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Field Notes Issue 34

by Joey Wolosz | Published October 25, 2023

October 2023

Surprise! It’s me, Jeff. I’ve been asking Joey to let me be a guest writer for months, and I had to swear that I wouldn’t swear or talk politics (I’m dying here!), he relented. The year is ending with a bang for Gentleman Famer Wines, so I am jumping in to assist.  

The parade, The Bungalow, Thanksgiving, Christmas, holiday parties, and did I mention The Bungalow? Cookware, lighting, landscaping, wallpaper, kitchen supplies, and so much more; I hope (hope, hope, hope) will be open in a few weeks.

Harvest is a little later this year; however, we are in full swing. Chardonnay, Merlot, and Pinot have all come in.  We may have to wait till the beginning of November for the Cabernet. It did rain this weekend, and mid-70s (22°C for Joey) to high 60s this week. So Cabernet will be in very soon. It’s going to be a good year.

In this issue, 

Cheerleading is a form of encouragement, and we encouraged all of Yountville to Celebrate Your Roots, by cheering, dancing, playing music; and over 30 Gentleman Farmer cheerleaders made this year’s Yountville Days Parade one of the best. Plenty of spectators lined Washington St to enjoy our show and cheer along. We handed out sidewalk chalk for the kids, and it was great to see all the street art on Sunday morning.

Joey had the pleasure of interviewing a comic, a QVC host, and an undertaker’s daughter, Trish Suhr. We first saw her at the Improv on Melrose in March with our good friend Sarah Halstead as MC. We then enjoyed seeing her in Sonoma for a more extended gig last month. I think I will start taking comedy classes, and schedule them for the same time Joey takes Polish lessons. Trudno być zabawnym po polsku.

Finally, we offer a classic autumn recipe from our harvest kitchen, herbed spaetzle. I cooked the recipe! I photographed the final product! Watch out, Joey, I am moving away from the sink and towards the stove.

Now it’s your turn. Have you made the recipes we have shared with you in Field Notes? Be sure to share photos and your feedback with us. Reply to this email, text, or share on Instagram.

If you enjoy these harvest thoughts, interviews, and recipes, subscribe below and share Field Notes with a friend.

Jeff Durham
Vintner, Cook, Amateur Rapper

Corporate Gifting

I’ve worked in hospitality since I was 15 ½ years old. Being an employee of hotels and restaurants during the holidays can pull the joy out of the season. From Halloween all the way through New Year’s leaves (a trail of trauma) no time to shop. So, we have a perfect idea to get through the season with Gentlemen Farmer Corporate gifting.

Show appreciation to those on your list with a step up from a run-of-the-mill gift basket. Gift the good stuff with Gentleman Farmer. We’ve put all the details for ordering our pre-packed bundles together on our website.

Parading for Yountville

The Yountville Days Parade did not disappoint, with Gentleman Farmer garnering Best Creative Design with a forty-person full cheer squad, choreography, and Madonna. We sported cheer with the Yountville Bobcats’ signature red and white pom-poms and megaphones. 

Thanks to everyone who helped decorate the float and truck (it’s actually a Honda Ridgeline) and marched with us. The cheer outfits were terrific, and our color guard did not disappoint with their placards to CELEBRATE YOUNTVILLE.

It seemed like everyone in Yountville braved the heat to come to our after-party in the backyard with only partial shade and plenty of rosé. I think they all heard I was going to rap. Here is a link to “Rapper’s Delight” (the full 14:45 version) so you can join me on the mike next year (“… next on the mike is my man Hank, come on Hank sing that song.”) Of course, plenty of food and wine and Phat Ankle kept everyone in the Yountville spirit. Mark your calendars for October 5, 2024!

Six Feet Under

We met comic Trish Suhr through another comic and friend, Sarah J Halstead, at The Improv in Hollywood. We sat in the front row, where Jeff was able to heckle (and, he thinks, contribute to the show).

She’s a Designer, Professional Organizer, Moving and Relocation expert, TV Host as well as a nationally touring comedian. The former host of Daily Draw on the Game Show Network and a spokesperson for Bed Bath and Beyond

She is best known as “The Yard Sale Diva” and has appeared in over 200 episodes of the Emmy-winning makeover show “Clean House,” where she helped families across America clean, declutter and get organized.

She has guest appeared on Good Morning America, Good Day LA, FOX, E!, and CMT.

