Sunday, December 27, 2009

Kathy, Are you twisted or what?

Since my email/blog, Christmas with the Hallmark Channel, I've received lots of well wishes for a speedy recovery. Thank you. Thank You. My "nose" or I should say my new nose thanks to skin grafts really appreciates it. My favorite email was from a close high school friend..."Kathy, are you twisted or what?" Well, maybe.

Many more asked the question... did you really watch all those Hallmark movies. No... but I watched a lot! I can't wear my glasses very long on my nose so reading, working, etc. gets curtailed and I'm plenty bored. I DVRd titles I liked and fast forwarded through the commercials and the really lame parts. But all movies, sad or funny, made a statement... don't whine, there is somebody always in a worse way, count your blessings and love your family.

My message... don't you ever put something off regarding your health. Be your own advocate and research your condition. Ask questions. Ask more questions until you're satisfied. I haven't posted "the pictures" after each surgery. If you want I'll send them to you if you need to literally scare yourself or a loved one to go to the dermatologist. And this condition was not even life threatening... just the basic garden variety basal skin cancer that eats flesh.

On a brighter note... my new Nose... Knows! I think I will come out with a better wine SNIFFER!

Cheers to 2010, Kathy
Olympic Cellars Winery

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Christmas With The Hallmark Channel

I’ve been recuperating on my couch this December after surgery. At first all I could really do is watch TV. Feeling a little sorry for myself that I couldn’t do all the normal holiday activities I thought watching the Christmas shows on the Hallmark channel would get me in the Christmas spirit.

Do you know how many holiday movies are aired in December!? I tried to count and then started listing all the titles of the movies… 37 and still finding new ones. Then I got this bright idea (too much time on my hands) that if I could combine the titles in the right way, the titles would write a story that could rival the best country ballad. (I tried to get to 31 but 29 will have to do). I now want to write Christmas cards… because Hallmark did give me the Christmas spirit.

My Hallmark Christmas Tale by Kathy Charlton

Christmas is THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR… truly A SEASON OF MIRACLES!

I’ve had quite a dry spell this year without someone in my life so all I wanted was a BOYFRIEND FOR CHRISTMAS. Putting a plan in action I auditioned for the Bachelorette reality show and won! Now I have the television famed 12 MEN OF CHRISTMAS to pick from.

It’s a hard job but someone has to do it!

When I met MR. ST NICK, # 12, I knew he was the one. Must have been the name and being quite superstitions I knew this was also a sign. During the finale show on Christmas Eve, #12 swept me off my feet with the most beautiful CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL and the promise of OUR FIRST CHRISTMAS in his family’s CHRISTMAS COTTAGE.

Mr. St Nick said his best Christmas memory was a FAMILY HOLIDAY when all his brothers and sisters were able to come HOME FOR CHRISTMAS to their home town. Till this day that TWIN PINES CHRISTMAS brings tears to his eyes. (I so like a big strong man that can express his feelings.)

Well after all the interviews and paparazzi questions Mr. St. Nick and I had very little time to get HOME BY CHRISTMAS. The drive to Twin Pines was a true RECIPE FOR A PERFECT CHRISTMAS with snow on the ground, MOONLIGHT AND MISTLETOE and the car loaded down with presents.

You know when you find your true love on a television show; you probably should ask a few more questions before setting off to visit his family. I thought I knew everything about Mr. St Nick because after all, I met him on a reality show! But this year I was going to be part of real family so not too many questions.

The rest of the story…

See, I don’t have any family of my own as I am an orphan. I was born A CHRISTMAS CHILD and was abandoned under the NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE on the White House Lawn in Washington, D. C. Miracles do happen especially WHEN ANGELS COME TO TOWN in the form of a White House guard who found me under the tree. He wrapped me in his coat and took me home and laid me in the arms of his wife, Eve, who could never have children. I was truly “EVE’S CHRISTMAS” present. Eventually I had to be turned over to the authorities but just for a few days I had my own Grandma and GRANDPA FOR CHRISTMAS.

Back to Mr. St Nick. When we arrived there was a SPECIAL DELIVERY envelope waiting for him. He quickly tore it open, read the stack of papers and then motioned to me that he needed to talk to me in private. He told me he worked for the FBI and that he had another reason for coming back to Twin Pines… it was an UNDERCOVER CHRISTMAS assignment. OMG!

There was a group of thieves operating in the area who were also magicians by day. They used their special talents to steal jewelry and replace it with fake paste pieces right under people’s noses. These sneaky thieves pulled off a perfect HOLIDAY SWITCH just before the jewelry was to be auctioned off for the Children’s Hospital Fund at a fancy HOLIDAY AFFAIR. To make a long story short, Mr. St Nick tracked down the thieves and they will be spending their HOLIDAY IN HANDCUFFS.

Mr. St Nick, his family and I were about to sit down for Christmas dinner when we heard the local CHRISTMAS CHOIR singing carols outside the front door. We rushed to give them refreshments and listen to a new song CHRISTMAS IN CARTAAN by Achy Braky Heart famed country legend, Billy Rae Cyrus.

One of the carolers bent down and retrieved an obvious looking Christmas card that had fallen from the mail box. It had a Washington D.C. return address. Apparently the guard who found me so many years ago tracked me down after watching the Bachelorette show and reading all the stories in the tabloids. (Orphaned on Christmas at our country’s capital, bachelor’s home at Twin Pines, etc.)

Now to finish this Hallmark Christmas Tale, we’re off to Washington DC. “I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS” for OUR MAGIC CRHISTMAS to MEET THE SANTA of my dreams!!!!

Falalala, Kathy (And, yes I've been on the couch a bit too long.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wine Advice for the Holiday Table


As the holidays approach, we get a lot more questions on food and wine pairings. And after doing a little more research and reading the overwhelming amount of advice, I found some notes that banished all the complexity and stress.


Even for me who's in the wine business this was a relief... and it pairs nicely with my innate desire to Gather. After all, much of the appeal of Thanksgiving dinner is found in the kitchen with wonderful aromas enveloping all the cooks!

So here's a fresh look at what you might offer.

First, for big holiday meals don't overcomplicate the wine selection. It can be as easy as simply opening a few different types of wine and letting people choose their favorites.

It's the perfect time to serve your wines 'family style,' the way you serve your meal. Just open your selections and let your guests help themselves to the tastes they like. And of course, if you have that special bottle of prized wine in your cellar, bring it up for the holidays.

But here's where most people make a mistake. Typically they like to make their special wine the showcase, serving some less expensive variety beforehand. I recommend the opposite.

Before dinner, open that prized bottle and let people enjoy all its delicate flavors -- without food affecting the taste. And while all are savoring the bouquet, you might actually get a word in and offer that special toast to those most special in your life.

After this, the food takes center stage. So serve several bottles of food-friendly, not so expensive, wines that blend well with the wide variety of dishes on your table. Then, sit back and enjoy your gathering.

Best Wishes,
Kathy


Wine suggestions and a Holiday "Gathering" Wine Package Below.

Most holiday wine recommendations include Chardonnay, Rose (off-dry to dry), Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, and off-dry Sparkling Whites along with Reds such as Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Syrah.

Below are our Olympic Cellars vintages, which you'll find follow nicely in this tradition:

Olympic Cellars Wine Suggestions:

Holiday Wine Sale in Progress Till Christmas Eve, 20% discount, mix and match, no required quantity. (Wine Club members 30% discount). Your discount will be deducted at time of order.

The "Special Bottles", Benoit's Winemaker Label series

  • 2007 Neuharth Legacy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cabernet Franc, Champoux and Boushey Vineyards
  • 2008 La Galopine, Roussanne-Viognier blend, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

For the Table...

