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Écouter les garagistes!

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When they said they wanted to borrow our BMW for something, we had no idea it would end up in the Côte d’Ivoire in so catchy a song.

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Improvement for a room

If all goes according to plan, we’ll be turning 5 different grapes into wine this year. And that’s not even counting the 2-3 seignées I want to make from those grapes, nor the “piquette” (a “second wine” that Garagiste George pioneered last year) I’d like to try from at least one of them. Are our eyes bigger than our gullets? To which I respond, are we not Garagistes? It’s going to be a busy year, and I for one can’t wait to wade out into it.

But because it’ll be just a dozen or so of us staring down this potential tsunami of wine, I’ve been trying to break my usual pattern of wasting the days leading up to harvest simply rubbing my hands together and licking my lips, and instead actually trying to get ready. So I’ve been re-arranging the deck chairs on our Titanic enterprise with even smoother sailing as my goal.

Um… all aboard?

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Goodbye old friend

Marley, 1993-2008. Memories of your humor, nobility, and generosity are drowning me as I write. Thank you for every last one of them.


Dancing with fire

Sure, it could have been the 2000 Garagistes Casa Blanca Pinot — just a berry or two too sweet, perhaps, but remarkably lively and eager to please — nevertheless, the fire dancers at a block party near us seemed even more spectacular than usual.

Was it just me? More flaming examples with which to make your decision, after the jump…
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The View from Oracle

Oracle VineyardLooking west from the lower, still-to-be-planted part of Westrey‘s Oracle Vineyard

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Just Sip It

[ In honor of the new NBA World Champions, here’s a reprint of a column I wrote back in the Jordan era about basketball and wine. Check out the stars I mention — now that’s old school, baby! ]

A dark arena surrounding a gauzy, spotlit court. Everything seems slow, supercharged and saturated, almost dreamlike. Michael Jordan, lean and crouched, is facing off against some hapless guard as the ref tosses the ball skyward. Cut to a tight shot of the ball rising to the height of its arc until Jordan is just about to touch the ball. There’s the woody sound of a cork being coaxed out of a bottle, and then freeze-frame and echoy silence — maybe the distant clink-clink of full bottles — as everything stops, hanging for a moment.

Just as we can’t stand it anymore, one last squeak explodes to the intercut sound and visual of a cork popping as Jordan smacks both the ball and the camera pace into motion. Music starts — maybe Hendrix singing Dylan’s line about businessmen drinking his wine — and Jordan flows up the court and takes to the air, all grace and knowledge, super-imposed with red wine poured super slow-mo, roiling into a glass as the camera tracks a 360 around it. As Jordan nears the rim a third image of a lowering bottle of wine is superimposed, touching the ground as the ball snaps the net. Fade all but the dramatically lit bottle, and super text:

“Domaine Dunquage. Red, white, and beyond…”

Didn’t see that one during the playoffs? Neither did we, but as we wandered into sports bars, asking after their corkage fee, we began to wonder why. What is it about sports in America that has made it so inhospitable for wine, and yet so welcoming for beer and other beverages?
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Garagistes take to the airwaves

Garagistes first wine, shot by Tim LaBarge

In our relentless quest to compromise each of the five senses, the Garagistes have now ticked off one more: sound. Our vast, if subterranean efforts have been highlighted in a new broadcast/podcast of Destination DIY, Julie Sabatier’s “monthly radio show and podcast about revolutionary do-it-yourself projects.”

Julie actually found us through my Life in Vine site, where I store a passel of articles I’ve written, one of two of which focus on amateur winemaking. So she brought her spiffy digital recorder and photographer Tim LaBarge down the back stairs to take a listen. “This basement has the best sound of any I’ve ever been in,” she said, incredulously — how many wineries can boast that, eh?

Mercifully, the podcast isn’t just about us. In fact, it’s mostly about amateur brewers, one set of which came to a listening party at NE Portland’s Waypost Julie threw together to debut her mix. Affable brewers Nate and Matt passed around one of their batches, and it was incredibly well-made. Hmm: if we get rid of the washer/dryer, we’d have room for a mashtun downstairs…

Here’s the podcast itself, synched with Tim’s great pics, and here’s Julie’s home at KBOO. And be sure to check out Julie’s other podcasts here : she’s definitely a skilled editor and interviewer.

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