Sunday, March 1, 2009


First, the back story: Our friends Kevin and Maryella got us involved in the winemaking process! In October of 2007, we helped them pick, crush & de-stem, and then press their blend of three grapes: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel.

They decided to call the vintage "Love Triangle."

I designed their "vineyard" label, and also the vintage label!

Groovy, baby, indeed!

Get it? Love Triangle, a blend of THREE grapes.

That day in 2007, they asked Ron and I if we would like to do the entire winemaking process the following year, and we said yes.

Fast forward to September 2008. Kevin told us he was concerned about the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes he was planning to get from a friend who also has a micro-vineyard. Apparently, the area experienced something called "grape shatter" and the crop was almost entirely decimated.

Skip to:

Ron and I had joined Maloy O'Neill Winery's membership club the previous month (although we'd been visiting the winery for over two years). One day in the tasting room, we talked with winemaker Shannon O'Neill about our upcoming wine making adventure, and he expressed enthusiasm: "Do it! You gotta do it!" He also offered advice and equipment in support.

That's when Ron (he has expert timing!) mentioned about the loss of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Shannon graciously offered his grapes to us after the main picking, and even gave us the gate code!

Fast forward to October 17, 2008. Ron, Kevin and I went to the vineyard and picked grapes until we were overheated, exhausted and in need of cold beer! With the grapes from Kevin's friends and the grapes from Shannon, we ended up with seven red varietals in these approximate percentages:

Syrah (30%), Petite Syrah (25%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%), Merlot (10%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Malbec (5%) and Tempranillo (5%).

We're calling it "Lucky 7: Rebel Red." The rebel part is that we accidentally picked some grapes that were previously not authorized by Shannon!

However, we brought a sample of the wine to Shannon after it had been in the barrel (technically in steel kegs) for seven weeks. He was blown away! And of course, since he is a Supertaster (for real), he detected the Malbec. Ack!

But all is forgiven due to the fact that Shannon loves the wine and wishes he had made it himself. He made us promise to get an accurate alcohol testing, and to check for residual sugars before bottling. If we do everything right, we will end up with "Lucky 7: Rebel Red" being worthy of a $36 per bottle price tag in Shannon's tasting room (even though we're not selling it).

We'll be bottling this fabulous melange in 8-12 months. Label coming soon!

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