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Field Notes Issue 8

by Joey Wolosz | Published September 25, 2021

August 2021

Yountville Days Parade is coming, Saturday, October 2nd. This year’s theme is “Thanking the Essential Workers.”

I am hosting a Gentleman Farmer float with wine club members along for the ride. We will roll down Washington Street from the south to the north ends of town, SOYO and NOYO, respectively. After a bit of a small-town, end-of-the-parade festival, we will be heading to our back garden for some wine, snacks, music, and barbecue.

I am having a hell of a time finding a hay wagon or a flat-bed truck to rent, but I will persevere. October is smack in the middle of harvest, and these are scarce. Fingers crossed.

Accordion in the Park

A week ago, I gave my début accordion performance at Yountville’s Music in the Park, playing with Steel Jam, performing “Nunca es Sufficiente.” I played a small part and shared it with tacos, wine, and over 200 people.

Mary Spalding from Steel Jam and I are already thinking about our next performance and what we should play. Hmm…, possibly October 2nd?

Harvest Starts Today

I’m giddy. The beginning of our 2021 harvest starts this morning with both Pinot noir and Chardonnay. This will be our first vintage with this red Burgundian varietal from the Russian River Valley of Sonoma. Chardonnay from the Muir-Hanna Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley. Let harvest 2021 begin.

Two Birds, One Stone, Tutoring French Tutor in French Wine

I have one exam left in my Diploma studies with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). The exam is in May of 2022. I tell people Diploma is the purgatory between Level 3, previously known as Advanced, and Candidate Master of Wine. Inside the WSET Diploma program, there are six units to pass: Business, Viticulture, Still Wines of the World, Sparkling Wines, Spirits, and Fortified Wines, plus a research paper. I only have Unit 3, “Still Wines,” left to pass.

The best way to learn something is to teach it. I have engaged a French tutor in Lyon, France. However, it is me teaching him. I am walking him through the still wines of the world in French, and in turn, he corrects my French. Win-win. I purchased the WSET Level 3 textbook in French to guide us through the material, and the Level 4 book is only in English. We meet via Skype every Tuesday and Thursday.


Yes, there is a pecking order, and these girls are establishing one. The crests of the Polish breed get so poofy that they can flop over their eyes. Irene is at the top of the order and the only one whose crest doesn’t cover her eyes. Poor Sophie’s crest is so prominent it fully covers her eyes. She is the low hen on the totem pole. She is the only one who can’t navigate climbing the ladder-ramp back to the coop at night, and she will cluck a painful, lonely cluck until I get her and help her up. We are reassessing the ingress layout.

Tarte Pissaladière

Pissaladière is a classic dish shared by Genoa, Italy and Nice, France. The two cities sit close to the same border. Similar regional ingredients are found used in the local foods of each region. It is usually served using a dough similar to pizza. In Provence, you can also find puff pastry as the base as Julia Child used. I have used both and sometimes serve it in a tart shell of pâte brisée. Although not traditional, I have spread a layer of Gruyère (because I love Gruyère) as a first layer over the base before adding the onions.

I’ll leave that up to you. This dish pairs well with a glass of Red Wine or a glass of Rosé.