It was a fun but busy week. I had many meetings with the team. I ate my way through the February menu. Chef Norma and our Director of Marketing, Jillian, crafted a new Valentine’s drink for you. I met with our next two Beyond Brooks partners and spent special time with Dick Crannell, one of our farmers. Today, I am sharing the highlights of the week below.
Happy Superbowl Sunday!
GROWER FOCUS: DICK CRANNELL
Prior to COVID, every weekday around 3:30, Dick Crannell would come to the tasting room for a glass of wine. He had his own bar stool at our bar. He enjoyed chatting with the team and the team loved the daily routine of his visit. Bar stools are not an allowed seating arrangement since the onset of COVID. Occasionally, Dick will reserve a table but he doesn’t like to take up space that could be going to another customer. We don’t see Dick daily anymore although he does come to visit the crew often. On Friday, I got a deeper glimpse into Dick’s world by visiting him at his workshop.
Dick’s family is originally from Finland. His grandfather moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the copper mining industry. Mining eventually led him to Alaska. While there, his grandfather saw an ad in a magazine for land in the Eola-Amity Hills in Oregon and sight unseen decided to purchase it. The house Dick lives in today was built by his grandfather in 1914. Much of the family, great aunts, and uncles, moved there and built homes. Dick grew up in one of these houses on the hill.
From 1961-1965, Dick was in the Air Force fixing radios for B52 bombers. After leaving the Air Force, Dick went to Cabrillo College where he met his wife Leslie. They moved back to the homestead in Oregon where Dick worked two jobs for 25 years, one in town as a plumber superintendent and one on the cherry and walnut farm helping to run the family business. He had a sweet ride for his commute to town, a 1984 El Camino. At age 55, Dick retired from his “town” job to be a full-time farmer on the property.
Staying on the farm all day, Dick stopped driving the El Camino, parked it in the woods and the tractor became his new mode of transportation. In 1984, at the urging of the founder of the Brooks Estate Vineyard, Dick decided to remove his cherry trees and plant a vineyard. For the next 17 years, Dick planted 20 acres of pinot blanc and pinot noir. We have been purchasing Dick’s grapes for years now and it is wonderful fruit.
A few more fun facts about Dick and his farm:
– Prior to putting in a vineyard, Dick only drank beer.
– Dick’s farm clearly meets the requirements for a Century Farm but it isn’t because the deed to the property was stolen during a robbery in one of the homes in 1980.
– When Dick’s grandfather was waiting for his walnut and cherry trees to start producing, he relied on farming gooseberries as their cash crop.
– Dick’s favorite Brooks wine after his own Crannell Pinot Noir is the Janus.
– When he isn’t farming, Dick loves to fish and travel.
– Two years ago, with our support, Dick converted the farming of his vineyard to Biodynamic.
– Dick’s wines are part of our Grower Relief Fund.
– Dick has recently planted Muscat and Gamay for us. This spring he will be planting Blaufrankisch.
– Dick is restoring the 1984 El Camino. He is doing all the work except the paint. It looks amazing!
One of the most special aspects of Dick’s vineyard is that he planted it over many years, not all at once. You can get the same clone of pinot noir from two parts of the vineyard that are 17 years different in age. At Brooks, we keep every block separate in the cellar. We then use a little bit of all of these to create the single-vineyard Crannell Pinot Noir and it is for sure one of our best sellers.
Enjoy these two packs that both include Crannell Pinot Noir but also other single-vineyards. (Note, these are not on the website and are only accessible through these links)
Six bottles or more ships for free. Club discounts apply.
LAST CHANCE FOR FEBRUARY BEYOND BROOKS
I had the pleasure of meeting Diana Blank from Work Life Essentials this week. She is going to be our guest on our February Beyond Brooks. We plotted and planned our webinar together. We are excited to explore the world of essential oils and the common threads to wine from sourcing, production, and why aromatics (whether in wine, oils, or otherwise) initiate physical and mental responses in us. Event purchases stop on Monday, March 8th!
For Valentine’s Day, we are going beyond the sweets and mimosas. We have created something different, a berry bellini. Chef Norma makes a delicious berry compote and we have modified the recipe to make the perfect sipper when added to our sparkling riesling. Enjoy making these at home. Happy Valentine’s Day!
2 quarts of mixed berries (preferably blue and black)
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup of sugar
1 (or more) bottles of 2016 Extended Tirage Sparling Riesling
Combine all on the stovetop. Bring to a boil and then simmer until reduced by half. This will make about one quart.
For the Berry Bellini, combine 1-2 tablespoons of berry compote with one glass of Sparkling Riesling.
I will be heading home Tuesday after a busy and fun few weeks here in Oregon. The team is doing a tremendous job across all areas of the winery. Rumor has it we may get to reopen indoors this week. I sure hope so. Our guests have been rock stars supporting us in cold Oregon winter conditions. It would be nice to treat them to the indoors with our same great service and utilizing the air purification system we installed.
Let me know if I can be of service. [email protected] or 831-238-4828.