Jeff and I caught her act recently in Sonoma, the other wine country. With Southern charm, she agreed to a few of my questions. You can find her on Insta @trishsuhr.


Joey Wolosz: What is the most interesting interview questions posed to you? 

Trish Surh: What would your superpower be?  My answer is to be able to speak every language in the world fluently. What a gift to be able to make people laugh in every language. 

JW: A funeral home seems an unlikely place to launch a career in comedy, television, and being a lifestyle guru; then again, maybe not.  Tell me a bit about the transition from Kentucky to Hollywood.

TS: Being raised in the funeral business, you see most people at their lowest, a state of sorrow or grief that, as a child, you don’t really understand other than the byline that loss of any kind is hard. 

I always wanted to bring levity and joy to anyone I saw in any state of sadness, so I started to do whatever it took to bring a smile or a laugh to people. I was also OBSESSED with the Carol Burnett show as a child and thought I wanted to do that! So I’d start by being characters of people that were in our small town that stood out to me. People were always tickled by this little five-year-old pretending to be the lady at the bank or the corner market guy who was a close talker. I observed and repeated the behavior. 

Needless to say, a comic was born. I loved waiting for the laugh. Knowing I could bring joy to people was magic. I would walk around at the age of five, once my Papaw told me that the Carol Burnett show was shot in LA, that I was going to move to Los Angeles, have my own show, and win Emmys. I was obsessed with the Emmys as a kid and when Carol won anything, I would be there as her personal cheering squad. 

I moved to Los Angeles after college and never had a plan B. I knew that TV and comedy were my love. I just didn’t know the HOW. Enter the world of hosting, and I would audition and eventually book a few shows in the LIfestyle space, which makes all the sense in the world to me. 

My favorite show that I was on, and possibly the one people know me from, was a show called CLEAN HOUSE, where we went into people’s homes and pulled out all their clutter, sold it, and used that money to renovate their home. My first lesson in the Funeral Business and in life, is, “You can’t take it with you, so lighten your load now.”

JW: As someone who is vegan-ish, what was your initial connection to wine and food? 

TS: I say I’m vegan-ish because I am very allergic to dairy, and sadly, when you leave California, they have no idea what dairy is… especially in the south (cheese is a food group), so it’s safest to go say vegan. I love all animals, but I will say I do eat seafood occasionally. As I get more experience in life, I’m learning to eat intuitively. I love wine, I was raised around my mom’s parents in a very Italian household, so we had wine with dinner, even at a young age. It was part of the meal, so I’ve always asked, “What we are eating,” with, “What we’re drinking?”  

JW: Other than comedy, what are some of your creative outlets?

TS: Great question, I should have more, I’m realizing, I love to travel and I love to cook. My brain is always working, so I will come up with show ideas and pitch them out as well, not just for myself, but ideas that I think fill a need at that moment. What is happening in TV now is so fluid it’s great to keep creating new content that isn’t always scripted. 

JW: What do you have a really good time doing? 

TS: Traveling. I love all things travel, from people-watching at an airport to exploring a new city. I love doing anything with my husband. He’s a joy to be around, and of course, our two dogs are from heaven, so if it’s something we can do together, I am tickled to death! We can take the dogs and go for a walk at the beach, and I’m so thrilled. 

JW: Friends and family excluded, who are two people you’d like to share a long lingering meal?

TS: That’s another great question. If I don’t have to know them but would love a dinner, I’d say Music Producer Rick Rubin. I think he’s brilliant, and I love his book, The Creative Act, so he’d be amazing and, without question, Dolly Parton. 

JW: What would you serve?

Again, I’m Italian, so we love long lingering meals. I love an Antipasti with everything from a proper charcuterie board to gorgeous salads, a lovely light pasta, and a whole fish. I love Branzino. Then dessert would be small bites. I love it so everyone gets to try everything. Of course a wine pairing for each course.  

JW: What is your spirit animal?

TS: My spirit animal is always changing. I’ve been asked that a lot, and truthfully it’s never been one animal I gravitate towards. Lately, it’s been a deer. I think they’re just stunning and always look relaxed, but stay alert, kinda like me.  

JW: What is your motto?

TS: I have a few.

  • Eyes on your own paper
  • Have fun, none of us are getting out alive
  • Everything is fixable
  • But what if it all works out?

Sautéd Herbed Spätzle

Spätzle is an Eastern European egg dumpling served as a side dish, usually with meat.  I like to make it a little more savory with plenty of chopped herbs and sautéing it in rich butter to a golden brown.