The Wine & Bread Journey

Our new tasting room has brought to fruition many of the ideas and dreams my family has had for a long time. We are now settled amongst our vines and get to watch the day-to-day life of the vineyard. We are now offering new wines and some are estate grown such as the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, or 2016 Malbec (both “yummy” I may add). With the concept of new food offerings, my dad and I discussed starting with the basics…wine, cheese, and bread. I knew at that moment that we had to do bread in house as there is nothing like homemade bread. It was a daunting thought, but one I knew was necessary to accomplish what we wanted.

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In 2017 my bread journey began when I was by chance watching a cooking episode featuring Nancy Silverton, the founder of La Brea Bakery. The video inspired me and I knew exactly what I needed to do. I began reading about bread science, which in some ways is very similar to winemaking. It’s about yeast, flour, water, and temperature. Of course, it took me a little time to understand this as I am more right brained. Even though I began to understand the basics I felt unsure where to begin.

A month later I had Chef William Carter walk into our downtown tasting room with his sweet wife, Katherine. They are the owners of the gorgeous Canyon Villa in Paso Robles, which is a very special place to me as I had photographed it previously. Chef Wills and I began to talk about bread and before I knew it, I had a teacher and a mentor. He shared his enthusiasm for artisan breads and specifically sourdough. We discussed doing a starter from our Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, and it was something he could help me with. I was thrilled!

Once harvest arrived, I gathered the grapes and brought a bucket to Chef Wills. He was wonderful enough to begin the starter as I was in the midst of the busy harvest season. He knew I badly wanted to be there by his side, so he texted me updates through the process. Purple, bubbly…there it was, our Cabernet Sauvignon Sourdough.

Almost exactly a year ago in (Jan 2018), I arrived to the kitchen of the Canyon Villa, bread naive and unsure what to expect, but excited none the less for bread lessons. Chef Wills took three days to show me the ropes and then another three days to have me show him what I learned. It was a great time for both of us amongst the lightly flour dusted air. We fed starters, including our Cab starter, which had turned out beautifully. He showed me how to revive a starter. If you are not familiar, bread starters can out live us as long as they are fed!

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I learned about the importance of temperature and baking styles as well as how sourdoughs are a living thing. I began to see how you could combine flours to create more flavor. Sticky hands and happy smiles later I realized not only had I begun a bread journey, but I was further understanding what my dad, husband, and Cody had been doing in the winery.

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There was something about learning how to control yeast that made me connect that much more with the wine process. In winemaking, the yeast is what creates alcohol by feeding on the sugar of the grapes. In bread making, the yeast is what generates energy and growth by feeding on the flour and water.

It was very special time and I am so grateful to Wills for giving me the opportunity.

Nervous. Staring at a new kitchen with new ovens. “Oh, my gosh, can I do this?” I had only really baked on my own for a handful of times and now the pressure to get bread done for customers was real. The time was here. I took baby steps and began with the focaccia. Once I was able to do that, I pulled out the Cabernet sourdough starter and stared at it. I followed the steps and a couple days later the smell of bread filled the upstairs of the tasting room. We began to cut into the first loaf and to my surprise it was perfect. I tried hard not to seem too much like a giddy child as I walked around to the team saying, “try this…it turned out,” but I was like a proud kid thrilled to show the family. Ultimately, I was happy to finally share the work with the customers.

A month in something happened. The sourdough started to be flat and was uncooked in the middle. I was discouraged and frustrated. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted the best for our customers. I pulled out my notes and bread books and began reading. I frantically looked online at discussions for answers. I wanted to call Wills, but knew it was in the midst of his busy season. So, I began testing. I finally figured out it was the starter and due to my busy schedule, I was not feeding it enough. I began working hard to rectify it and the starter began looking and smelling happy again. Our sourdough was back on track and I realized that much like life (and winemaking), you never arrive…you keep learning and growing. It is for this reason I love baking bread, photography, and wine because they are all processes that are a constant learning experience. This realization encouraged me to start playing more like I do with photography.

