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The Evolution of Cavemen and their Man-caves

Posted on June 13, 2013 in Wine Musings

When I hear “man-cave” the image that instantly comes to mind is one of a stone cave on the side of a mountain. Inside the cave is dark with the exception of light from a stone made fire pit. Men, or should we say, cavemen, are found gathered around the fire, making grunting noises at each other, while dressed in their barbarian best.

Although that’s what instantly comes to mind, when someone says “man-cave,” in regards to today’s man and his man-cave I think of an “off-limits” room, decorated with sports memorabilia, big-screen TVs, leather furniture and game tables…where pretty much anything goes, or does it?

So now I wonder…What do guys do in their man-caves nowadays?

Do you watch sports? Play Texas Hold’em, Ping-Pong, air hockey…video games?

What do you drink in your man-cave? Are man-caves just for beer? Do you have a full size fridge or a college dorm room size fridge for your drinking pleasure? Or are you a serious man-caver and have kegs on tap?

Do you have cigars in your man-cave? If so do you just sit and bask in your smoke filled room with a mini fan and a cracked open window, or have you gotten sophisticated enough to install a smoke filtration system like at the casinos?

My point is, believe or not, cavemen are evolving, and with them their man-caves are too.

On my latest tour of friends’ man-caves I have noticed more sophistication and sensible modifications. Instead of cans of Coors Light, Swisher Sweet Cigars, Redman Chewing Tobacco, chips and store bought chip dip, I’m starting to see mini kegs of local microbrews, small lot brandies, dessert wines like ports and sherries, still wines (Big Reds – in particular), hand rolled Dominican cigars and incredible snack food including fresh smoked fish, home made beef jerky and skewers of marinated freshly char-grilled beef, chicken and pork.

This is what I consider, man-cave evolution at its best!

(As I write this I can’t help getting hungry and excited about my next visit to a new and improved man-cave with all the best upgrades.)

Whatever you do, don’t get left behind. Let the evolution begin!

The next time you visit Wilson Creek Winery, ask your winetender for suggestions on food, wine, port and cigar pairings to compliment your man-cave activities.

As a side note and for your education- fortified wines like Sherries and Ports can be opened and sipped on for many months without spoiling. The Brandy in them helps to  preserve the goodness.

-Craig Johns

Family Member and Man-cave Owner

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A Noat Frum Molly Merlot

Posted on April 26, 2013 in Wine Musings

2day az I wuz grayzing on the grass in the frunt yard uv the winery, I thot abowt whut a lucky pig I am. 

Todae wuz a beeyootifull sunny day, end ther wur lawts of kids ther 2 play with me. The panzees wur in blume, so I got 2 hav a tayst or so when my mom wuzn’t wautching me.  I had on my noo Easter hat that my frend Judy mayd 4 me, so I wuz reely stylish, end I lookd and smelld reel pretty, becuz I had a bath this moarning.  Judy mayks awl kinds uv owtfits 4 me – wedding, patryotic, awtum, Hal-o-ween, Valintyns, end uthers.  I lyk the hats, but I giv my mom a bad tym when she trys to put a tootoo on me.  I lyk 2 go 2 wurk at the winery, but thay woant let me go in2 the resturaunt, becuz thay say pigs Rnt aloud….but it awl smels sooooo gud!  (Dawgs Rnt aloud eether, so that seems fayr 2 me.)

Mi dawg frends Cabby and Chianti wur ther 2 hav the kids pet them, 2.  Chianti lyz on his bak end grins, end sumtyms he also duz a danss with hiz bak legs.  Cabby looks  at U with hiz big broun I’s end evry1 thincks he iz so cyoot.  I hoap that evry1 nos that pigs R smartr end cleenr than dawgs!

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Corky Beginnings

Posted on April 26, 2013 in About

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, as an employee of Wilson Creek winery is that you will not find a surplus of corks floating around the Creek; Wilson Creek that is. Have you ever wondered what we do with all that popped cork?

On any given day bottles of wine and champagne are opened and shared among visiting guests looking for the ultimate tasting experience. Many of the wine corks are taken by the next future Mrs., to be transformed into a creative centerpiece for their wine country themed wedding reception.  Wondering what else do we do with leftover corks, just ask Event Manager, Jeff Littrell. Every year in the spring, the wineries in Temecula Valley compete in a cork sculpture contest, during the “World of Wine” tasting event. And every year Jeff wows us with his cork masterpieces! This year he created a giant, cork wine glass that continuously pours red wine. Last year Jeff created the winning cork sculpture, a fierce lion coming out of the top of a wine barrel with paws and claws ready to pounce. The year before that he constructed the leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s amazing what you can do with a little cork, glue and imagination.

We’ve had our fair share of fun with the used corks but by far the most authentic idea was fashioned by the matriarch of the winery herself, Rosie Wilson.  The story as Rosie tells it was in the summer of 2000 at the Balloon and Wine Festival, at Lake Skinner, in Temecula CA. It was the first year the Wilson family was able to share their newly vintage wine.  The popped corks from these bottles had not yet served a purpose until the Wilson kids came across some yarn, had decided to make cork necklaces to give to anyone who tasted their wine that day. This gesture sparked conversation about their life changing decision to quit their day jobs, move to Temecula, make wine and the opening of their new winery. The guests were told that if they stopped by the winery wearing their cork necklaces they would get a free wine tasting.

