anderson valley

Feel Like Going Home

People often ask “Where are you from?”  This question makes me uncomfortable.  Not because I’m afraid to say, but rather I have to do a quick calculation on how much time we have for this part of the conversation.  I usually say “I’m originally from Santa Barbara” to keep it short, but if that person starts asking which high school I went to, I know my plan backfired, and I will now spend the next couple of minutes listing all the places I’ve lived- Santa Barbara, Vero Beach, Orlando, St. Louis, Davis, Portland, Los Angeles and even about a year in New Zealand.  I am invariably greeted by the blank stare of a person who realizes they have asked the wrong question.

I grew up in an airline family, so this made us more mobile than most.  I still get restless when I live in a place for more than three or four years.  I’ve lived in Los Angeles for four years now, so it’s clearly time to go.  I’m moving again, but that’s not the big news.  The big news is that this just might be the last time I ever move.  So, despite the fact that my book-packing skills will atrophy, and I’ll have to give away some furniture moving pads, I’m super stoked.

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Since even before we started Weatherborne in 2012, I have always wanted to have a small estate vineyard to tend.  I wanted to wake up where I would do my day’s work.  After being in LA, I am looking forward to not driving for days at a time.  We looked up and down the California coast, in famous wine regions and places with potential.   I felt like Goldilocks, as most places were too expensive, or too small, too close to a busy road or too far.  This place is just right.

Philo is a town in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino County.  One-hundred miles as the crow flies north of San Francisco, this valley is around fifteen miles long, running northwest to the redwoods and then the coast.  Our spot is thirty-one acres of former apple orchard and pasture just off Highway 128.  There are two knolls on the top of the property perfect for vineyard with a southern exposure and soils that drain well.  Pinot does great in this area, showing wonderful tension and complexity.  Below this is an old apple orchard with three or four dozen Golden Delicious and Rome Beauty apple trees still remaining.  We hope to be able to plant some Pinot vines soon, and try our hand at hard cider and perry down the line.  It would be cool to grow some hops and maybe even some fiery chiles.  We will see.  There will be time for projects.   2016 is going to be fun.

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