forward to more stories coming to me this year.

  • Just Desserts

    December 27, 2021 12:41

    Just Desserts

    This is such a wonderful time of the year for baking-at least for me so this note is dedicated to sweet things.  I am carrying on a tradition that began with my mom’s mother Virginia Larsen. She was the baker in the family and lived with us during my growing up years. She is the source of my joy of baking and I think of her when I am in my groove. She baked everything from Irish Soda Bread (her maiden name was O’Neill) to the best apple pie around using Gravensteins, a local heirloom apple and her chocolate chip cookies were legendary. My sisters and I still reminisce about the ‘doughboys’ she made from the leftover pie crust-oh the memory of waiting for them to come out of the oven with cinnamon sugar and butter tucked into the layers.

    panettone 2As tradition has it I bake an assortment of holiday cookies. My preference is for standard cookies rather than decorated with icing and sprinkles. And just like every year I baked a Panettone for my dad’s gift along with many family favorites including Chocolate Mint Truffle Cookies, Orange Almond Biscotti, Cape Cod Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodles, and Molasses Crinkles. A batch of Rocky Road rounded things out. Ed and I worked together on some of these. Mostly he gave great moral support and was the CCT (Chief Cookie Tester). The other night when we were boxing up the goodies and I was finishing the name tags (cue crumbs flying) I noticed he was taking it all in and smiling. I asked him why and he said he just really loves this part of the holidays. I do too.

    There are memories tied to each of the recipes below—I am sure you have your own memories and stories about baked goodies. I always love to hear your stories and love it even more if you share your recipes with me.

    My great aunt Rena, my grandmother’s sister, would give us a big box of cookies every Christmas. We looked forward to opening it up and grabbing our favorites. One of them was these Lemon Lassies, lemon and coconut wrapped in soft dough kind of like a fig newton but better. Pair with our Chardonnay.

    Holiday Fruit Bread-yep this is a cross between a sweet bread like panettone and fruitcake flavors. This is from my aunt Marianne’s collection of recipes. I remember opening her freezer in July and fruitcake was there, all year round evidently. Pair with our Sonoma Classico.

    This recipe for Port Fruit Bars came highly recommended to me by my aunt Christine. Her daughter Connie had developed the recipe to go with our Port. A perfect pairing in my opinion.

    Years ago my dear aunt Marianne gave me this recipe for Orange Almond Biscotti and encouraged me to bake and enter them in a local Biscotti Bake Off. I won first place for the non-traditional category. I have been baking these for over 30 years. Ed won’t let a year go by without these. Pair with Mother Clone Zinfandel.

    I ran across this recipe for Cranberry Upside Down Cake a few years ago and baked it for a dinner with friends during the holidays. It is a beautiful presentation and oh so delicious! Pair with our Port.

    Rose cocktail
    You know I couldn’t end with just desserts. How about a couple of wine based drinks! Our Rosé is perfect with a few dashes of orange bitters in the CranRosé and of course who doesn’t love Mulled Wine-the aromatics fill the house with holiday cheer!

    May you all enjoy the sweet things in life with family and friends, near and far.

  • Settling In To Winter

    December 20, 2021 09:27

    Settling In To Winter

    This time of year reminds me of when I was young and my parents would say ‘settle down’. My sisters and I were usually wound up because school was almost out, Christmas vacation would begin soon, and we couldn’t wait to open our gifts. I imagine my parents weren’t exactly looking forward to having us home for two weeks but they did survive. I have a feeling wine helped. Today I am in a settle down frame of mind as I wind up the year and look forward to a new one.

    Waiting for Winter
    Around the vineyards winter is settling even before it starts Frosty Mother Clone Zin officially on Tuesday-it was a frosty 38 degrees here at the winery as I write this-cold for a California girl. Good news is the fruit flies are gone-they don’t survive the cold. Better news is we had what they call an atmospheric river through and we received a few more inches of rain to add to the previous storm totals. Yay Mother Nature! The vines, during their winter wait, are soaking it in and getting ready for 2022.

    The Pandemic & Events
    Still here and while we thankfully aren’t on lockdown we are cautiously optimistic. 2022 is looming, winter is beginning and it looks like travel may be in our future. Look at the Events section on our website to see where we’ll be or what we'll be featuring. Drinkwell Zinfandel: Phoenix is first up.

