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Field Notes Issue 6

by Joey Wolosz | Published June 25, 2021

June 2021

Wishing everyone a happy Pride month. I am participating in my small way with a couple of events.

Gary Saperstein’s annual summer Pride event, “Out in The Vineyard”, looks a bit different this year. Rather than a long weekend in the wine country, he is hosting a series of smaller events. My assistant, Danielle, joined Jeff and me in San Francisco. We had the pleasure of pouring at Gary’s event last Saturday at The Academy, a social club on Market Street. It was a clear, sunny day in the City and we poured outside on the back patio, introducing the wines to many new friends as the sun went down and the patio lights came on.

On June 30th I am hosting a virtual tasting for Bridgewater Associates and their LGBTQ+ Affinity Group. More than 50 people will attend. Bridgewater Associates has a chef on staff and he is matching the wines to some pairings. They are sending me a kit to participate and I’m looking forward to seeing what he has planned.

Finishing Wine Production

Sunday marked the last day of my UC Davis Wine Production class and I get to take a short break from my hefty tome, Wine Science. I have just three courses left to finish the Winemaker Certificate program and I begin Viticulture for Winemakers on June 28.

This feels like the perfect time as the class will take me through the growing season and up to harvest when I should be spending a good amount of time in the vineyards with field sampling.

Polish Chickens

A few days ago, at 7:30 am, in an empty Les Schwab Tire Center parking lot in South Napa, I met a woman whose name I was not given, known only to me as the Napa Chicken Lady.

I had instructions to exchange $95, in cash, for four, coop-ready, Polish breed hens. The whole thing felt a little more “urban drug deal” than “budding chicken husbandry”.

She handed me the box of four hens and I showed her the food and supplies I had purchased yesterday that I still had in my back seat. She found the whole lot inadequate and gave me instructions on what to purchase.

I listened to my chirping box as I drove home, then installed the ladies in their coop, and rushed out to Wilson’s Feed & Supply to fetch the recommended, upgraded supplies. With these last-minute adjustments Flordka, Sophie, Josie, and Irene have a properly feathered nest.

Cheese Soufflé

With all the wine boxes I’ve been putting together for virtual tastings and gift orders (thanks Gaby Lifsher for all your help!) I’ve been driving quite a bit, zipping from warehouse to bungalow to winery to FedEx. I downloaded Julia Child’s and Alex Prud’Homme’s book, “My Life in France”, to keep me entertained. It tells the story of Julia’s time in France, mainly from 1948 to 1954. I’ve read this book before and am now listening to the Audible version.

If I had to trace back to the reason I stepped into a life of wine and food it would be Julia. I remember watching “The French Chef” on PBS in the 70s and setting to work in the kitchen, usually making a chocolate cake with Duncan Hines boxed cake mix and canned frosting (hey, I was ten years old, no judgment).

Her life story before and after her life in France is also so interesting. Her biography, “Appetite for Life” by Noël Riley Fitch still inspires me in how to live a life.

Because of this time with her, I offer you my Cheese Soufflé recipe. I learned to make Cheese Soufflé in the early 90s when I purchased my first copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1. Over the years I feel I have made it my own. I usually pair this dish with a glass of Gentleman Farmer Chardonnay and a light green salad. I hope you enjoy it.