  • 2007 Chardonnay, Campoux Vineyard
  • 2007 Lemberger Rose, a.k.a. Rose The Riveter, Champoux Vineyards
  • 2007 Dungeness Riesling, Columbia Valley
  • 2006 Dungeness Lemberger, Champoux Vineyard
  • 2006 Cabernet Franc, Bacchus Vineyard (2005 Cabernet Franc awarded Best in Washington)
  • Holiday Cranberry Jubilee (80% Chardonnay, 20% Cranberry) Very Limited Production

Monday, November 30, 2009

Top Ten Reasons To Give and Receive Wine

  1. Chocolate loves red wine and you love chocolate
  2. If you’re not a good cook, wine helps any dish taste better
  3. You don’t have to worry about buying the wrong size
  4. Wine doesn’t have to be dusted, just stick it in a closet till you open it
  5. You can enjoy it all by yourself or share
  6. Wine doesn’t need “batteries”
  7. There is always a great wine that matches your budget
  8. Guilt free buying… buy one to give and one to receive (after all, you deserve it!)
  9. No stress, we can help you choose a wine while you’re enjoying a glass or a tasting
  10. The sooner you start your Holiday Shopping, the sooner we can start ours :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wine Whisk: Aroma-Therapy For Your Wine

I was working through a pile at my desk yesterday and came across sales material for a Wine Whisk that I had picked up at the San Francisco Gift Market. Remember thinking then... what will they invent next to sell to wine lovers or folks looking for the next gadget to buy for wine loving friends.

The Wine Whisk booth at the gift market was packed. Molly, Lisa and I inched our way to the front and were totally speechless. There were all these glasses of wine being "whisked" like scrambled eggs. We backed out of the crowd and burst into laughter.

All I could think was... Benoit will kill us if we bought this gadget for the winery. Whisking is not in his top three ways to aerate his beautiful wines.

But, in our time starved lives, maybe just maybe, this whisk might be a good thing. So I bought one and never told Molly or Lisa. I knew they would make fun of me.

Also, should have done a little research on-line before my test of this product... opened a really good bottle of wine and poured it into one of my crystal glasses. I got a little too energetic "trying to beat my wine into a frothy goodness". (Whisks are naturally meant for beating not for stirring and it didn't come with a warning.) It didn't take long... I broke my glass and spent the next 20 minutes cleaning up Syrah. The force of the words that passed my lips was aeration enough.

Since then I found the "Nerd Approved" website, the source for preposterous products. Their write-up on the whisk warns the user from being too zealous! And furthermore, the website also recommended a coordinated look... a link to purchase "whisk earrings".

Now my wine loving friends, you can have it all. Perfect holiday gifts or NOT.

Cheers, Kathy

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Working Girl's Basket

I had to dress in business attire a couple of weeks ago and tried to wear skirt and heels (big mistake).

Well, I guess it has been a long time since I pulled out panty hose because when I stretched the waist band, I heard the sound of old dried-out elastic that died with no stretch left. Ok, so I dug deeper into my drawer and came up with some appropriate colored tights that would work. But… the tights didn’t have much left in them either and kept riding down causing a tripping hazard at my knees. So back to my closet to try again (why couldn’t I just wear fleece)… and in the process I thought of this picture.

Back in 2004 a local artist, Katie Carlson, did 6 watercolors of Working Girls for a series of note cards. Our favorites included ‘3 Generations of Women Cooking Together’ to ‘Rosie Running for President’. I influenced this “hammock” picture. Guess the corporate image of a working girl was still in my mind and this was my vision of the perfect downtime image… briefcase and cell phone tossed on the ground, shoes off (my feet always hurt) and those damnable panty hose always sticking to me in the Dallas heat.

So last night arriving home from the winery after an event weekend I lugged in my basket filled to overflowing. As you can see, my basket is now my briefcase. Molly and I have been carrying our same baskets for over 6 years… hauling stuff in and out of the winery depending on what’s happening and what we need. For us these baskets are a god send, reducing the number of trips to load and unload our cars.

But, just like a junk drawer you’ve got to clean them out every once in a while. I lost my keys and we found them 6 months later at the bottom of Molly’s basket! Both our baskets look alike. I hate to venture a guess what’s at the bottom of mine.

So for the fun of it I videoed “the unpacking” last night…. Enjoy, Kathy


Friday, November 6, 2009

A Night in Italy with Joy and Benoit - Wine Dinner

Joy and Benoit team up again for another fabulous wine dinner featuring Italian Cuisine and Wines on Saturday, November 14 at 5:30 p.m. This is the same weekend as the Olympic Peninsula Wineries Autumn Wine Tour . We have something quite special in store for our guests.

In talking to Benoit about the dinner, I found out that if Joy had a choice of what to eat and cook, it would be Italian with lots of pasta. Most of her training has been in Italian cuisine in New York and Seattle. Joy worked under Chef Walter Piscano for 7 years at one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle, Tulio Restorante, located in the Hotel Vintage Park. Chef Walter is known for his boldly flavored, sophisticated Italian dishes.

Throughout the dinner Joy and Benoit will share stories about their trip to Italy in 2007 to VinItaly, the Italian wine conference, and their dinner at Allegrini winery. Some of the wines served will be from this famed winery. In addition to the fabulous menu below, Joy will talk about the regional menus and dishes they ate in Verona, Rome and Florence along with a special story about working at a goat farm in Tuscany.

Joy’s and Benoit’s dinners are memorable. The last was the “Joy and Julia” dinner in our cellar at Olympic Cellars. I’ve finally posted the videos to Olympic Cellars YouTube Channel .

Enjoy, Kathy
Olympic Cellars Winery

Call Joy’s Wine Bistro for reservations. 360-452-9449. Dinner is $55 per person.

A Night in Italy With Joy and Benoit

Bacala (Salted Cod cake)
Zenato Lugana

Squash RavioliLivelli
Orion Primitivo

Roasted PorkAllegrini
Pallazo de la Torre

Chocolate Tiramisu
Dessert Wine

Liquid Sunshine for the Thanksgiving Table

Today on the Peninsula it is intermittently pouring down rain with brief outbursts of sunshine and rainbows. When I dropped off my cleaning the lady at the counter said, "Enjoy the Liquid Sunshine!" Hadn't heard that phase before but loved it along with her friendly smile.

Of course, for me, my mind eventually gets to wine. "Sunshine in a Glass" is my favorite description for our Lemberger Rosé, a.k.a. Rosé the Riveter. The wine is fresh, crisp and doesn't over power food.

Benoit, my French foodie and our winemaker, thinks that wine made from Lemberger grapes is one of the best food pairing wines. Being French, he always has a small glass of wine when he takes lunch and it's always Lemberger.

During the holidays we make lots of different side dishes and desserts, usually our favorites from handed-down family recipes.

The highlight of the meal is not the food but "gathering" with those we love. I like to pick wines that enhance and not crowd out all the different flavors, especially Aunt Edna's Green Been Casserole with French Fried Onions or better yet... corn pudding! Now don't laugh, we all have those handed down family recipes. It wouldn't be the same without the tradition!

Happy Holidays, Kathy
Olympic Cellars Winery

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Passport Wine Tour, Oysters, Clams and much more

Wines, Oysters, Clams and much more…

Harvest is complete and bottling is next Tuesday. Then we’re ready to celebrate and share the bounty during our annual Passport Wine Tour event on Saturday and Sunday, November 14-15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This year’s event will not only focus on our wine and new releases but also our local Olympic Coast Cuisine. We are partnering with Peter Becker, CEO of Little Skookum Shellfish Growers, a sustainable oyster and clam aquaculture since 1883, Bell Street Bakery and Nash’s Organic Farm.

Just as some background, for the last year I’ve been working with representatives of the four counties on the Olympic Peninsula in the formation of an Olympic Culinary Loop Tourism Organization which will serve as a catalyst in shaping the region’s culinary signature “Olympic Coast Cuisine”. This organization will focus on attracting new tourists to the area, increase visitor length of stay, inspire investment in farms and land, and preserve the region’s agricultural heritage. (More about this organization and its mission is at the end of this email.)

The Olympic Peninsula Wineries is your host for Passport Wine Tour. This year it is B.Y.O.G. (Bring your own glass which will be fun to see your favorite glass and hear the story behind the glass). Tickets are $25 which will waive the tasting fees at all 6 wineries or you can opt to just pay the $5 tasting fees at the wineries you visit. Your choice!

At Olympic Cellars on Saturday and Sunday: Tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for event and tasting of a full selection of our award winning wines.