    Events at the Tasting Room! Yes we are. COVID Willing.
    We are participating in Winter Wineland and Barrel Tasting-both industry wide and hybrid events compared to how we have done them in the past but I think you’ll all enjoy the new and COVID improved format. Check it out here.

    Speaking of events we’d like to hear from you. We are considering a few things for 2022 so here is an informal poll:

    1-I would consider attending one or more of four seasonal events (lunch or seminar or dinner) to coincide with each wine club shipment: February/May/September/November.
    2-I’d like to attend one big dinner and that’s it.
    3-I’d like to attend sessions (virtually or in person) to learn more about wine.
    4-I’d like to attend a Cheese & Wine Pairing (virtually) with cheese maven Janet Fletcher from my favorite newsletter Planet Cheese. Cheese selections curated by Janet and shipped separately. 
    5-Finally, what would you like to experience? The suggestion box is open. 

    Schotzki-First Glimpse
    Schotzki Art 2For those who did not know my brother-in-law Jon Brown I’ll recap: he was a wonderful part of our team and began as Tasting Room Manager and transitioned to Wine Club Manager. He and my sister Joanna moved to Grass Valley and they were on their way to enjoying life when he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. He passed away earlier this year. We are honoring his memory with a release of our 2019 Zinfandel with a very special label-featuring 'Melting Realities' one of his art canvases he created on his Instagram account @schotzki. His alter ego was Schotzki and you’ll find many other creative posts there. We will release this wine early next year but I wanted you to get a glimpse now. All proceeds will go to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

    Before I settle into my easy chair with a glass of wine in hand I’d like to say thanks for reading this year. May your days be merry & bright.

  • You Make My Mondays

    December 15, 2021 11:05

    You Make My Mondays

    Wrapping up another year, whether it is presents, loose ends or otherwise, we are heading for a new year and all that it will bring. I thought I’d make some room for the responses I have received over the last few months. Many of you write back after one of the notes have hit home. I want to take this time to thank you all for your thoughtful comments, stories and memories I have the honor of reading each week.  It really jumpstarts my week to open my inbox and dive in-usually there is a bunch of SPAM or orders to read through. So I go for the gold—your messages. You all make my Mondays!

    From Dry Creek Valley is Home Base:
    From John T.:
    "First of all, I really enjoy your newsletters.  So full of family and friendship.  Such a welcome from all of the negative news now-a-days!
    I first visited your winery in 2005.  I remarried in 1999 to a wonderful gal whose best friends would visit the California wine country every couple of years.  Their names are Becky and John.  Interesting enough, my wife’s name is Becky and you guessed it, my name is John.  This combination made for plenty of interesting conversations and experiences.  So, in 2005, they convinced us to travel with them to the west coast for about 2 weeks.  OMG, half way through the trip I realized I already purchased my anticipated wine allowance.  But that didn’t stop my buying. At Pedroncelli, I focused on your 2000 Morris Fay Cab. Sauv. and some 2001 vintage port.  Yum.

    Well every other year, we returned to California via grand trips via Yosemite, Death Valley, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Lake Tahoe, and numerous other stops.  We did return to Pedroncelli in 2017, whereby I acquired a case of mixed wines.  Yum again!

    We did visit in October 2019 to celebrate our daughter’s first anniversary, as well as our twentieth.  2021 as you well know has been a mess and has kept us once again from traveling out west.  I hope that 2022 or at least 2023 will prevail with our returning to wine country, and we may be able to influence some of our adult kids to tag along.  

    Long story short, we will return to California. Take care, best wishes to both you and your business, and keep writing those great newsletters.  Oh, by the way, your recipes are quite delightful as well."

    Another response from Jim G.:
    "I was in the Naval Reserve in the early 60's and served my 2 week summer camp at Skaggs Island.  On weekends everyone else went to S.F.  I went to the wine country.  My vague memory, as I'm now 82, was discovering Pedroncelli then, meeting John and Jim and falling in love w/ the Zin. 

    After my return from 2 years’ service and back in L.A. I took a part time job at a liquor store in Toluca Lake, Pop 'n Cork.  I raved about your wines and they took on your wines and I believe sold quite a bit.  I know I did, the Zin and an inexpensive blend, whose name I can't recall. (Editor's note: our Sonoma Red). About the same time I'd met my now wife of 52 years who seldom drank wine...and white at that... tasted Zinfandel and said she liked it. I immediately said to myself, "This is a keeper!"  We took a trip to Sonoma in the late 70's and visited the winery again meeting John and Jim. 

