Story for Pictures: Chateau Pacific Bottling
Chateau Pacific Bottling Team,
BEFORE: HAPPY NEW YEAR! The Chateau Pacific staff (Gary and Terry) want to wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2010. Let’s start off 2010 with our annual WHITE PARTY. As the name suggests we will be bottling all the 2009 white vintage which includes Arneis, Pinot Grigio and a field blended Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon. An all white dinner to follow. Cases: approximately 45. Dinner: All white dinner to follow includes Gioia Burrata, Green Chili Soup, Escovitched Fish and of course the “other white meat. Please RSVP by January 10 to give me time to go fishing.
The BEFORE and AFTER of this little tale is courtesy of home winemaker Gary Warburton, owner of Chateau Pacific, a manor seemingly transplanted from the Caribbean to Manhattan Beach.
I met Gary and Terry Warburton at the Hollywood Hills home of Women & Wine (and the store Valet 2) owner Julie Brosterman. It was a fundraiser that Gary’s son Shane and daughter-in-law Suzanne had donated their award winning Phifer Pavitt Napa Valley “Date Night” Cabernet to.
Charmed by the entire family, I’ve stayed at the Phifer Pavitt home and met Gary several times via his stint at the LA Wine Fest pouring his own wines.
Gary got my e-mail address and I got his. He started to get my Dear Wine Friend weekly e-mail and I started to get his updates from Chateau Pacific.
Not sure I would ever make it to his home in Manhattan Beach, but still intrigued by the idea of home winemaking because of my relationship with our own Santa Clarita Valley Vintners and Growers Association, I finally found one of Gary’s events I could attend: The White Party mentioned above.
So, without further adieu, this is what he made me do: Watch, Talk, Drink, Note, Photograph, Tweet, and then drink some more so that I could sit down at that scary bottler…and give it a try.
I donned the requisite Chateau Pacific themed hockey jersey that covered me from neck to knees and mimicked what the bottlers before me had done. New pals from Pasadena flanked me on my right (to line up the waiting bottles) and my left (to take filled bottles to the “corker”).
I had some “slippage” of the bottles, but didn’t loose one. I was distracted by wine glasses that materialized, attached to human hands, between bottles, to get a little of the “fresh” wine. I decided, after maybe 20 minutes, to be a “hand” and not a “bottler”.
Surrounded by about two dozen guests donned in white, all eager to rotate duties to try their turn at bottling, corking, labeling and boxing, I went back to drink/tweet/drink.
I met 3 more local winemakers that day, and their proud chemist, each purchasing their grapes along with Gary from Palos Verdes, Sonoma, Napa, Lodi, Santa Ynez, Los Alimos, Santa Rita Hills and North Paso Robles.
“I drive my F-250 truck up there at midnight to keep the grapes ice cold until I can get back by 6am,” Gary began. “I’ll put in at least 6000 miles in 6 weeks of every harvest season.”
And then Gary announced we were done. He invited us upstairs for a meal and more wine.
“The 05 Tempranillo Reserve has lots of chocolate,” Gary continued over dinner later. “But 6 years from now no one will know that as it will be gone!”
AFTER: All Star Bottling Team:
I want to again thank all of my bottling team. We did it again and in record time.
Varieties bottled: Arneis, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Sirah
Wine Consumed (not including that from the bottling spigot):
13 bottles still wine (regular 750mL)
1 magnum Tempranillo Reserve 2005
1 double magnum Tempranillo Reserve 2005
1 1/2 sauterne (Dolce and Haut Claverie)
AND a few shots of Tequila for the late night table dancers
1 1/2 gallon green chili soup
4 lbs Burrata cheese (Gioia cheese company)
2 Ricotta cheese cakes and 1/2 banana cream pie
You guys never cease to amaze me.
We had the special treat to welcome Alf’s new bride, Lily, onto the team.
And a few virgins: Kary, Claire, Peter, Mary Ann, Marlee, Alan, and Eve.
Fact: 21 people for dinner
Just finished washing 107 glasses (Dishwasher did the work) (not the record –by the way).
1 pair of reading glasses