Tuesday, October 21, 2014

5 Questions with Artist Richard Von Saal

We asked Art Harvest #2 artist Richard Von Saal questions about himself, his work and passions. His pieces will be featured at the Patz & Hall Sonoma House until December 23rd!

When did you realize that art was your passion?

Since childhood I have been drawn to the patterns and distortional properties of materials. When I was three years old I was sitting on the curb of my street in Vallejo. The heat had melted the tar on the street so much it moved like clay. I pushed globs into mountains and made bubbles into futuristic dome homes, added some chunks of Ice plant and created a city. I’ve been doing the same since.

Why is expression through painting important to you?

Art is the only expression that has unlimited creative license that applies to all circumstances. The shapes and organizational movement I apply to my muse’s keeps me completely satisfied with every day, leaving not a moment mundane.

What or who is your biggest inspiration?

Ken Adams. He is such a suave designer with an eye for the impossible to become possible. His set designs on the 007 films still mesmerize me. Ken’s ideas are my greatest inspiration. His approach to space is incredibly sophisticated and ingenious. At 6 years old my life changed when I saw the sets of Goldfinger. The mid-century modern industrial fused glamour with a chauvinistic twinge.... delicious.

What are you working on now?

Working on a new winery near Calistoga and 22 other projects. All of the pieces are functional artworks for the winery pairing geometric movement with an array of salvaged metals. Another exciting project is a 1915 firehouse in San Francisco that I am designing into a north African resturaunt. One of the installations I will introduce to the space uses the fire pole as a 20 foot harp with 500 harp strings spiral graphing from the pole to the walls, all in tune with a hand carved horsetail wand to sweep the strings for the belly dancers cue.
Favorite wine, food and art pairing?

A drizzle of ginger soy infused wasabi over fresh cracked Dungeness crab stuffed rib-eye, C-Beck petit Syrah in a Bordeaux glass, sitting at a polished molten brass glob table in a room covered head to toe in mandarin script, and one red line on the floor.

We bring you Art Harvest in partnership with Reverie Arts San Francisco and LUXE Interiors + Design

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Take Five: 5 Questions with Deanna McElroy

Have you met our Executive Assistant Deanne McElroy? 

She took five minutes and answered our 5 questions...

1) How were you first introduced to Patz & Hall?

My first introduction to Patz & Hall was on winejobs.com

2) Where is your absolute favorite place to enjoy wine?

My favorite place to enjoy wine is at the ocean

3) Most memorable story of working with Patz & Hall?

Watching the Sonoma House completion and moving in was a very memorable experience for me

4) 2 truths and a lie about yourself

I have two amazing children
I am an avid skydiver
I live in Sonoma

5) All time favorite Patz & Hall wine?

Chenoweth Ranch Pinot Noir is my all-time favorite Patz & Hall wine, at least for the moment

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

2014 Fall Release Party: A Photo Diary

On Saturday, October 4th, we had our annual Fall Release Party!

This year featured:
2012 Hyde Vineyard – Carneros Chardonnay 
2012 Zio Tony Ranch – Russian River Valley Chardonnay  
2012 Hyde Vineyard – Carneros Pinot Noir
2012 Chenoweth Ranch – Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
2012 Burnside Vineyard – Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

We had a fantastic time at the release party and wanted to share with you our photo diary of the event!

Photos: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Inside Harvest 2014: What Really Happens in the Vineyard

Harvest can seem like a mysterious process with its insider terms and midnight picking, so we’ll take you inside harvest 2014 with some videos and photos from our Moses-Hall Vineyard harvest a few weeks ago.

Our winemaker, James Hall, decides when the grapes are ready to harvest based on their flavor and brix (sugar) level.

Co-founder and Winemaker James Hall discusses harvest with
Colinas Farming Company VP and Vineyard Manager Chris Pedemonte

Trained pickers harvest the grapes using a special curved knife. They must identify the ripe and healthy clusters to harvest while moving incredibly quickly—not an easy task!

The grapes are dropped into small bins on the ground, which the worker kicks ahead of him as he moves down the row. When the bin becomes full, he runs it to the tractor, where a larger bin is waiting.

When the vineyard has been harvested of all its ripe grape clusters, the large bins are loaded onto a truck and taken to the winery, only 10 miles away.

Dumping grapes into 1 ton bins to take to the winery to be processed

At the winery the grapes will be sorted, de-stemmed, cold-soaked, fermented, aged in barrel and then bottled over the next 18 months.

