July 2007 Archives

Nick and Gillian Kite

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nick_gillian2.jpg Nick and Gillian Kite, owners of 'Wine Way Inn' and 'The Craftsman Inn' both located in Calistoga started out as high school sweethearts. Over the years, while traveling the world working in Europe and the USA, Gillian has enjoyed catering, restaurant and hotel cooking as well as bringing up their three wonderful children. Nick is a man of many trades, in search of wild mushrooms, diving for abalone, vineyard management, winemaking... and he speaks French!

Nick and Gillian along with their three children moved to the Napa Valley in 2003, becoming the owners of the Wine Way Inn. In the last 4 years they have established a reputation for hospitality, service and most of all great food. Nick and Gillian often share their treasures with their guests, abalone and wild mushrooms to name a few. In a year or two they will be sharing their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. They are very excited as this is their first vintage cab and are planning to produce a Pinot Grigio in about 3 years when the vines mature.

Kevin and Jill Mittan, Winemakers

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Midlife Crisis Winery

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Winemaking is the secret passion of almost anyone who has ever visited any winery or wine region. Drive down the quiet back roads surrounded by acres of vines ripe with grapes and lulled by the silence of nature and all you want to do is somehow find a way to make wine. Kevin and Jill Mittan, owner/winemakers at the Midlife Crisis Winery, admit that the romance of wine and wine country first brought them to winemaking. Jill laughingly recalls, "Friends set up a wine tasting weekend to try a little match making for us. It worked -better than they ever expected - we were married shortly after that - and our passion for everything wine that led to Midlife Crisis also began that day."

Shortly after their marriage, the couple purchased land in Paso Robles with the goal of starting a vineyard, selling grapes for a few years then starting to make wine - an idea shared by many in the mid to late 1990's.

Oregon Wine Country - Facts and Figures:

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Think you know Oregon wine? Chances are you might be surprised to know that since 1986, the number of Oregon wineries has gone from a paltry 47 to more than 314 in 2004. Or, that grapes were first planted in the Willamette Valley in 1847? Read on to find out what you need to know about Oregon's booming wine industry.

Go Premium Yourself

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Personal-batch wines for the High-end Set

by Robert P. Farmer

In our do-it-yourself world, people remodel their kitchens and build their own outdoor decks. Now, add to the list, making their own wine fine wine. Sure, folks have been making their own wine (and outrunning the local sheriff) for centuries. But, of course, today we're talking about Wine Country and personal-batch wines in these parts are always up-and-up, and more often suitable for sampling along with fine cuisine than for sipping from a jug in a shed 'round back.

The individual-label wine trend is growing. And as part of its natural evolution, the trend for personal premium wine is growing too. In Napa and Sonoma counties, the trend is fostered with the help of professional winemakers who possess both the facilities and the patience to help interested parties learn about and appreciate the effort it takes to make their own wine. Individuals like this can be found at Owl Ridge Winery, whose custom-crush services at Owl Ridge Winery gets under way this year in the form of Sonoma Grapemasters.

SteveReynolds_winemaker.jpgFor generations around the world, families made their own wines, sometimes tending small vineyards behind their homes or just checking on a ceramic crock of fermenting juice hiding in a closet. It was a tradition for everyone--from mom and dad, to the smallest children--to be involved in everything from growing the grapes, to crushing and bottling (or jug-ing, perhaps) these rustic wines. Today, many small-production, boutique wineries continue that tradition in Napa.

Though technology has made the process easier, and many hire some of the valley's most prestigious winemakers to help craft exceptional, rather than rustic wines, the homegrown feeling is much the same. Walking into tiny tasting rooms, often run by the family themselves, the air is less of a corporate machine, and more of an extended living room where visitors can casually sip a glass of wine while chatting with the folks who know the wine from the inside, out.

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