Saturday, February 12, 2011

New Clairvaux Vineyard And The Famous Unknown Writer

Down the canyon on Thursday.

On Friday, Joni and I went with the Abbot and his wife to check out a restaurant in Vina and also to explore a monastery. The monks make wine there. We had fun investigating a 12th century chapel they are building on the grounds. William Randolph Hearst brought the chapel over from Spain in pieces many years ago. The unfortunate thing is that they lost the plans as to how to put the pieces back together. So when the monks aren't making wine, they are busy trying to figure out how to reassemble the chapel. Blocks sitting around; a big jig saw puzzle.

The wine is unbelievably good. I've tasted other wines from this region--most aren't good enough to put on salad. The monks were smart enough to hire a top notch winemaker. The brothers grow the grapes (barbera, some Spanish reds and a couple of whites) on the Sacramento Valley floor. This is not an area known for raising wine grapes.

But they pull it off. We will have the bottle in the photo above with dinner tonight (rib eyes on the grill to boot).

Today, a short walk with the dogs.

I've been invited to give my first speech as a writer to Butte College students (for you Packer fans, that is where Aaron Rodgers played his first two years of college football). I'll be talking to a class of writers on the challenges of being a Famous Unknown Writer. I've been invited by Jaime O'Neill (around here, the most Famous Known Writer), who writes for scads of publications, including the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.

So I get to address the college crowd wearing a radical t-shirt, blue jeans and hiking boots. Scratch another entry off the bucket list.

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