In addition to the end of harvest, October hosted the Yountville Days Parade, band rehearsals, gigs, due dates for UC Davis Quality Control and Analysis in Winemaking, papers and quizzes, wine club shipments and pick-ups, and many hosted lunches. Whew!
There were thirty entries in this year’s parade. Gentleman Farmer Wines had by far the largest contingent with over 50 wine club members, family, and friends walking with the GF truck that towed the float featuring Phat Ankle.
In case you haven’t heard by now, I am in the band Phat Ankle along with Mary Spalding on steel drum, David “Shaps” Shapiro on saxophone, and Robin McKee-Cant on vocals. We performed Tequila, Under The Sea, and We Are Family to curious parade spectators.
The parade theme this year was “Thanking The Essential Workers”. Our crew carried over 50 signs that said things like, “Thank You Town Staff”, “Thank You Grocery Workers”, and “Thank You Gas Station Attendants”.
We were cautiously optimistic going in. This was a competition, after all. There would be an award for the best entry. As we lined up, we watched a competing float drift into line, a seven-year-old girl’s birthday party. We were dashed. The competition was already fierce and now this.
When we pulled up to the judges’ stand we had a short time to give it our all. For 45 seconds we played and sang, “We do, we do, thank you!” sung to the tune of “We Will Rock You”. Jeff ran to pour a glass of wine for each judge.
As we drifted by Ranch Market performing “Tequila”, owner Arik Housely ran out and presented us with a bottle of Don Julio. “We Are Family” involved 50 rainbow flags waving. The party continued in our back garden with a barbecue, plenty of wine, and the band set up to do it all over again.
I am pleased to share with you that Gentleman Farmer Wines with Phat Ankle in tow picked up the first prize for Best Representation of the Theme.
Mark your calendars for next year, Saturday, October 1, 2022. It’ll be big.
Our last pick of harvest season came the morning of October 5th with Cabernet Sauvignon. It was an all-hands-on-deck day. The Chong-Tautz family, Jeff, and local Yountvillians Tim Bringman and John Cant helped to sort fruit. 2021 is our first vintage from the Meadowbrook Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District. The fruit was clean, healthy, and a joy to sort. At least for me. Sorting is a little backbreaking as you stand over that table for hours. Many thanks to the quickly assembled team and their hard work.
On Halloween, the band performed at the Club House for the 55-and-over community at Rancho de Napa mobile home park. We opened the soirée with “Monster Mash,” and I was eerie as hell on vocals with my vampire voice. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was even spookier on steel drum, accordion, and saxophone. Shaps and Robin nailed it with Etta James’ “At Last.” The complete coven of costumed seniors formed a conga line for “Tequila.” My bet is this is the first costumed conga line at Rancho de Napa.