Mystery solved!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

2014 is in the BARN!

Just as the clouds let loose this morning,  the last vineyard of the year - Gold Rock Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir, located in Annapolis, on the far Sonoma Coast - was being loaded onto the truck. 

We are officially done with Patz & Hall grapes for 2014!

The quality is exceptional. The Pinots are dark, full of mature, ripe tannins, fruity, complex and smelling really good. Whites are showing really nice aromas, full of sun drenched fruits. Really fetching! Acid levels were higher than normal.  

Once we started picking on August 19th with early Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, things kept rolling. Almost exactly one month, to the day! Not an easy task, but the cellar crew has been spectacular! A big shout of thanks to Alberto, Freddie, Pepe and the seasonal guys for a job well done! 

There is a particular satisfaction having the last fruit picked, literally, snatched, from under the rain- what a relief to have another very fine year in the barn.

Congratulations to everyone on an exciting, high quality vintage!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Inside Harvest 2014: Moses-Hall Vineyard

Last Friday we harvested Moses-Hall Vineyard, one of our favorite Pinot Noir vineyards in Carneros. The Pinot Noir vines here are 14 years old, planted to a mix of five clones, including two of the famous Dijon clones and James Hall’s favorite clone, Calera. The vineyard’s gravelly loam soil provides good drainage for the vines, one of the hallmarks of the Carneros region.
Moses-Hall Vineyard in Carneros AVA
It takes about 30 people—three crews of eight pickers, one tractor driver and one sorter—20 hours to pick the vineyard. In total, 18-20 tons are harvested from Moses-Hall Vineyard’s 6.2 acres each year. Less than half of this is used to make Moses-Hall Vineyard Pinot Noir, and the rest of the quality fruit is blended into our Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
Pickers harvesting Moses-Hall Vineyard
Winemaker James Hall made the call to harvest on September 5 based on the flavor and brix (sugar) level of the grapes. A first pass through the vineyard was made the previous week, when the brix level was at 24, and the second and final pass, made last Friday, was made at 25 brix. These two lots will be vinified separately and then blended together to create a balanced wine.
Co-founder and Winemaker James Hall discussing harvest with Colinas Farming Company VP and Vineyard Manager Chris Pedemonte
The crew started picking just before sunrise, around 6am, when it was still quite chilly and foggy outside. This is the optimal time of day to pick because bacteria and yeast are slowed down and the grapes are already cool when they arrive at the winery so they don’t have to be chilled before being put into a cold-soak.
Moses-Hall Vineyard at sunrise
Moses-Hall Vineyard, which serves as co-founders James Hall and Anne Moses’ front yard, is located only ten miles from the winery, allowing the grapes to be picked and delivered to the winery very quickly, preventing the grapes from breaking down or bacteria from flourishing.
Pinot Noir grapes ready to be taken to the winery
After the grapes arrive at the winery, they will be sorted, de-stemmed, put into a cold soak for 3-5 days to tease out their delicate and aromatic qualities, and then fermented in stainless steel tanks for 6-10 days. After fermentation, the must (juice, skin, stems and seeds) will be pressed, and the wine will be put into French oak barrels, 40% of which are new. After a year in barrel, the wine will be bottled, aged for another six months, and then released. Only about 350 cases of this vineyard-designate wine are made, and they are sold exclusively to wine club members and in our Sonoma tasting room.

Look for 2014 Moses-Hall Vineyard Pinot Noir in spring 2016!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Take Five: 5 Questions with Dan Walsh

Have you met our Wine Educator Dan Walsh yet?

He took five minutes and answered our 5 questions...

1) How were you first introduced to Patz & Hall?

In the summer of 2009, I was at a friend's house for a BBQ and they opened a bottle of 2007 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. This was one of my first experiences with Chardonnay, an experience that really got me interested in wine. 

2) Where if your absolute favorite place to enjoy wine?

Walking the beach on a clear summer day, with a glass and bottle in one hand and a beautiful lady in the other. 

3) Most memorable story of working with Patz & Hall?

In my short time working at Patz and Hall, I would have to go with the Grand Opening for employees. I loved seeing everyone having such a great time and the atmosphere of the new house was very welcoming. 

4) 2 truths and a lie about yourself

I could live off Mexican Food. 
I love wine more than my girlfriend. 
I am scared to death of the ocean. 

5) All time favorite Patz & Hall wine?

2000 Alder Springs Chardonnay out of a Magnum