The Kitchen in The Cellar

A Recipe for Reinvention

Recharge Your Batteries

“Guard your heart above all else, for it will determine the course of your life” Proverbs 4:23.

These wise words, and others like them, are often volleyed around our house especially when any of us suspect another is approaching “tilt”. When things get hectic, over-committed, and no margin is left for the normal wear-and-tear in life we know how it can have a negative impact on our joy and peace. We naively run down our emotional & spiritual batteries and displace intentions to love others with selfish, short-term, often meaningless tasks. Sometimes forcing ourselves out of this pattern is just the heart guard we need.

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Twenty Twelve – “The Aromatic Vintage”

“I like wines that you’re still smelling after the meal is over and the glass is empty.” Thomas Bachelder, winemaker

We love fall; we can “smell” it coming! There’s something about the wholesome scent of dried pine needles drenched in the sun, fallen leaves, pine cones and acorns crunched under foot, the first rain on dry grass or dusty earth, a whole chicken with freshly pruned thyme & sage braised in the slow cooker, over-ripe pears & brown sugar baked in a cobbler and, our favorite smell of fall – the aroma of our own fermenting wine grapes wafting out of the old barn wood cellar doors – all signal fall has fallen!

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“The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy.The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time.” Edwin Bliss.

We are so relieved that, for us, wine growing and wine making are rooted in excellence rather than perfection, albeit a fine line between the two, otherwise I’m certain we would live frustrated and neurotic! We know when we’ve moved from pursuing excellence to perfection when things don’t feel gratifying and/or healthy. Can you relate?

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Use your Words

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream
fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

Our trip to France this past November was a trip of a lifetime. Even though we’d been once before in 1995 (our first inspiration to start a vineyard and winery) this trip was different, not because we are older, wiser, or better off, it’s because we now share passionately two of their culture’s most treasured values: food & wine. This common ground, so to speak, and the words or language associated with it framed our beautiful 17 day tasting tour through the autumnal landscape from Provence to Burgundy and the Rhone Valley in between. Both of us came into this brief adventure with the same goal: to strengthen our hope in the future of Narrow Gate Vineyards and be “spurred on” – natural winemaking and biodynamic farming for Frank and creativity and culinary arts for me.

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Eat My Words

“Get the truth and never sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment.” Proverbs 23:23

We just can’t let it go….we’ve tasted and seen and we believe. Oh how incredibly fortunate and blessed we are to live in Northern California. This, truly a magnificent landscape and spectacular slice of the world, is worth preserving as naturally as possible. We don’t pretend to fully know what we hope to wrap our hearts and minds around: the desire to dwell in and actually “taste” natural & original creation.

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A Day in the Life of Harvest

Frank, Kass, and the crew are out picking this morning in 38 degrees and I’m already thinking about dinner. It’s been a “perfect storm” of curveballs, obstacles, and unsavory weather patterns throughout the whole growing season that’s kept us on our knees. But this seems to be the new normal and we’re just going with it – because so far, the wine produced from these seemingly imperfect growing years just keeps getting better.

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Hearing His Whistle

“When I whistle to them, they come running…” Zechariah 10:8 NLT

In the past two decades more people than ever before jumped ship and morphed into winery owners as the number of bonded wine facilities in California doubled since 1991 reaching nearly 3,400 today and representing at least 50% of the total US bonded wine facilities. Turns out these risk taking entrepreneurs, wanting to be “re-invented” and pursue a passion for the wine business and the wine country lifestyle, are as diverse as the wines themselves. We are no exception – our story of leaving a completely different life in Southern California to pursue a new one in the wine country is not unique however the journey to get where we are today is.

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Biodynamic Agriculture

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it…” Psalm 24:1

Since acquiring our land in 2000 we have yearned to steward it with integrity and passion. After all, who in their right mind would sell a zero lot-line, patio home near the beach and move everything to a 91-acre parcel with nothing on it but native grass, weeds, Ponderosa pine, oak & cedar?

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Knife Skills 101

Most of us learn at a very early age to be intimidated by kitchen knives, especially the large, long ones. Who hasn’t injured themselves one time or another using a dull knife or a freshly sharpened one? What about Uncle Bob’s annual circling around the kitchen with that huge carving knife, incessantly running it up and down the honor? And at every family gathering thereafter Uncle Bob’s confident countenance qualifies him as the guy for the carving job.

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Finish Strong

Life in the vineyard mimics the reality of our day to day. We awake to the mystery of the weather, the awe of nature, the reality of man’s influence, the challenges of “staying alive”, the stress of growth, and both the joy and agony of bearing fruit.

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