What’s Cooking

“Be ardent in your work, and you will find God in your cooking pots.” -St. Teresa of Avila

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Lloyd R. Moylan (1883-1963). “Navajo Women Cooking

Our 2016 Presidential election was nothing if not a call to action. With one of the lowest voter turnouts in history and a result that’s instilled fear and anger in most, this election has proven what we’ve been told all along: Our democracy only works when we do.

In the last 10 days, I’ve watched friends and family roll up their sleeves and do just that: call representatives,  write letters, march in the streets, and take other actions to uplift the ideals so many of us share. Is it my imagination, or have I witnessed a growing kindness in daily life, as well? My heart swells at this sudden social and civic engagement (even if I wish it’d come before the election).

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on my pet project: s i r s e e. At a time when the nation seems to really need a drink, I’ll be offering wine. (Hey, we all make an impact in different ways, okay?) The wine will not be not for sale. Instead, you will be able to access the wine by making a donation to your choice of featured charities.

Yes, that means I’m giving the wine away! My community partners–including the printer, the designer, the shipper, and others–are donating in kind, too. We have gathered a lot of resources in hopes of raising funds for important projects.

First, I want to outline which organizations  s i r s e e   aims to support this winter, and why. It is my hope that Continue reading

s i r s e e | the gift

My winemaking project is evolving!

With stars aligned, the project has won donated labor, equipment, and brand design. This logo is the handiwork of veteran designer Lisa Hobro. She and other folks who’ve put their faith in this experiment are blowing my mind with their generosity.

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A sirsee is an unexpected gift, in Southern parlance. (Some of y’all know this, already.) I learned the word from my mother, who often surprised us with tokens of love. While the origin of the word is uncertain, the value of a good sirsee is clear.

Continue reading

Mind the Gap

In previous posts, I’ve conveyed that the wine business, while deeply satisfying, remains hard work. Admittedly, it might sometimes be work with idyllic vineyard walks and glitzy parties–but hey! It’s a grind, in its own way.

Over the last year and a half, I’ve enjoyed writing about the wine business for various outlets. My latest piece tackles the topic of interdepartmental rifts (specifically, between winery production and marketing) and offers tips for communication that heals. Company “tribalism” can arise can happen in any industry, so it may be relevant to all. Thanks for reading!

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To Hell With It. Let’s Do This.

20150826_103915Following instinct leads to joy: I’d nearly forgotten.

On Labor Day, I rose at 4 a.m. to drive to the Sierra Foothills and harvest a half-ton of Grenache fruit. Yep, I set out to make wine. Was this a wild hair, a last-minute venture—or, was it my plan all along? Both.

During my six years in the biz, I’d begun scheming up a business plan for my own little wine brand. Would this be the year I launched the project? I wondered, but had decided to wait. My fussy, perfectionistic streak told me that if every little detail wasn’t in place, I shouldn’t even try. (Pfffft. )

Thankfully, when my friend called with a lead on some grapes, I ignored that demon and went with my instinct, diving headlong into the project.

One nagging worry had been: What if I’m not a great winemaker? What if I f*ck up? I’ve assisted my boss in the creation of wines, including this one, of which I’m proud. I’ve also done plenty of supplemental studies in wine. Yet I’ve not followed any traditional path toward winemaking as a profession. Mine has been a zig-zag route. Continue reading