This year is our 10th year or 10th Anniversary of our backyard Syrah vineyard at our home, Domaine de Manion. I remember the day vividly, April 1, 2006, when our entire Vineyard Production & Management Class (Mira Costa College) of 20 people enthusiastically helped us plant nearly 300 bare root grapevines. Initially a landscape solution I dreamed up, as our family and friends can attest it has turned into so much more.
Vineyards are a lot of work, filled with commitments and year-long timetables, not just a romantic lifestyle. John and I took many classes, workshops, and seminars to educate ourselves on our vineyard and winemaking adventure. Some grape growing years were better then others. Some vintages better than others. Although grapevines are like weeds, they can be a magnet for disease, pests, and are sensitive to weather surprises.
As we became more confident with our vineyard and winemaking we started entering amateur wine competitions, beginning with San Diego and Orange County Fairs, and recently the California State Fair in Sacramento. We have bought different grape varietals from Baja and Sonoma County to experiment and blend with our Syrah.
Through all of the years and accolades, John has emerged as a talented winemaker. I add my two cents, labor, and tasting notes, but it is John who puts his signature on all of our wines. Wine- making is a balance of science and art. It is true, a winemaker has a distinct style which comes through in their wines. John creates bold wines, smooth, chewy, sometimes spicy, and with a long finish.
We recently received the unexpected Home Wine Judging Results from the 2016 California State Fair, and more fair results should trickle in by early summer. Entering the "Dry Red Division" we received Double Gold, Best of Class for our Merlot, Silver for our Syrah, and Gold for our Merrah (a magical combination of Merlot and Syrah.)
The best part of making our wine is sharing it with family and friends. We are grateful for all who eagerly help us harvest and bottle each year. Hail to my husband, John, the Winemaker!