    We left CA in 1974 and unfortunately in VA, NY State & Minneapolis did not have retail access to your wines.  We're now retired in Geezerville, AZ and again enjoying your wines. 
    Thanks for the memories in your newsletters as I sorta feel a part of the family after so many years.

    P.S I forgot to add that we escaped COVID confinement here in Phoenix and drove to Sonoma County for a 6 day vacation about a month ago visiting friends and memories. Our recent visit, maybe a month ago, included a re-visit to Pedroncelli, near closing time, to be greeted by a lovely lady who said she'd try to get us in and hosted us elegantly.  We of course bought a few.  I've carried a fond memory and a big support for 60 years now." 

    From Are You in The 95%?:
    A refresher-I created an informal survey, see below, on the subject of how quickly we consume wine once purchased. This one by far had the most responses!

    When I buy wine I:
    a-drink it within 0-48 hours
    b-wait a bit-I am saving it for a dinner party next week
    c-put it away for a time-out of sight, out of mind etc
    d-I collect so I save every bottle I get and cellar for 10 or more years
    e-all of the above
    (Overwhelmingly ‘e’ was the choice but I received some thoughtful answers too. It isn’t always one or the other but a combination.)

    From Mark M and Sue M: "For what its worth, we open most red wines and leave them uncorked for 24 hours before drinking.  We tried an experiment that you might try, too.  Years ago we took two bottles of 2014(?) Mother Clone, opened one on Monday and let it sit open.  On Tuesday, we opened the other bottle, and then tasted the two wines side-by-side, blind.  The wine that had been open 24 hours was clearly fruitier and "rounder". Chemically, I think tannins react with oxygen more quickly than other components in red wine react with oxygen, so the 24 hours allows oxygen to reduce the tannins without significantly degrading the other components."  

    From John T.: "One thing that we love about your winery is that you have the range of price points, and we’ve found that the quality is commensurate with the price.   We tend to save the Courage and Wisdom for special occasions and drink the lower priced wines soon after we get them.   Also, we have several bottles of Wisdom that we are keeping over 10 years to see how much aging helps them.  We’ve had some amazing Cabs that were 10-20 years old.   We frequently give your wines as gifts and the recipients are usually complimentary (and impressed!) and often ask where they can get more." 

    And finally,from Jack J.:
    Rosé for everyday
    Mother Clone for burgers and pork chops
    Bushnell Zin for steak and prime rib.
    Courage Zin to impress friends. 

    Every Day Should Be National Zinfandel Day
    From Tom & Mary M: "What an interesting perspective you wrote yesterday, on the history of Pedroncelli Zinfandel making. I love articles like that, especially when they highlight generations of family. I can’t imagine how beautiful and rural Dry Creek Valley was when your grandfather bought the land.  

    I love the history of how and when you made each of the different types of Zinfandel. So interesting! I can’t imagine the talent it takes wine-makers to blend different grapes and then refine the taste in each. It’s a fascinating art!"

    I have been called over to or stopped in the tasting room by some of you telling me you read my notes and make the recipes I include. I appreciate the feedback and it always makes my day! 

  • 88th Anniversary of Repeal

    December 3, 2021 16:24

    88th Anniversary of Repeal

    Each year we celebrate the anniversary the 21st Amendment—Repeal of the 18th amendment or the very long dry time known as Prohibition (1919-1933). Since my grandparents bought a distressed property mid-Prohibition (and probably hoped the end would come sooner than it did) this act began my families' legacy of making wine for nine decades and counting. Cheers to the 88th anniversary by toasting with Mother Clone Zinfandel which would be appropriate. For more on the history and how this period changed the way we drink, this TIME article with Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition is a good read.

  • The Vines Tell Their Story

    November 27, 2021 13:27

    The Vines Tell Their Story

    Mother Clone View Pruned 3The vineyard crew took advantage of the good weather to begin pruning the Mother Clone Vineyard this month. This is all part of the cycle a vine goes through and is the official entry into dormancy. We have had cool crisp fall mornings and the time is right to begin the process of pruning the 115 acres of vineyard  by spring. Rainfall will delay some of those days and weeks so getting a head start is important.