· Oysters on Saturday and Clam Chowder on Sunday

· Bell Street Bakery breads made with local, organic grain will be served with spreads made from hummus and local organic root vegetables all weekend

· Holiday Wine Release: Cranberry Jubilee

· Wine specials and gifts showcased to help you “check off” your holiday shopping list

Saturday, Nov. 14, from 12-4 p.m. Outside on the Patio in our “heated venue”….

· Enjoy pairing of our white wines with oysters grilled and on the half-shell

· Taste our new wine release under Benoit’s winemaker label: La Galopine, 2008 Roussanne and Viognier blend from famed Red Mountain’s Ciel du Cheval vineyard

· Savor 4 different oysters from three local regions (South Puget Sound, Hood Canal and Discovery Bay) and four featured shellfish farms:: Little Skookum Shellfish Growers (Little Skookum small Pacific oysters); Hama Hama Oyster Company (Hood Canal small Hama Hama Pacific oysters); Taylor Shellfish Company (Totten Inlet Kumamoto oysters); and Port Discovery Sea Farms (Snow Creek small oysters)

Sunday, November 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the tasting room

· Clam Chowder (Peter Becker’s Grandfather Bishop's family clam chowder recipe made with Little Skookum Shellfish Growers’ sustainably farmed Manila clams www.skookumshellfish.com/recipes)

We look forward to pouring our wines for you and yours and hosting this culinary focused event,
Cheers, Kathy, Molly, Lisa and Benoit


Olympic Peninsula Loop Culinary Tourism Association

The Olympic Peninsula Loop Culinary Tourism Association (Olympic Culinary Loop) exists to define, promote and celebrate the Olympic Peninsula’s unique culinary experience, educate consumers, and ultimately establish the region as a niche destination to enhance economic development and the region’s tourism product.

Olympic Coast Cuisine reflects the diverse microclimates, coastal proximity and Native American heritage that characterize the Olympic Peninsula. The combination of sustainable locally-grown and foraged fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries, locally hunted game, bountiful local sea fare, and handcrafted local wines offers farm to table experiences that instill a unique sense of place. Prepared with reverence to the local history and culture, fresh Olympic Coast Cuisine is best enjoyed amid the beautiful scenery that surrounds the Olympic Peninsula loop.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Washington's First Auction of Wine "Art" Barrels


Retired wine barrels from the North Olympic Peninsula's six artisan wineries were donated to the Port Angeles Arts Council (PAAC) early this summer. Volunteer artists transformed the wine barrels into unique one-of-a-kind "art barrels" which are offered for sale using a unique online auction format.

The PAAC is hosting the auction to support its mission to nurture the vitality of the arts community and showcase the talent of local artists.

The ten local artists who volunteered their time and talent to the project were given free creative rein. Most artists worked in their garages, a.k.a. "Studio G", developing picturesque themes ranging from rustic, barnyard scenes to aquaculture to vineyard panorama using paint, fused glass, paper collage and hand painted silk.

The public is invited to visit http://portangelesdowntown.com/ (click on Auction), to view and bid on a series of 10 wine barrels that have been transformed into visual - and functional- works of art. Artists bios and video interview with Donna Cloud.

Bids will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, November 6. The winning bids will be announced on Friday, November 6 at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center during Paul Chasman's One-Man Guitar Festival, which begins at 7:30 p.m. The concert is PAAC's inaugural fundraising event.

For more information on the Art Barrels Auction or the Port Angeles Arts Council, contact Eric Neurath at 360.452.5911, fotos@olypen.com















































Thursday, October 22, 2009

Semper Gumby - Bottling At Olympic Cellars

For the last 3 years a volunteer group from the Coast Guard stationed in Port Angeles has been our bottling crew. I recently had to change our November bottling date by a week and received an email back... No Problem. Our Coast Guard Motto is "Semper Gumby" (Always Flexible).

Well, I hadn't heard of this before and Googled it. Semper Gumby is the unofficial motto referring to the cartoon character with the official motto "Semper Fidelis", always faithful.

Cheers and a Toast to our bottling crew as they are both faithful and flexible. For 3 years they've touched every bottle that has come off our mobile bottling line and stacked thousands of cases.

We have a volunteer program called 2xSuccess. For every hour volunteered at the winery you earn 1 bottle of Working Girl Wines. The "earned wine" goes on the books until the volunteer organization has a fundraiser.

The Coast Guard uses their funds to help CG families in need. Each crew member also receives a "love box" of a bottle of each wine that comes off the line. They are first to taste our newest wines and vintages.

Bottling is scheduled for Tuesday November 10. Here's some prior year photos.







Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vineyard Angel Gets A Full Body Makeover


Last year all of the wineries on the Peninsula created Scarecrows out of wine barrels. Olympic Cellars' creation was inspired by my love of sun flowers and the desire to have a watchful "angel" over our La Petite Vineyard.

I can tell you we had a pretty good laugh when our scarecrow was completely assembled and in the ground. Molly said she had quite a "bootie" and I thought she looked vaguely like a "telly tubbie".

Our Angel braved the frigid winter and (believe it or not) the heat wave of summer. Guess we should have watered her or at least given her a few glasses of wine... because alas she began to shrink, her "oak" was drying out! Her face was cracking and her body was literally falling out of her metal barrel staves.

Libby came to the rescue to give our angel a facelift (we had to decapitate her first). Then metal artists John and Cynthia Dash took her aging barrel body back to their studio and breathed in new life with a whole new sinewy shape. Her hand is even on a spring... she greets winery guests with the perfect Beauty Queen wave. And her loose barrel stave skirt actually blows in the wind scaring off pesky grape eating birds.

It was a late Friday afternoon when she was installed. All of us were exhausted after crushing grapes all day and a bit slap happy. So when someone mentioned that the upper torso was a "bit flat" and needed some embellishment, you can only imagine the topic. To stay authentic it was suggested that we use the "punts" cut from a very large wine bottles and attach them it to her chest. (The punt is the concave portion at the bottom of a wine bottle.) Bottle sizes suggested were called Jeroboam (3L) and Methuselah (6L) which are way bigger than a magnum. I learned something new but don't know if I'm going that far!

I rang the harvest bell again and poured us some wine. The Working Girls are tired. It's been a good harvest. Cheers, Kathy



Sunday, September 27, 2009

Twilight Coming To Houston

This past week I've been in Houston working the market, visiting my distributor and attending Working Girl wine events at WineStyles in the evening.

We pack a whole lot into these visits and when the evening comes to an end all I want is a G&T. I didn't have a car this trip and so the only close restaurant was Chili's, who by last night welcomed me by name.

"Welcoming" is the only one word to describe the people of Houston and Texas. They are the most gracious, respectful and helpful people I have met traveling. Now, the only thing that worries me is that I was referred to or greeted with words like "Ma'am, Sweetheart and Thank You Honey". As I listened and watched the crowd, it seemed like those terms were saved for the older women or very young!

The final kindest... as I walked to my gate at Hobby airport... a lady crossed through several people to come over and tuck in my tag in at the back neck of my t-shirt. "There you go, honey". I was so amazed all I could do is mumble a simple Thank You.

But back to the subject of this blog... I'm sitting in the owner's office of my distributor talking about our Working Girl Wines when she got a text and glanced down at her phone. She looked puzzled and said "Has anyone heard of a wine called Sparkling Twilight?" I leaned forward and said "that's my wine!"

Then all the office staff, mostly women, was standing at her door. Apparently they were checking out my website since I was in the office and came across our Sparkling Twilight wine and the story. Also they are HUGE Twilight fans and stood begging Carol, the owner, to bring in the wine.

A little arm twisting later, I could hardly say "no" to my Texas Roots. I don't think 56 cases will cover the 4th largest city in the U.S. but for right now Houston, TX will be the only other city besides Port Angeles, WA where this wine will be available prior to the New Moon premiere on November 20th.

Whoops, they just called my plane. Cheers, Kathy

Friday, September 11, 2009

Behind the Cellar Doors: #2


My Office
(Posted on YouTube)

Before we get to the winery, I thought I'd suck it up and show you my office. This picture is the real deal, I so wish I had something with my hair lying flat. But in the honor of grape stomp weekend... these are my infamous Lucille Ball Grape Stomping pj's that I've about worn out.

