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The holidays are back again. It’s funny how this happens every year whether we like it or not, and somehow no matter how hectic it all seems we always pull it together. I often find myself wishing the holidays came every other year instead of every year, but I guess I would miss this unbelievable challenge of keeping up my undeniable reputation for being the “hostess with the mostess”. I thought that since I am the Innkeeper at the Wilson Creek Manor I could throw a few tips your way to keep yourself sane. The first thing you should do is pour yourself a glass of wine… I suggest a glass of Yes Dear Chardonnay, and then read my blog with a bit of whimsy and a sense of humor.
Let’s start with the kitchen, the heart of the house. Everyone winds up in the kitchen and everyone is starving this time of year. Diets don’t start until January 1st so you need to be prepared with snacks! From a fresh bowl of fruit on the counter, to simple snacks that your kids can grab. Your guests that drop by will think you are amazing!
You will need two types of crackers in the cupboard and a cheese ball (and I’m not referring to your husband). I’m talking a DELICIOUS good old fashioned port wine cheese ball covered in nuts, or a spreadable cheese like rondelé garlic and herb, or even a block or two of your favorite cheese. Accompany with some sort of cured meat like some salami nuggets and a good old fashioned can of olives. I also recommend having some nuts close by (the ones you can serve, not the relatives that are coming) since they always look so festive. These are staples to have on hand for your guests, or even if you need a quick appetizer to go to a neighbor’s house. Cheese is easy and everyone loves it. Guess what else… it goes well with wine! Ha
Also in your kitchen, you will need a sweet or two. Maybe some Christmas cookies on hand or a box of chocolates, or even a pie in your fridge that’s left over from Thanksgiving. My favorite sweet is the chocolate covered popcorn that I get in the tasting room at Wilson Creek Winery. Make sure you have plenty of ice on hand and some refreshing sparkling water. Don’t forget the egg nog, of course, and some cranberry and orange juice. Your kitchen fridge should have a soft drink as well. Coke, Diet coke, or Pepsi are good staples. Don’t forget a bottle of Sparkling Cider. Everyone likes Martinelli’s.
Let’s move over to the bar area, shall we? As a good hostess, you want to have variety. So, have some spirits like Vodka, Rum, Whiskey, and my new favorite, Fireball. I recommend having a few bottles of wine on hand at all times. Two types of red wine, two types of white wine, and two sparkling wine flavors. Wine is good to cook with in the kitchen too. Sometimes I even put it in the food. It makes everything easier during this time of year. I always say WINE is the answer, what is the question? In fact, pour yourself another glass of wine while your reading the next part.
In the guest bath have shampoo, conditioner, a fresh bar of soap in the shower, a frilly liquid soap on the counter closest to the sink, and a can of air freshener in case the cheese is a little too much. I recommend having an extra toothbrush and toothpaste on hand. In the guest bedroom have a fluffy blanket or warm down comforter with fresh pillows on the bed. A spare robe in the closet and a bottle of water on the night stand is always nice. Have another glass of wine then everything will be perfect!
Be prepared to ask questions like “what is your favorite Christmas movie” or “what is your favorite Christmas tradition”.
Hopefully your house is decorated by the second weekend in December and you can get all your packages and cards mailed out by the 17th so they can get to your friends in time for Christmas.
Don’t forget to buy plenty of tape, extra bows, and silly but… batteries. Lots of decorations need them these days. You might need an extension cord or two for the Holidays but mostly…
Enjoy your family and friends this time of year.
There is nothing a little bit of Wilson Creek Wine can’t handle. And before you know it, it will be time to make a resolution. Mine will be to drink Wilson Creek Wine every day!
With a smile!
Abby Trybulski – Wilson Creek Manor Guest Services Manager
I know its harvest time when I catch myself asking my wife “What day is it?” at least three times a day. The months of August and September fly by in a surreal blur as my mind becomes highly focused on the thousands of details of wine making that need attention and action. These two months have become known as the “Harvest Widow” months in our home. Sometimes within the surreal harvest blur I do get messages from the outside real world like – “Remember we are babysitting the grandchildren this Thursday,” and “Your newsletter article is past due – we need it now.” HOLY COW! The newsletter article, yes, yes, I shake my head clear and quickly sit in front of the laptop. My mind goes blank and I’m back inside the surreal harvest blur again thinking about the “Yes Dear” Chardonnay. So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to give you a little peak inside this world….
