inspiration


Vines growing in carneros

Shoot reaching out to the sun

I always say that spring is the second best time of the year (the first is harvest in the fall.)

Watching the new shoots reach for the sun, performing their annual miracle painting the vineyard green, sprouting from the brown, dead looking trunks, never ceases to amaze me.

Tiny baby clusters appear and the leaves open up, spread and gorge on the sun.

This is also the time of the year when planting replacement vines happen.  Some of the old vines are too tired and can barley produce a cluster or two each year. We plant new, young vines in the field, right next to the old ones.  It will be three years before the new vines will produce any meaningful fruit, under the watchful eyes of their elders.

new vine in milk carton

New vines receive protection from frost and bunnies with an old milk carton and sawdust.

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passover dinnerYou may be familiar with our story and the inspiration for our name–Stomping Girl–and already know this:  Uzi’s Grandmother Esther grew grapes on their property, his sister Michal took off her shoes and stomped them and Esther turned the grapes into wine.  The wine was primarily for their Passover celebration each year.

Officially, kosher wine is served for Passover.  For a wine to be kosher, there are many rules that must be followed, such as:

  1. The vines on which the grapes are grown must be at least 4 years old and left unharvested every seventh year.
  2. Only kosher, non-animal ingredients may go into the wine (i.e., only certain yeasts may be used and egg white, a common fining ingredient, may not be used.)
  3. Only male, Sabbath-observant Jews are allowed to handle the wine through the entire winemaking process from the harvesting of the grapes, through fermentation, to bottling.
  4. One Percent of the wine must be discarded.
  5. Barrels must cleaned 3 times before use.

The Cohen family Passover wine enjoyed by them every year in Israel was not officially kosher, being that Esther and Michal handled the grapes and the wine.  But it was close enough for Grandmother Esther.

For us here in California, the # 1 rule for Passover wine is that it must taste great.  After all, you are supposed to drink four glass of it every night.  And, though not Sabbath observant, our chief winemaker is Jewish and from Israel…and that makes Stomping Girl Wine pretty close to being kosher.  Passover starts next week, and I bet you know what wine we’ll be serving.


International Women's Day Logo

Stomping Girl Wines is named in honor of Uzi’s independent and hardworking grandmother who grew grapes and made wine on the family property; for Uzi’s sister who was originally “employed” to stomp the grapes for the family wine; and for Kathryn, Lea and Hannah–our modern day Stomping Girls who stomp the grapes, punch the cap, press the wine and are involved in our family winery.  (read more about our history here)

To honor and recognize these women in our family and women everywhere, Stomping Girl is celebrating International Women’s Day this March 8th by donating 10% of our wine sales between now and March 8 to a non-profit group called Mujeres Unidas y Activas.  This group educates and advocates for Latina women, many working as domestic and childcare workers on issues such as immigration law, domestic violence and women’s health.  Stomping Girl is proud to be able to contribute to MUA.

To help you help us donate 10% to a good cause, we are offering Free Shipping anywhere we ship in the US on orders of 2 bottles or more placed by March 8th.  Click here to order and use promo code: IWD.

There is not a better day to raise a glass and salute the women who make a difference in your life than International Women’s Day.   Cheers!!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!  We had a great 2 week break starting off with a road trip to Seattle.  On the way, we spent 2 days in Oregon seeing a couple of friends and wine tasting in the Willamette Valley.  We wish we had had more time to spend in the Willamette Valley but we had just enough time to taste some impressive Oregon Pinots at the incredible Domaine Drouhin; the serene, indeed, Domaine Serene; and the beautiful Stoller Vineyards.

Domaine Drouhin vines in winter

Domaine Serene

Stoller Vineyards

After a fun, relaxing and indulgent Christmas week with family in Seattle we rushed back to spend the 2nd week with our big, “stomping girl” who was home from college for a short break. I know it’s cliche but all I’m going to say about that is they grow up way too fast!!

Now it’s back to work and we are in high gear preparing for the release of our 2008 Pinot Noirs–putting the final touches on our online ordering site, printing up tasting and technical notes and planning the February Release Party.  Stay tuned and we hope to see some of you there!

1991 Calera Mt Harlan Chardonnay

1991 Calera Mt Harlan Chardonnay

We recently had our good friends over for dinner and were looking forward to opening a special bottle from the cellar.  It was a 1991 Calera Mt. Harlan Chardonnay we had picked up on a visit to the Calera winery last year.  Calera has an incredible and inspiring story and their wines are really quite unique for California Pinots and Chardonnays.

Look closely at the picture above and you will see the large (some may say disturbing) amount of tartrates. Tartrates had solidified and ended up on the bottom of this old bottle of Calera.  Looks bad but it is not a fault.  It was a 1991 for god’s sake.  And, in fact it is a testimony to the quality of the wine and the natural winemaking methods used.  Read more about tartrates here.  The Calera was fantastic and was a perfect match for rich halibut we served.