In the beginning I used to stand behind the bar 7 days a week... for two years. I soon realized that if this winery was going to take big steps forward, I needed to work "on" my winery, not "in my winery". My mantra now is Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of Business!

So Molly came to work part time and then slowly took over the management of the tasting room and became my partner. There's another story on how I met Molly "trying to learn to cook" (she flunked me) but she was straightforward and at the same time gracious with her words. I knew then we would work together well (both straight shooters) and our customers would love her!

So off I went back home to my office. The best part... I get up, make my instant coffee (you got it right, but it's organic) and then I paddle down the stairs each day in my flannel pajamas about 8 a.m. (after all this Working Girl is retired from TI). Bed time is about mid-night.

Running a winery requires you to wear many hats... maybe that's why the Working Girl White character on the label wears a hat... I usually say I've had a lazy hair day (the picture above should be permanently deleted). Anyhow my job duties still extend to 7 days a week and include writing/on-line marketing, planning events and promotion opportunities, working festivals, wine dinners, cellar rat duties (shoveling grapes and cleaning) and running the production side of the winery (bottling, harvest, accounting and compliance with state and government regulations and reporting) - my least favorite job. My favorite is still meeting our guests and working the bar. Owning a small business is pretty special and one of the hardest jobs I'm ever tackled.

I've already shot the first day of harvest and crushing Roussane and Chardonnay. But first I'll post the highlights of our Italian Festival and Grape Stomp on Saturday, September 12. It will up close and personal... with a "stomper and a swamper".

Cheers, Kathy

YouTube video of my office

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ode To Summer

Ode to Summer on the North Olympic Peninsula

Oh beautiful warm summer
Please don’t go!
You’ve been so consistent
That we’re so resistant
To Fall’s cold and rain that could come in an instant

The seasons must change for all to be well
And we know we need the rain for rivers to swell
So let the rain be by night and sun be by day
So we can continue to frolic and play

So please Mother Nature grant us this wish
Your magnanimous gesture would make you a “dish”

An extended and glorious Indian Summer
Would ensure a grape harvest that would be a “HUMMER”

Wayside Vineyard at Olympic Cellars.
The vineyard was named after the original farm owned by the Chambers' family. Our barn was built in 1890.












Last year during our annual Grape Stomp I rang the small bell on the left to "Ring In The Harvest". Tinkle, Tinkle was the sound... so small that the crowd laughed.

I immediately said... "with each vintage the bell will get larger". Well, how about this bell! BONG BONG

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wine Dinner: Joy and Julia


Olympic Cellars Wine Club Members

Benoit emailed me after seeing the movie, Julie and Julia. Not only did he rave about the movie, he commented… “I made her Boeuf Bourguignon recipe tonight, was really good!”

While Benoit and Joy starting cooking at home from Julia Child’s cookbook, I went to see the movie twice and was inspired to buy “pearls”.

The next call from Benoit was a suggestion to do a wine dinner at the winery, appropriately titled “Joy and Julia”.

What could be more perfect than a dinner in the middle of the cellar during harvest? The aromas of Joy’s wonderful food and Benoit’s wine… add in the spice of new oak and if we’re lucky the “music” of chardonnay fermenting in barrels… well I could only describe this as intoxicating!

Hope you can join us. Kathy

Joy and Julia Wine Dinner
Sunday, September 20, 6 p.m.
Olympic Cellars Winery

Petits choux aux fromage (cheese puffs)
Viognier-Roussanne 2008 (barrel sample)

Salade nicoise (mediterranean combination salad)
Dungeness Red Lemberger 2007

Civet de Mouton (Lamb stew with red wine)
Cabernet Franc 2006

Reine de Saba (chocolate and almonds cake)
Syrah 2006

All courses will be cooked from Julia Child recipes
with (as much as we can) local products

$65 (does not include tax and gratuity)
To make reservations call Joy’s Wine Bistro 360-452-9449
Credit Card required to hold reservation
Payment can be made at end of dinner via cash, check or credit card

Monday, August 31, 2009

Behind the Cellar Doors: #1 My Garage

Behind the Cellar Doors...

With my trusty flip video in hand, my plan is to chronicle what it's like to be the winemaker and a Working Girl at Olympic Cellars over the next few months.

To start it off, I took a video of my garage, the portal to my home office. For me this is where each day begins before I go to the winery or travel to promote our wines.

Why the garage... well it's better looking than my office with a lot of history of the winery. But I will suck it up and let you see my office on the next video (Yikes... an office tells you so much about a person!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUtda0-zLro

Then I will take you behind the scenes of one of the oldest wineries in Washington.

Together we'll orchestrate the delivery of grapes, hold our aching backs as we shovel each ton of grapes during crush, sweat with us during punchdown, hear the music of the cellar during fermentation, get purple finger nails and hands during press, blend wine for bottling, be part of the bottling crew...

And if that's not enough...

Benoit, our winemaker, will take us through the winemaking process from grape to bottle.

And, during the busy harvest, the tasting room keeps rocking...

You'll experience a day behind our bar and visit with our guests, throw a harvest party and grape stomp, attend a winemaker dinner and finally enjoy some wine with the Olympic Cellars team at the end of a long busy day... Benoit, Molly, Lisa and me.

So stay tuned for this documentary of a artisan, full production winery in Washington on the Olympic Peninsula.

Cheers,
Kathy

Senate Band at Olympic Cellars - YouTube

Friends of Olympic Cellars,

Another “Hot August Nights Concert Series” is over and what a year! Over 850 tickets were sold and the partnership with our non-profits was a resounding success. In total we were able to donate over $5,300.

Thank you to all the volunteers from the organizations listed below. They worked extremely hard to help us at the winery each Saturday night. It’s not an easy task to work a “party” of between 100-350 folks. Set-up, bar duty and clean-up was part of the Win-Win Partnership with our donation of all the ticket sales. Best of all, I got to dance!

Check out YouTube.

I posted two short videos of the Senate Band. We had our own mini-Woodstock Anniversary on August 15 with over 350 in attendance. It was a spectacular night and this is just an example of the talent that performs at the winery each year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjuYjlx9SmU (End of Song Jam)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjRt9e0bEmM (Song Pied Piper)

Partnering non-profit organizations and how they will use their portion of the ticket donations: Family Planning Clinic of Clallam County (women’s health care), Homeward Bound (affordable housing education), Port Angeles Farmers' Market (tables/chairs to promote community gathering at the market), YMCA (child care program) and Built Green (promote & educate… sustainable local resources and culture).

Cheers,
Kathy

Ps. We’re planning 3 intimate winery concerts this winter. Of course, they will be indoors. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Yum, YUM... Julie and Julia

Just got back from the movies... Julie and Julia. Spur of the moment, ate some French Brie to get in the mood (actually that was all that I had in the fridge).

Still laughing out loud. Ate a whole box of popcorn with double butter and I know in the morning I will have Feet Spread from the salt! Oh well, it was worth it.

I did come away with an idea to replace The Wine Advocate Rating System developed by Robert Parker. Instead of rating wines on a 50 to 100 point scale...

Wines will be rated on my new "Yum" scale. It's a whole lot simpler and transcends all geographical and language barriers...

Yum
Yummy
Yummier
Yummiest (I want what she's having!)

I'm just about to open a bottle of Amarone. I'm already anticipating the Yummiest, best ever, end to a perfect day.

Cheers,
Kathy

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Wine Journey

(The second in my 3-part series, "Wine... Doing It YOUR Way").

I've told the story before about how I came about owning a winery but never talked much about my wine experience or knowledge prior to getting into the business.

So, I guess you can call this, "true confession time..."

Truth be known, when I started drinking wine in the 70's, I liked my reds served 'cold.' I was even known to use an ice cube or two to get the wine to the proper temperature.

As I think about it now, the wait staff at the restaurants back then never even flinched or rolled their eyes when I asked for a 'cold' Merlot. I was never made to feel dumb about wine.

The only problem was... by the time they got my wine cold, it usually ended up being served with my dessert!

Then I went through a phase where I dipped bread into my red wine throughout the meal (you could always tell where I sat at the table... drips and crumbs.)

