A few wineries brought on new winemakers. Thornton hired veteran David Vergari, Orfila brought Justin Mund on board and Keyways hooked up with David Raffaele. Danza del Sol opened its doors where Filsinger Winery once stood and hired Mike Tingley as General Manager and Executive Winemaker. David and Gail Bradley opened Vindemia Winery on Calle Contento and in their first year have already garnered some awards.
We lost some friends and gained a few new ones. Cougar’s Diego passed away. Jennifer Buffington shares some fond memories: “Diego had 8 blissful years with his soul mate Sandie and 1 year with a little sister that he learned to love and taught her valuable lessons. Diego made many people happy retrieving his marinated tennis balls for them. Young, old, softball pitchers, not-so-talented-ball throwers, he wasn’t picky and he played with them all. And when you got tired of playing with him you just gave him the “hand” and he went on to his next “victim”. Most of the time it was someone that was happy to oblige. A quick story about how big brother Diego made Mocha a better pet. Mocha’s first night as part of our family we introduced her to her new kennel. After 10 minutes of wailing, she finally went to sleep from exhaustion. The next night was completely different. After barking, wailing, clawing, etc…for half an hour with me trying to calm her down…big brother (who loved his kennel sanctuary) got up out of his kennel, walked the length of the room, put his nose up to her cage and she stopped all noise, laid down and went to sleep. From then forward Mocha goes into her kennel on her own and we stopped locking it after a month.” Monte has joined the fold at Cougar and Mocha is teaching him the ropes.
Nick and Cindy Palumbo at Palumbo Family Winery lost two dogs, Chopper and Lucky. They added Doug and Rigo, the sheep, but Doug was killed in a coyote attack and Rigo has found a new home. Willy is Sergeant’s new canine companion. Cows Ginger and Maryann complete the Palumbo Family portrait.
The weather in wine country was most unusual this year. After months of record lows, the heat furnace turned on and that was followed by torrential rains. The harvest is getting mixed reviews with some growers saying they brought in exceptional fruit, while others reported major problems with certain varietals.
I think the future looks bright for the valley. We have faced several challenges in the down economy, but signs are pointing to an upturn. Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2011!