News & Events
At first glance around the vineyards and gardens, one would think this is a slow season… In actuality this is a very busy and important time. The groundwork is being set for our 2013 crop in both the vineyard and gardens.
In the vineyard we just finished pruning and retraining some of the spur positions on the vines. This year we placed a heavy emphasis on shoot positioning, grafting and also replacing missing or sick vines. Over 1000 new vines were planted this year. We used two year old nursery stock which should provide a stronger base for the baby vines to get a good root system started in the soil. The cover crop planted was a combination of30% winter peas, 15% vetch and 55% barley which should provide stabilization from ground erosion and also supplement the soil with essential nutrients for growing quality vines.
In a matter of days, especially with the warm weather we have been having, we will start to see tiny green fuzzy nodes on the vines known as bud break. This is when the vines start to push new shoots and it marks the beginning of the growing season. Bud break is a very nervous time since a freeze at this point can cause significant damage to the vineyard and crop. Keep your fingers crossed that Mother Nature will be kind this year… more rain but NO freezing temps!
In addition to the vineyard getting prepped for the growing season, we are planning for our vegetable gardens to be better than ever. Our greenhouse is in full swing with tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and all kinds of herbs and other goodies.
We have focused our efforts on cultivating vegetables from last year’s seeds and have been carefully nurturing them along in the green house. We will transfer the shoots to the garden location on April 15th and are hoping to have a packed veggie cart by the first of June! In the meantime, we have fresh eggs, olive oil and wonderful wines to hold you over.
Hope to see you soon!
Thank you to all who joined us February 9th for our 3rd annual roll out the barrels at Still Waters Vineyards. We had a GREAT turnout with over 100 people and enjoyed every moment. With 30 barrels to taste we were happy to have so many palettes to help us in selecting the barrels for some of our top wines. The three top barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon will be used in our 2009 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon. The three top Merlot barrels will go into our 2009 Reflections and 2009 Clone 3 Cuvee. Be watching for these wines to be bottled in about a year and if that seems too long to wait, come by and ask for a barrel sample.
Here are some of the trends we found from the results posted below:
Barrels are all different, even if they are from the same year. We noticed that the same exact wine: meaning pick date, yeast, rack date etc., in a barrel from the same year had different number of votes. This is in part because of the way barrels are made. Wine barrels are made from Oak trees that are usually over 100 years old. They are cut into strips and left outside to dry exposed to the elements for at a minimum two years. If the staves were dryer, the trees older, or the growing soil different, the barrels can impart different flavors.
The fruit that was sorted before fermentation was preferred over the non-sorted wines. The reason to sort the fruit before fermentation is to remove any debris other than grapes, lowering the tannins and also vegetal flavors. It makes sense that this wine would be preferred due to its softer flavors.
On average, the later pick dates were more favorable. This means the fruit had a longer hang time resulting in higher sugar and softer flavors. Since our winery can only process so much at a given time, we have to stagger our pick dates. We are working to blend earlier pick dates with later pick dates to balance the flavors from the different dates.
FX10 was the more desirable yeast in the Merlot. The results of yeast were even in the Cabernet. The larger differences were location on the vineyard and if the fruit was sorted.
These results have given Paul the backing to go ahead and purchase a new crush pad system. Our new system which contains a sorting table, means all our fruit will have those softer, less vegetal flavors that were more favorable in the sorted Cabernet Barrels.
Let us know if you have any questions or would like to re-taste any of the barrels.
A few months ago we had a very sweet couple visit us from Oregon. Traveling with their two beautiful yellow labs, they were enjoying a road trip seeing the sites of the Central Coast. After picnicking in our gardens, they offered me an AMAZING cookie which was so tasty!
Linda was gracious enough to share the recipe with me and you too! This cookie holds a dear spot in her heart. Named Pride of the Corps, Linda sent these cookies around the world to her son on his various deployments while in the Marine Corps and they were well received.
Enjoy and maybe even send them to someone you know serving our country.
