With the machine of destiny charging ahead in full effect, I am packing my bags for new wine adventures.
After an incredible 17 months, July 1st will be my last day at The NPA / Salinia Wine Co. I have been fortunate to work on what is one of the coolest wine projects on the planet, and to have learned so much from winemaker / owner Kevin Kelley. Those who've walked through the doors, who pour the wines, and who tell the story, realize that The NPA is something special, challenging, and something refreshing-- So leaving is bittersweet. I move on for great adventures, but leave behind something that I truly love, and that is a huge part of who I have become.
As stated a few months ago, my purpose here is to learn to make great wine. Hopefully to be able to make something so full of purity that we wander blissfully into the rays of our alien saviours, or something so haunting, and so full of earth and Old Hickory, that we pee our pants and see the devil.
To get there, I need more experiences in the vineyard and in the winery.
So this summer, I pack the car, and head way over to the Sierra Foothills. Sutter Creek, CA. Amador County! (sorry, 1st thing that popped up when I searched video for Amador) For about two months, I will be working and living on the Shake Ridge Vineyard.
Shake Ridge is a jaw-dropping place, owned, and meticulously maintained, by legendary vineyard manager, Ann Kraemer. For those who haven't been, I can only describe its beauty and terrain as the Hirsch Vineyards of Amador County. Or for those that haven't been there, it is a piece of land that you step on and instantly know that it is special. With Ann's care and attention, the fruit on Shake Ridge has been highly sought after and has been going to a small group of producers including Andy Erickson, Helen Keplinger, Matthew Rorick, Rosemary Cakebread, and also into Ann's own Yorba label-- (Find her 07 Yorba Syrah- It will freak you out and make you believe!)
Along with working the vineyard for Ann, I'll also get the opportunity to work the rows of Mourvèdre. that will be going into one of the 2011 Dirty and Rowdy wines-- That's some cool asz-shick!
I won't be making the journey to Shake Ridge alone. I will be accompanied in the vines by my lovely Kate, the Uber-Grenache-tastic Angela Osborne, and her Cranialsacral beau, Jason. All I can say, is that this will be a summer for the ages. One part of me feels like I'm off to the greatest summer camp ever, the other part is convinced I'm going to pass out in the vines from heat, rattler strikes, or a crushing blow from ol' Squatch!
(This section below goes better w/ Seger)
Ehren's Pinot, Chard, and Syrah wines have always captured honest and marginal places The (predominantly) Sonoma Coast vineyards he works with (including his estate vineyard) produce stunning and often edgy wines. These wines have been an inspiration to so many of the younger generation of CA winemakers and this is truly a chance to learn from one of CA's greatest.
This is going to be full of awesome.
Huge thanks to Kate, my family, friends, Ann, Ehren, and Kevin for their support and opportunities on this amazing journey.