Belle Epoque

August 10, 2012

I've been wanting to show you this beautiful vineyard for a long time.  Our friends grow chardonnay, cabernet franc and merlot grapes on a sunny slope on their property.  The wine produced is for home consumption, charity auctions and giving to friends, like moi!  To ensure the latter, I make sure I help on a regular basis, to harvest and bottle, which is a lot of fun to do anyway.  With 3 different grapes there are 3 different harvest days which happens in September and October,  whenever they happen to ripen.  There are also 3 different bottling days, so most of the winemaker's friends are now pretty well experienced with the harvest and bottling process.  Today we are bottling the merlot we picked in 2010.

Let me take you through the bottling process.  Walk down the steps alongside the rosemary and right before the vineyard, step to your right and into the little winery built into the hill.

Looks like the team is already at work, guess I am a little late.  Oops.

There are four stations.  I was one of the two people at the bottling station.  We siphon the wine from the shiny vats in the background into the bottles.  Very precise measuring, it has to be the perfect amount.

Next is the corking machine, which takes just the right touch to get the cork in perfectly.

Next is the foiler, a scary bit of machinery if you ask me.

Next and last step is the labeling station, and the labels must be placed precisely.  In the back ground there are one or two runners and the winemaker in charge.  It's funny, this chatty group is kind of quiet, such concentration for our job! 

Voila!  The finished product!

75 merlot vines makes 75 gallons of wine which fills 375 bottles.
We did all that in less than 3 hours, but then again, we are quite an experienced team ;^)

 The Belle Epoque theme is reflected by the Alphonse Mucha posters on the walls.

Now we head back up to the house and our reward is lunch!  Rene is a great cook and her presentation is beautiful!  Please note the periwinkle blue pantry in the background, love that.

Off the kitchen is this charming patio where we sit under a wisteria arbor.  Dappled sun on the Le Jacquard linens, it's beautiful, right?

Beautiful bright summer colors.

You can see why I've been wanting to bring you here, can't you?  The views of the coastal mountains are incredible.  It's hard to believe that they are just 10 minutes up the hill from town where I live.

Rene is a knitter and quilter too.  I sneaked around to see if I could find some works-in-progress.  This looks like a little quilt being planned for baby Isla.  Patchwork squares with appliqued butterflies.

I spotted this quilt in the family room.  Rene has an amazing color sense.  Pinks morph into blues with lights transitioning to dark, she makes it look effortless.

Until next time, stay well and hope you are enjoying a colorful summer!


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  1. How lovely this all looks. Have a great week.

  2. What a fun day! And that lunch with even a delicious view! It might have been a tad crowded if you'd taken us all along, but I've enjoyed the photos and the post. :-)

  3. What an amazing place. So beautiful and gorgeous views. What a team you make. Your wonderful lunch looks so appetizing. The quilts are lovely. How special you shared this with us. We truly appreciate wine. Enjoy your week Kristen.

  4. I don't drink much, but this looks like it would be *so* much fun to do!


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