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Iridesse Winemakers Give Wine…(Gasp!)…to their Kid!

Posted by oenophilus on February 15, 2008

European cultures have always introduced their children to wine early on. These children have learned that wine is a part of family life at table. They gradually added less wine to their water and soon they became parents who, in turn, did the same. I am of the opinion that these are families that produced kids with a much healthier attitude towards wine. I am not saying that there were no alcoholics in these families. I am not saying that these kids were immune to the call of binge drinking on Spring Break. What I do assert is that children who are introduced to wine at family dinners, have a better chance at enjoying wine as a normal, healthy part of life.

A while back, Tom Wark of FERMENTATION and the SWRA asked for our input in how we involve kids in the world of wine, which led to a contest for the cutest picture of a kid in a winery. All of this caught the attention of AP reporter Victoria Brett who followed the trail of blog comments back to my wife and me.

Several conversations later and a visit to our dinner table by an AP photographer, Victoria wrote her article. The article has already appeared in a few newspapers and blogs; Google gave me 46 relevant entries this morning! Try the link to the WRAL-TV5 website from North Carolina for a good posting and four great photos by AP photographer Eric Risberg. Victoria did a nice job of presenting the arguments and was able to synthesize our hours of conversation into a few sentences.

I look forward to the continuing conversation. It has been very lively over at Catavino as Gabriella led us in a discussion over the place of wine and winemaking in education. Be sure that you also check out the post and comments from RichardA, A Passionate Foodie. Alcohol is certainly a volatile topic (Sorry. Bad enology joke.) which can make for a minefield when we are in discourse from the point of winemakers, wine retailers, wine drinkers, and now as parents or those concerned for the welfare of children.

Again, read the AP article here and add your two glasses worth to the ongoing dialogue in the blogosphere. We all raise a glass to you!

photo by Eric Risberg, AP


Posted in From the Heart, Groove on this! | 8 Comments »

Goodbye and Hello – News of Death and New Life

Posted by oenophilus on September 26, 2007

It is with a very heavy heart that I share the news that our friend, Henry Lubke, has died.

While on a sales trip to the Baltimore market, I mentioned to Chip Lubke – Chateau Felice’s Maryland distributor – that we often took interns to help us with the Harvest. A few months later, Chip’s son Henry came to work with us at Chateau Felice to assist Genevieve and Tom van Camp with the 2006 Harvest. His competence, strength, eagerness, and gentleness quickly endeared him to all. Henry stayed on as a valuable member of the Chateau Felice team as Tom’s right hand in the cellar and recently enjoying the other side of the biz by working for our sister, Samantha in the Tasting Room. He was very excited to be a part of the wine industry, learning more and more under Tom’s wing and in his viticulture and enology studies; he had all the makings of a great winemaker. Even though Genevieve and I left Chateau Felice in November of last year, we enjoyed seeing Henry as part of the extended family. This loss has hit us all very hard. Our hearts go out to Henry’s parents, Chip & Jean, and to his sister, Laura and brother, Chase.

It seems very cliché to mention, but I must. It is so hard when you lose a friend who is 21 years old and, so very fundamentally, good. As we stumble around in shock, we all keep bringing up his qualities: kind, nice, gentle, funny, caring, supportive, responsible, hardworking…just good. I take solace in hoping that knowing Henry and having seen these qualities will help me become a better person. Goodbye, my friend.

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I also speak of Hello. Just two hours after I received the call from Samantha about Henry, I got a call from Genevieve’s mom, Úna, telling us that Gen’s sister Erin had finally given birth to a gorgeous little girl named Susanna Marie. We had been waiting for a few weeks now. Genevieve was in D.C. to be with Erin and her husband Jim for the birth…but Susanna was feeling all nice and comfy in mama’s belly. Genevieve came home after visiting for 10 days and still no baby. I am excited because I am an Uncle – a beautiful concept for an only child. I am happy because I love Jim and Erin very much and know how their hearts have swollen with love. I am thankful for the gift of family.

I look forward to the day, far in the future, when I will tell Susanna about our friend Henry and his example of goodness. Hello, little one.

Posted in From the Heart | 1 Comment »

A Good Friend Passes

Posted by Genevieve Rodgers-Llerena on August 29, 2007

FeliceIt is with great sadness that I sit down to write today. In reality, I’ve been putting it off for a few weeks. I was kinda hopin’ that someone would do it for me…which is hard when your company is composed of exactly 2 people. So it falls to me to share the bad news: Felice has passed away. There, I’ve said it. It’s ok to tear-up, I am.

For those of you who did not know her, Felice was our Black Lab – well actually a Labrador/Weimaraner mix (3/4 Lab – 1/4 Weimer to be exact). She was an exceptional dog with a great disposition, a love of balls, sticks (really anything that could be thrown by a human), a great swimmer (as long as the water was not clean), and a cookie fiend.

I got Felice when I first moved to Healdsburg in 1997 and was living on my parents property that would become Chateau Felice Winery. I like to think that the the winery was named for her, but it was, in fact, coincidental. Even after she and I moved to town she came with me to work every day. If you’ve ever been to Chateau Felice you’ve probably met Felice; she came to most of the events. The Harvest was Felice’s favorite time of year. She waited anxiously for the grapes to come in so she could eat the berries that fell on the ground, then sleep the rest of the day away in a sugar-induced coma. After an afternoon dip in a smelly, algae filled lake, her day would be complete.

Felice lost her battle to cancer on August 9th. Last December, she had surgery to remove a tumor that was interfering with her digestion, basically not allowing her to eat. The surgery went well. We hoped the worse was over. Maybe she would be cancer free. Maybe she would live for many more years. But, it was not to be. Last month she got dramatically worse and we knew the tumor was back. It was a tearful and difficult goodbye.

We’re still getting used to her not being here. It’s odd to come home and not have a happy dog waiting for me. Or to get in the car and not have to open the hatch for her to jump in. Our 4 year-old keeps trying to buy her cookies at our local coffee spot. (The Flying Goat makes their own dog cookies.) And I have to remind her that Felice has died. It sorta freaks out the person behind the counter. Patrick is plotting the next dog, Malia wants a rabbit. But, I think it’s going to be a little while. For now I think we’ll just remember her fondly.

A special thank you to the folks at Winery Dogs for giving us the photos from their book of our use. You can find Felice on pages 29 & 29 in Winery Dogs of Sonoma.

Posted in From the Heart | 4 Comments »