    Ever since I was young I have watched these vines with each season bringing something different-the new leaves of spring, the canopy of summer and harvest in the fall. Now winter is coming and they will take their dormancy seriously, stocking up on water and nutrients to get ready for another vintage. These head-pruned Zinfandel blocks have been through this for four decades. You can see it on their wizened arms.

    When you look at a pruned vine you see the story it has to tell.MCZin Close Up 2021 2From the placement of the arms to the whorls, knots and holes which are the scars of past pruning. These remind me of the rings of a tree in a way—they don’t tell the age of the vine but they certainly are the badges of age. Pruning shapes the vine in order to get the best direction for future shoots (which become canes and the canopy) so arm placement is key. The pruner comes through and clips away the old wood, the long canes that bore last year’s crop, and leaves two ‘buds’ on each arm-the 2022 vintage-in-waiting.

    Mother Clone FingerA few years ago we hosted a media group and Sara Lehman, SommInTheCity, was visiting the dormant vineyard. She remarked that each vine seemed to have its’ own personality. (The one to the left seems to have a lot of personality.) They are as individual as our own fingerprints, each one pruned to open up and help ripen the future fruit. Vines are like people as I have written before. They wilt a little under the heat of summer or grow in leaps and bounds in the youth of spring. And seeing is believing. This one has seen nearly 40 years and has survived. They are a lot like you and me. We are tough, flexible when needed and produce good fruit year after year.

  • That (Wine) Time of Year

    November 22, 2021 15:07

    That (Wine) Time of Year

    It will come as no surprise to you that fall is my favorite season. I revel in the changes all around me. The colors in our Mother Clone vineyard outside my office window are muted by the clouds, which are due to bring rain soon. It seems to be the right time to reflect on the year so far, with just six weeks until the New Year, and it’s as good a time as any for wine.

    This week National Zinfandel Day has come and gone, Nouveau Beaujolais had its’ day and Cabernet Franc will soon be celebrated in December. Did you know there are 15 National Wine Days throughout the year and another 35 International Days set aside for everything from Chardonnay to Xinomavro? Sometimes I feel like the kid in the proverbial candy store. There are so many wines out there to try and we have 18 of our own currently released as of this note. A wine for every table and palate.

    Thinking of all the ways wine is part of this time of year includes gifting for the holidays (I’d like Santa to add a bottle of wine to my stocking), featuring a favorite wine or two on the table, and don't forget the midweek meal choice amidst the busyness of wrapping up gifts or the year. This brings holiday menus to mind. The age old question of which wines goes with the bird or roast beast comes around again. Long ago when I worked in the Tasting Room, learning the ropes, I would tout our Rosé as the Thanksgiving wine: it goes with everything from the turkey to the cranberry sauce, maybe even pumpkin pie-give it a try.

    And if you go ask Google you’ll find wine and food pairing lists for the holidays nearly as long as the circumference of the earth. What do we do? I’ll make it easy for you. Go with the wine you love best-why not have your favorite wine on the table? I would only make a few adjustments to the food. Watch the salt (not just because Ed and I are doing a lot of that lately) but because, like anything else, too much will throw the pairing out of balance. Other things like fat, usually a wine’s best pairing friend, will ease the concerns whether a wine is right or not. Enter gravy, buttered rolls, roasted veggies.

    This time of year I think less complication is better. Dig into your cellar/coat closet/wine rack and pull out a wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Bubbly always has a spot somewhere on the table at our house and of course dessert and Port go hand in hand (now pumpkin pie is a great pairing with Port!). No matter what, I believe we all will make the right choice

    Reflecting on the past months I, for one, am glad harvest came through without a hitch, and although we are experiencing supply issues we are working on solutions. The virus continues as well as the ebb and flow of pandemic rules. In the middle of it all sometimes a pause in our daily routine to enjoy time with friends or family feels good, especially when there is a glass of something tasty to go along with the conversation.

  • Every Day Should Be National Zinfandel Day

    November 15, 2021 08:29

    Every Day Should Be National Zinfandel Day

    We are looking forward to celebrating National Zinfandel Day on November 17. I put together a retrospective on this flagship grape and the lineage it has at Pedroncelli and in Dry Creek Valley. Our family’s legacy has been intertwined with this variety for 94 years.

