After religiously posting every month for several years, it’s been nearly five months since I last posted.
Below are some brief stories about farming, the Sonoma Int’l Film Festival Summerfest, and a local Rodeo.
In the next few Sundays, we’ll look at Sagrantino through the lens of our trip to Umbria Italy. Then we’ll have a look at a professional blind Sagrantino tasting. And after that, a look at the 2022 harvest. Enjoy…
Farming in summer
By late summer, our Sagrantino vineyard can be a bit of a sprawl as the long days and warm weather inspire a growth spurt in canopy and shoot length. Not only unsightly, it also tends to shade the fruit from sun and trap air movement. So a clean up is in order.
After shoots are trimmed and positioned into the canopy wires, and lower leaves are removed around the fruit zone on the north facing side of each row, the vines are now well positioned to ripen fruit late into the fall.
Sonoma International Film Festival – Summerfest
One of the truly fun annual events in Sonoma is the Sonoma International Film Festival. Our next festival kicks off on March, 22-26 in 2023. Meanwhile, the Festival held a weekend-long “Summerfest” in early August with films during the day and films and dinners and parties at night. Here is a quick look:
Summerfest started with a grand launch at the Sebastiani Theater.
An outdoor film screening, food trucks, and fabulous wine – on the lawn at Chateau St Jean Winery
Sit down dinner and a movie – “screen and cuisine” – at the Hanna Boys Center. The movie, a biopic of noted chef and restauranteur Charlie Trotter, was moving, controversial, and entertaining.
Before dinner service, the crowd celebrated the five chefs and their wonderful and creative menus
The complete menu from the nights event, along with wine pairings, and key sponsors
Buy your tickets now for next spring’s Film Festival, March 22-26, a totally “walkable” festival on the square in Sonoma town – https://sonomafilmfest.org
Rodeo at Wing and Barrel
Seems like there is nothing more all-american than a rodeo, especially when it starts with someone jumping out of any airplane with a giant American flag, and sticking the landing right in the middle of the paddock!
The event was held at Wing and Barrel, set on a 1,000 acre hay ranch few minutes south of Sonoma. W&B is a membership facility designed with a hunter’s sensibilities and a connoisseur’s palate “catering to discerning sportsmen, women and their families.”
The Rodeo got started with a roundup of the horses into the large corral. All of the cowboys and cowgirls were gathering their gear, stretching out, and getting ready to compete.
The action lasted all afternoon. Incredible talent that can only be developed when you spend your childhood, or a lot of time, or both, around horses. Photo credit: local Sonoma artist and photographer Jock McDonald https://www.jockmcdonald.com
Our group of rodeo clowns, during a stop at the Wing and Barrel bar, heading out to the rodeo. Our generous hosts, Jon and Christine Curry, 3rd and 4th from left.
Enjoying some Dysfunctional Family Winery rosé, and beer, and tequila
In the next few Sundays, we’ll look at Sagrantino through the lens of our trip to Umbria Italy. Then we’ll have a look at a professional blind Sagrantino tasting. And after that, a look at the 2022 harvest.
This is where I try to convince you to be entertained for a few minutes with little bits of fun from Sonoma –
Blind Tasting: 2013 Napa Valley Cabernets and 2020 Sauvignon Blancs from 5 Countries
Many thanks to friend and colleague, Keith Casale, who helped launch this inaugural tasting event at the Hydeout Sonoma. Also, thanks to Lisa Lavagetto for the delicious catering effort.
Sonoma Int’l Film Festival – 25th Anniversary
Opening night of the 25th anniversary of the Sonoma International Film Festival. Here, in Sonoma’s art deco Sebastiani theatre, artistic director Kevin McNeely interviews the “Lost City” film’s directors, brothers Adam and Aaron Nee. This was the film’s premiere, featuring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum (with a hilarious cameo by Brad Pitt) and the audience were roaring in their seats. One of the very best events in wine country, the festival runs over 5 days, 7 venues, dozens of fantastic films, and endless food and wine.
The new leadership of the Sonoma Int’l Film Festival for the 26th year: L to R, Kevin McNeely (Artistic Director), Bob Berg (Chair of the Board) Jon Curry (Immediately. Past Chair of the Board), Ken Wornick (Vice-Chair of the Board)
Sonoma grapevine bud break – 2022
What a cliché – bud break in wine country. And yet it is truly the annual renewal of life after a welcome and much needed cold rainy winter.
New arrivals – over 30 new chicks who will grow up to be egg producers of the team of Dysfunctional Family Chickens
Video – Hydeout Sonoma welcomes a new batch of very cute Dysfunctional Family Chickens
Five of us from Sonoma rode in the 75th anniversary of the Desert Caballeros horseback ride in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. 100 miles in 5 days, sleeping under the stars at night.
Video: check out this video of 160 horses riding into the Sonoran Desert
Rain! After two atmospheric rivers in late Fall, it seemed the rain would never return. But in early April, a series of storms rolled through Sonoma. Here, the Hydeout weather station was so shocked by it all, it displayed 10.24 inches rain in an hour. Repairs are in order. But still, rain in any amount is welcome.