Not sure how that phase came about (maybe I watched too many Italian movies) but thank goodness I got over it fairly fast.

On To REAL Wines?

Guess you could say my first real wine breakthrough was in the late 80's when I started buying 750 ml bottles instead of 1.5 liter 'jug' bottles.

I was living in Dallas back then. I remember I'd had a particularly tough day at work and decided to stop by the liquor store for some wine. There was a new display of wine stuff that featured a t-shirt with the all too familiar saying... "Life Is Too Short To Buy Cheap Wine."

Whatever, I ended up switching aisles -- from jug wines to racks of wine with lots of shelf talkers (you know those 2x3 cards that describe why you should pick that wine).

I was soon overwhelmed with wine descriptions that were way over my head and in some cases sounded almost like passages from a romance novel (voluptuous, full mouth feel, lay this one down for a few years!). Yeah, right!

But the shelf talkers worked... because it seemed I only bought wines with flapping tags and catchy phrases.

Business dinners, travel and a few more dollars added to my wine budget helped expand my wine education further.

At this point in my journey, I was not overly curious or particularly knowledgeable. I found a wine I liked and basically stuck to it unless something was on sale and I got adventurous.

This is about when I knew enough to 'think' I knew something about wine. Got snobbish about corks vs. screw caps, swirled and sniffed before I tasted and started spouting wine speak (those shelf talkers gave me enough information to talk intelligently -- for about 10 seconds).

To this day I can still remember the first Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon I ever tasted. I was at a business dinner and our host ordered Silver Oak Cellars Cabernet. I think this is when I first really "tasted a wine," concentrating on the flavors, the aroma, the experience...

Off To Wine Country...

I didn't stop there. Shortly, I was off to my first wine tasting vacation in Napa. I came home with a very expensive case of... you guessed it... Silver Oak Cellars Cabernet.

I proudly displayed that wine in my new wine rack, both placed in my Dallas kitchen just under the west wall window (aka, the hottest spot in the house).

It wasn't long before I noticed wine seeping from the capsules of the bottles. Of course, I had cooked the wine and most of it went bad; an expensive way to learn about the proper storage of wine.

Years passed and I continued tasting and enjoying wines from around the world. It was during this time, while still at Texas Instruments, that I bought Olympic Cellars in 1999.

I was traveling extensively with TI then and remember coming back from India once. I dragged onto the plane, tired and not looking forward to the 36 hour trip. All I wanted was a good glass of wine. I was in business class (none of those little bottles for me) and kept rejecting the wines the flight attendant served. Unfortunately, I was seated by my boss who by now was embarrassed and told me to "just pick one!"

Had I become a wine snob?

Nope, I just knew the style of wine I liked... BB&B (Big, Bold and Beautiful)!

Obviously, my wine journey hadn't prepared me for running a winery.

But it did mold my thinking and later my decisions on the wines we would eventually make here at Olympic Cellars.

My wine journey had been just that... a journey.

I could have stopped it at "Merlot over Ice" and that would have been okay because that was the style of wine I enjoyed.

Remember, it's all about "Wine... Doing It YOUR Way!"

Cheers,
Kathy

PS
. Next time, it's the third and final installment in this series. And it's my favorite story, "My Mer-Lot Couple." Don't miss it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Crystal and the Rock

Owning a winery during tourist season (or frankly any season) doesn’t leave much room for personal time.

We make hay while the sun shines, scheduling back-to-back events, pouring our wines at festivals and working the market.

So it wasn’t surprising the last couple of months my husband and I seemed like ships passing in the night. We’ve all been there, priorities get skewed and we feel that “distance” welling up between us along with the people we care for and love.

By now, you probably know me well… Focus, Focus, Focus. Got to get the job done before I relax. Then when I relax I’m too tired to talk or even eat. Just want to crawl into my “space” and be alone.

Knew when Ralph wasn’t hugging like before that I’d crossed the line and needed to get back in touch. So off we went for our favorite walk on the Dungeness Spit where I’m always looking for white rocks. We didn’t walk very far this time. Just found a sheltered space amongst the humongous logs and just let the sun warm us and our spirits.

On the way back I squealed loudly, jumping up and down. I’d found a heart shaped rock! It was a sign and you know I’m a big believer.

As I turned it over it had a dent in it and I remember thinking that I’d lay that side down.

Well, when I got home, I picked up the Baccarat crystal heart that I bought for Ralph years ago for Christmas or an anniversary (don’t remember) which he keeps on his desk.

I laid it beside my beach rock and just stood there thinking.



Wow. I’d always thought the crystal heart was so perfect but now it seemed somehow fake and unreal lying beside my rough and battered heart-shaped beach rock.

My heart rock had survived crashing waves and summer days. It’s pitted all over and has that dent but it’s withstood the hands of time. It’s the real deal. And that’s what had me thinking.

Relationships and marriage can be as fragile as crystal... or as hard and enduring as that rock. You have to work at it and not take them for granted. Another wake up call for me.

So tonight I’m going to cook dinner for Ralph and pour him a glass of his favorite wine (he’s always loved the Dungeness Red Lemberger). I can’t do anything more special to show that I care than try to cook (sometimes pouring a second glass really helps too, especially with my cooking)!

Update: I wrote this Saturday afternoon. It’s now Wednesday afternoon... and life just feels good. Plus, we’re going out to eat tonight, Yea… cooking was real pressure but worth it.

Cheers,
Kathy

My Personal Invitation To You

Consider this your personal invitation to join us at Olympic Cellars Winery this weekend, August 1 & 2 to celebrate our 30 th anniversary as a pioneer winery in Washington State and to honor our founder Gene Neuharth.

I'm one of those people that get all sappy about these types of occasions and want to share it with all of you that have supported the winery over the years. The weather is pretty much perfect, the mountains totally visible and an Adirondack chair on the patio is just waiting for you to slide into it with a glass of wine, lean back and just enjoy doing nothing!

Weekend Activities:

  • Saturday and Sunday, August 1-2 from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Music on the Patio from 1 - 5 p.m.
  • Tours of the Winery
  • View the memorabilia over the last 30 years
  • Special Nibbles
  • Wine Tastings of Benoit's Best

Saturday Night 8 p.m.

  • Barn Dance with local favorite, Fat Chance
  • Cover Charge, $5 donated to the Gynocare Fund that health care for uninsured and underinsured women and men.
  • All our concerts in August are partnered with a non-profit who will received the cover as a donation from the winery

Sunday, August 2 11 a.m. , 6 p.m.

  • Same as above but music stops at 3 p.m.
  • 3 p.m. Reenactment of Gene Neuharth's weekly Poker Game with some of his old buddies
  • You can buy in to the game for a small donation. All winnings go to Maria Neuharth's church, the Little Brown Church in Blyn, WA
  • Maria used to cook for the "boys" and is bringing one of their favorite snacks
  • Seven Cedars Casino is sending Annie Jagger, their poker manager, along with poker table, etc. to make this came official!
  • Surrounding the Poker Game will be a gallery of chairs for your viewing comfort. This should be a hoot!

Finally

The anniversary weekend will feature the release of Neuharth's Legacy , a commemorative 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cabernet Franc blend made with fruit from Champoux and Boushey Vineyards. In addition "The Heritage 4" will be available. This specially priced package features three original Neuharth wines, Dungeness Red , Dungeness White and the former Dungeness Rosé (now bottled under the Working Girl ® Rosé the Riveter label), as well as the Neuharth's Legacy release . Given the Sunday poker game, the 4-pak will be offered at a lucky $77.77 including tax.

Please join us,
Kathy, Molly, Lisa, Benoit
and Moakie (our barn cat) who was born in the original Neuharth winery barn in Sequim.


Moakie, our Winery Cat

Our small, black cat is as much a part of the heritage of Olympic Cellars as the historic barns which have become our winery homes. Read More of Moakie the Winery Cat's Story

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wine... Doing it Your Way

Cabernet to Sparkling Twilight?

As you walk through the doors of our winery and are greeted by the ‘Working Girls’ of Olympic Cellars, it’s obvious the personality of the women behind the winery and our best known wine brand, Working Girl Wines, drive a non-traditional persona of contrasts not only in the décor and events at the winery but also in our wines.

