"Art is making something out of nothing and selling it." Frank Zappa
That was a favorite quote of Fred Payne, the man who taught us how to make wine. Not that Fred was cynical. I think he just saw the world in a slightly skewed and less serious fashion than most and he always enjoyed the unknown, the weird. Maybe that's why the three of us got along so well. Fred was the first real Winemaker I ever met. And when I showed up one fine day 25 years ago to beg for a job I found him to be sincerely laid-back and friendly, the antithesis of the stereotypical hyper-ego wine biz snob I was dreading and expecting. And that meant a lot more to me than anything he could and did teach me about growing grapes and making wine over the years. Wine could, and should, be fun.
This pic is from Fred's retirement party in 2006. Mike came across it recently and emailed it to me with the caption "Wearing vests before they were cool". It refers to my long-time running joke that all great Winemakers wear a vest, at least for the photo shoots (it's true -- start noticing and you'll see the shocking truth). Fred would've found that weird and funny, too.
The Sonoma County skies have been hazy for a few weeks now as fires still rage in northern California. Can't help but think back to the morning of October 9 last year when the Santa Rosa area was devastated by a massive wildfire. This selfie was taken at Christopher Creek Winery on the morning of October 11. Mike and our French intern, Charlie, had just returned to their homes after evacuation. After 2 months of helping us with the 2018 harvest, Charlie was scheduled to return home that very afternoon. He had just enough time to meet us at the winery for goodbye hugs and a quick photo.
Some stories and tales don't need many words. Check out the view a few months back from Hanta Virus Studio on a fine Monday afternoon.
By the way, ever wonder if a triple rainbow is possible? Turns out, yes, but with a catch. A third or fourth rainbow can occur but it will be seen toward the sun, not with the other two. Check out the only scientifically accepted photos of a triple and quadruple rainbow HERE. Bit of a disclaimer -- the phots are not quite as exciting as you might think.
Take a moment and think back to when you were 21 years old. What were you doing back then? I'm guessing that most of you were starting careers or going to school or both, and you were probably in love. As for me, I was living in the basement of a dank old house, taking classes and working jobs and running track/cross country at Colorado State. I wasn't so much in love but I did discover a new level of beer and music.
At 21 years old my Pop was piloting a B-26 Martin Marauder bomber, the most difficult and dangerous airplane to fly in WWII, over the English channel into occupied France. Through flak and fighters, he was responsible for the lives of 5 crewmen. When he was shot down he spent 16 months in a German POW camp under horrific conditions.
This video captures the incredible tale of my father getting the chance to reunite with the B-26, the airplane he last sat in just before he bailed out of a burning cockpit into the hands of German troops. The video won top prize at the Prescott Film Festival. And it's under 10 minutes long so check it out.