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Rebel Rose

eG Foodblog: Rebel Rose / Dover Canyon - Life in a vineyard

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Good morning, everyone!

Guess who's it this week? (Thank you, Judith! I'll try to do you proud.)

Actually, I've had a very crazy week, getting ready for our annual wine festival. I was on the phone trying to deal with screwed up orders for stemware, cookbooks, t-shirts and supplies, and I was absent-mindedly lurking through eGullet (my favorite way to relax) when I received a message that I had a PM from . . . hathor ?? Oh no, that can only mean . . .

And the little devil tagged me on the eve of a major wine festival! :blink:

Quick bio: My real name is Mary. I live at Dover Canyon Winery and Vineyard in Paso Robles, California. It's a small winery in an appellation that includes 80 wineries and over 200 vineyards, including some old vine vineyards. I live with my SO, who is also the winemaker, and he loves to cook. (Life is sweet.) This morning we are cleaning up the debris in our home from a barbecue-party last night to celebrate the efforts of our volunteer staff after the grand tasting Saturday, as well as my son's 21st birthday. (It feels very weird to say to him What are you drinking, honey? and have that be okay!)

Anyway, we will be grilling appetizers in front of the winery today—lamb ribs rubbed with a mixture of sea salt, coarsely ground black pepper, herbs de Provence, and duck breasts rubbed with a cayenne-cinnamon salt. We get our meat from a local butcher that operates a shop behind his home. He also processes wild game for local hunters—venison and boar mostly. The herbs de Provence come from an herb farm just down the road.

I'll take pictures today and try to get them posted first thing tomorrow. As soon as I figure how to do it. :blink: We're expecting several hundred visitors today, so I need to scurry, but I will check back later!

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Anyway, we will be grilling appetizers in front of the winery today—lamb ribs rubbed with a mixture of sea salt, coarsely ground black pepper, herbs de Provence, and duck breasts rubbed with a cayenne-cinnamon salt. We get our meat from a local butcher that operates a shop behind his home. He also processes wild game for local hunters—venison and boar mostly. The herbs de Provence come from an herb farm just down the road.

Wow, Mary, that sounds deeeelicious! Do you normally sell appetisers at your winery or is it only for the wine festival? Can't wait for pics. Make sure you take pics of some of your bottles of wine. Do you only sell at cellar door?

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Mary, was your place badly hit by the not-too-distantly-past earthquake?

Can't wait to read your blog. Thanks for taking it on. :smile:

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Ah, a break in the action . . .

arbuclo, thanks. We grill for customers several times a year on big weekends, but we don't charge, we just serve 'em up. Our winery is in a relatively secluded location and we don't allow buses, so the crowds are manageable. We enjoy doing it and I think it makes our customers more comfortable when they can talk to us while we're grilling. It's more informal. Although I've learned not to even buy paper plates! :wink: We also serve locally produced olive oil (Pasolivo), homemade bread, and homemade walnut pesto in the tasting room.

About 70% of our wine is sold directly from the winery now, with the other 30% going primarily to restaurants in San Francisco, Atlanta and Orlando. We used to be in New York, including Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, but we're pulling back from the New York market to cover San Diego and hopefully Seattle.

cynthia We had a bit of a mess, indeed. There are pictures here. (Although there seems to be a text bloop on the page that I will fix tomorrow.)


Edited by DoverCanyon (log)

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I'll take pictures today and try to get them posted first thing tomorrow. As soon as I figure how to do it. :blink: We're expecting several hundred visitors today, so I need to scurry, but I will check back later!

This is what I call baptism by fire!

I'm looking forward to this week. Not often we get a blogger who is involved in a major wine festival! Can you give more details about that? I'd love to see.

:rolleyes:

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We had a bit of a mess, indeed. There are pictures here.

Wow...what a scene. Though it sounds like it could have been much worse for you (small consolation). At least you got rid of the commemorative wine-glass collection. :hmmm:

Looking forward to our week in Paso Robles territory.

