Our winemaker Jérôme and I walked the OC3 block of the Muir-Hanna Vineyard where we have expanded and are now getting 14 of the 22 total rows of Chardonnay. Mid-March is when we typically see bud break in the Chardonnay vineyard and these vines are right on cue, busting out of their winter dormancy.
This vineyard is owned and farmed by direct descendants of John Muir, “The Father of the National Parks”. We work closely with his great-great-grandson, Michael Hanna. These farmers are environmentalists, conservationists, and a model of sustainability.
Jérôme is a Burgundian-trained winemaker, Burgundy being the homeland of Chardonnay. I find myself lucky to work with both Michael and Jérôme, learning and creating our Napa Valley Chardonnay.
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” John Muir
I begin my Wine Production course for Distance Learners with UC Davis on April 5th, and it runs through June 20th. It is based on the Department of Viticulture and Enology course for upper-division students.
Last week my textbook arrived, riddled with chemistry, and its heft puts the hard copy of “War and Peace” to shame. Today I received my welcome email pressing their point, reminding me of the time and commitment I will need to make, and helpful tips to “prepare your family and friends for the next three months.”
It looks like I’ve got my work ahead of me and will be a better man on the other side.
My babcia, Katazyna Genowefa Kolano Wołosz, came to the US on the ship Kronprinzessin Cecilie through Ellis Island in 1913. She and dziadzio made their home in Garfield, New Jersey, raising my dad, his eight sisters, and a brother. Around holidays, such as Easter, I like to make pierogies for my family, especially for my dad.
I remember being very young, visiting babcia’s Garfield home, and helping make pierogies by opening the plastic wrap of many Kraft Singles. That immigrant generation had to learn to make do with what they had available.
I give here a traditional Polish potato and cheese filling recipe. I use quark, an Eastern European cheese now easily found at better grocery stores. I also use sautéed onions because I like a little more depth of flavor.
I have recently been pairing these with our Napa Valley Chardonnay.