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!