Vintage 2016 Harvest

Vintage 2016 Harvest

This morning we picked grapes for the Vintage 2016 harvest at Flat Creek Estate winery. There were about 21 volunteers who picked about 8 tons of Syrah and Sangiovese grapes from 30 rows. We arrived while it was still dark at 6 am so that  we would be ready to start picking at sunrise when it started to be light enough to see the grapes.

We were provided harvesting instructions by the owners and wine maker, along with coffee and granola bars. About half-way through the picking the chef brought out breakfast tacos and watermelon for everybody during out break, along with the water and Gatorade that was available under a tent. Here are my photos.

These are Sangiovese vines where we picked in Helen’s block (named after an owner’s mother). We started further to the left with Syrah.

This is a photo down one of the rows after most of these had been picked, although you can still see some on the right.

This is what it looked like with some of the volunteers that were working these rows. We have a picking buddy to work in pairs on both sides of the vines so that we make sure everything is picked. A small Kubota pickup drives up and down collecting filled buckets in 1/2 ton containers. It was amazing how many grapes we harvested in only four hours.

The Sangiovese grapes tend to be fairly large and hang in heavy clusters making it easier to snip them from the stems. Other grapes like Pinot Grigio, which we have picked before, are very small in tight clusters that grow very close the vine. Of course, you need to be careful that you don’t cut yourself with the clippers, and it’s a good idea to wear gloves.

Here’s a closer shot that shows some of the grapes hanging from the vine ready to be picked. There is netting covering the vines to protect the grapes from birds which has to be raised to allow picking.

Here you can see the grapes a little closer and notice how the stems are fairly easy to snip with one hand so you can simply catch a whole cluster when it drops into your other hand.

This is another shot that shows the grapes with some sunlight behind them so their color is more visible.

And this is a closeup of a grape cluster.

After we finished our picking we were treated to a mimosa in the Tasting Room (before it opened for the day) made from their Sparking Raspberry Wine mixed with Orange Juice.

All the volunteers will be able to attend a free Harvest Dinner (with wine, of course) prepared by the chef later in August in the Bistro, where they have many events.

We have been doing this for many years now and it’s always a fun experience. It’s great to help out and later enjoy the grapes we picked when the wine is finished, bottled, and available.

SXSWfm: Austin Connection – Mar 8

SXSWfm: Austin Connection – Mar 8

Austin Connection is a twice-monthly SXSWfm specialty radio show stream, hosted by Nathan Lankford of Austin Town Hall, is now available on MixCloud. It focuses on indie rock, indie pop, rock, electronic, and Texas music.

SXSWfm_biggerSXSWfm is the official internet radio stream of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in Austin, Texas from March 15-20, 2016. This is a great way to discover new music.

Here is a brief description of his show.

Austin Connection is here to celebrate two great things: Austin music and SXSW. Over the years, the festival has given birth to a lot of great artists/musicians, but we wanted to make sure those in our own city didn’t go overlooked. It looks back at some of the great acts that have graced our city, while also looking forward to the sounds that are shaping the Live Music Capital of the World.

Austin Connection #5 (03/8/16) – 1 hr

This episode features tracks by Night Drive, The Ugly Beats, Annabelle Chairlegs, Troller, Colin Gilmore and more.

SXSWfm: Austin Connection – Feb 29

SXSWfm: Austin Connection – Feb 29

Austin Connection is a twice-monthly SXSWfm specialty radio show stream, hosted by Nathan Lankford of Austin Town Hall, is now available on MixCloud. It focuses on indie rock, indie pop, rock, electronic, and Texas music.

SXSWfm_biggerSXSWfm is the official internet radio stream of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in Austin, Texas from March 15-20, 2016. This is a great way to discover new music.

Here is a brief description of his show.

Austin Connection is here to celebrate two great things: Austin music and SXSW. Over the years, the festival has given birth to a lot of great artists/musicians, but we wanted to make sure those in our own city didn’t go overlooked. It looks back at some of the great acts that have graced our city, while also looking forward to the sounds that are shaping the Live Music Capital of the World.

Austin Connection #4 (02/29/16) – 51 min

Playlist

This episode includes the following artists and songs.

  • Built by Snow – All the Weird Kids Know
  • Sweet Spirit – Baby When I Close My Eyes
  • Moving Panoramas – One
  • Dana Falconberry and Medicine Bow – Dolomite
  • Jess Williamson – Blood Song
  • BOAN – Mentiras
  • Ramesh – Requiem
  • Plantation Band – True Colors
  • Monk Parker – Sadly Yes
  • Daniel Francis Doyle – What Do You Do With That
  • Tele Novella – No Excalibur
  • Hundred Visions – Embalmer’s Apprentice
SXSWfm: Austin Connection – Feb 15

SXSWfm: Austin Connection – Feb 15

Austin Connection is a twice-monthly SXSWfm specialty radio show stream, hosted by Nathan Lankford of Austin Town Hall, is now available on MixCloud. It focuses on indie rock, indie pop, rock, electronic, and Texas music (about an hour long).

SXSWfm_biggerSXSWfm is the official internet radio stream of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in Austin, Texas from March 15-20, 2016. This is a great way to discover new music.

Here is a brief description of this new show.

Austin Connection is here to celebrate two great things: Austin music and SXSW. Over the years, the festival has given birth to a lot of great artists/musicians, but we wanted to make sure those in our own city didn’t go overlooked. It looks back at some of the great acts that have graced our city, while also looking forward to the sounds that are shaping the Live Music Capital of the World.

Austin Connection #3 (02/15/16) – 50 min

This episode features tracks from The Sour Notes, A Sinclair, Bayonne, The Black Angels, Holy Wave and more.

