Friday, February 19, 2010

Eyed by an eagle.

Today is Vinomaker's birthday. Whoo hoo!
As a birthday treat, I arranged for a tour and tasting at Stagecoach Vineyards. We both have enjoyed Krupp Brothers wines for some time now (especially Black Bart's Bride a viognier blend) however, it was the vineyard itself that I was particularly interested in touring. With 500+ acres planted high along the eastern edge of the Napa Valley, Stagecoach Vineyards can boast the largest mountain planting in the county.
Vinomaker and I were greeted by a very pleasant young woman who was to be our guide on the drive through the vineyard. As we passed by vine variety after vine variety, our guide recalled the history of the area and regaled us with tales of the abundant wildlife in this almost sanctuary like setting. The first settlers were Germans who had cleared the chaparral, on what was indeed an old stagecoach route, to plant their own grapevines. Sharing this rugged land with the winegrowers are many wild animals including; bobcats, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes. Around last harvest time she herself encountered a lone black bear, hungrily eyeing the ripening grapes.
Standing on a rocky outcrop, overlooking Oakville on the valley floor below was a bit of a thrill for me, I have to tell you, but the highlight of the tour was undoubtedly happening upon a Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), it's feathers a wash of gold. Perched atop a 20 foot pole (erected for that purpose I believe), this magnificent creature was totally unperturbed as Vinogirl moved very close and snapped away below him. I suppose if I was at the top of my particular food chain and had a 7 foot wingspan, I too would be unconcerned with the noisy oddity below me.
Happy birthday Vinomaker!


Vinomaker said...

As much as I can just appreciate the wine, I am in awe of the tenacious grapevines that struggle with their habitat in order to produce the grapes. If you could see the variety of seemingly inhospitable landscapes in which they grow, such as this vineyard in the bountiful Napa Valley, you would appreciate the final product even more. The environment is much more challenging than the eagle who really has no interest in grapes unless they are in the paw of a potential meal. Here's to the success of the grapevine!

Sip with Me! said...

As impressive as your visit to Stagecoach is, I'm in awe of your photograph of the majestic eagle… simply stunning. I've been trying to get hawk photos every time I'm in wine country and they always sense me nearby and fly away. You've inspired me to keep trying. Happy Birthday to Vinomaker!

Thud said...

Outstanding shot. Tell Vinomaker the girls and I owe him something nice.

Wartime Housewife said...

I'm at the top of my food chain and no-one stalks me with a camera.

Fab pic VG.

Affer said...

All I could think of was (ex) Mrs Affer 2......although on reflection, she was more 'Coragyps atratus'.

Vinogirl said...

VM: They are wonderfully resilient plants.

Sip with Me: Welcome to Vinsanity. The vineyard was fabulous but the little dicky bird stole the show.

Thud: I had the camera ready...for a change!

WH: I'm a little frightened, I think!

Affer: Ouch! Check out mu next post.

Do Bianchi said...

Happy belated birthday Vinomaker! And, here, here, here's to the success of the grapevine (I'll most definitely drink to that!).

Seriously, hope you had a swell birthday celebration... :-)