Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The 2009s are shaping up nicely and so are the labels! A very fine graphics professional is working on this as a trade. Seems like we are doing more trading than before, trading houses for vacations, trading skills, trading ideas.  I like it a lot. Still, this has me wondering whether this is good or bad? Is the US turning rapidly into a society that will soon look much more like a developing nation? I have always loved turning garages and barns into housing. I love mopeds, home gardens & pea patches, and fixing things myself or learning to fix them with the help of my friend, Bob. But will our self-image adapt so that, as materialism declines, we retain the American optimism that I so much love? I digress.

Labels. From the start, "Boginvilla" was suggested umpteen times for the name of our winery...long ago crossing the line between clever and banal.  I was thinking to keep things simple and classy, with just minimal writing on the BOGIN label.  But I was rightly trumped as everone loves the draft labels that are celebrating the land with some views to the horizon.  So, now it looks like BOGIN wine will also display a sense of Grape Hill.

Four wines are aging now, ahead of blending in a year.  We have "Liliana", a complex cabernet build from multiple yeast fermentations out from the single block from Little Vineyard.  The Twins, Shane, a Cab-dominant blend with syrah and Connor, a Syrah-dominant blend with cab. The Walla Walla Bing Bang, the unoaked fruit bomb 100% Syrah.

At some time in the future I can see that we might make a right-bank blend of cab franc and merlot.  Thinking that these kids of ours will need to bring some of their own energy into the mix if the vineyard is to expand.  Let's see how their palates and inclinations unfold...I may also put in some petit verdot and malbec, but we'll let the future evolve on its own.  It takes four vigilant years after planting to pick worthwhile fruit.  So, that leaves us likely a decade out from these new objectives. I'll be 51 in 2010. Since it is going to take a good four more years before the right bank blend (55), and since I really like my merlots at least ten years old (65+), our 21 year olds will be 35 and Liliana will 32 before we are cracking those bottles...

Friday, December 25, 2009


With temperatures warmer than expected, as high as 55 during the days and only just below freezing at night, it has been very comfortable at Grape Hill this week.  The winter wheat is showing green across the north fields.  The vineyard fence was covered with more tumbleweed than I have seen ever before...spent lots of time on Tuesday pushing out maybe 800 cubic feet of these, leaving them to head for Waitsburg with the next strong wind blowing through.  Quiet and uneventful, with no jobs or chores on my plate. Sue and I had nice meals at jimgermanbar and at Brasserie Four, with some great pastrami sandwiches from the new Graze restaurant on Colville Street.  High recommendation!  Stopped at a field with more pheasants than I have ever before seen congregating all in one spot...plenty of roosters along with a couple dozen hens and lots of quail, too.  So many people in town!  Full restaurants, no parking spots, good business in the tasting rooms that were open.  Very nice to see that business is looking healthy.  On the way over we stopped at Airfield Winery in Prosser after driving past it for the past couple years.  A very impressive run of about 15 or more different wines and not a stinker in the bunch...everything was pleasant at the very least and many were quite good.  Turns out that all around Airfield is a fairly new winemaking center with about a dozen new facilities and tasting rooms.  We checked out Bunnell Family Winery and will definitely be back there for lunch stops on our way to and from Grape Hill.  The foods looked attractive and carefully constructed, the setting was warm and pleasing, and the wines are serious.  They are focusing on Rhone blends and seem to be hitting their stride...deep concentrations, powerful flavor profiles with nice consistency across the entire palate and good harmony.  Perhaps they could bring the acids up a tad, but the oaking is under control and the grapes are top flight.  It is such a joy to see more and more grenache, cinsault, mouvedre...Washington is producing impressive varietals across the board, it seems.  As we were leaving Grape Hill I went and cleaned out the recycling.  Another hoard of empty bottles from prior Guests.  Maybe I will make note of the empties next year.  Impressive!  We must have had at least eighty bottles this year...nearly every top NW vintner was represented, plus some nice Italian and French wines, too.  Lots of fun being had, no doubt!