Learn about and order our wines here: Dysfunctional Family Winery – rosé and red blends
Legacy of Zinfandel in California – the Sawyer/Casale tasting panel
Generously hosted by Don Sebastiani in his home cellar, and curated by 3Badge/Gehricke CFO Keith Casale and well known Sonoma Sommelier Christopher Sawyer, we tasted our way through ten carefully aged 20-30 year-old California Zinfandels. The panel participants spanned across Sonoma grape growers, winemakers, and wine industry and media experts. The entire tasting was blind which inevitably lead to informed and wild guesses about appellation, vintage, producer, style, and so on. Click HERE to see the list of wines and vintages in the lineup.
Carefully and quietly tasting each wine, taking time to reflect and make careful notes. On the left side of the table, front to back – Wilfred Wong (Wine.com), Keith Casale (CFO, 3Badge, Gehricke), Rebecca Robinson (Executive Director of ZAP), Mark Dommen (Chef – One Market Restaurant), Dan Berger (Vintage Experiences). On the right side of the table, front to back – Jeff Cohn (Cohn Cellars), Gillian Balace (Treasury Wine Estates), Chris Morisoli (Morisoli Vineyard), Tres Goetting (Biale Vineyards), Mike Hendry (Hendry Vineyard), Dr. Liz Thach (Master of Wine). Don Sebastiani (at the head of the table).
Sommelier Chris Sawyer reveals the names, vintages, and histories of each of the ten wines. Fascinating discussion followed. These old Zins mostly showed to be very long lived and is a testament to the skill of the winemakers back in the 1990’s. Most of the wines really held up despite their age, showing soft tannins, crisp acidity, and surprisingly fresh fruit; these traits are perhaps the hallmark of long-lived Zinfandel, California’s most “native” variety. Christopher will be collating the tasting notes and will be publishing the results soon.
Click HERE to see the list of wines and vintages in the lineup.
A not-to-be-missed event in Sonoma, the SummerFest film festival is loaded with great films, wine, food, music, and fun. Tickets to this party are going fast. Click here to buy tickets and join the party
The SummerFest mini-festival is not to be missed. The event features 40 narratives, documentaries and short films from 15 countries screening in person at Sebastiani Theatre and Andrews Hall (at the Sonoma Community Center) all weekend, two outdoor winery screenings with live music, and SIFF Screen & Cuisine, a dinner, live music and film special events.
Sonoma Int’l Film Festival Artistic Director Kevin McNeely serves a very bountiful breakfast at his hillside home above Sonoma town to his new SIFF board V.P. (that would be me). Kevin is the man behind the curtain at the festival and a wonderful leader who expertly guides the festival staff and cheerfully greets all festival guests.
Jack London State Park – a gala donation dinner event
Another Sonoma treasure, Jack London State Park is packed with history, hiking and biking and horse trails, and historic buildings. In early June, a small group of friends gathered for a private dinner hosted by park staff. In luxury SUV’s, our group of ten was ushered to near the top of the park, just short of the summit 4.5 miles from the parking lot at 2,464 feet. We hiked the hilariously easy last 100 yards (seen here) to the top and enjoyed bubbles, rosé, and views of the Sonoma Valley. Then we walked back down to the cars where we found tables set up for a very thoughtfully prepared meal. After a couple of hours of food and fun, we drove half way back down the hill to a clearing and watched a stunning moon rise. And all for a good cause. Next up – click here for tickets to the upcoming Jack London State Park gala.
A group of Jack London Sate Park supporters arrives at the top of Sonoma Mountain after an exhausting 100 yard walk to the top.
In the wee hours well after dinner, the group settles in to watch the full moon rise from a clearing in the park. This photo was taken in complete pitch-blackness with an old iPhone and the photographer disavows any responsibility for the appearance of the participants.
A local Sonoma men’s group affectionally known as the “Choir” enjoyed a night of ‘practice’ with a tequila tasting generously hosted by one of our winemaker members. 123 Spirits founder David Ravandi presented the tequila lineup. The tasting took place in an old “Turkey Barn” just across the street from the world-wide headquarters of Dysfunctional Family Winery.
Left to right, Blanco (1), Reposado (2) , Añejo (3) – part of the 123 Spirits tequila lineup. Behind the bottles, yours truly Ken Wornick on the left (with maybe a bit too much sun), and David with the hat.
123 Spirits founder David Ravandi explaining how he manages his farming and agave fermentations.
As is standard protocol, the faces of “Choir Practice” members have been blurred to maintain an air of confidentially. The group placed a lot of orders and nearly drained his current inventory.
More wine country news from Sonoma – barrel tasting, interviews, new oak barrels, etc…
In front of a stack of Hydeout Sonoma and Dysfunctional Family Winery barrels, we are barrel sampling the inaugural 2020 vintage of the Keating Family “Quail Run” Cabernet Sauvignon, scheduled for release in September 2022.
Jan Keating, artist and art educator, taking notes in discussion for the family’s “Quail Run” estate Cabernet
The entire Wornick family for my dad’s 89th birthday and mom’s 85th birthday – mom and dad front center, with brothers, wives and kids; celebrated on the Bay and at the Ballpark, this group represents the completely unsuspecting inaugural members of the original dysfunctional family.
Thank you for reading another installment of the Dysfunctional Family Winery blog, sincerely, Ken