Beginning with an enormous, century-old barn (the winery’s home), the weathered old cedar is adorned with massive barrel-shaped copper doors you might expect to see in a monastery. Out front, a vineyard angel welcomes you... with her wine barrel-body adorned in a grass skirt and wearing pink rubber boots! The barn smiles at night through stained-glass copulas that tower above the landscape. And one of the most popular winery photo op’s is none other than -- the women’s bathroom (really, words can’t do it justice!).

The tasting room… well, saying it’s definitely got a women’s touch is an understatement. But add in a stunning, 19-foot, century-old bar and men suddenly feel right at home, too. The “Gathering Room” (no VIP room here) is just that… a place to gather. In the center of the room is an 8-foot hand-crafted farmer’s table made with rough-huned cedar planks off our barn. And behind it -- a spectacular silk wall hanging, “The Promising Vendange,” our vision of vineyards on the Peninsula, commissioned from a local artist.

There’s the traditional winery events like wine dinners, of course. But sharing equal billing is our celebration of National Flip-Flop Day and our contest for the best Chocolate Chip Cookie & wine pairing (and don’t forget the Working Girl First Jump Club, all you have to do is tandem skydive!).

Contrasting Wines ? Of course, in style AND variety. 3 brands, 17 different wines.

Gazing around you notice a shelf displaying our wines loaded with medals and awards. Yet pan the wine racks stretching half the length of the room and you’re a bit jolted as you spot all the ‘Twilight’ books sharing space with a stack of Wine Spectator magazines. And what this? A Double-Gold Medal winning Syrah parked right next to a Sparkling Syrah (a.k.a. our new Sparkling Twilight!).

Some in the industry probably question my sanity and might not take us seriously… a small winery producing just 3,500 cases of 17 different wines. Most wineries our size or smaller generally specialize by style or grape varietal, bottling maybe 4-8 different wines.

But after the first couple of years owning the winery and working behind the bar every day, I made the unconventional decision to make a wide variety of wines and styles because that’s what people who stopped wanted. It’s a decision influenced by my own ‘wine journey,’ my learning this business from an outsider’s perspective and from my Mer-LOT guests (these are three separate stories, all with the same ending, but for later blog posts).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m dead serious about my wine in the cellar. But as you pass through the doors into the tasting room, it becomes an atmosphere that’s fun, inclusive and welcoming. As our guest, you get to select wines for tasting based on your own personal tastes, not ours.

This decision doesn’t mean in any way that I will ever sacrifice quality. I want it all. Awards, industry recognition, the best grapes.

Benoit and I have had many discussions about this business model. I know it’s tough for him in the cellar. Even in an abnormally cool summer when local Peninsula grape production was only 100 gallons of wine (realistically, too little to even bother with), I didn’t care. Making wine from Peninsula-grown grapes is part of my vision and unless the quality was compromised then the extra effort for this tiny production is just part of the deal. And Benoit makes it work, producing small, hand-crafted lots of premium wines for you to enjoy.

This year, our 30th anniversary, we will pour what may be the best wine that has ever come out of our cellar, a 2007 Cabernet blend. It’s dedicated to our founder, Gene Neuharth. And yes, it’ll be poured right next to a small batch of locally-grown Muller-Thurgau infused with Peninsula culinary lavender. And then we’ll toast it all, of course... with a cold glass of Sparkling Twilight!

It’s who we are, just three working women from very different backgrounds, running a winery... our way. And hopefully inspiring you to embrace contrast... and do things... your way!

Cheers,Kathy

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Working Girl First Jump Club

This video was taken on June 30, 2006 and marked my first skydiving experience in Washington Wine Country… I’m just glad it was a tandem jump! Words can’t express the anticipation, fear, leaving the plane (that was the worst), the rush of air and then free falling 8,000 feet in 60 seconds… believe me, you don’t feel like you’re falling. (I do have a fear of heights and have a tendency to want to… “you know”, so I stopped all fluid intake at midnight)

After the parachute opens and jerks you upward the beauty and the absolute quiet is spell binding. Another 5-7 minutes floating the remaining 5,000 feet to your target and we just tapped down and walked toward cheering friends.

Friday, Aug 14th, 2009 will be the 4th summer we are featuring tandem skydiving at the winery.

Only 20 “Tandem Jumps” Available Jump times will be scheduled throughout the day. Jumpers will meet with the Skydiving Team at the winery before heading to the airport.

Jumpers are invited to bring a picnic, family and friends, and spend the day at the winery.

Cost: $225 paid to Kapowsin with your reservation. For an additional fee Kapowsin will make a video like this one of your personal jump experience.

For an additional $25 at Winery you can include lunch, wine tasting and a “Working Girl First Jump Club” t-shirt

Pictures and info on our last "First Jump Club" event Click Here

To book your reservation:Toll Free: 1-800-SKYDIVE
Local: (360) 432-8000
kapowsin@skydivekapowsin.com
www.skydivekapowsin.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

"Sparkling Twilight" A New Wine from Olympic Cellars Winery…


Frankly, it wasn’t until last summer that I even knew about the Twilight “Phenomenon.”

That was when a mother and daughter from Scotland visited the winery on their way back to Seattle after spending two days in Forks visiting all the “Twilight” landmarks noted in the book by author, Stephanie Meyer.

This international visit got my attention and so I started asking questions. After searching the internet for stories I was still under the impression that Twilight was a teen book on vampires and werewolves!

By this time, Lisa Martin had started working at the winery and she brought me the first three books to read.

Meanwhile, Twilight visitors continued to streaming in, with Moms tasting wine while their daughters would sit on our couches reading or re-reading the books.

Amazing to me was the fact the first book was released in 2005... and here it was 2008, and I’m just tuning in!

About this time, I started getting requests for a Twilight wine but didn’t seriously pursue it because I didn’t see a connection… first, my thought it was a teen book, and then the fact there were already “vampire” wines already on the market.

Then last fall we partnered with a local B&B on a “Twilight package” before the movie release. By that time I had noticed our visitor demographic had changed and suddenly groups of women were on a “Twilight journey.”

So I finally read the first two books and watched the movie. As I read, I highlighted all the passages that I connected to either personally or from a “wine” perspective.

There were two major insights:

First… disregarding the vampire and werewolf characters, to me Twilight is a beautiful love story describing the purest form of love.

Second and most important… I felt so proud reading Stephanie Meyer’s descriptions of the Olympic Peninsula, our mountains, forests, the beaches and the rain! This is our home and we love it.

After re-reading my highlighted passages, I could almost visualize the wine label and knew what I wanted to do: a sparkling wine! The label would capture the essence of the Olympic Mountains at “Twilight” and also offer a heartfelt thank you to all that visit the Peninsula.

And I knew exactly where to go to capture my vision for the label.

See, when you drive back from Seattle, about 20 miles outside of Sequim you turn a corner and there towering above the road before you, are the quintessential Olympic Mountains, cascading slope after slope into the far away distance, each mountain a different hue of gray to pink to a deep purple depending on the time of day.

And so, on June 13, 2009 we released our “Twilight” wine... a sparkling Syrah.

This is how the back label reads:

A sparkling wine that bubbles with enthusiasm in celebration of your day’s journey and adventures.

Sipped at Twilight as the Olympic Mountains take on the dazzling hues of the coming night, tiny bubbles mirror the Sparkling sky.

Enjoy the berry fruit character of this lively and refreshing Syrah. Off-dry, ruby in color, with fresh flavors of raspberries, cherries and red fruit.

Click Here to Order

We hear from visitors every day how much they love the Peninsula and on their next visit will schedule more time to just ENJOY… the beauty, serenity, earth’s bounty and the abundance of mountain and water activities.

Cheers, Kathy

PS. First Insight… The Love Story. This is a compilation of Stephanie Meyer’s passages that I highlighted and a little bit of my thoughts.

Twilight… the end of the day, the return of the night. It’s not the end, it’s the beginning.

Celebrate your journey to the Olympic Peninsula where love can last FOREVER.Before you, my life was like a moonless night.