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Most recently I have started doing a hand ground rosemary with olive oil on top of the focaccia. It’s a small change, but one I like. I use a whisk to flick the oil onto the focaccia sponge and it makes me feel like I’m doing a Jackson Pollock. Also, I started doing a simple white bread (still delicious) to help me on weeks when I know I don’t have time to bake a Cab sourdough.

While I love all the breads, my favorite is still the Cabernet Sauvignon Sourdough as it holds the most memories for me. It makes me think of this whole process…the life of yeast, our vines, my family, my time with Wills, and the joys & trials of bread baking. It has been a lot of work, but I am so beyond grateful for this ongoing journey. To learn one skill such as bread and to have it spur realizations in other areas of life is priceless.

Cheers for reading through this long blog and I hope you’ll stop by soon for some wine, cheese, and bread!

-Cecily


If you would like to start your own bread journey, I really enjoyed Tartine’s book. I’ve spotted it at the General Store in Paso Robles.

 

We’re loving all of this Parrish love!

It’s been a year of great growth for our family and we’ve been thrilled to share our new winery and tasting room with all of you. We love being on the estate vineyard to watch the vines change color with each passing day, as well as all of the great animals that have made our winery home – especially Franc our adopted winery cat!

It has been fun to develop new food & wine pairings, which will ramp up in the spring when our new executive chef comes onboard! Until then, our home-made bread continues to be a favorite (especially our sourdough made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes!), as well as our cheese & charcuterie, and tapenade plates.

Spending time with your family, friends, dogs and kids has been a joy for us. Be sure to plan extra time when you’re here next to fit in a round of golf on our complimentary putting green!

We have a lot more activities in the works for 2019, so be sure you’re signed up for our newsletter. Here are a few of our favorite media stories from the last few months. We hope you love them too!

Robb Report: Why California’s Paso Robles Could be the Next Bordeaux

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AZ Foothills Magazine: Paso Robles: Your Guide to Approachable Wine Country

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Paso Robles Wineries.net: You’ll Cheer for Charcuterie at These 5 Paso Robles Tasting Rooms

Thank you for following our story! We can’t wait for 2019. Cheers!

Be Thankful Together during Black Friday Weekend

One of our greatest joys is sharing our new space with our club members and new friends. We hope that you’ll spend some time with us during Black Friday weekend to make more memories and enjoy the ones you love by being together. 

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To eat

We will have a fantastic menu of  Wild Mushroom and Farro Stew garnished with crispy pancetta, parsley and a homemade cracker; Green Been Winter Salad in a roasted shallot vinaigrette, feta cheese and pepitas and specialty truffles made with our Cabernet Sauvignon. All served on one plate for $15.

To drink

We also are offering a holiday three-pack perfect for gifts! It’s $78 and includes the 2016 Estate Sauvignon Blanc, 2014 Zinfandel and 2014 Petite Sirah. Club discounts apply on top of those savings! And, cases of our 2014 Zinfandel receive a 15% additional discount.

Members can participate in a special vertical tasting of our Silken Blend. If you’ve considered becoming a member and haven’t yet, this is the weekend to sign up! For $25, you can taste the 2006, 2007, 2012 and 2013 Silkens. The 2013 Silken will also be available that weekend to purchase for $55.25 (Winemaker’s), $52.00 (Innovator’s) and $48.75 (Case Clubs).

To enjoy

We also will have live music Friday and Saturday nights. And, our complimentary five-hole putting green.

It’s a great time to Be Thankful Together complete with lots of festive cheer!

Perfect Thanksgiving Recipes

Spice up your Turkey Day recipes with a few favorites from our Harvest Weekend! Below are a few recipes to recreate at home.
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Wilted Kale and Butternut Squash Salad 

1/2 cup aged balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoon whole seed mustard

2 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon truffle salt

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cumin

1  teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cup olive oil

1 butternut squash ,pealed and cubed

1 bunch kale, cleaned and chopped

1 cup pistachios

1 cup dried figs, chopped

Directions- preheat oven 450′, mix vinegar, garlic and spices, whisk in olive oil.  In large bowl pour 1/2 of the dressing, add chopped squash and mix so the squash is coated, add squash flat on baking sheet, salt and bake 15min (depending on size of squash check to see if done with a fork).  While squash is cooking, using same bowl that squash was in, add chopped kale, pistachios and figs. Add dressing slowly to not over dress and massage kale with fingers so it begins to break down.  Add warm squash over kale mixture and let sit 5 min so kale wilts.  Toss right before serving.

