Virtually doubling the size of the inn, and then opening on a holiday weekend was, in hind-sight, maybe not a recipe for relaxing holiday weekend for our staff…. But our guests were happy.
Saturday night, our first Saturday with the Barn open, we had not only a full house, but two rooms brought children! So our usually serene environment was just a little more, shall we say energetic? than we’re used to. But, we survived, and on Tuesday got to work on all the little glitches that come with new construction. Loose handles, backwards fans, nothing serious, but it’s all fixed now.
And now this week is all about press. I spent the day yesterday with an editor from Sunset Magazine, showing her around our beautiful little valley. She was great- she didn’t even flinch when, on a vineyard tour with Alex, the owner/winemaker at Porter Creek
(one of our very favorite little wineries) he dug his truck into some really soft soil, on a straight uphill slope through the vineyard, and I swear we were within seconds of having to get out and push him out. But, what a beautiful vineyard, and spectacular views from the top! He’s farming biodynamically- familiar with that? It’s incredible. A method of farming that is not only organic, but intended to actually nourish the earth and restore or enhance her “cosmic balance”. Ok, don’t quote me exactly, but it’s amazing, I’m learning more, and I hope someday to implement more biodynamic practices on our own ranch. If you’re interested, this is a good place to start, http://www.biodynamics.com/biodynamics.html
. We have more and more biodynamic farming being implemented in Sonoma County. Our great friends, Paul and Kathryn Sloan at Small Vines
(they both farm vineyards and make wine biodynamically) now farm almost entirely biodynamically. If you ever talk with them, ask them about their gopher control, it requires one gopher, a barbeque, a full moon, and about ten other steps. But they don’t have gophers in their vineyards…
My favorite part of the day, though, was a simple lunch out in the garden at Copain Winery
. They’ve recently built an incredbile barn-style (yeah, we’re all about barns out here) winery and tasting room overlooking the river and valley. They focus entirely on making wines with virtually no manipulation- meaning no acid, no water, no nothing. We’re all about that kind of winemaking- honest, balanced, and hard as heck (isn’t heck a funny word?) to do well. We had a great little lunch of grilled local grass fed beef (are you on to that one yet? Grass fed is just the best stuff around-check out www.eelriverorganicbeef.com
) on local soudough, a salad with the first wild blackberries (I don’t have any yet on the ranch) and a wild shrimp salad, all brought in by a the Windsor Green Grocer
who’s doing amazing things with local/organic/sustainable produce. The strawberry shortcake with these incredible, tiny, ambrosial strawberries really was insanely good.
Today is our Press Luncheon. We’re bringing ten or so writers in from all over Sonoma County and the Bay Area and showing them what we’re up to. It should be a lot of fun. The menu’s fantastic- Steve’s using produce from our garden and the honey we just harvested yesterday on the menu. Our new pastry chef, Patti, who just joined us after several years at the Dry Creek Kitchen
, has whipped up some really special petit fours that I’m really curious to try…