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