Enjoy with our Silken!


 

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Dark Chocolate Baklava

1 box filo dough, defrosted

1 1/2cup honey

1 1/2 cup water

3 cinnamon sticks

1 bag (16oz) cocoa nibs

1 bag (16oz) bittersweet chocolate pieces

16oz hazelnuts, toasted and cooled

16oz butter, melted

Directions- melt butter, in food processor chop hazelnuts and chocolate, in 9×13 pan line 1 sheet of filo dough and brush with butter, continue this until you have 8 layers.  Add 1/3 of nut and chocolate mixture, layer filo and butter for 4 more layers, add another 1/3 of hazelnut chocolate mixture, another 4 layers of butter and filo, remaining hazelnuts chocolate mixture and finish with 8 layers of filo and butter.  Let sit 25min room temperature. Preheat oven 350′  In saucepan add water, honey, nibs and cinnamon sticks. Bring to boil and then remove heat and let sit for 30min. Strain into bowl so you have a dark chocolate cinnamon syrup.  Slice baklava in squares and then diagonally to make a triangle (makes 24)  Place in oven 25 minutes on 350 uncovered, then turn heat to 300′ and bake 50 minutes. Remove from oven and ladle syrup on top, let sit 2hrs before serving.

Enjoy with our Cabernet Sauvignon!

 

1220 Park Street

It’s crazy to think the day has finally arrived that we would be saying goodbye to our Downtown location at 1220 Park Street next Monday (August 13th). We have spent months and years dreaming, planning, and developing our new tasting room that the time has finally come to move into our new place, which is exciting and surreal! But I cannot do this without reflecting on our Downtown home of 7 years.

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I remember texting Ethan, the evening before our first official date, to see if he wanted to help me drop off items for the tasting room we were slated to open in a month. It marked the first time hanging out with my future husband and spending time in the tasting room at 1220, but little did I know that this spot would be the location of so many memories not just for us, but for others too.

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We have been a spot for vacationers and honeymooners. We have seen engagements and acts of valor. We have watched as friends catch up and family members reunite. We have sat many times in conversations that have lasted hours and taken photos with new friends. We’ve seen and heard the quaintness of our small town like the hula hooper in the alley, the bagpipe playing in the park, the check ins from the twins, Brian and Steven, and the daily hellos from Happy, the friendly dog. I could go on and on of all the things that have taken place at 1220 Park Street in Downtown Paso Robles, but there’s just not enough space to really capture this spot.

While the conversations turn to echoes that go faint to silent…all those memories will not be lost, but instead will carry on into our new home at 3590 Adelaida Road. They will be memories that will warm my heart and cause for a pause and a smile.

Thank you to all those who have become such wonderful friends and to the Downtown community for accepting us. We will miss you, but obviously, we’ll only be 10 minutes away!

Cheers to the location’s new occupants, our friends, Diablo Paso! We know this special spot will continue to be a place that creates memories.

Looking forward to seeing you all at our new tasting room!

-Cecily

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Vineyard: Flowering & Fruit Set

