Local Wine Co's Blog

Harvest (day2 hands touch soil) by moegrier
October 13, 2010, 3:11 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Per last week’s post detailing my first harvest may I now present you with day two.

Up at 7am, in the vineyard by 730 the picking (or should I say sorting) had begun.


Sunrise on the way to the vineyard (Davis Family Vineyards 'Soul Patch' vineyard).


I met Guy, his son Cole, buddy Rodney and a group of pickers (there were about 5 of them) down in the Pinot Noir vineyard.


Pinot Noir on the vine.


Guy gave us a quick rundown of what we would be doing for the next few hours (and by few I mean 8). Cole, Rodney and I were instructed to follow the tractor/pickers through the vineyard. As the pickers tossed baskets of grapes into two giant tubs we would sort through the clusters and remove all the raisins and leaves.


The tractor.



Pinot Noir off the vine.


For the next 8 hours we sorted through 12 tons of grape clusters. There were all sorts of bugs crawling through the grapes as we sorted; lady bugs, spiders, ear wigs… good thing I didn’t have any issues with little critters. The sugars from the grapes made everything you touch stick to you. The high temperatures and lack of shade made our job even more of a delight. It was a very hot (the temperature in Guy’s truck read 111 at one point) very sticky, very long afternoon.

Around 330pm we had officially finished picking and sorting.

Next on the agenda, preparing the grapes for the fermentation tank.

We headed to Moshin Vineyards in Healdsburg, CA this is where Guy does all of his fermenting.

Each bin containing one ton of pinot noir grapes would be run down the shaker table, onto a sorting table, into a destemmer, and finally into the fermentation tank.


Shaker and sorting table.



Stems from the destemmer.



Pinot Noir finds its new home in the fermentation tank.


This process took roughly 2 hours to complete… it felt like 30 minutes compared to what we had just accomplished.

Next came the clean-up.

This was probably my least favorite part of the day. Ever single spec of Pinot Noir had to be removed from the shaker and sorting tables, destemmer, hoses, bins… No grape residue could be left behind. When Rodney told me this I thought he was kidding, how were we ever going to get every grape morsel cleared away?


The clean-up.


We left Moshin around 730pm that night exhausted but yet very excited (this 2010 vintage of Pinot Noir was going to be killer).

I don’t think I had really expected to work as hard as I did that day… wine makers are extremely hard, very dedicated workers.

My experience that day will be one that I remember forever.


Harvest (day 1, the arrival) by moegrier
October 7, 2010, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I (Maureen Grier) recently had the pleasure of working my first harvest.
This is a little taste of my experience …

I arrived in Santa Rosa, CA on September 26th. For the next 3 days I would be participating in harvest at Davis Family Vineyards.

Driving up to the Davis residence I was in awe as I had my first up glance of a vineyard.


along side the driveway


We settled in and enjoyed a nice welcome glass of Davis Family ‘Cuvee Luke’ (a delcious blend of Roussanne, Marsanne , & Viognier).

Shortly after I was on my way with the Davis Family to watch the sunset at River’s End (a restaurant that is perched on a bluff overlooking the mystical Russian River entering the great Pacific Ocean).

We took a pit stop at one of the local state parks, Armstrong Redwoods SNR to see the historic redwood trees. The cool breezes, soft land, and quiet air were absolutely amazing… a true campers delight.

A glass of bubbles in hand… we arrived at River’s end just in time to see the sun setting into the pacific ocean.


Sunset. River's End 9/26/10


The evening ended at one of Guy and Judy’s favorite local spots, ZaZu. I had the pleasure of meeting chef Duskie Estes (competing on this season’s Next Iron Chef) and her husband John Stewart. The fresh prosciutto John plated for us was amazing!


John Stewart, a true pig master


Think happy local ingredients picked at the peak of freshness and prepared to perfection… that’s ZaZu.

… I went to bed that night with a full belly ready and rearing to go in morning.

My alarm was set for 7am… tomorrow, we pick Pinot!

An Admiring Ransom Old Tom Fan by Local Wine Co
August 18, 2010, 5:19 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This was such a great, to the point email that I had to share it:

So I tried your Old Tom Gin at a restaurant up by our cabin (NY) and I think it may have been a defining moment in my life. My question is where can I get it locally? I’m in Minneapolis and have a full tank of gas.

Thanks much,


Cocktail Recipes by Local Wine Co
August 12, 2010, 1:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Jason Main at the Wine Merchant in St. Louis has a deft hand on the rising world of artisan spirits. He entertains with large hand gestures, unruly and hilarious stories which he weaves with history and education while he makes you your cocktails.

I was fortunate enough to do an event with him this week in St Louis where we highlighted Local Wine & Spirits Gins and Whiskey.  The cocktails were stunning so I wanted to share a few of them with you and perhaps you can practice making them for your neighbors this weekend.