By the way, for those of you looking for Thanksgiving wines, an old Calera Chardonnay Mt. Harlan would make an excellent addition to your turkey dinner…so would a Pinot Noir.

Most of the time, we start a trip with a destination in mind. Usually we have an idea why we are headed that way and what to expect. We look forward to that destination, we almost rush to get there.  The anticipation building as we get closer, we reach our destination and our expectations are either met, or not.

But, sometimes the best trips are the unintentional ones. Such as the one I had last week on the way back from visiting som growers in  Sonoma Coast.

On my way back I was planning to stop at another vineyard in Carneros for  a visit.  The fastest way would have been to hop back on highway 101 and be in Carneros in 15 minutes.

Sonoma fields

Instead, I took the backroad, Old Adobe Road, east of Petaluma and headed south to Carneros.

The countryside was green with yellow fields of flowers here and there. The recent rain had allowed the outbursts of yellow and some pink.

A few minutes later,  I came across a herd of goats, mowing the tall grass in a vineyard. I stopped to take a picture of that. Since I had to make a u-turn to get to the side closer to the goats, I was facing the other direction.

Goat in the vineyards

Then I noticed that the farm stand I passed on my way over was really just a couple of hundred yards away and it was getting close to lunch. So I headed back there.

Anything to eat? I asked, meaning any prepared food I can just grab.

The amused farm girl/cashier looked up and pointed at the abundance of greens, pickled beets and freshly laid eggs.

As if on cue, another woman came in carrying a basket of eggs she had just collected from the chickens in the back. “Come, I’ll show you the chickens,” she said. “What are you doing doing this way?” she asked as we heading back into the chicken coop. “Visiting some growers and their vineyards.” I said.  I handed her my card and she busted out in Hebrew, said her name was Heela, and proceeded to  tell me about her brother’s Bar Mitzva’s picture with Yitzak Rabin in Israel.  Heela, was very proud of her chickens, almost as proud as she was of her daughter who works in Washington DC. Egg layers extraodinare

Heela is an artist, a paint maker using natural ingredients, such as egg shells. Perfect place for an artist.

I took a dozen eggs and a jar of pickled beets and left behind a bottle of wine. Hannah, the farm girl/cashier was listening to some Spanish music I hadn’t heard in 20 years when another woman came in breathless–the goats have gotten away and are on the road. Hannah would have to go get Pedro to get them back. With that, I left. Out in the parking log, the Bee keeper was showing a photographer with a big camera his bees while explaining what type goes best with what crop. On the highway, the woman’s friend was trying to keep a lone goat from getting to the pavement. Idyllic.

By the time I got to Carneros, it was way past my appointment time. I didn’t care. I was somewhere else. High on natural Sonoma county beauty.

If you want to visit some of the nicest people in Sonoma and get the freshest organic eggs straight from under a chicken, visit Green String Farms on Old Adobe  Road. I highly recommend taking the backroad from Petaluma to Sonoma/Carneros. No destination, just the Old Adobe Road.

It has been a while since Uzi and I have indulged ourselves with top notch Burgundy. grand_cru I won’t go into the reasons but I want to let you know that amidst what has become a daily barrage of economic and financial bad news, it was a pleasure to receive a bit of good news in this month’s newsletter from Kermit Lynch in Berkeley, CA.  He is offering Red Burgundy at 40% off by the bottle and 50% off by the case.   

We are rarely disappointed with a Kermit Lynch purchase–from his roses, to his Cote de Rhones, to his Burgundy offerings–and are definitely going to take advantage of that 40% off and take home some of these red Burgundies.  I’m thinking of picking up a 2006 Bourgogne Rouge that’ll work for any day of the week.  I think I’ll take a 2006 Santaney “Les Gravieres”–Uzi and I enjoyed a bottle of this years ago at Rivoli and liked it so much we tracked down the importer and bought a case.  I can’t pass up a 2005 Gevrey-Cambertin Domaine Boillot “Les Evocelles” on sale.  We shared a bottle of this on our anniversary a few years back and I can’t wait to do it again this year.  And finally, a 2004 Chambolle-Musigny on the list looks good.  I don’t think I’ve had this wine, it is one of Uzi’s picks and he has great taste in Burgundies. Besides, the name is so beautiful and fun to say that it is nice to have a bottle around to remind you of this poetic sounding and poetic tasting wine. Try saying it… “Chambolle-Musigny…”  

Burgundy has served as inspiration for our own production of Pinot Noir from Carneros, Santa Lucia Highlands and Sonoma Coast.  So this is a perfect opportunity to taste a few bottles and keep us on track to producing a Burgundian-style Pinot Noir.  

Go enjoy some for yourself.  And let us know of any other wine deals you come across.

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