I am celebrating my baby-vineyard harvest!
And "CELEBRATE" is the rebel-yell of Eileen Crane, CEO and Winemaker of Domaine Carneros Winery.
She's the perfect winemaker to have this motto as she said she walks the talk. Eileen makes a California sparkling wine for all occasions -even Wednesday night.Food & Wine Magazine's American Wine Awards 2009 just named her Domaine Carneros Brut 2005 BEST SPARKLING OVER $20.
I interviewed Eileen for my 'Drink, Pray, Make Wine' Winemaker Q&A last Friday, yes during harvest can you believe she found the time?
Eileen is a special forces winemaker: Passionate, Smart, Realistic, Optimistic and Inclusive. She wants to involve us all in her palate adventure and you can tell she likes to communicate. I'd say Eileen's is like a Prius freight train- charging ahead but oh so sustainably without noise pollution. Oh, and she's so nice and approachable you want to take her to your kids classroom to inspire them to dream and not to always listen to all the career counselors with dream killing advise. Her backstory is so Rocky! Click on Winemaker Q&A for more on Eileen.
The highlights of Q&A with Eileen Sept. 18:
- Domaine Carneros is now CCOF certified inside and out: The vineyards since 2003 and the winery received it's certification this August! From vines to juice- D.C. is 100% ORGANIC. Eileen says going organic is becoming more cost effective and the "pay back is huge...the quality of the wine is better... better to eat healthy than take a vitamin," says Eileen.
- Workforce Stability: Eileen noted Domaine Carneros did not have layoffs at the winery due to the feeble economy. Raises are on hold but the company is riding the low growth cycle out by keeping their employees employed and happy with, what else? Sparkling Wine!
- Eileen's artist inspiration is: HIROSHIGE: the Japanese woodblock artist known for his balance, attention to detail with an knack for creating the small unexpected visual surprise. Eileen says the longer your gaze lingers you find something unexpected that comes to you almost magically. This is Eileen's artist winemaking style.
- New Products Coming Soon:
- A Blanc de Noir for fall. A new style she has not produced until now. Look for a bold black and white label and off-beat fun"B&W" events to showcase the launch.
- A white Pinot Noir called "Pinot Clair". Estate grown Pinot Noir that is whole cluster pressed and aged like red Pinot Noir. Talk about the unexpected. Release date pending.
- Read on about the interview in the Winemaker Q&A section, and click on the video links to hear more about Eileen and see what 2 sparkling wines I celebrated with this weekend. Then go experience Domaine Carneros this month during harvest- it's the most celebratory time!
Video Link #1 Inspired by Eileen & Post Harvesting Syrah: Pea Noir's Mini-Harvest & Q&A with Domaine Carneros Winemaker: Eileen Crane
Video Link #2 Post Press & Still Inspired by Eileen: Download Pea Noir Harvest Video Sept 09
Pea Noir's Harvest 2009 Notes:
Slow Food Meet Slow Wine
E gads. I really got a dose of the wine making process. It's relentless! We should never complain about how much wine costs again. I understand why you need a grazillion grapes and a team. From growing the grapes, pruning, keeping the birds off (why do they always know when the grapes are 22 brix?), personal grape picking at dawn, hand stemming (what are pals for?), pressing them individually by name in the world's smallest hand crank press. But it's done! I whole cluster pressed my 7-year old syrah grapes individually plucked from the baby vineyard in my front yard. Birds got about 10 vines but the 30 of them proactively netted last month yielded 10.5 gallons of juice now fermenting in a stainless steel keg. Natural yeast, a little sulfites and maybe some tartaric acid if needed. More on this DIY project.. I Love Lucy take 2!