THE EASTERN MANHATTAN (this was a stunning version of the Manhattan with our Whipper Snapper Whiskey that is guaranteed to impress even the most fanatical imbiber of old school cocktails)

2 1/2 oz. Whipper Snapper Oregon Whiskey

1/2 oz. Domaine de Canton

1/2 oz. Dry Sake like Tozai Junmai

2 dashes Gary Regan’s Orange Bitters No.6

Stir all ingredients with ice, strain into a martini glass

THE SINGAPORE SLING (so complex and refreshing you must be careful or else you’ll be drinking this one by the pitcher)

1 oz. Small’s American Dry Gin

1/2 oz. Peter Heering Cherry Heering

1/2 oz. Joseph Cartron Curacao Triple Sec

1/4 oz. Benedictine

2 oz. Pineapple Juice

1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

Dash of Bitter Truth Decanter Bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into an ice filled highball, garnish with an orange slice and cherry (umbrella optional)

Why is a wine bottle 750 ml? by Local Wine Co
August 5, 2010, 12:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Why is a wine bottle 750ml?

The quick answer is that the US formalized the size of wine bottles with plurality in major European nations to 750 ml, or 25.4 ounces, in 1972 for the 1973 vintage. This struck a balance between American fluid ounce measurements and metric to standardize glass production globally. Further, 750ml is nearly identical to one fifth of a gallon, a very typical American measurement.

Going back further to the 16th and 17th century when glass bottles for wine were gaining popularity as a consistent and reliable container for beverages, glass blowers made all bottles by hand. A typical glass blower’s lung capacity represented approximately 750ml using one breath to create a bottle. Hence the average size of wine bottles stems from the average lung capacity of European glass blowers 400-500 years ago.

Next trivia question will be about punts. Not football punts, wine bottle punts.

92 Points for Small’s Gin by Local Wine Co
August 3, 2010, 3:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ahhh, there’s nothing like some killer press to help garner attention for any wine or spirit brand.  Small’s, our American Dry Gin that we produce in the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley, Oregon, received 92 points from the esteemed Beverage Tasting Institute. BTI has been around for nearly three decades and is regarded as one of the foremost respected institutes for the judging and rating of spirits from around the world. Thank you BTI for reviewing our gin and for the great praise.

92 Points – SMALL’S American Dry Gin:

Clear. Dried flowers, onion-pepper relish, lime custard pastry, and green herbal juniper
aromas follow through on a round, supple
entry to a dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body with bright herbal depth and a smoothness. Finishes with a long, fresh cut pine, pink pepper, wintergreen, lemongrass and violet-lavender talc fade. Quite a lot going on here, very impressive. Will make for super flavorful, crafty cocktails. (tasted on Jul-28-2010)

This is who BTI is:

The Beverage Testing Institute was founded in 1981 with the objective of producing fair and impartial wine reviews for consumers. Today, this philosophy still holds true.

Over the years, our buying guides have appeared in the Wine Enthusiast, Restaurant Hospitality, The New Yorker Magazine, Wine & Spirits, International Wine Review, Epicurious.com, All About Beer, and many others.

Currently we produce a popular free website, Tastings.com and publish a monthly e-newsletter calledeTastings .

Small’s American Gin – Insider Story by Local Wine Co
July 15, 2010, 9:42 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Small’s American Dry Gin

Insider Story

Small’s is a micro distillery production gin that we produce in the small town of Sheridan, nestled into the northwest corner of Willamette Valley in Oregon. Our unique botanicals and copper pot distillation represent the style of American gin that you would have encountered circa 1830-1840 when spirits were a bit wild and more aromatically intense. I love showing this gin to people who have the oh too frequent story, “I got sick on gin in high school.” Two things, what the hell were you doing getting hammered on your mom’s cheap gin, and two, don’t you think you’ve learned a thing or two since your wild and dumb days as an adolescent. So pull your pants up and get back on the gin wagon. Small’s has a palate that is soft and smooth, unlike the more piercing London Dry style. The juniper (pine needle aroma) is subtle and elegantly intertwined with spices like cardamom and angelica root with under tones of fruit and citrus. It is truly an elegant gin and is growing rapidly in popularity with drinkers and mixologist across the country.

So what’s behind a name? Small’s was named for the tiny batch production that is yielded from our Alembic copper pot still. It was also named Small’s to stick a finger in the air at all the small minded people who passed the 18th Amendment in 1920 prohibiting the sales of alcohol in the USA. Down with small minded people. And I’m not saying, I’m just posting that there was a fantastic character in American history that was so moved by the Teatotaler’s movement that upon hearing a rousting speech about the den of sin alcohol consumption was he went on a four day bender, then reformed and became one of the most outspoken advocates for Prohibition. Well, we say, “The People Have Spoken,” and Prohibition was a 13 year blight on the American people and was duly repealed in 1933. Thank heavens.

So grab a tall glass, fill it with ice and pour in a moderate dose of Small’s gin mixed with fresh squeezed lemon and lime, a pinch of sugar and soda water and ponder the history

More to come on Mr. Small….

%d bloggers like this: