You might say the old grapevines look otherworldly. With their contorted limbs and thick trunks, these Zinfandel vines look more like squat alien-trees, twisting up out of a sandy 3-acre spit of land in southwest Lodi. “Look how this vine is growing here,” says Stuart Spencer, owner of St. Amant Winery. He’s standing in the dirt at nearby Marian’s Vineyard, pointing to a vine with a hole as big as a fist. “The vine just splits over time.”
Zinfandel from Lodi’s Mokelumne River American Viticultural Area comes in two main styles: west side and east side. West-side vineyards, with their shallower soil, have lusher growth and tend to be earthier or loamier, sometimes pungently compost-like. East-side vineyards have a lower water table, producing smaller clusters and smaller fruit, which generally have more color, tannin and acidity.
The wine tasting room at Harmony Wynelands in Lodi was built with a far different purpose. Bob Hartzell, an aficionado of old-fashioned theater pipe organs and former president of the California Winegrape Growers Association, built the hall to house his pride and joy – a 1921 organ that was once installed in the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. The room’s acoustics are specially designed to show off the organ’s commanding sound.
In a makeshift distillery tucked into a Rancho Cordova business park, Greg Baughman mashes and ferments batches of his Wheel House American Dry Gin using a still he designed and built himself, a gleaming vision of stainless steel and copper. But actually sell you a bottle? For that he needs to hire a middleman due to regulatory hurdles dating back to Prohibition.
Bartenders around the region have provided us with their best bets for holiday cocktails featuring gin, rye and bourbon — spirits that are now being produced locally by craft distillers.
At the crush pad of a custom-built winery, the 6-foot-4 winemaker in tie-dye socks shuts off the forklift, realizing he missed a call.
“I didn’t hear my phone ring,” says Layne Montgomery, 55, general manager and founding partner of m2 Vintners Inc. in Acampo.
“It’s harvest,” jests one of his volunteers. “Who has time for a phone?”
Sacramento is America’s Farm-to Fork capital for many reasons: fresh, seasonal food available year-round, almost 8,000 acres of boutique farms, and the largest Certified Farmers’ Market in California. Last month, Slow Food Sacramento recognized seven local businesses for their commitment to providing products and services that use regionally grown seasonal produce, honoring them with the Snail of Approval award and decal.
Tis the season for sharing! In the spirit of the holiday season, tell us your office holiday party horror story (anonymously, of course). Next month we’ll share the most cringe-worthy as well as advice on damage control — in case anything goes awry this year.
Don’t be a Scrooge … You know you’ve got one.
Let me take a wild guess: You feel like you don’t get enough sleep. Too much to do, you’re stressed out and you think getting eight hours of sleep is about as realistic as keeping current on Oprah’s Book Club. Or maybe you’re annoyed that your body needs too much sleep? Think of all the workouts you could get in, books you could read and emails you could return with a few extra hours in each day. Wouldn’t we all love to train our bodies to require less sleep?
The sharing economy is a collaborative economic movement inspired by the efficiency of loaning and sharing existing resources on a fee-for-service model. It reduces environmental waste while supporting financial sustainability and building stronger communities, and it’s having a bigger impact than you might realize.