SXSWfm: Austin Connection – Feb 1

SXSWfm: Austin Connection – Feb 1

Austin Connection is a twice-monthly SXSWfm specialty radio show stream, hosted by Nathan Lankford of Austin Town Hall, is now available on MixCloud. It focuses on indie rock, indie pop, rock, electronic, and Texas music (about an hour long).

SXSWfm_biggerSXSWfm is the official internet radio stream of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in Austin, Texas from March 15-20, 2016. This is a great way to discover new music.

Here is a brief description of this new show.

Austin Connection is here to celebrate two great things: Austin music and SXSW. Over the years, the festival has given birth to a lot of great artists/musicians, but we wanted to make sure those in our own city didn’t go overlooked. It looks back at some of the great acts that have graced our city, while also looking forward to the sounds that are shaping the Live Music Capital of the World.

Austin Connection #2 (02/01/16) – 59 min

This upload features tracks from Literature, Slugbug, Neon Indian, BOAN, Ghostland Observatory and more.

SXSWfm: Austin Connection – Jan 18

SXSWfm: Austin Connection – Jan 18

Austin Connection is a twice-monthly SXSWfm specialty radio show stream, hosted by Nathan Lankford of Austin Town Hall, is now available on MixCloud. It focuses on indie rock, indie pop, rock, electronic, and Texas music (about an hour long).

SXSWfm_biggerSXSWfm is the official internet radio stream of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in Austin, Texas from March 15-20, 2016. This is a great way to discover new music.

Here is a brief description of this new show.

Austin Connection is here to celebrate two great things: Austin music and SXSW. Over the years, the festival has given birth to a lot of great artists/musicians, but we wanted to make sure those in our own city didn’t go overlooked. It looks back at some of the great acts that have graced our city, while also looking forward to the sounds that are shaping the Live Music Capital of the World.

Austin Connection #1 (01/18/16) – 57 min

This episode features tracks from The Strange Boys, Abram Shook, Flatliner, Deep Time, Shivery Shakes and more.

Bella Vista Ranch

Bella Vista Ranch

For this Writing 101 assignment we were to write about one of four images (City at night, Map, Window, Mid-air jump) as the spark of our inspiration. I selected the Map since it was critical for a recent day trip so I thought I might do a travel post with some photos.

The Map

Without a Google Map to guide us into the Hill Country near Wimberley, Texas, we never would have found Bella Vista Ranch, where we wanted to taste their wines and olive oils.

Olives

There are over 1,200 olive trees in the orchard for First Texas Olive Oil Company, which were initially planted in 1998. The Texas Hill Country soil and weather is similar to the Mediterranean, and they have been successfully producing fresh olive oil using their own frantoio (olive pressing facility) every year since 2001.

IMG_7533  IMG_7537

Their olive oils include:

  • Texas Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresco Blood Orange Olive Oil
  • Alfresco Garlic, Basic & Perman Dipping Olive Oil
  • Afresco Lime Blended Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Alfresco Roasted Garlic Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Alfresco White Truffle Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Meyer Lemon Blended Extra Virgin Olive Oil

They also have various cured huge Sevillano olives stuffed with garlic, jalapeño, pimento, blue cheese, or combinations. Also available are raspberry, blackberry, fig & vanilla, or traditional balsamic vinegars. Additional offerings are blackberry, raspberry, or fig jams, as well as blackberry wine jelly, and raspberry chipotle sauce. Finally, there are spice pear, fresh mint, or good earth Virgin Soaps, which are a pure Castile soap containing olive oil as a base. They can also customize gift baskets for special occasions.

Vineyard

Their winery Bella Vista Cellars produces a range of Italian varietals, as well as blackberry wine. Here are some of the vineyards where they grow Viognier and Cabernet Franc. Available wines also include several blends: Texas Sunset, Texas Sunrise (dry rose), Dos Cabs, as well as Syrah. They have partnered with VinoShipper.com to process online orders. It’s very pretty out here in the hill country where they are located.

IMG_7538  IMG_7539

Tasting Room

They have a fairly small tasting room available where you can do tastings of both their olive oils and wines. They provide orchard tours and formal tastings on Saturday at 10am & 1pm, as well as Sunday at Noon ($15 fee). However these were not available on their Labor Day special opening.

After our tastings, we decided to purchase the Viognier wine and Blood Orange olive oil to take home to enjoy. Actually we enjoyed salmon drizzled with blood orange olive oil tonight for dinner. Of course, we’ll have to come back again for more.

IMG_7536    IMG_7545

Wimberley

IMG_7542We also stopped at Wimberley Square in the downtown, where there are many shops and restaurants. This large colorful decorated boot was just outside the Cypress Creek Cafe, where we decided to have lunch. Unfortunately, since it was very busy because of the Labor Day holiday, we had a long wait for our food to be served; actually somehow they lost our order ticket, but at least our lunch was free because of our inconvenience.

Maybe we would have had better luck at Wimberley Cafe right nearby on the square. There is the Ino’z Brew & Chew restaurant across the street next to Cypress Creek, although we didn’t know it at the time. Another option is Marco’s Italian Restatement & Pizzeria.

This was a very pleasant little afternoon outing for the day. I had a fasting diabetes lab test in the morning, followed by breakfast tacos at Torchy’s Tacos. Then we thought it would be fun to take a little ride and visit one of the many nearby wineries. After considering several of the ones where haven’t been yet, we thought the it would be nice to try Bella Vista Ranch. That was a great choice, and we plan to visit again. If you’re in the area, check them out.


This was the Day 4 assignment “A story in a singe image” for the Blogging U. course Writing 101: Finding Everyday Inspiration, which provides writing prompts to “cultivate a daily writing habit and find inspiration in unexpected places”.

I hope you enjoy my blog and follow these daily writing assignments and other posts. Thanks for visiting today.