Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Taco Tuesday!

So on a tasting room attendant's salary, it's hard to get a chance to go out on the town for a big party night. I mean come on folks, it would take a whole day's paycheck just to pay for dinner. But $2.50 tacos @ the fabulous Villa Creek, yeah baby. It's about time boyfriend & I had a night out on the town!

So after work, Mr. Bossman, Seth, Sarah & I went to a "costumer service training" at Adelaida Cellars, put on by the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce. A big thanks to Pati & Adelaida for hosting the event! During the talk though, Sarah & I were having too much fun cracking jokes and getting the giggles. Pati at one point came over and jokingly said she would have to separate us - oops! Sorry Miss Pati - but we were having waaay too much fun :)

Sarah & I didn't want the fun to end, so afterward we headed over to Villa Creek for Taco Tuesday. It was an absulotely gorgeous night. Though we were inside, they opened us all of the doors so that we were basically outside, able to feel the warm summer breeze. What a beautiful setting.

So here's the first photo of the night - from left to right: my fabulous co-worker, Sarah, then Vanessa (tasting room manager at Paolillo Winery) & Jackie, who is tasting room staff, also at Paolillo.

It was awesome getting the chance to get to know Vanessa a little bit. We both love animals and do animal rescue - I work with Cocks (roosters!) and she works with horses. We're had a ball chatting and found out that we are definitely kindred spirits.

Not the best photo but here's the scene outside @ Villa Creek:

the night simply would not have been complete without Mr. Bobby Fox showing up - thankfully he did! I was so happy to see him I had to give him a kiss - I think I may have scared him a bit - HA! :)

So Sarah @ I work together at Halter. Sarah & Sarah - we call ourselves "Sarah Squared." I was joking that like the "Power of Three," "Sarah Squared" is a force that shouldn't be messed with! We are powerful beyond measure :)

I had to get a shot of the whole group, and just smiling hardly makes it to the blog anymore. So I yelled at folks to do something crazy, and scream "Save the Cocks!" at the same time (all to promote my rooster rescue of course.) And here's what we got - with Boyfriend being the craziest of all!

The night got even better when folks from 15C started to arrive. It was Karlie's birthday and people were out celebrating! Here's a shot of Bobby with the awesome Robin from 15C:

And here's the birthday girl herself: my "Viva La Vouvray" Karlie along with Mr. T - Tajin who works both at 15C and also at Cypher Winery.  

I just love being able to go out on the town for the night and be able to run into so many great friends while just going to get something to eat. That's what a love about Paso & the Wine industry here - everyone knows everyone so it's all like a big family!

Happy Birthday, Miss Karlie - Boyfriend & I are glad we go to hang with you on your b-day.

Long live Taco Tuesdays!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Toasting the New Tasting Room!

So today was our true first day in our "new & improved" tasting room @ Halter Ranch. We're all moved in and though we're finalizing little details (like buying gorgeous teak furniture for the patio & canvas photos for the walls) basically, it's done - yay!

Anyway, yada yada yada, it was a good first day but it became much better when Seth, our fabulous tasting room manager broke out some beautiful Pinot Noir bubbles to celebrate our move into the new tasting room (as well as to pay us back for all of the craziness we went through over the last 6 weeks.....but with bubbles like these, it was all worth it!)

The bottle was Lucien Albrecht, Cremant D'Alsace Brut Rose. Typically pinot bubbles can carry a type of earthiness that I just don't like. Thankfully this Brut Rose was light on the palate, very clean with good fruit, & no earthiness. Boy Lindsay (we have three Lindsays! You have to understand why we call him "Boy Lindsay" to try to keep things straight....) said that there was a lot of stone fruit to it i..e. a lot of pear - which made it an absolutely fabulous porch pounder on nice warm evening :)

So here's a photo of the whole staff (except me as I was taking the photo) on Saturday toasting the new tasting room:

Pictured left to right: Cathy, Lindsay P. Lindsay J., Seth & Lindsay B. Three out of five being Lindsays is pretty impressive. Are all Lindsays planning to infiltrate the wine industry & dominate the world together? Just asking :)

I'm thankful we didn't smash the champagne bottle of the side of the building as folks do when they christen a new ship. That would have been wrong! No bubbles in the glass to drink, just those that I would have had to lick off the sidewalk......

Cheers to the new tasting room!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A "Soupcon of Asparagus" and a "Flutter of Poo!"

For those of you who saw the movie, Sideways, you may remember this quote:

"and, oh, there's just like the faintest soup├žon of like asparagus and just a flutter of a, like a, nutty Edam cheese... "

That quote was said right before Niles realized Jack was chewing gum while wine tasting. Oy vey!

But I have my own twist in this quote.

"Notes of asparagus and a hint of poo." Poo, you may ask? Yes, poo.

At Halter Ranch, we've been waiting FOREVER to get into our "new & improved" tasting room.  It has been remodeled - 17 feet have been added with a new bar, as well as a second level to the outside patio seating area. We were just getting ready to move in when...

A huge shit load (yes, pun intended) of manure/compost showed up to help the garden. The guys spread it all around the tasting room and well, everyone says we smell like a horse ranch. The thing is, I actually live on a horse ranch and it doesn't smell anything like this. I mean, this is BAD. Yucky bad.

Leslie (from Halter) said she's going to put up a sign that says:
"No, we are not Harris Cattle Ranch...even though we smell like it." Snap!

So come, visit us today in our new & improved tasting room to see if you too, can taste the faintest taste of poo in the vino.

Tee hee!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2000 Page Views!

So yesterday I got on the blog and realized that I was at 1886 page views - almost to 2000 - woo hoo! We immediately poured glasses of Schramsberg for ourselves as a "pre-party" celebration. I know for other bloggers out there, 2,000 page views is nothing. But for me with this little wine blog, I'm thrilled to have so many people peeking at my ramblings! So yes, I definitely had to celebrate :) And yes, we HAD to do a "pre" 2000 page view celebration to prepare for the "real" 2000 page view celebration. It was totally necessary.

Here's a photo of tasting Room Celebrity and I sharing the 2007 Blanc de Blanc Schramsberg bubbles that we just happened to have "lying around" at work:

Then today I got on the blog to see where we were at, and the number popped up; 1999. Really? Truly! I am not lying. I did not stage this. It really was 1,999!

So my fabulous Boss Man, Seth took over the computer to refresh the screen, and bring it to the magical 2,000:

I had brought more bubbles to celebrate the momentous occasion (I need very little excuse to open bubbles, as you may already know about me....) but we ended up being so busy all day we couldn't break them open. That's OK as I ended up bringing the bubbles home for Boyfriend & I to share tonight - we get to keep it for ourselves - yay! The bottle is by Blason - Cremant de Bourgogne - Brut Rose. Seth had recommended it and it is a pretty darn nice bottle of bubbles - all for about $10 a Trader Joe's (that's at least within a tasting room girl's budget!)

A big thanks to all of you who read my blog - I never would have made 2000 page views without you! And a special shout out to Charlie from Tablas Creek. He was one of the first to start following my blog after he was featured in the Tablas Creek Industry Party Blog. I ran into him at the Venteux Industry Party and he knew all about my life - that I was now working at Halter Ranch, etc. etc. I said "How do you know that?" He said, "Duh - your blog!" Thanks, Mr. Charlie. I really appreciate that you were one of the first to start following this little crazy blog.

So I'm already planning the 2500 page view party. I'm thinking Anselmann Sparkling German Riesling or Veuve Clicquot...or maybe we could have a mini industry party @ 15c. Hmmmm...we need to make something out of this, just because. Ideas?

Cheers, all!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Boyfriend!

Today, Boyfriend & I are marking our 13th Anniversary of being together. When you think of everything that we've been through - including losing pretty much everything we owned in the economic collapse - it's nothing short of a miracle that we made it through it all. Not only did we make it, but we were able to keep our animal family together, and restart our lives in stunningly gorgeous wine country.

So cheers to you, Boyfriend. I can think of no better way to celebrate our anniversary but the way we celebrated yesterday - hanging out at the SLO Pride event promoting our hilarious rooster rescue, "Save the Cocks!" I think that pretty much sums up everything that we are.

It's been one heck of a ride, Mr. Cumings. You're my best friend, and I love you more than you could ever know.

Tasting Room Celebrity @ SLO Pride!

So here's our new photo of Lindsay aka "Tasting Room Celebrity" @ the SLO Pride event yesterday in San Luis Obispo. She attended the event with Boyfriend and I to help support our rooster rescue, "Save the Cocks!" we had a blast - and you can see the blog about it HERE.

Thanks for all of your help yesterday, Lindsay! :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Women Winemakers!

My best buddy SAM was kind enough to recognize me as "Media Celebrity" and invited me to a "Women Winemaker's" get together last month. I was "paid" in food and wine to do an amazing blog on it all. Though I do apologize as I'm a bit tardy in finally getting this blog done - but forgive me, I'm still recovering from that party!! :)

So the history behind all this is.....

