Copyrights to photos are taken seriously on the internet.  I was contacted yesterday by a woman from The Guardian, the UK Guardian (the second phone call Stomping Girl Wines has received from a journalist in the last 2 weeks, by the way.)  She was doing an article on baby doll sheep use in vineyards and needed a photo.  She must have googled “baby doll sheep vineyard” images and saw my old post with photos of exactly that–baby doll sheep in the vineyard.  She had contacted me to ask permission to use the photo.  She even said they would send a small payment if it was used.  

Excited to share my photos, I sent her some beautiful photos of baby doll sheep in Navarro’s vineyard and a photo of one of our Sonoma Coast growers’ Icelandic sheep (#5) which is used in his vineyard.  Later that day I found the article on their website.  My photo did not appear in the article but somehow I still got a photo credit at the bottom of the article.  I’ll take what I can get!

Note: almost all of the photos we use on our blog and website are taken by Uzi or I. Including the beautiful banner above taken by Uzi in the Santa Lucia Highlands.

Stomping Girl Barrel Tasting (click for slideshow)

Stomping Girl Wines had a great turn out for our first barrel tasting event featuring our ’08 Pinot Noirs–Lone Oak Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands and Split Rock, Sonoma Coast.  The wines are developing fantastically with cherry and spice flavors coming through and nicely balanced on the  palette.  We also pulled a barrel sample of our ’08 Las Brisas, Carneros, Pinot–it’s displaying nice cherry fruit flavors and a silky, velvety texture in the mouth.

Thanks to those who came, we had a great time.  And thank you to Maureen Sullivan for taking the photos!  Here is one review of the event.

Last Saturday, our friend grower/owner of Sonatera Vineyards, Debbie Friedenberg, told us about Siduri’s  annual holiday open house in Santa Rosa.  Siduri is a producer of multiple highly acclaimed, single vineyard designate Pinot Noirs. Adam and Dianna Lee, the owners of Siduri, are an inspiration to a lot of up- and-coming boutique wineries, such as ours.

The wines came from (in geographical order) Sonoma Mountain’s Van Der Kamp, Amber Ridge, Hirsh Vineyard, Sonatera, Sonoma Coast, all the way down to Santa Lucia Highland’s Pisoni. Impressively, many of the tables were staffed by the vineyard growers themselves, such as Sonatera and Van Der Kamp.  This gave us an opportunity to ask detailed questions about the vineyards and find out what makes them unique.

The wines were all outstanding with the vineyard and appellation differences clearly coming thru in the wines.  Unfortunately we had to rush through the tasting as we had only an hour to spare but it was a great opportunity to try Pinot from some of the best vineyards of California (and one from Oregon) side by side.

I was thrilled when Dianna Lee, dressed in black with a royal tiara on her head due to the theme of the open house, took me on a private tour of the barrel room for a barrel tasting of the 2008s.  First, we chatted a bit about our respective kids.  It is hard to believe Dianna and Adam are raising three young kids while running such a phenomenal winery.  Then we talked a bit about the wines we make and started tasting her 08s. First was the 08 Sonatera (Debbie Friedenberg and Marne Coggan’s  vineyard.) Although it is just three months old, a baby wine that just finished Malo, it is already off to a great start with great aroma, color and fantastic mouth feel and flavors. Not a surprise, given that the 07 single vineyard Sonatera we tasted on the floor was our favorite.

Since I also make Santa Lucia Highlands, Dianna was very kind to let me try a couple of the Santa Lucia Highland barrels from Garry’s and Pisoni’s vineyards. Now we have a reference point for greatness.

It was very gracious of Debbie to introduce me to Dianna and for them to spend some time with me during the hectic open house. Thank you to you both!

Next time you are near Santa Rosa, give Siduri a call to schedule a visit, you will not regret it, especially if you are a Pinot fan (or a Dallas Cowboys fan as you will appreciate the Wine Tank names.)

Lone Oak is ready to press! Yeah.. Monday we are going to press the Lone Oak Pinot. I was hoping to have this thing go on for longer, however, as usual, the yeast and nature has the final say. We kept the must cold soaking under 50 degrees for about five days after crush. Once we brought it out of the cold room, it took off in no time and the must came up to 80 degrees in two days, then 90 degrees and before we knew it, here we are, five days later and Brix is at almost zero, ready to press. In any case, it followed almost the same trajectory of fermentation of the Sonoma Cost Gap’s Crown pinot, so it should be very interesting to see how it develops.
We are going down to the winery on Monday morning to press and will have some pictures to share from that event.


Our Lone Oak Pinot Noir grapes were harvested finally last Tuesday and delivered to the winery. We went right down to business and started the whole process of sorting and de-stemming and cold soaking all over again.

Ben having a lot of fun sorting Lone Oak

Ben having a lot of fun sorting Lone Oak

Although the wine making plan for Lone Oak, which is in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation, south east of Monterey, is similar to the Gap’s Crown (Sonoma Coast Appellation) , the fruit is markedly different.


Santa Lucia Highland vineyards in the AM fog

Santa Lucia Highland vineyards in the AM fog


View of Salinas Valley from the Santa Lucia Highland vineyards

View of Salinas Valley from the Santa Lucia Highland vineyards


Both vineyards are influenced by the maritime fog and air, which cools the vines and slows down maturation during the summer months. However, that is where the similarities end. Whereas Sonoma coast produces delicate, refined, elegant wines which are well balanced with acidity to complement the typical Pinot fruit, the Santa Lucia Highland fruit is a bit more voluptuous and with flavors that are bursting at the seams. Still with a lot of elegance and refinement, but you can’t mistake the overt femininity, I’d say the Gap’s Crown is an Audrey Hepburn to Lone Oak’s Catherine Deneuve. I might be dating myself with these fine actresses as my analogies, but I can’t think of anything else at the moment. If anyone has a more recent, parallel examples, feel free to post and I will consider!
In any case, we chose to make these two different pinots to showcase the stylistic differences between the appellations. We like them both and are really excited to watch them ‘grow’, or as the French say, ‘élever’, side by side. It will be a lot of fun tasting and noting the differences.

On another note, since we started this whole wine thing was in a sense re-starting a tradition from my maternal grandmother side–where my little sister used to stomp the grapes–I could not resist having Kathryn and Hannah continue the tradition and actually use their feet to stomp the grapes. Of course, we made sure their feet were washed and sterilized before we let them in it! You will not taste a thing in the wine, no worries.   Uzi