The chardonnay came from two vineyard blocks with slight differences in flavor. I decided to treat each block different. The block that highlighted the Chardonnay’s fruity character is barrel fermented in French oak puncheon barrels. Whereas the chardonnay highlighting its acidity is fermented in stainless. Two different yeast strains were chosen one for barrel fermentation the other for the tank. The yeast strain chosen for the French oak puncheons is special in that it ferments slowly and the spent yeast cells breakup quickly releasing its creamy flavor into the wine. I’m very excited about using the puncheon barrels this year. What is a puncheon you ask? Take a peek inside the barrel room and you will see them, eight barrels that are twice the size of a normal barrel (barrels on steroids). These barrels will incorporate the full richness of the oak into a full mouth creaminess. With the correct conditions will produce the correct amount of butteriness. Do you think the “Wilson ladies” will approve? I certainly do!
~ Gus Vizgirda
Halloween is only a few days away and it doesn’t have to be just for the kiddos! This year, while the little ones are out trick-or-treating, take out that favorite bottle of Wilson Creek Wine and pair it with some sweet treats! I don’t know about you… but this is definitely a party we would want to be at and a great way to use up all that extra candy, so we have come up with a guide to pairing Halloween Candy with our Wines for All To Enjoy!
Decadencia is our most classic pairing for chocolate so dig into those Tootsie Rolls or some Dark Chocolate Pieces!
Pouring a glass of red wine such as Malbec with handfuls of M&M’s, Family Reserve Zinfandel with some pint-sized Milkyways, or the Cabernet Franc with crispy crunchy Kit Kats or any other chocolate Halloween Treats will be oh so delicious.
Snickers, Butterfingers, or Baby Ruth’s? If your going with the Angelica Cream Sherry complement with rich and nutty candy bars! Even our Almond Sparkling Wine would taste delicious with a Mounds candy bar. Yum! (and your in luck! The Halloween Custom Label Almond Sparkling will be on Sale in the Tasting Room and Online starting Friday the 28th-31st!)
If you like the balance of sweet-fruity candies, pop open a bottle of Brut Sparkling Wine to go with a box of Nerds or Red Vines/Twizzlers, grab a handful of Skittles with a glass of Riesling, Gummy Bears with VS White Cab, or some juicy Starburst with a bottle of Viognier to really wake those taste buds!
P.S. Let’s not forget about the Hallo-Wine sale happening right now through Friday the 28th! Purchase the Variant Series 2 Pack~ VS Cabernet & VS White Cabernet and get the best of both worlds for that chocolatey goodness and deliciously fruity fun you are about to have!
If you love Caramel Apples and you want to compliment the caramel, definitely pair it with our Roussanne or “Yes Dear” Chardonnay. But if you are going for more focus on the apple flavor, the Late Harvest Chardonnay will really bring that warm toastiness and pull the crisp sour flavors of the apple.
Remember… No matter what your favorite Treats are, you can’t be Tricked when pairing with your favorite Boo’s! Happy Hallo-Wine!
“YES DEAR” – On October 5th Jenifer and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Gerry and Rosie just celebrated 63 years of “Marital Bliss”. The advice they have always given us is to say “Yes Dear” and “I Love You” to each other as much as possible. I share that advice and enjoy each time I see a couple on our property exploring our beautiful grounds in anticipation of their wedding day. I challenge the groom-to-be to see if he is worthy of the bride’s love. “What are the two most important words to a long term and successful marriage?” I ask. It is amazing some of the responses are: “I’m sorry,” “I apologize,” “you’re right,” “I do.” The smart ones say “Yes Dear”. I explain that if you say “Yes Dear”, you do not have to say those dreaded aforementioned words. I immediately turn to the bride-to-be and say “It is just as easy for you to say Yes Dear as it is for him”. Marriage is indeed a 60-60 relationship.