Very dark, but there were stars—points of light and reason. And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty.









Friday, June 26, 2009

Mitch Hansen Bands Plays Port Angeles



Today I was delivering our new wine “Sparkling Twilight” (a sparkling Syrah) to a local restaurant in Port Angeles of Twilight fame, Bella Italia. (More about the wine in next blog.)

Ran across the street to made a quick stop at the Dazzled By Twilight store to check in with manager, Victoria McDonald. Next week we plan to decorate the empty storefront of Gottschalks Department store with prom dresses, also a photo op for Twilight fans visiting the North Olympic Peninsula (Port Angeles, Forks and La Push).

Decorating empty storefronts is just part of much bigger volunteer effort to paint, polish & scrub close to 40 buildings this summer. I'll tell you more later about the project, Our Community At Work, Painting Downtown Port Angeles. We've clocked more than 3,000 volunteer hours.

I noticed quite a crowd in the store and could see through the windows that there were some musicians performing. Even though I’m in the middle of the 4th book in the series, I’m new to the Twilight Phenomenon. But as a small business owner and community supporter, the traffic to the Peninsula from across the country has been great for our local economy.

Victoria greeted me with excitement introducing me to Mitch Hansen and Brent Cook, The Mitch Hansen Band. Their songs will be part of the sound track for the next movie “New Moon”. I left after listening to “Lullaby” heading back to the winery and then basically made an illegal u-turn. Parked, grabbed by new trusty flip video and headed back to the store.

I couldn’t miss this opportunity to share this special, almost private concert. Victoria scored when she got Mitch and Brent to make a one hour stop on their way to Forks for the Twilight Symposium, spending only 48 hours in Washington away from their Atlanta hometown.

So enjoy… I just posted 4 short videos including the song, Already Dead. http://www.youtube.com/user/OlympicCellars

Cheers, Kathy

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Father-isms and Special Memories

Ralph and I are headed to Ellensburg today. His father passed away in February and all the family is gathering for a “Celebration of Life” on Father’s Day – up in the hills at their Charlton hunting cabin where the memories are documented in a series of spiral notebooks going back for years. Whenever you visit the cabin you are suppose to write a note in the book and date it. This was a whole new side of family that I began to love.

When I first visited the cabin after Ralph and I got married I wrote, “We will move to Washington in four years”. It actually took six and we started a new chapter in our life.

As you might remember, I wrote a blog on Mother’s Day titled Mom-isms. Thought it would be a real easy follow-up to do Father-isms for my weekly TGIF email. Not So!

In thinking back through my childhood and talking to Ralph we both said, “our fathers didn’t talk as much as our mothers”.

I have a lot of favorite memories but few Father-isms quotes. Both Ralph and I agreed on two…

If we asked our Dad if we could do something, the usual response was…
“What Did Your Mother Say?”

And the Best of All, I can close my eyes and see my Dad mouthing these words…

Go Ask Your Mother!

Memories… there are many. Close your eyes with me and remember yours...

  • Dancing with my father while standing on his feet
  • Dad coming home from work at 5:15 p.m. every day. Both my parents would have a “little tottie” before dinner and we would all gather (maybe that is why we have the Gathering Room at the winery)
  • Dad cooking every Sunday after church. BIG PRODUCTION. As I grew older, all I wanted to do is eat fast and go out with my friends. Now I remember the BBQs, the caesar salad made from scratch and cleaning the shrimp together over the sink.

Father’s Day - Enjoy, Remember, Share, Connect…

Happy TGIF, Kathy

PS. Some other Father-isms I found on the internet…

  • You can't have a champagne budget with a beer income
  • As long as your feet are under my supper table, you'll follow my rules
  • If you drive up to our house, park in the driveway and honk the horn, you better be delivering a pizza because you won't be taking my daughter out
  • Good girls don’t call boys
  • If you expect to be treated like a lady, you should always act as one
    (Notice a trend of very opinionated, protective and traditional fathers)
  • Do you think I'm a millionaire?
  • Do you think money grows on trees!

And, we all know the last father-ism…

No matter what happens, you can always come home!

Friday, June 12, 2009

This Working Girl Can Buy More Shoes

A few years ago I came up with a new resolution which was pretty radical: Nothing new can come into my home until something leaves via re-gifting, donation or passing down to my kids. This I communicated to my husband who was quite impressed. My rationalization… this would stop my impulse buys.

Now, of course, this resolution did NOT involve the major 3 purchases in my life: clothes, jewelry and shoes. I’ve listed these in alpha order because for me priority depends on the mood of the day that sends me on the search for instant gratification.

Since clothes were not part of my resolution I needed a solution for limited closet space. About a year ago I donated clothes to an auction to make more room and then totally regretted the decision. While I hadn’t worn them in years I didn’t realize I had ‘attachment syndrome’. Now, I’ve gone so far as to buy those suck-um-up bags to store some favorites & open up a bit of space in my closet.

My rationalization for “plastic storage” was my new fashionista sense of style “closet vintage with a hippie, hobo-lux look”. Bottom line I just can’t seem to part with clothes or shoes, that have special memories or cost too much or I might wear some day and for sure the style will be in fashion again!

I’m getting to the shoe part…

We all know the fashion industry has played with our heads on the whole sizing game for years. Yes, I can wear a smaller size then I did in high school but everyone knows the clothes are now made bigger.

Shoes on the other hand, I thought were just the opposite. I had to buy larger sizes because the cost of making shoes had gone up so the same size shoe just kept getting smaller.

Obviously, I had no real logic for my rationalization but it worked in my head until I uncovered this really cute pair of sandals in my closet. They had the perfect heel height for jeans that had shrunk in length.

So depressing, I couldn’t even slip all 5 toes into the sandal. Then I decided maybe my feet were sweaty, so put some knee high hose on. That didn’t work. Then I thought, aaah, I ate Mexican food last night and my feet are swollen from all that salt. Wrong. The next day, I still couldn’t get my dang feet in those sandals.

I lamented my fate during another Working Girl meeting. I blurted out this whole story as if it was the major crisis of the day. Molly just looked at me, as only Molly can do, and said point blank, “Kathy, your feet spread with age”.

Feet, too! Is nothing sacred on my body? Back to rationalization... I have a few better excuses. I’m blaming it on the winery and moving to the Northwest. My feet just got used to work shoes, cement and socks in Birkenstock style sandals – that’s why I have feet spread, it’s not from age. I haven’t had the opportunity or the time to train my feet back into cute shoes that are in my closet!

So what does a girl gotta do? I hauled out all my size 8 shoes.

I now have a goal. I have shoe holes to fill and I can do it without a guilty conscience. It’s also my birthday month.

I really do need to stop rationalizing. Shop, enjoy and finish the day with a glass of Go Girl Red!

Cheers and TGIF, Kathy

Ps. Maybe that’s why I love National Flip Flop Day at Olympic Cellars. I don’t have to worry about feet spread!

Monday, May 18, 2009

My T.G.I.F. email just moved to Monday this week and I’m REALLY sorry because there was some Breaking News that you may have missed….Friday was National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

Now that may not rank high up on Google or Yahoo but in our world the Working Girls spoke of nothing else while we packed wine club shipments all day Friday (that’s why no email, I was pooped.)

So, I started the day asking Molly and Lisa what was their favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie? You know what brand, what store… they looked at me like “what planet are you from?”

Molly said it best, “Kathy, the best chocolate chip cookies are the ones you make, especially if you’re baking with girlfriends or family, especially my grandkids”.

Molly continued, “my favorite is oatmeal chocolate chip. Then she sighed and smiled… well maybe oatmeal double chocolate chip warm out of the oven”. She almost had a reverent look on her face. Lisa’s favorite was to add cherries and almonds to basically the same recipe.

Well, that’s all I could think of this weekend. I craved warm cookies. And, geez all I got was Cooking Stress! We all know I don’t cook but now I’m going to learn.

Friday night I had to make do with chocolate chips out of bag and, of course, our 2005 Syrah.

Oh yeah, I asked Lisa which one of our wines would she pair with chocolate chip cookies and she said incredulously, “Any of them!”

