These Certain Times

Waving “so long” to the last ten years of “uncertain times” has been a pleasure….but here we go again. We believe we’re entering into the greatest decade yet – a decade that will ultimately be defined as “certain times” where we get to reinvent rather than redefine words like security, healthy, happy, educated, successful, authentic, confident, faith, trust, natural, adventure, etc…

No longer satisfied relying on unknown sources we want to intimately know our food’s origins, a wine’s composition, a law’s historical foundations, and a big corporation’s morals & values. Even more, we want our relationships and employment to be so much more than places where we’re often forced to suppress our true selves – rather we want them to be platforms where we can passionately show the world who we really are and what we really care about.

In both our personal & business life we’ve purposed to transition into this mindset of living in “certain times”. It begins with how we think, how we hope, and how we move daily in a direction of knowing more intimately the Source of all things. Just the other day, after Frank returned from working the farm, which is now transitioning to Biodynamic®, he met me late in the evening up at the house. Having endured a challenging day of paying bills & numerous taxes I felt even more exhausted by the heat. Out of the blue, Frank said, “Wanna taste the new wines we’re gonna bottle in August?” I reluctantly said, “Do we need to do it right now? I am so tired.” I caught myself sporting a tired and ridiculous attitude and said, “Let’s go!”

We slipped out of the house and strolled down to the winery. It was nearly 100° outside and into the 59° degree cellar we went. Frank grabbed his wine thief and ladder and pulled a bung – “Psst”. “Still going through ML”, he said. then dipped the thief into the barrel and drew out the rich, golden 2009 Reserve Chardonnay, gently clinked the side of my glass and released the nectar inside. We swirled & sniffed and took a sip. “Yum”, I said. “A little caramel”, he replied. “Butterscotch”, I suggested and we both said in unison, “Yes, butterscotch!”. “Wanna taste the Estate Petite Sirah Syrah?” “Oh yes!” I eagerly responded as the stress of the day began to peel off. “Hold the ladder,” he said firmly, and he climbed up without using his arms, a thief in one hand and two glasses in the other. This time, dark, red, luscious juice was drawn from a beautiful new French oak barrel. I tried hard to push out of my mind the exorbitant amount of money I just paid earlier that day for new French barrels coming for the 2010 harvest and successfully said, “Wow! What complexity and layers of flavors!” Frank replied, “People love dark fruit, that’s why I’m so glad we finally have the 2008 Estate Syrah Viognier released and why I planted more Petite Sirah & Mourvèdre last year.” My mind immediately switched to the memory of how expensive it was to plant that little additional block. Fortunately, I was interrupted, “Wanna barrel taste the 2009 DUNAMIS? It’s right here”, Frank asked excitedly. “Oh, well, if you insist”, I sighed with a big smile. He drew the cranberry colored blend from the barrel and trickled it into my glass. Our noses, buried deep inside the glass, began to inhale the spicy, fruity, aroma followed by aerated, slurping swallows. At that very moment I thought, “Why does he get to be the winemaker and I get to stress over the finances?” I then remembered him rising early each day and heading out to the vineyard, meticulously protecting, pruning, farming and nurturing the 10,000+ vines and awake throughout the night harvesting grapes and hand crafting his wines – carefully tending the fermenting fruit all the way through the barrel ageing to the bottle. I could not help myself, as I stared straight ahead at his dirty boots on the step of the ladder I mumbled in the dark of the cellar, “Dear Lord, thank you for this man, for this wine, for this land, for this place – You are our Source. Of this I am certain” … and so it went.

So, what do you say? We know for certain we’ll be here awaiting you with excellent wine & gracious hospitality. Why don’t you come up to the cellar and we’ll do our best to recreate the experience for you at the tasting bar? Although these barrels will be bottled and awaiting the new harvest, we’ll offer our new “Estate Reserve Tasting” complimentary to all of our club members and guests plus the current vintage El Dorado wines for you to enjoy. You’ll appreciate the cool cellar, new wines, lots of harvest activity and an ambiance of “certain times”.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Cheers to you & we hope to see you soon!

Frank & Teena Hildebrand
Winemaker/Owners



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