PRIDE OF THE CORPS COOKIES
From the kitchen of Linda Clary
1. Preheat oven to 350o F
2. Cream together the following:
1c Brown Sugar
1c white sugar
1c shortening (butter flavored)
½ t. salt
1t baking powder
1t baking soda
2 eggs (beat before adding to the above)
2 c flour
3. Mix in:
3 c oatmeal (OK to cut back a bit on oatmeal)
1c chocolate Chips
1 c coconut
½ c nuts
½ c corn flakes
If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer – this recipe is ideal…otherwise, mixing this dough can help develop your arm muscles. But, always, well worth it.
4. Grease cookie sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes…. maybe 9 minutes
DO NOT OVERBAKE (or you get hard little rocks)
5. Makes about 2 – 3 dozen.
Paul and Patty are both California natives who came to Cal Poly in the late seventies. Paul graduated with a degree in Agriculture and Pat graduated from the Child Development Program. Pat worked as a legal assistant in San Luis Obispo, and after having children, worked for Atascadero Unified School System in a variety of teaching positions. Prior to running Still Waters Vineyards, Paul immersed himself in several careers while managing to stay connected to his love of the land, whether planting large vegetable gardens or leading local 4-H groups. He worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years, growing from bartender to executive vice president of a hotel management company. He also invested more than 20 years as an insurance broker for Morris and Garritano Insurance in San Luis Obispo. Paul and Pat raised two children in Atascadero who participated in all of the agricultural ventures.
As amateur beer makers and with budding interest in wine making, the Hoovers began experimenting with their own small vineyard as their children grew and their need for space for grazing animals declined. When our children were graduating and moving on, we invested in a larger vineyard and started to develop the winery and tasting room that is now Still Waters. Although “Hoover” could have been an entirely appropriate name, “Still Waters Vineyards” was anointed when our daughter, Stephanie, designed the label reflecting our family’s favorite pastime of water-skiing and always looking for the perfect “still water”. The original label is a picture that Pat took of their son, Ben, fishing on a quiet lake of still water above Lake Tahoe.
Still Waters Vineyards is the perfect complement to a lifelong dream. Our goal is to stay small, have fun and focus on quality. Paul and Pat can both be found in the tasting room and are always available for a great meal or a quick tour and tasting in the barrel room. Ben and Stephanie and their wonderful spouses drop in and out with frequency and love to soak up the atmosphere of the gorgeous grounds that they have helped create. Above all, Paul and Pat know that they would not be where they are without the amazing staff that supports them. The Still Waters family stretches well beyond the Hoover clan and embodies so many wonderful people that have been so loyal to us…especially our general manager Kasey and our vineyard manager Carlos. Without them, and all of the rest of our supporting crew, this dream would never be fulfilled. Paul is constantly thinking of ways to improve the wines and our vineyard practices, it is truly a passion for both of us. We don’t feel the need to grow our product through distribution, but to just continue with our long time motto of focusing on quality and developing those wonderful relationships with our customers, then we can continue to have FUN!
This Mother’s Day, May 13th we are excited to have Grammy Award Winning artist Louie Ortega at Still Waters Vineyards. His southern blues meets Latin fusion style of music will make you want to get up and dance! This will be a perfect treat for any mom to spend an afternoon relaxing and enjoying a glass of wine. There is plenty of shade under the trees overlooking the vineyard so bring a lawn chair or blanket and take in the beautiful afternoon.
We will have our taco bar for lunch and wine will be available for purchase by the glass or bottle. Can you think of a better way to spend the afternoon? Music, Food, Wine… Sounds like a Picture Perfect Sunday to me!
Here is a link to a video from our last Picture Perfect Sunday. Thanks to all those who came and enjoyed the Mystery Trees and we hope you can make it for Louie Ortega too!
See you on Sunday
In late December, we plant a cover crop which consists of peas, barley and grasses in order to protect the soils from heavy winter rains and run-off. The cover crop also provides organic matter and nitrogen for the soil and vines. We plant this cover crop in every other row so that during our February/ March pruning, we can toss the cut canes into the non-planted rows. Then we can go through with a mower-shredder that can easily mulch the canes back into the soil. We then disk those rows in order to get a good mix.