Lucia Gilbert is a Professor of Psychology at Santa Clara University. She has always been fascinated by women who are making it (or trying to make it) in male dominated fields. She wanted to find out more about what makes women tick when they are working in a male dominated field and wanted to write a book on it all. She had been thinking about maybe studying women architecs or women engineers...but then a friend mentioned women winemakers. Lucia had never thought of that before and totally became fascinated by the subject. Thus Women Winemakers was born. (The site isn't quite ready yet but will be soon.)

SAM was hosting a get together at SAM's house with many women winemakers from the Paso Robles area - letting them have a chance to meet Lucia in person and find out more about what was going on with the project.

Now first off, there was fabulous food there from Farmstand 46 (that made the event totally worthwhile for me right there!) Then each of the winemakers brought a bottle of their wine to share - nothing like being able to taste a sampling of a bunch of wines from different wineries, all at once!

SAM sensed my excitement about the food and wine, and just like a dog guarding his food, here's a shot of me guarding the goodies:

In between snarfing down a bunch of food as I was starved, I had to check out the scene and see who was there. Here's a fabulous shot of three of the area's fabulous women winemakers (left to right): Shannon from Rangeland, Amanda from Niner, & Dorothy from Bodgeas.

So we're all chatting the afternoon away when Lucia starts trying to call us all together for a talk about the project. Goodness, I wouldn't have wanted to have her job! I guess us Paso Robles girls are pretty rowdy - but we all got there eventually.

So Lucia started to talk about the project (in between heckles by us girls) and mentioned how she wanted to study women in male dominated fields, and how women winemakers fascinated her most of all as she found it the most interesting (she's a big wine connoisseur.) Partly why she found this fascinating is that usually with winemakers, winemaking is a person's second, third or fourth career path - and though many folks are doing winemaking now, they may still move on to other fields.

So this is how Lucia envisions this project. She broke it down into four parts:

1) There will be a website - womenwinemakers.com - that will list all of the women winemakers in California. It will be broken up by region, so that when you're in a certain area, you can hunt down the women winemaker wineries.

2) When you click on a winery with a woman winemaker, it will then take you to a page that will give you a basic bio on the female winemaker as well as a photo of her - and maybe any relevant tidbits about the winery. 

3) There are about 3,000 winemakers in California and 10% of them are women - so this website will contain the bios of just over 300 women. From there, Lucia will conduct in depth interviews with about 75 women. These stories will be grouped into threes - totally different stories yet with commonalities on life experiences and career paths that have helped get the women to this point in their lives.

4) One day Lucia hopes to create a book, featuring the top stories of the 75 in depth interviews. She's thinking that she'd do two books - one for the Napa/Sonoma region and the other for "more Southern" wine country such as Paso. Think of it as "Wine Dogs" but for "Women Winemakers!"

Here's dear Lucia giving her talk (and Amanda getting her drink on):

Now at one point, Dorothy from Bodegas started talking about how hard it was a few years ago for women to make it in the wine industry. It really did take the first, strong, forceful women to break into the industry, to help carve a path for younger women who want to choose this as a career path. It was amazing to hear, yet Amy from Ranchero Cellars pipped in, "I apologize, but I don't want to burn my bras - they're expensive!" That was definitely the quote of the day :)

So things started to get rowdy amongst the crowd - that's the way Paso women winemakers roll!  Here's Shannon from Rangeland giving Amy from Ranchero Cellars rabbit ears:

And here's a gorgeous shot of Shannon & Amy with Lucia and Lucia's husband (and big supporter of the women winemaker's site) Jack:

Then it started to get dark, and we started to move inside. This is where things start to get hazy for me as thoughts of lemoncello start to dance in my head. All I know is that I got into a paparazzi war with SAM - here's she's taking a photo of me taking a photo of her:

And thus another crazy night with SAM begins :)

Next post - a lemoncello fantasy and the beginning of a new Women Winemaker's group - woo hoo!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Wishing all of you a fabulous 4th of July. For those in the Paso area, stay cool! This heat wave has been crazy.

In honor of all of the 4th of July BBQs & parties, I thought it was appropriate to post this photo of my new BFF/co-worker Lindsay. I'm out to make her a "Tasting Room Celebrity" as she is just a photo op waiting to happen. (So perfect for blogging....)

The following photo was taken at a recent BBQ put on by Darren from Halter Ranch. Lindsay was just being Lindsay and double fisting it with both wine and beer. I wanted to get a photo of her by Darren's "Kegorator" and this is the shot we got:

Priceless. I hope everyone gets to spend their 4th of July like this!

Happy 4th everyone! :)