    The first family who owned the property, the Canatas, were the first to plant Zinfandel here. They built a small winery and made the wine for their store in North Beach, San Francisco. They operated from about 1906 to 1919 when Prohibition put a halt to all winemaking and began a 14 year moratorium on commercial winemaking. There was hope however for this family-they were able to sell grapes to head of households who obtained a federal permit and could make up to 200 gallons of wine (that’s about 84 cases). Needless to say there was a high demand in the early years of the dry time but soon the bottom dropped out of the grape market.

    My grandparents bought the distressed property from the family in 1927 by putting together a Veteran’s loan and cash for a total of $11,000. The 90 acres of land had a thriving 25 acres of Zinfandel and a home for Giovanni, Julie and their children. They continued to farm the grapes and sell them to home winemakers. I imagine my grandfather, who was not a winemaker at the time of the purchase, had the next 7 years to learn and hone his craft.

    Enter Repeal and the beginning of Zinfandel as our focus wine, since it was the main variety planted at the time. Blends were the common way to make wine It remained so until the 1940s when expansion of vineyard began and we branched out. In 1948 we first used Zinfandel on the label instead of Claret. By the 1950s Rose label1950s we were making a Rose out of Zinfandel (and continue to make it after more than 65 vintages).
    The ensuing years brought many changes to the market but we continued with our focus on this flagship wine. The Renaissance of wine in Sonoma County began in the 1970s and the grape of choice for Dry Creek Valley became Zinfandel with Cabernet close on its heels. Today half of all Zinfandel planted in Sonoma County is in Dry Creek Valley-2500 acres.

    Replanting of our Mother vineyard on the Home Ranch began in 1980 and took about 5 years. The blocks were cloned back into place with St. George rootstock, same vine spacing, head-pruned (or goblet shape) using budwood from our own and also sourced from neighbors.

    The 1990s brought a change in how we shaped our portfolio and we went from a main Zinfandel bottling to introducing our Mother Clone and Pedroni-Bushnell Vineyard selections. This highlighted specific vineyards 1997 Bushnell Zinfandeland styles. Our Mother Clone Zin carries the long tradition of blending Petite Sirah to bring structure and depth-going back decades as our house style. Our Pedroni-Bushnell honored three generations of family ownership beginning with my grandfather who owned the property and then sold it to his daughter Margaret and son-in-law Al Pedroni. Daughter Carol Bushnell and husband Jim took the reins in 1992. Today we simplified the name to Bushnell and it is a specially selected block that brings true spice and berry to your glass.

    Steady as she goes defined the first 15 years of the 21st century. In 2016 winemaker Montse Reece assessed the 2016 Courageexcellent fruit from the Faloni Ranch, a 3 generation grape growing family, and wanted to make another single vineyard. Named Courage, as in it takes a lot of courage to not only farm Zinfandel but to make it as well.  At about this time a portion of the Home Ranch was replanted with the Rockpile Clone which has a history of doing well on hillsides. We dedicated the vineyard at our 90th Anniversary Celebration in 2017. For now the fruit is part of the Mother Clone blend. We'll see where the future takes us as we refine and perhaps redefine Zinfandel.

    This lineage which has wound its’ way throughout the history of Pedroncelli is one we can be proud of and share with our friends. On National Zinfandel Day raise a toast and, as I said in the subject line, every day should be a celebration of America’s grape.

  • Short and Sweet...Sort Of

    November 3, 2021 09:35

    Short and Sweet...Sort Of

    Earlier this month my dad Jim asked me to write about the current state of supply and demand along with how it is affecting our operations. With his over 65 years of seeing the ins and outs of the business it would be like him to have me make note of the current situation. He has seen his share of challenges.

    Boats WaitingBy now, you’ve most likely seen the image of boats floating on the ocean outside of the Los Angeles port filled with items ranging from holiday merchandise to toys for said holidays, construction, office, and household supplies. The slowdown at the port is causing concern throughout the nation because businesses can’t get to the products they need. And the demand has outstripped supply with many companies who stock the needed items to package our wines. Bottles for our upcoming releases, barrels for aging the wine and many other pieces of the puzzle are all compromised.

    And the cost of all of this? Higher prices in all corners of the marketplace. For instance, the price of glass to bottle our 2020 and 2021 vintages doubled in two years. Doubled. The whole situation has a pandemic feel like when the world ran short of toilet paper and hand sanitzer.