My wife and many of her friends, my sister Libby and sister-in-law Deanna love Rombauer Chardonnay. It is oaky, smoky, smooth, and of course very expensive. Jenifer had asked several times, “Why don’t you make a Chardonnay I like?” So as any good husband would do, I asked our winemaker that very question. He said our existing Chard was the style he preferred to make and he felt it expressed the true characteristics of the chardonnay fruit. I asked if we could possibly make a Rombauer style Chardonnay. He said to get a bottle and he would dissect it chemically. He worked his chemistry magic and then uttered the dreaded words no husband wants to hear: “ We can do it, but it’s going to cost you.” Dang it, of course it is, I said. Isn’t it always the case that if your wife wants something? He proceeded to tell me that we will need to do barrel fermentation, preferably in French Oak (big bucks) to bring out the soft vanilla notes. We will need to do malolactic fermentation to bring out the butter notes. We needed to age it longer to give it better mouth feel, as the list went on and on. Of course my direction to him was “Get er done, happy wife equals a happy life.”
He worked with the ladies of Wilson Creek and Jenifer taste it throughout the process. The first vintage was amazing. Jenifer was so happy and so proud. The first year we made the Chardonnay Jenifer’s way, I was at the tasting bar with a couple and broke out an unlabeled bottle. I explained how it was created to please my wife and he excitedly said “Oh my gosh, You have to name it Yes Dear!” Wow, he was spot on and the rest is history.
All was good in the world, but not for long… The next year the winemaker missed a key step. He did not get my wife’s input or any Wilson ladies input of approval before bottling. He just bottled and labeled it Yes Dear. Whoa is me. Jenifer was not happy. The Chardonnay that was made was incredible and the wine writers, judges and critics loved it. I mean they really loved it. It won all sorts of awards. But it just was not the style my wife liked. So now we make sure that we get Jenifer, Libby and Deanna to put their stamp of approval on the Yes Dear wine before it goes into the bottle.
We now make two styles of Chardonnay, one labeled “Yes Dear” from Happy Wife Vineyard, and the other Chardonnay whatever style the winemaker sees fit. So if you want a soft, easy drinking Chardonnay and just want to make your wife happy with a fun label, buy a bottle of the Yes Dear and tell your spouse
I LOVE YOU…..
My name is Jenae, and I am a wedding coordinator here at Wilson Creek Winery. While planning several brides’ and grooms’ weddings, I was in the midst of planning my own! My then fiancé and I were going to take our time with the engagement, but being a wedding planner… I just couldn’t help myself! So, here is my Wedding Proposal to you, to make the planning process that much easier!
We started out by setting a budget and ended up looking at venues within a couple weeks of getting engaged. Not only did we immediately fall in love with our venue, but we fell in love with the venue’s coordinator as well! In my opinion, that is EXTREMELY important when booking your venue. Your wedding day is supposed to be one of the best and most important days of your life! You want a coordinator that enjoys what he/she does and who you would want to work with throughout your entire planning process!
Once you book your venue, everything sort of just falls into place on its own. Your venue will recommend certain vendors for a reason. They are great at what they do, and they are very familiar with the venue. Although you do not always have to go with preferred vendors, it will almost always be in your best interest because they have the tendency to make your planning process even easier!
If I could give any piece of advice, it would be to get a wedding planning timeline from your venue (or online) and stick to it. Whatever you do, do not wait until the last minute to do everything at once, because you do not want to stress yourself out. Several people asked me what my secret was for staying so calm throughout the entire planning process, and my answer was just that. Stick to the timeline, do not procrastinate, and have fun! No weddings are perfect, so if you go into the process knowing that, you will be so blown away at the end result! If something goes wrong, try your best to laugh it off. Chances are, nobody will notice but you. Your guests do not pay attention to the small details. They are focused on how beautiful/handsome and happy you both look…. and in the end, you two love birds getting married is all that matters!