Friday, December 31, 2010

George, the cat who thinks he is a dog

George with Charlie
George with Rusty

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Matthew Inspired Christmas

Matthew and Susan eating the wild mushrooms that he gathered around the ranch.

Merry Christmas from all of us at RustRidge. The mushrooms on display are growing all over the ranch.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Brilliant Colors of Fall

Fall is so beautiful in Chiles Valley.
Looking northwest

Looking southeast

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

End of the Harvest

The last grapes of the season are cabernet sauvignon.
Out in the vineyard picking the grapes
The final load of cabernet grapes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Zenyatta, a very special racehorse

Zenyatta, a very special horse, click to see the 60 Minutes segment on this undefeated mare and watch her in the Breeder's Cup Classic this weekend!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Topper pulls it off and everyone is a winner!

Christopher, Jim, Peter, Corey & Bill fanning their hundreds, yes, hundreds. Topper's odds were 27 to 1! They also won the daily double.
Topper leading the pack on Golden Gate Fields. The finish line is next to the red & white pole.

Topper's  endurance training on the ranch hills paid off.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Last of the Zinfandel

Miguel supervises the harvest of the Zinfandel.
Oscar helps bring in the grapes.
The colors of the season are most pronounced on the Zinfandel vines.

Holly enjoys a foggy fall morning before heading out to the vineyard.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Zinfandel Harvest

Tomorrow we will harvest the last of the Zinfandel grapes. They are my favorite because they are soooo sweet. After that we will pick the Cabernet Sauvignon and hopefully we will be done by the end of the week!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Eye on the Bay: Oct 12 & 13 Napa Valley Backroads

Hello, just wanted to let you know the “Eye on the Bay” episode featuring our road trip from St. Helena to Lake Berryessa will be airing on Tuesday 10/12 and Wed 10/13 at 7pm on Channel 5 (CBS) San Francisco.

Here’s a list of the places featured each night:

Part 1 (airs Tue 10/12)
Napa Valley Olive Oil Mfg
Pope Valley Garage
Aetna Springs
Hubcap Ranch

Part 2 (airs Wed 10/13)
Rustridge cont’d
Turtle rock
Peter Kilkus & Lake Berryessa
Monticello museum
Cucina Italiana
Zodiac history
Lake Berryessa Boat & Jetski

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Winemaking: From Bottling to Harvest

Wow! It sure is hot, how can they stand it?
It sure has been busy around here. It started with Jim and Susan's 20th anniversary party on September 18. Then we got ready for bottling.  On Saturday September 25th we got the wine filtered. Then we bottled it on September 27, which felt  like the hottest day of the year. Great people came to help: Scott, our neighbor brought his friend Eric, who is just back from a tour in Iraq; Mona, Yoga instructor and massage therapist extraordinaire; Tim our good friend, Fritz, our new friend, Isabelle, Chris and Claudia, Oscar, Julio, Jim and Susan were all there. After all of that, you would think we'd have a chance to rest, but no, Jim decided that we needed to start the harvest the following day. So we picked our Sauvignon Blanc before we had even cleaned up our crush equipment and checked it out. Well there is nothing like trial by fire, we got the crusher destemmer and must pump going just fine. It was the press that wouldn't work because the bladder was stuck in full press mode. After trying every button numeous times, Jim finally called the technician, who helped him discover that the evacuation pump was seized. Once Jim was able to free up the motor, we were able to start pressing the juice and get it into the tank.
I thought Jim needed a bit of encouragement.
It seemed like endless cases of wine kept going into the bottling truck...1709 to be exact.
The next day we set up the crush equipment and started harvest.
Miguel with the Sauvignon Blanc grapes
After two long days we had our classic  "RustRidge Evening" with the hills aglow in the reflection of the sun.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Training Topper in the vines

In the early morning, Jim trains his racehorse Topper's Smiling in the vineyards.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Evolution of a vineyard

Getting the soil ready for the new vineyard
 Staking the vineyard
Planting the vineyard
                  The new vineyard in the morning light

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sauvignon Blanc

The grape harvest is approaching and finally the weather is warming up so perhaps we won't have to pick in November. Last year was my first harvest and it was a blast. I am eagerly waiting to taste the Sauvignon Blanc which is our first grape to ripen each year. Sure hope the wild turkeys save us a few grapes....

Monday, August 9, 2010

What lives in the vine

When Catherine pulled the leaves away from the vine she found a bird's nest with newborn chicks living inside. This is a Zinfandel vine that is starting veraison (the onset of ripening, when the green color changes to red and the berry begins to soften)

Catherine and Soda Pop have a disagreement

He starts out lunging okay but then...
he decides that Catherine should be lunging as well so he decides to follow her lead...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Catherine wins the Trifecta

At 5:30 AM on Thursday, Jim and Catherine went to Golden Gate Fields to take care of our racehorse Topper's Smiling. Later they went to Santa Rosa to the Sonoma County Fair, to go to the  races. In the third race, Catherine went down to the paddock with Jim to look at the horses being saddled and she observed each one carefully then chose the horse to win, place and show. This is what Catherine told me: ""Saw Perfection" was the tallest horse with a broad chest for big lungs, large hind quarters and shoulders and his odds were 3-1.  Jim chose "Preach the Gospel", because the jockey is Topper's rider.  "Jaunty" was my second choice, because of his physique, although he was smaller than Saw Perfection." Jim placed their trifecta bet at the window then they went up to the stands and watched the race. Catherine then heard the announcer say "they're off." As the horses headed to the turn "we felt that Preach the Gospel was going to win but Saw Perfection pulled in front and then Jaunty pulled ahead of three horses to come in third." Catherine and Jim screamed with excitement while the other spectators looked on with amused curiosity!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Catherine is back!

Catherine is taking good care of us! She is also taking care of the other kids that are staying here!

Catherine spends a quiet moment with Charlie.