The cover crop row is mowed just prior to our first spring frost. This allows the colder air, which settles to the ground, to move underneath the vines rather than be held close to the new buds. The newly mowed cover crop row provides continued soil protection for unexpected rains, beneficial areas for native insects and easier access to the vineyard during harvest if we receive heavy rains in the fall. We alternate these planted rows every other year in order to maintain the most optimum soil conditions and erosion control. This is just one of the many sustainable vineyard practices that we utilize here at Still Waters Vineyards!
This is a picture of a root of a Dundale Pea plant. This is a legume which stores nitrogen in small nodules that look like sand. The nitrogen is used in the development of the pea. In our case, the peas are mowed prior to bloom and the nitrogen is left in the soil that is eventually broken down and used by the grape vines.
Friday & Saturday Taste test – we’ll be pouring our first release Estate Primitivo, along with our Gold Medal Estate Zinfandel. Can you guess the varietal? Appetizers, estate olive oil and specials all day. Free tasting to festival ticket holders. Vineyard and winery tours, and barrel tastings hourly. Saturday evening we hope to see you at the Grand Tasting Event
Sunday Back by popular demand – our famous taco and homemade tamale bar! Rocio will be making her delicious tamales and Pat her yummy tacos. $8/pp; Complimentary/Club members.
Join us in the olive grove for lunch and the live music of local favorite Jill Knight from 12 – 3 p.m. Amazing food, breathtaking views and award-winning wines. Who could ask for anything more? Okay, we’ll throw in some case specials too!
Every now and then we get a guest who fills us in on the wonderful ways they have paired our wines. I recently received an email from a club member explaining the food she paired with our Cuvée Blanc. The menu sounded delicious and she graciously shared her recipes.
Thanks Sharen for the great pairings!
Baked Egg Rolls
½ Lb ground pork
½ tsp ground ginger
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ c olive oil
½ c shredded cabbage
½ c shredded carrots
egg roll wrappers [small wonton size]
- Season pork and garlic with ginger and mix thoroughly. Heat mixture in a medium skillet, stirring, until pork is cooked through and no longer pink. Set aside. Add the cabbage, carrots.. Mix all together.
- Working quickly, lay out wonton wrappers – place about a tsp of the mixture in the center of each wonton wrapper. Bring up the fur corners of the wrapper an lift gently intoa mini muffin pan. Carefully fold the edges over each other. Brush a bit of water on top to help seal the egg roll.
- Place the muffin tin in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Serve w/a dipping sauce made up of soy sauce & dry mustard.
Spicy Stir Fry Chicken and Vegetables
4 (4 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp 5 spice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
1 cup sliced celery (1/2 inch pieces)
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 small onion, cut into wedges
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp peanut butter
1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
- Cut chicken into 1/2-in. strips; place in a resealable plastic bag. Add cornstarch and toss to coat. Combine soy sauce, ginger and garlic; add to bag and shake well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of oil; stir-fry chicken until no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes. Remove and keep warm. Add remaining oil; stir- fry celery, carrots and onion for 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Mix broth with the peanut butter , then add broth. Return chicken to pan. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
Serve w/white rice
Hope you enjoy the recipes and we would love to hear from all of you and your wine pairing ideas.
Can you think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than barrel tasting????? We had about 80 of our wonderful club members join us in the barrel room to taste through the barrels of 2008 Merlot and 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. Hard work but someone’s got to do it! There were roughly 10 barrels of each wine and the slight differences the barrels impart were VERY obvious. Whether it was Cabernet Sauvignon in a new French Oak barrel, Merlot in neutral oak, or a difference in yeast; the wine was delicious and we are looking forward to our upcoming releases.
With our club members’ help, we chose the top barrels to use in our 2008 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 Reflections and 2008 Merlot. These wines are to be bottled in the next few months and available in the spring club shipment.
As always, Pat did some great appetizers and Paul was in rare form. Climbing up on barrels and letting everyone experience his passion for making wine and the direction Still Waters is heading. We feel the best is yet to come!!
Here are a few pictures of the afternoon:
Send your loved ones the perfect pair of Still Waters wines.← Older posts