Part 2 of 4 Posts. . .
It didn’t take long to get the Airstream settled in at Gregory Graham, especially since Greg agreed to back my trailer down the short grassy lane that terminated under the massive limbs of a walnut tree next to his Cabernet vineyard and adjacent to an 1,800 square foot guest house he’ll soon have available for rent. I really hate to back my Globe Trotter, particularly when other people are around. There is something particularly debilitating to one’s manhood when you fail to maneuver in a straight line in a single, sweet swing. I find it less of a blow to my ego to solicit help rather than to demonstrate my total incompetence, though in private moments while backing into a space at home, my rudimentary skills are beginning to surface.
I had an appointment for the early afternoon to meet with Matt Hughes, winemaker of Six Sigma Ranch and Winery, and it appeared to be less than 15 minutes away, so I headed straight over. The winery association’s map was a bit out of scale, so while I knew I was on the right road, my internal GPS taunted me that I had gone too far, especially when I passed Action Sanitary, a purveyor of portable potties.
No matter, I continued until a telltale vineyard appeared and I turned into Six Sigma’s 4,300-acre estate. Though there was no way I could miss the tasting room, I drove and drove and drove with my GPS alarm nagging again. Turns out it is a full two miles from the gate to the tasting room! This ranch is huge, clogged with massive trees and pierced by 38 miles of gravel roads and trails. Yet with all of this lavish space, there are just three vineyards comprising about 50 acres. . .leaving tons of room to grow and to support other agri-enterprises, such as raising beef cattle and sheep.
At the end of the day, though, this place is all about conserving a vast tract of Lake County. It is the private preserve of Kaj Ahlmann, former CEO of Employers Reinsurance, a part of GE Capital Services. At one time a board member of General Electric, Ahlmann was born in Denmark and graduated from the University of Copenhagen where he earned an MA in mathematical statistics. Though now retired, he still travels most of each month fulfilling business commitments.Read More Post a comment (0)
Part 1 0f 4 Posts. . .
I awoke Saturday morning with sun blazing through the windows of my Airstream, where I was parked for three days at the Gregory Graham Winery in Lake County. Moose, my year-old Italian greyhound, was asleep under the comforter, and I had to basically boot him out of the trailer to do his business. He glared back at me standing between two rows of Cabernet vines with his ears pinned back against his skull, a sure sign he was not happy in the frigid morning air, but he peed none-the-less.
After making coffee, I had my second consecutive meal of Raisin Bran cereal with strawberries and sheep’s milk. Friday night I was prepared to cap a perfect day by grilling a steak to pair with a very nice Paso Robles Tempranillo from Four Vines called “Loco”, but a fierce wind storm erupted out of nowhere through the hillside passes surrounding Clear Lake just below the vineyard where the Airstream was parked under a giant walnut tree. Lighting the grill was not possible, so I discovered that the creaminess of the sheep’s milk, the crunch of the bran and the sweetness of fresh strawberries rouse the rich, dense fruit flavors of the Tempranillo. You should try it. . .not.
So, I can hear you thinking. . .of all the places to travel, what was Gary doing in Lake County? Good question, actually. I’ve driven Rte. 20 across the top of Clear Lake many times on my way to the coast, but other than stopping at Ceago Vinegarden, an interesting newer estate built from old Fetzer money, there wasn’t a hook to make me pull over. This stretch of road clinging to the lake reminds me of when I was a kid in Chicago, trekking up to Wisconsin and staying in a tiny, moldy cabin with my family. It was raw, primitive and uncomfortable; all I wanted to do was go home after the first damp night.Read More Post a comment (2)