To this day Rosie Wilson makes hundreds of cork necklaces for guests who are celebrating a special occasion. The next time you find yourself at the winery and are celebrating your birthday or anniversary, let the Wilson Creek staff and family help you celebrate. After all, Rosie Wilson thinks everyone deserves to get corked on their special day! -by Barb Hilde, Wine Club Mgr

The creator of our cork necklaces wearing a few on her birthday. Rosie still makes all of our cork necklaces by hand.

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Bacchus Loves Biology

Posted on April 22, 2013 in Wine Musings

Environmental Sustainability and Improved Winemaking

At Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyards we recognize that environmental sustainability and improved winemaking go hand-in-hand.  In a major new initiative, winemaker Etienne Cowper, and owners, Bill and Mick Wilson, have created a new position of Enology (winemaking) and Viticulture (wine grape growing) Coordinator.  Traditionally Vineyard Manager and Assistant Winemakers have been separate positions.  Etienne Cowper realized the best way to elevate winemaking in the Temecula Valley was to bring the art and science of winemaking more directly into the vineyard. To that end Greg Pennyroyal, a former medicinal plant agronomist (crop scientist) with over 25 years experience in biological agriculture, was chosen for the unique position of Viticulture and Enology Coordinator, to increase the biochemical complexity and consistency of the grapes through increased biological techniques of vineyard management.  In just six months vineyard cultural practices have changed substantially.

Greg Pennyroyal, who Bill Wilson, of Wilson Creek Winery, dubbed “Bio-Man”, is the Enology and Viticulture Coordinator at Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards.

Cowper and Pennyroyal have reduced synthetic fertilizer inputs by 50% and will be using 100% sustainable biological nutrient inputs in the vineyard in one year. Cover crops of oats, barley, peas and vetch have replaced the valley’s standard practice of between row tillage and wild flowers have been planted to attract beneficial insects. This not only reduces erosion but the peas and vetch will provide natural sources of nitrogen for the grapes. In-row herbicide use is being reduced by 75% with the addition of seaweed extracts, and fish emulsion to increase the herbicide effectiveness and most importantly, to decrease the time for natural decomposition of herbicides by up to five times. With improved microbiological soil balancing and natural nutrient supplementation it is the goal of the vineyard management to eliminate all herbicide use within two years.  We are also switching to a program of all natural fungicides. Powdery mildew and bunch rot are a major problem in all grape growing regions. We are now employing natural fungicides including dormant oils, sulfur, calcium carbonate, and biological inoculation. Often, natural fungicides are not strong enough to stop fungal infection so we are initiating a program of compost tea foliar feeding (feeding plants through the leaves as opposed to the roots) which will not only minimizes the need for synthetic chemical fungicides but also improves the density and complexity of the fruit leading to improved wine quality.

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Wilson Creek Winery to Host Formal Wedding for Triple Amputee Couple

Posted on April 19, 2013 in Weddings

Marine Cpl. Juan Dominguez and Wife Alexis Will Celebrate Wedding Vows April 27

Temecula Wine Country—Wilson Creek Winery is pleased to become the latest in the group of organizations and people who have helped make the life of Marine Corporal Juan Dominguez a little bit better.

On Saturday, April 27, Wilson Creek Winery will host the “formal” wedding of Juan and Alexis Dominguez. The wedding will be held in the Tuscan-inspired gardens at the winery followed by a reception for about 150 guests, all as a part of Wilson Creek’s Giving Back to the Community Program.

“Our family has always been strong supporters of our troops,” says Bill Wilson, President and CEO at Wilson Creek Winery. “And those who have been wounded are very special to us. We do anything we can to thank them for their service.”

Cpl. Dominguez lost an arm and both of his legs when he came upon an Improvised Explosive Device while on patrol in Afghanistan in mid-October, 2010. He returned home a triple-amputee whose life would be forever changed. But not all of that change was bad. He met his wife, Alexis, at a home coming event for his Battalion the following April. A year later they were married in a civil ceremony in San Diego and that same year he became a candidate to be a recipient of a new home by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation.

“When the foundation approached me about building a house, I had to choose a location,” says Juan. “Temecula looked like a great place to live and it was close to where I go for therapy in San Diego and I have some roots in L.A. so it was perfect.”

In January of 2012, actor and musician Gary Sinise asked the Temecula City Council if he and his Lt. Dan Band could play a benefit concert at City Hall to help his foundation (Gary Sinise Foundation) contribute to building a house for a wounded veteran who wanted to move to Temecula. The concert was held in March and along with other donations raised enough money to build Cpl. Dominguez and his wife Alexis a “smart home,” in Temecula.

“During the concert one of the people from the foundation approached us and said that Bill Wilson would like to donate their Wilson Creek Winery venue for our wedding,” recalls Alexis. “It was very kind and we are excited about having our wedding there. We can’t thank them enough.”

Wilson Creek Winery offers regular specials for military personnel including a standard military discount for wines and wine tasting. The winery is proud to be “the unofficial /official winery of the US Navy “filling special orders of custom labeled wine for many of the Navy ships visiting San Diego. In addition, each year Wilson Creek honors the Navy’s “Sailor of the Year” Awards Program at the Winery.

“Honoring the military is a tradition at Wilson Creek,” says Wilson. “When I heard this very special couple wanted to someday have a formal wedding, I didn’t have to think about it. We are all looking forward to the wedding, and I promise that it will be an event to remember.”

Wilson Creek Winery offers a full-service wedding facility featuring delicious wine-country cuisine, fine wines, and breathtaking views of the vineyards, mountains, and gardens. There is a dramatic open-air gazebo for ceremonies and an expert staff of wedding professionals is available to coordinate every aspect of the special event.  The facility welcomes up to 400 guests per event.

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