    Timeliness is another problem we are facing. The time it takes to get wine from our warehouse to our distributor’s warehouse on the East Coast has more than doubled in the last few years-from two weeks to a month-if we are lucky. I recently spoke to our broker in New Hampshire and she told me wine that was shipped from here in early August had an arrival date of October 18! Lack of drivers and consolidation of orders all played into the delay. Let's not even mention the USPS and there are many examples of UPS and Fed Ex taking more time compared to a few years ago to get packages delivered.

    Now to the heart of the matter. Wine and the supply from the last two vintages. These growing seasons have been framed by drought and, in 2020 the possibility of smoke damage. What does this mean to you? It means first and foremost we made sure to focus on quality. We had to make some tough decisions when it came to some of our growers. The drought had started to take hold which led up to 40% loss of production. In the 2021 harvest we had textbook perfect weather and a smaller crop as a result of the drought. The loss in fruit was the same as the previous vintage with heightened quality. The upshot for 2020 included not making some of our wines like friends.white, F. Johnson Vineyard Chardonnay, Courage or Wisdom. However the 2021 vintage will have all of these restored!

    Don’t we see these patterns in other businesses? For instance, we have all been asked to have patience while we transition from pandemic times to the current time when it comes to services, waiting for a table, or getting a reservation. I can’t imagine being in the shoes of a store manager or restaurant owner depending on the supplies they need to make a living. The good news is somehow we’ll get the glass we need to bottle, the wine will eventually make it's destination, and you'll get to enjoy the wine...when it finally gets to your table.

    So taking a page from Jim's book, we take the short and the sweet of every year in stride, inviting you to come along with us.

  • Pair It With Ped with Heart Healthy Recipes

    October 26, 2021 09:24

    Pair It With Ped with Heart Healthy Recipes

    My husband Ed is doing great these days-and appreciates all the follow up emails, texts, cards and phone calls following his bypass surgery in August. When he was in the hospital people would joke with him about how bad the food must be. Maybe it was because he was in the Cardiac Care unit but I’ll let you in on a little secret-he loved it. It was Heart Healthy and also very tasty, even without the extra salt. He was there so long he rotated through the menu a few times and proudly hacked the choices when realizing he could add extra fruit or extra veggies for his midday snacks. And he lost weight even while mostly immobile with all of his IVs and monitors.

    Once released from the hospital I had some trepidation about what I would be cooking for him. Would it be tasteless, salt free, boring? How would I keep him healthy while still enjoying our usual Spice Road inspired and full flavored meals? The upshot from his cardiologist was to eat low fat, use little added salt, to watch sodium overall and to include low fat or fat free dairy. So farewell to Parmeggiano Reggiano, arrivaderci charcuterie, au revoir Brie, so long chips and crackers and goodbye to canned and processed foods high in sodium. Hmm, what was a wife to do?

    The good news is while Ed was recovering he went online to help out with the menus and found an abundance of great recipes with lots of flavor. I went through our cupboard and refrigerator and began assessing what we had that needed to go. Not much really. We don’t eat a lot of processed or pre-prepared foods as we do like to cook. A couple of friends sent us vegan cookbooks (thank you Betsy and Nestor) and they have some very good spice road flavors which we love-not sure we are going plant based just yet but happy to have such a deep well to draw from in the way of choices.

    Then there was the lingering question-does he get to drink wine?? The answer is yes, in moderation. So pairing up our wines with his heart healthy food isn’t much different than before-just less fat, salt and healthier meals.

    When planning the week we are now adding one or two plant based options and for two meals with fish (we are fans of the frozen Mahi Mahi filets from Costco because they defrost quickly and are very easy to flavor up). Boneless skinless chicken breasts and lean pork and a little beef here and there fill out the menus. Here are some of our favorite recipes for your kitchen:

    Tomato & Olive Stuffed Portobello Caps
    Serve with our

    Spicy Tunisian Grilled Chicken
    Serve with our Mother Clone Zinfandel

    Apple & Fennel Roasted Pork Tenderloin
    Serve with our Merlot

    Baked Curried Brown Rice & Lentil Pilaf
    Serve with our Sonoma Classico

    Poached Salmon with Creamy Piccata Sauce
    Serve with our Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

    Mahi Mahi with Orange Shallot Sauce
    Serve with our Signature Selection Chardonnay

    I'll continue to add more to the new section in our Recipe page as we continue our health conscious journey.