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Good morning! Can't wait to see the pictures from the Wine Festival, but I do hope you got to sleep in a little. Is your son involved with the winery?

What a heartbreaking picture of that syrah flowing out from under the door...how awful. But at least it was just wine, as it could have been worse.

Grilled lamb and duck... I wish I was there.

Regards!!!

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An exciting start for a foodblog. I am looking forward to the Wine Festival posts, Mary. Thanks for taking the mantle this week and letting us peek in on such a busy time for you.

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Mary, that's a nice website.... did you mention somewhere else that you are a cookbook author?? If so, I must have missed it. I'll have to order one and then head on over to the "How Many Cookbooks" thread and update!

Glad you didn't have more damage than you did. Bad enough as it was!

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Good morning, again. *groan* Monday morning after a three-day wine festival.

First order of business, of course, is breakfast for Rebel Rose and Mario. I tried to get Mario to look up but he was only interested in the food. Dry food for both, but they'll get treats at dinnertime.

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There's no coffee in the house. In fact, there's no food. So, I'm off to Cider Creek Bakery for some java and pastries.

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And back home along Vineyard Drive.

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Aah, that's better! Today is a "recovery day," for everyone. The winery is closed until Thursday, so I'll have time for office work, filling orders, housecleaning and gardening. And blogging, of course. Now that I'm getting the hang of it, I'll post in the evenings so my east coast friends can read the blog with their morning coffee.

I wasn't fast enough with the camera to get pics of the food as it came off the grill, but I did snap some photos of the post-event party. Everyone pitches in to help, with a different job and a glass of wine. Leftover lamb ribs, gorgonzola mashed potatoes, corn and bean salad, green salad, caramelized onions, fruit salsas, and Big Kid (hereafter known as BK) made some stuffed peppers with filet mignon strips that he'd marinated overnight then stuffed into anaheim and poblano peppers and grilled. They were gone in less than two minutes.

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See you at dinner!

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The pictures are gorgeous! The stuffed chili peppers sound wonderful, no wonder they were gone so quickly!! :biggrin:

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Mary, I hope you don't hate me, but I keep thinking "Dover CANYON-CANYON--canyon-canyon...."

Anyone who knows the radio ad I'm thinking of will understand, but I know very well that you and your business are not to blame. :rolleyes:


Edited by Pan (log)

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Mary may not hate you, but the rest of us might, because we've been so careful to avoid thinking that very thing, only to have it shoved under our noses. Gee, thanks a lot.

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Yeah, I know the ad!! But what's really sad is that I remember the original Green Giant commercials--you know, for frozen peas and stuff? Every time I hear that wine rad-ad, I imagine a large green guy stumbling around with a glass of red wine, his voice booming off the canyon walls. :blink:

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Yeah, I know what you mean, Mary. Sorry, Lisa. [frown]

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Ah, a productive day. This afternoon I took BK to San Luis Obispo to catch a plane back to Bellingham, Washington, where he's going to college. As I arrive home, Rod Stewart is singing "You're so far away," and I'm getting all sentimental. We were just settling in and getting ready to sear some steaks and caramelize some onions when BK calls. He volunteered for the bump in exchange for a round trip ticket. So a friend brought him home and they stopped in San Luis for a Woodstock's wood-fired pizza. Oh, yeah.

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The little kid, hereafter known as LK, had a steak sandwich at 6:30, but was more than happy to wait up for pizza! Dan snuck Rebel a big chunk as well.

I'm having some Talley 2001 Pinot Noir. Mmm, gentle on the digestion but packed with flavor. Great with the pizza, too. Dan poured a glass of syrah, but I think he's more interested in his ice water. I believe he's a little, uh, dehydrated.

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To answer your question, Lucy, about the wine festival—we have three major festivals every year but the one in May is the largest. It starts on Friday night with winemaker dinners at the local wineries and restaurants. Saturday morning there's a golf tournament, and Saturday afternoon about 12,000 people gather for a grand tasting in Paso Robles' historic central park, with about 80 wineries pouring their wares. Sunday is open house at the wineries. We all do something different, but you're sure to find bands, barbecues, and barrel sampling. It's energizing and exhausting at the same time.