So I have a deal,

  1. Email me your best chocolate chip cookie recipe and why it should become the official cookie of us Working Girls. Pictures are always appreciated. info@olympiccellars.com
  2. Include the name of your favorite Olympic Cellars wine that you would pair with your cookies, you are not limited to the Working Girl Wines
  3. Please include your full contact information.
  4. Molly, Lisa and I will judge the entries. I’ll even learn to bake…
  5. The winning recipe will be posted on our website and a Working Girl Goodie box full of lots of great items from our gift shop and the wine you “paired” with your cookies will be shipped to the winner.
  6. Deadline for entries: Sunday May 31
  7. Winner announced: Wednesday, June 17

Sound like a plan…

T.G.I.F. on Monday

Cheers, Kathy

P.s. If you need a really good wine to do some sample pairing, remember our double gold medal (or is that double chocolate) 2005 Syrah is our featured 30th Anniversary Wine in May.

Anniversary Price $17.49, regular price $24.99.
Click Here to Browse Wines


Monday, May 11, 2009

Mom-isms!

Ralph and I were heading out the door and as usual my husband picked up his wallet and put two quarters in his pocket.

I don’t know why today I decided to ask…

“Honey, why do you always put two quarters in your pocket?” He just stood there for a minute with a puzzled look on his face, then replied “My Mom always told me to in case I was in trouble and needed to call home.”

Laughing we realized we didn’t even know how much it cost to use a pay phone and if we needed one… could we find one in a hurry?

We both paused, each in our own world with a distant look and a smile on our face, thinking about our Moms.

Of course, Ralph couldn’t resist… “What did your Mom always say?”

At first, all I could think about was my Grandmother who told me always to put on clean underwear in case I was in an accident. Even as I kid I found that pretty silly.

Well that started it… back and forth, till we were almost crying with laughter.

Some of our favorite Mom-isms!

  • Do you want me to call your Dad?
  • Turn off the lights, do you think we live in a barn!
  • Don’t make me stop this car!
  • If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you?
  • Eat your vegetables, there are starving kids in China.
  • Put that down, you don’t know where it’s been!
  • Kathleen Ann… if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times…

I’m going to finish this last Mom-ism.

Kathleen Ann… if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times how much I Love You.

That’s what I remember most.
Happy Mother’s Day, Kathy

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What Next - A Vibrating Wine Glass?

The day of the Inaugural Ball I realized I was out of mascara.

What does this have to do with a vibrating wine glass you ask… read on!


So, I ran out of the ballroom where we were decorating and across the street to Gottschalks. Made a bee line straight for the cosmetic counter; asked for black mascara that washed off with soap and didn’t smudge.


The lady at the counter said, “Well, I have one more of the vibrating mascara wands. We’ve gotten great feedback (no clumping, nice separation of lashes, Yadda-Yadda).”


I was in a hurry and said I’d take it but gulped when I went to sign my credit card receipt. Yikes, $35. My only excuse for not asking for a cheaper brand… I was in a hurry and well, I wanted to look good for the Ball.


OK, so I’ve been using the mascara for 6 weeks now. I’ve had some good laughs talking about it but feel foolish every time I use it. Frankly, I still use the pointed end of a large safety pin to separate out the lashes or remove clumps (just like my Mom). My lashes may be stimulated but they still clump.

Last week I was getting ready for an event so my mind was on wine when I pulled out my trusty mascara. As I unscrewed the cap and it started vibrating I got to thinking about wine glasses.


What if a wine glass was battery operated, played your favorite song and vibrated to the music, of course releasing the bouquet of the wine to the beat of the song ?

I walked into the kitchen and looked at my wine glasses… different sizes and shapes for different wines and I got to musing about the perfect song for a wine glass (white, sparkling and red wines).
Here are my top picks.

  1. White Wine Glass: It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere (If you need an excuse)

  2. Champagne Flute: Afternoon Delight (well just because)

  3. Red Wine Glass: Amarillo by Morning (Reminiscent of my Most Embarrassing Wine Moment )

  4. Water Tumbler: Slip Sliding Away (It must have been one of those days)

Don’t worry; I’m not inventing another gimmicky wine product. But you’ve got to admit, you might think about your wine glass a little differently, especially while applying “vibrating” mascara.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Celebrate International Women's Day

Olympic Cellars and Womanfest Honor the Memory of Local Activist Clara Carlson at International Women’s Day Celebration

The Winery invites public to gather, break bread and hear stories of Carlson’s deep commitment to growing women’s participation in the political process

Port Angeles, Wash., March, 9, 2009 – Women of all ages are invited to gather at Olympic Cellars Winery at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18 for a post International Women’s Day (March 8) celebration in honor of the late Clara Carlson, a long-term Port Angeles resident who worked passionately to inform and involve women in the political process. Her relentless advocacy for women’s rights continued until her death on Jan. 10 at the age of 102.

“Clara was a highly intelligent, well-read, free thinker with a passion for progressive politics,” says Nancy Newman, owner of WholeHearted Consulting and the organizer of Port Angeles’ first International Women’s Day celebration a decade ago. “She once said, ‘to inform oneself and to exercise the voting privilege is the very basis of freedom, the foundation of good government.’”

Carlson played an active local role in the National Organization of Women’s work to pass an equal rights amendment, worked tirelessly with the Port Angeles League of Women Voters to raise political awareness among local women, and shed light on various issues of concern with her eloquently penned letters to the editor of the Peninsula Daily News. She was also an early member of Womanfest, a local non-profit organization providing empowering experiences for women.

“Clara wanted women to have a strong voice in creating a better world,” Newman continues. “Her work gets to the very essence of International Women’s Day, a time set aside for reflection and commemoration of the economic, social and political achievements of women who are working collectively towards this end.”

Newman will speak about the history of International Women’s Day, her friendship with Carlson, who she met at Port Angeles’ first International Women’s Day celebration in 1999, and Carlson’s work, during the evening. Participants in the gathering can enjoy hot soup, bread and wine while listening to stories about Carlson’s life as volunteered by others who knew her.

Continuing a theme of women helping women begun 10 years ago with the area’s first International Women’s Day celebration, an ongoing scholarship fund will be launched in Clara Carlson’s name. The fund will support women’s work for causes that captured Carlson’s passion, and will be managed by Womanfest. A suggested $10.00 donation, collected at the door, will support the scholarship fund.

The event will also support Mujeres de Maize (Women of Corn) Opportunity Foundation, a sewing coop located in six villages in Chiapas, Mexico. The foundation provides educational opportunities for Mexican women and girls. Twenty-five percent of the purchase price wine sold by the glass throughout the evening will be donated to this international charity.

“In 2004, the first year that Olympic Cellars hosted an International Women’s Day event, we raised $150.00 in donations for the G.I.R.L.S. Summer Camp,” says Kathy Charlton, owner, Olympic Cellars. “Last year, donations exceeded $600.00, with half going to an international charity and half to a local charity. The organizations that receive this money are helping women and girls to succeed, sometimes, as in the case of Mujeres de Maize, by helping them to help each other.”

For further information about the celebration, call Olympic Cellars at 360.452.0160 or visit www.olympiccellars.com.

About International Women’s Day
International Women's Day (March 8) is an occasion marked by women's groups around the world. This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development.

About the Sponsors
Womanfest is a local non-profit that has been providing women of the Olympic Peninsula with empowering experiences and associations for more than 20 years. The organization hosts an annual Fall Retreat, sponsors workshops, lectures, concerts and other events for the community and provides additional support for worthy women-centered projects and programs.

Olympic Cellars is a boutique winery housed in an historic century-old barn between Port Angeles and Sequim on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. The winery annually produces approximately 3,200 cases of hand-crafted wines on site, including the premium La Dolce Vida label, the Working Girl® series, and the Dungeness artist series.

Olympic Cellars is strongly committed to supporting the physical and emotional well-being of women through its Charity of Choice and 2X Success initiatives.Find out more about Olympic Cellars and its upcoming events by visiting the winery’s website at www.olympiccellars.com, or by calling 360-452-0160.

Also visit the Working Girl® website, www.workinggirlwines.com, for information pertaining specifically to the Working Girl series of wines and associated philanthropic programs.