Dysfunctional Family Winery: Shelter in Place Delivery

May 8, 2020

Written by Ken Wornick

Backed by 20+ vintages and many dozens of wines produced, Ken is a Sonoma-based wine consultant and founder of Sonocaia Estate Vineyeards, Dysfunctional Family Winery and Hydeout Sonoma.

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What can a winemaker do to ease the shelter in place burden? Hand deliver wine, of course. Members of our growing ‘Dysfunctional Family’ wine community receive their bottles of wine, sometimes in a direct handoff, sometimes over the fence. This was in early April 2020 before masks and gloves! And it’s also a photo travelogue of sorts from around Sonoma. Enjoy:

In other ranch and grape news around Sonoma Valley…

Cherie with drone bee

Renowned beekeeper and Hydeout Sonoma neighbor Chere Pafford finds a large drone honey bee napping on our driveway. A drone is a male bee that is the product of an unfertilized egg. Drones have bigger eyes and lack stingers. They cannot help defend the hive and they do not have the body parts to collect pollen or nectar, so they cannot contribute to feeding the community. The drone’s only job is to mate with the queen. Link: Sonoma Honey Bees

Baby turkey chick 2

From the first clutch of wild turkey babies this season, we saw this one (and its 8 siblings) hiding in the brush under an olive tree waiting for its mother to return to collect them all. It’s not safe for them to wander around in the open while the Red Tail hawks are around. Link: all about wild turkeys


Bud break at the Dysfunctional Family estate vineyard, just after mowing the yellow mustard which had gone to seed. We’ll be launching our ubiquitous Dysfunctional Family wines – a Sagrantino-based ‘Estate Reserve’ and the Sonoma Valley ‘Red Blend’ –  just as soon as the County lets us convert the old white barn into a functional winery. That story will be told in it’s entirety some day…

Client Steve R

Client and friend Steve R. brings out the big gun (his old but very well maintained Kubota with the rear excavator attachment) to help us locate an irrigation supply line in his vineyard. He’s growing Cab Franc and Merlot here on Sonoma Mountain. Steve’s “Octagon” Morning Mountainside label is only available directly from the estate.

Entertainment provided by Jock McDonald

Famed photographer and Sonoma friend Jock McDonald makes an appearance dressed as if there was end-of-the-virus party. But no, we were just social distancing. Thankfully, it didn’t end up like the pre-virus visit with Jock naked in the pool and the rest of us trying not to look! Hah. https://www.jockmcdonald.com


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  1. Peggy Economos

    Loved this Ken!
    Miss our time at Cycle class together Sooooo much.
    A virtual hug sent your way.

  2. Holly Bennett

    Wonderful read- we were so happy to have visitor early on SIP. Very thoughtful. It was so hard to not hug u. We r so lucky to live in a community with caring dear friends and especially ones that make great wine. Thank you.

  3. Simon Blattner

    Very enjoyable, I wonder where I went wrong not to get a taste of what must be your great wine (whine) . You are a good writer, pretty funny, I will skip the hug but miss you guys. Very clever.

    • Ken Wornick

      Thank you Simon, really appreciate the kind words. Hugs to you all from afar.

  4. Sharon Knight

    Always fun to read and even more fun to see photos of dear friends. We enjoyed a bottle of your wine the other night and it was fantastic. Happy Mother’s Day to Cynthia.

    • Ken Wornick

      Love that you loved it, thanks for the shout out!

    • John Spears

      Great to see your smiling face Mr. Wornick. Love reading the updates from the Hydeout.

  5. Margaret Scarbini

    Not gonna lie, offended you excluded me. I guess it wasn’t a family friendly photo…

    • Ken Wornick

      Ya know we scoured our phones, called you to inquire if you had a copy, aggravating; can’t figure out where in the heck that photo went? As I recall, you were just exiting the hot tub and my daughter didn’t think it was rated PG, remember?…

  6. Sally

    How far do you deliver?

    • Ken Wornick

      In 8 months, we’ll be licensed for all places where Sally617 lives!

  7. Duck

    “A drone is a male bee that is the product of an unfertilized egg. Drones have bigger eyes and lack stingers. They cannot help defend the hive and they do not have the body parts to collect pollen or nectar, so they cannot contribute to feeding the community. The drone’s only job is to mate with the queen”.

    This is very helpful Kork. Now I understand why my wife calls me “Drone”. Who knew?

    • Linda

      Do you deliver to Bama?! ?

  8. Wendy

    Thank you so much for our delivery…..oh wait……ummmm…..

    • Ken Wornick

      Gotta pay to be in this family, I gotta pay the mortgage somehow…

  9. Mark Lindemuth

    I want to be drone honey bee! What a life, mating with the queen, napping in the driveway…

    • Ken Wornick

      You sir shall work like a drone until all of your tasks are complete…completion date uncertain!

  10. Nick

    Ken – dear gosh you skunked Petaluma!! Next year if you have a brooding hen, slip a wild turkey egg under her. She will raise you a not so wild turkey. And did you say bees? Wind me up! The drone is possibly put to work without even noticing it – they help dehydrate the nectar. Before becoming honey – it arrives in the hive close 80% or so water and must be brought down to 18% before they cap it (otherwise it can ferment and will not store). We will start seeing the hives cull the drones ones the homely flow and matting season ends and then all of them as they prepare the hives for winter.
    Love these notes from you.
    The Cab and oaks are looking very happy.
    Yours in dirt

    • Ken Wornick

      Nick –
      Would love to play that trick with a broody hen, but all the turkey eggs hatched before I could find them. Great idea though! I saw the mamma this am, but no sign of the babies. Hopefully the hawks didn’t get ’em all.
      Terrific bee hive info as always. Your ranch, farm, and bee commentary is most welcome and encouraged.

  11. Graham

    Ken – you get around (get around round round you get around). Thanks for the delicious wine!

  12. Elaine

    What a delight your blog is! Right up there with the delicious wine 🙂

  13. Bob Berg

    One of your best posts yet, Ken! Good read, good photos, and good god, the coat and pants Jock is wearing…as only he can.

    • Ken Wornick

      Indeed, good god is right, only Jock could pull off that outfit…

  14. NANCY

    Such fun to visit past neighors albeit
    from a distance. I’m sending this blog
    to my grandson, Nathan, who is in the
    bee hive business plus his own
    take care and stay well.
    Prosit !


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