Rebel and her dolly. 'Night night.

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Edited by DoverCanyon (log)

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Another question about the grand tasting - sorry if you've already covered them, 1) are all of the vignerons who participate in the grand tasting local? 2) can people buy or place orders on the spot? 3) What is the price range of a bottle of table wine?

That pizza looks mighty good. :smile: We can't get it like that over here.

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Tell me, oh wait, maybe it is, maybe it isn't...

Is that pizza whole wheat?

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Good morning, all! Breakfast for Dan and the boys was leftover pizza, and Dan made LK another steak sandwich for his school lunch. Before the weekend Dan bought a 20 pound tenderloin at Ralph's Meat Cutting, a home-based butcher in Atascadero. BK cut it into steaks, including one three-incher for Dan, and marinated it in a combination of barbecue sauce, various pepper sauces, garlic, herbs and red wine.

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Breakfast for me is steel cut oats from Montana, with Maine maple syrup, milk, and a dollop of butter.

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I'm off and running. I think the pictures are taking too long to load, so I'll try toning down the resolution a little. Have a nice day, everyone. See you around lunch.

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Coming from the land of scooped out bagels....how does one eat a bowl of steel cut oats?? :smile: I'm picturing a horse feed bag, and somehow I'm sure that's not quite right.

While we are singing songs ...do you know the song: "Cold pizza for breakfast, in a pinch cold spaghetti will do"?? :laugh:

See 'ya for lunch!!

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Another question about the grand tasting - sorry if you've already covered them, 1) are all of the vignerons who participate in the grand tasting local?  2) can people buy or place orders on the spot?  3) What is the price range of a bottle of table wine? 

Yes, all 80 wineries are Paso Robles vintners! Our appellation is geographically three times as large as Napa, although much of it is still open ranchland, so it's very pastoral, teeming with wildlife. Also close to nice surfing beaches and kayaking coves, although the water is much colder than southern California. :shock: Nevertheless, we have over 200 vineyards, and the "Big Boys," Gallo, Mondavi, Kendall Jackson, all own vineyards here and purchase fruit as well. Eighty percent of the fruit grown in Paso is sold to Napa and Sonoma wineries.

We don't have a license to sell wine in the park, but it probably wouldn't be a good idea, anyway. It's a five hour tasting. :blink: I would say the average bottle price is about $20, although a few confident souls have wines up to $65.

Hey, Seth. No the pizza wasn't whole wheat, just nicely toasted. :smile:

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Our appellation is geographically three times as large as Napa,

DC, I read not long ago about how crowded Napa is getting and the growing level of discontent between Vinters and non-vinters, particularly those in the environmental management concerns.

I take it that this is

A. not an issue in your neck of the woods?

B. Growing issue?

C. Solved before it becomes an issue?

:unsure:

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DC, I read not long ago about how crowded Napa is getting and the growing level of discontent between Vinters and non-vinters, particularly those in the environmental management concerns. 

Well, there's always some push-and-pull between the best interest of growers, who want to sell as much tonnage at the best price as they can, and vintners, who want low-tonnage fruit for the lowest price possible! :hmmm: But here in Paso we do not have separate associations for vintners and growers--it's all combined in one group, the Paso Robles Vintners & Growers Association. As a member of the board of directors, I can honestly say that it's not an easy juggling act anywhere, anytime, but in spite of sometimes disparate interests, we all hang together (pardon the vine pun) very tightly!

Environmental concerns do not divide us--we are all concerned about the same things, and we're fortunate to have several associations and individuals who are knowledgeable and driven about staying on top of the issues and informing our members. So I would say the answer is c)!

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[DROOL] Damn, it's so early in the day and I now have a huge craving for pizza! [/DROOL]

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