We finally experienced flowering and fruit set in the vineyard! It was a little slow this year as the temperatures have been up and down in Paso Robles, CA. We’ve been surprisingly cool, but this week is picking up to the 100 degree days. (not sure if I’m ready for the hot, hot heat yet!)
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Now that we’ve had the flowering and fruit set occur, what does that mean? It means a lot as this is the development of the fruit for the year! It’s a crucial time that occurs, after the leaf canopy’s growth begins and the calyptras appear. The calyptras (caps for short) look like itty-bitty green grapes, but actually they are just spheres holding the pollination parts and pollen. Many plants require pollination from bees, but vines are wondrous self-pollinators. The flowers have their own male and female parts.
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Once ready, the calyptra opens to show a pistil and stamens holding pollen. The pollen is softly transferred to the pistil slowly fertilizing it (it’s a slow dance, let’s say), which eventually produces seeds. These blossoms are not protected, which leaves them susceptible to weather elements such as gusty winds, hail, and extreme temperatures. It is a nail biter as these elements can “shatter” the outcome of the harvest in the fall. As mentioned in another blog, vines like consistent and slow developing temperatures, not extremes. This year (2018) has shown to be not perfect, but positive:
“Shatter happens when it gets too hot. Shatter also happens when temps get below 70 degrees and over 90 degrees. When the temps are below 70 and above 90 and it is too windy then pollination doesn’t occur very well. This photo shows that our crop is good, nice weight, and nice loose clusters. All in all, we have had only moderate shatter and a good fruit set so far.” – David Parrish
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So, now you’re probably wondering what shatter is. Shatter is when the clusters fail to develop to full maturity. Flowers can remain closed and therefore, unable to pollinate…meaning no berries. The vine is trying to preserve it’s carbohydrates because it becomes focused on staying alive against the elements. What this means is that there will be less clusters at harvest, which equals less production for the winery.
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Once flowering and pollination takes place, fruit set occurs.  This is when the fertilized eggs form seeds and pericarp tissues form a berry, kind of like an envelope around the seeds.  The berry’s size will be impacted by the number of seeds. A berry with no seeds is smaller and a berry with up to 4 seeds will be larger. The reason berry size makes a difference is if you have a cluster with various berry sizes, it is difficult on the ratio of skin to pulp for the winemaker.
A fully grown berry is 75% pulp, 20% skin, and 5% seeds. Pulp is essential for flavor and aroma in the wine. The main component is water and the second being sugar, which is vital for yeasts to eat during fermentation (creates alcohol). Skin is important for color, flavor, and aroma as well as the tannins, which will impact a wine’s texture and structure. The seeds also contain tannins. As you can see if you have a higher ratio of skin to pulp, this will mean a more tannic wine and that the winemaker may have issues with the fermentation process, which is important for alcohol to develop. On the flip side, if there is too much pulp (happens from too much water in the berry), this may impact color and flavor.
To avoid issues during fruit set, viticulturists begin thinking after the year’s harvest about the vine dormancy, root moisture, and soil health as these will impact the fruit for the next season. Pruning is also important for the new growth. Ultimately though, it does depend on the weather each year, but growers will do all they can outside of that factor.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into just the grape itself and it begins prior to even bud break. It is just a reminder that it takes a lot of work to get to the glass of wine.
Next up, the berries will begin to grow in size:
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Stay tuned for berry growth and soon, veraison, which is when the grapes turn color…my favorite time in the vineyard as I find it fascinating…well, I like it all, but veraison is really cool to see.
Cheers!
Cecily

Vineyard: Pollination Rows

A very beautiful, sustainable practice in the vineyard is pollination rows. This is something I just learned in the last year as my knowledge of this industry never stops growing, so I wanted to share about it as we are in the midst of spring time with lupin, mustard, and poppy covered hillsides.

Pollination rows are when we put in pollinating, native plants (wild flowers!) through out the vineyard. The mix we put down is allowed to grow for the majority of the season so the flowers can seed. This then becomes an open invite for beneficial insects such as the praying mantis and lady bug. These wonderful insects eat bad bugs such as aphids and spread the seeds into other rows of the vineyard. So, this creates an overall healthy environment for not only our vines, but the insects we love! Not to mention it’s absolutely beautiful. As you can guess this reduces our need for spraying, which always puts a smile on our vineyard manager’s face. The best part, since we’ve been doing this for years, is that it works very well. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Check out below the photos from last year that we submitted to the AG department. Thank you Linnea of our vineyard management company, Vineyard Professional Services, for sharing these!

Have a great Wednesday!

Cecily

Quick Fact: Did you know dust brings aphids into a vineyard (or crop)? That’s why we have signs on dirt roads that say speed limits in an attempt to control the dust. Aphids suck nutrients from a plant, which can stunt growth and wilt leaves. An infestation can create havoc and there’s only 4,000+ species of aphids. Cue the “More You Know” jingle.