Churchill does BRANDY

First full day of being semi re-started, Bob and I take advantage of me having a Saturday free and we decide to head out of town seven miles or so to the farm land where Churchill Vineyard resides. Today is the first day they are sampling their new brandy to the public. Available only since yesterday, November 1st, we already have an order in with our distributor so we can carry it at Red Zinnia.

FIVE long years in the making, it is now ready to pour.
Ashley takes us on a tour of the original fields of grapes that were planted more as an experiment than a commercial venture. I have fond memories of the days back in 2001 when Charlie would come out to The Flower Tree and we would spend an hour or so talking about the huge undertaking that he was creating. He was so passionate about the future of the crops and how much less water it would take than alfalfa, the main crop here then..and now. Churchill County Grape Growers, a non-profit, was formed and we sold their excess plants for them at the nursery the first couple of years. 
In the midst of our tour of the vineyard we hear that a flatbed truck is in the process of unloading the massive new parts needed to start their next endeavor, SPIRITS. Whiskey, Gin and Vodka are in the plans and we made our way around all the packing material and watched as Colby, the epitome of "A Kid in a Candy Store" tore through the plastic to unravel the beautiful shiny copper parts underneath. From my understanding, this machinery is from the same company that supplies to Jack Daniels, and the truck driver told us a story of delivering to them several years ago.  It was an amazing time to be there for the arrival of this new part of Churchill Vineyards expansion, and all of us at Red Zinnia look forward to pouring their latest.   

From that excitement it was on to the tour of the foundation for the new building that will not only house the newest productions of spirits, but also the visitor center. Rising high into the sky the front window will showcase the bright shiny copper "bubbles" of liquid.  And we love how Ashley has plans for a shady awning and "lazy day" rockers on the expansive front porch. It is obvious that her background is in marketing. She is not only skilled in presenting the winery at its finest, but she also knows how to make it so comfortable, we don't want to leave.

We listened as Colby described the cycle ......they plant the corn, harvest it, grind it, distill it, extract the alcohol, THEN IT GOES TO THE DAIRY right next door to feed the cows, (apparently the feed is so special - ethanol extracted - that the dairy has had to have shipped in from Iowa) then it comes back as manure to FEED THE FIELDS FOR SPRING. The excitement as Colby describes this full circle can only happen here, on a farm, and not in the city. Makes this nursery girl very happy! 

  one of Colby's next projects....VODKA, this one will be infused with cantaloupe from Workman Farms here in Fallon and onions ????? from Yerington. 
time to sample the brandy....warm and wonderful, look for it on our shelves next week!

 Colby and Ashley.....join us on December 11th at Red Zinnia when they will be pouring their wines, and brandy, during our "Evening of Wine".

Evening of Wine 2009

A HUGE thank you to all that attended our 3rd. Annual Evening of Wine at The Flower Tree last week. What a great way to celebrate the season. We would also like to thank Southern Wine and Spirits for sponsoring this event for us again this year. With 5 tasting stations, representing over 20 wineries & breweries - there was definitely something for everyone. Watch for all the favorites to start appearing at the Red Zinnia soon. Korena & Bill Mewaldt did a wonderful job of greeting our guests.

Michelle ended the evening by announcing the raffle winners - over 30 of them!

Wine pairing dinner @ The Henderson's

Wine Pairing Dinner with Chef Shawn & Sommelier Jaime
November 22, 2009
Eggplant Bruschetta
Stuffed Artichokes braised in a white wine sauce
Risotto ai Fungi Asparagus al Andalusia
Foccacia Sicilian Stockfish Stew ( Mewaldt’s organic tomatoes, green olives and capers)
Villa Antinori Toscana 2005 Italy
Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio 2006 Italy
Clean Slate Riesling 2008 Germany
San Telmo Esencia Torrontes 2009 Argentina
Jana “Old Vine” Napa Valley Riesling 2007 Napa/USA
Tormaresca Neprica 2008 Italy
Centine Banfi “Sangiovese*Cabernet Sauv*Merlot blend” 2006 Italy
2Up Shiraz 2007 Australia
Sandeman Tawny Port Portugal
On a beautiful star filled Sunday evening, 16 of us gathered around the table at my house for the first of many. I hope, wine pairing dinners. Since we opened Red Zinnia a little over a year ago, we have made it our goal to search out new wines to bring into the shop. You might have met Jaime Sammons at one of our weekly tastings. As the wine buyer for Red Zinnia, she has worked hard to teach us to broaden our horizons and stretch our pallets as she has brought in new and exciting wineries for us to try.

On this evening , we not only had some great new wines that Jaime had selected, but the extra special treat of an amazing culinary experience created for us by Shawn Meyers. Some might know him as the EOD Chief at NAS Fallon, but I will always refer to him as “Chef Shawn”, a title he richly deserves. Accompanied by his wife Kori, they brought the skills that they had developed while stationed in Italy for 3 years direct to our table for the evening. It was an absolutely beautiful night. I will let the pictures below tell the rest of the story. As for the wines, look for all but one to be on our shelves over the next few weeks. I am sure that you will enjoy them as much as we did, and maybe……..I can get a recipe or two from Shawn to go with them.

The guests start to arrive , Korena & Linny

Shawn & Kori getting started in the kitchen..................
Jaime & Kevin helping with the stuffed artichokes.......Jaime goes over her last minute notes on the wines to be served.......
Jaime, Sarah & Michelle

Korena & Lucia
Jaime explains the nuances of the pairing....... was a wonderful evening!

Someone has to do it!

I would have to say that one of the best benefits of owning a new wine shop is taking the opportunity to educate myself whenever possible. Every year Silver State, one of the largest wine distributors in Nevada, invites all of the wineries that they represent to Reno for a gala tasting event. We arrived not really knowing what to expect and we were greeted with a lovely book to keep track of our tastings, and a nice crystal glass. We entered the huge ballroom at the Silver Legacy and stopped to take it all in. Posted by Picasa With the assistance of our Fine Wine Sales Rep, Calen, we set off for the tables to see what we would like to sample. I was accompanied by Jaime, her husband Kevin, Michelle, and Robert. We thought that if we each tried different things we might be able to get a good feel for what we wanted to order for the shop. Michelle started out with the whites, while Jaime and I hit the reds, Bob and Kevin following us, just picking from their favorites. What we ended up with was 5 books full of tasting notes, a HUGE bottle of Klinker Brick to take home, thanks to Bob's winning raffle ticket, and a night full of memories. Jaime and Kimmie went to Southern Wine's Tasting Gala Event the following week. Me - I was in Maine, trying out some East Coast varieties, and believe it or not, found some great California wines while I was there. Our next project is more classes like the one Michelle and I took through Truckee Meadows Community College, on wines and regions where the grapes are grown. My latin from The Flower Tree will come in handy! We will keep you updated as we find out about them. Perhaps a carpool from Fallon is in order. Stop by the Red Zin Cellar, we would love to show you are favorites. See ya soon, Susan