Stories

From The Vineyard

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Bruno’s new Truck

“We needed a new pick up and once again my dad and my older brother had very different ideas on how to proceed. My dad wanted a stick shift, my brother thought an automatic made more sense since so many people would need to use it. They argued (as they did about everything) and eventually my dad went down to local Ford dealership and ordered what he wanted – a stick shift. My brother, knowing my dad, called the dealership to make sure it was an automatic and when he found out what my dad ordered, he changed it. Sadly, a week later, right before the truck was due to be delivered, my dad unexpectedly passed away. In the aftermath we forgot all about the truck until it showed up a few days later, with a stick shift.” – CB

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Old Rope Swing

“We tied a rope and board to a tree on the edge of what felt like a 100 ft drop. We’d take turns betting each other and trying to extend the maximum distance. It’s a wonder we all lived into our twenties. If you didn’t stick the landing exactly you were definitely headed into the ravine. Word got around and it became a draw for high school kids to sneak on to the far side of the property. Eventually we cut it down to avoid any accidents. And avoid any lawsuits…”- CB

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Haunted House

“Allegedly, back in 1919 the Wegner widow left the property once Prohibition looked imminent. Intending to return one day, she locked the front door and padlocked the gate. Squatters found their way in any way and when word got back to Wegner she asked the local lawman to go up and take a look. The father of the squatter family that moved into the house told his 12 year old son to shoot anyone who came around, and that’s exactly what happened when the sheriff knocked on the door. They pulled the wounded man inside the parlor once they realized who it was, but efforts to save him where unsuccessful. He died on the couch in what would become my father’s office. Many have seen the sheriff’s ghost wandering the halls upstairs.” – CB

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Road to Lower Office

“When my family moved to Sonoma Mountain, we basically moved to 80 acres of wilderness. Those first years were nonstop construction as we built the winery, the vineyard and homes for ourselves. Often my dad would tell my mom that he was taking the boys to “fix a hole in the far fence” or “conduct a meeting at the lower office” with a wink to us. Both were euphemisms for the bar at the bottom of the hill. Euphemisms that we all use to this day.” -CB

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1st Christmas Tree

“Our first Christmas in California was in 1980 and we were so busy building the winery that fall it sort of snuck up on us. I decided to bring home a tree and went searching at the edge of the property. I ended up sort of cheating by just cutting the top off of one that looked pretty good in the fading dusk. My cutting angle was awkward and I lost hold of it and it rolled down this hill into the creek. I had to crawl through the creek to get it and of course ended up covered in poison oak. Once home and inside, there was no doubt that it was pathetic. A real Charlie Brown tree. I went to bed dejected and itchy. BUT the next morning the family had decorated it and everyone appreciated my efforts.” – CB

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Old Mine

“We stumbled upon an abandoned mine while exploring the hillsides. The local brick company extracted tufa to use as a binding agent. For teenagers, it felt like a hidden cave full of secret things to discover. In reality it was some rusty old mining equipment and empty whisky bottles. Made for a great fort though.” -CB

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Motorcycle vs Horse

“Farley the Horse came with the property. He didn’t like to be ridden or really even leave the barn but he became like a pet to me. One summer my older brothers got their hands on a Suzuki 90 cc trail bike. I bet my middle brother that Farley was faster than the bike and off we went. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even have a saddle, or at least in my memory, I was an epic horsemen. On the straight, always there was no doubt that the bike had the advantage, but on the curves and the hills Farley was sure footed. At the last turn we both had to navigate the creek. My brother tried to jump it but the bike hit the far bank and slid out from under him. Farley and I sailed across like some sort of Western and became the victors.”- CB

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Milk Truck

“Our first harvest snuck up on us. We didn’t even have a roof on the winery and the delivery of our fermentation tanks was weeks out. But the Sauvignon Blanc was ready when it was ready so we harvested it. Unsure of how to proceed, we found ourselves down the hill at the bar, lamenting the fact that we very well might ruin our first batch of grapes. A local down the bar over heard us and said he had something at his junk yard that might solve our problem. Up for anything, we quickly said yes. The next day at dawn a huge commotion woke us. He was half towing, half dragging the tank of a huge stainless steel milk truck down the drive way, still dripping with milk. We scrubbed it up, sent mom down for some dry ice, and quickly got our grapes inside. We later entered that Sauvignon Blanc in Sonoma County’s annual Harvest Fair and ended up winning the highest honor – the Sweepstakes Prize. Not sure who was more shocked, the winemaking community or my family, but that milk truck put our name on the map!” – CB

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Bruno’s new Truck

“We needed a new pick up and once again my dad and my older brother had very different ideas on how to proceed. My dad wanted a stick shift, my brother thought an automatic made more sense since so many people would need to use it. They argued (as they did about everything) and eventually my dad went down to local Ford dealership and ordered what he wanted – a stick shift. My brother, knowing my dad, called the dealership to make sure it was an automatic and when he found out what my dad ordered, he changed it. Sadly, a week later, right before the truck was due to be delivered, my dad unexpectedly passed away. In the aftermath we forgot all about the truck until it showed up a few days later, with a stick shift.” – CB

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Old Rope Swing

“We tied a rope and board to a tree on the edge of what felt like a 100 ft drop. We’d take turns betting each other and trying to extend the maximum distance. It’s a wonder we all lived into our twenties. If you didn’t stick the landing exactly you were definitely headed into the ravine. Word got around and it became a draw for high school kids to sneak on to the far side of the property. Eventually we cut it down to avoid any accidents. And avoid any lawsuits…”- CB

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Haunted House

“Allegedly, back in 1919 the Wegner widow left the property once Prohibition looked imminent. Intending to return one day, she locked the front door and padlocked the gate. Squatters found their way in any way and when word got back to Wegner she asked the local lawman to go up and take a look. The father of the squatter family that moved into the house told his 12 year old son to shoot anyone who came around, and that’s exactly what happened when the sheriff knocked on the door. They pulled the wounded man inside the parlor once they realized who it was, but efforts to save him where unsuccessful. He died on the couch in what would become my father’s office. Many have seen the sheriff’s ghost wandering the halls upstairs.” – CB

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Road to Lower Office

“When my family moved to Sonoma Mountain, we basically moved to 80 acres of wilderness. Those first years were nonstop construction as we built the winery, the vineyard and homes for ourselves. Often my dad would tell my mom that he was taking the boys to “fix a hole in the far fence” or “conduct a meeting at the lower office” with a wink to us. Both were euphemisms for the bar at the bottom of the hill. Euphemisms that we all use to this day.” -CB

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1st Christmas Tree

“Our first Christmas in California was in 1980 and we were so busy building the winery that fall it sort of snuck up on us. I decided to bring home a tree and went searching at the edge of the property. I ended up sort of cheating by just cutting the top off of one that looked pretty good in the fading dusk. My cutting angle was awkward and I lost hold of it and it rolled down this hill into the creek. I had to crawl through the creek to get it and of course ended up covered in poison oak. Once home and inside, there was no doubt that it was pathetic. A real Charlie Brown tree. I went to bed dejected and itchy. BUT the next morning the family had decorated it and everyone appreciated my efforts.” – CB

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Old Mine

“We stumbled upon an abandoned mine while exploring the hillsides. The local brick company extracted tufa to use as a binding agent. For teenagers, it felt like a hidden cave full of secret things to discover. In reality it was some rusty old mining equipment and empty whisky bottles. Made for a great fort though.” -CB

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Motorcycle vs Horse

“Farley the Horse came with the property. He didn’t like to be ridden or really even leave the barn but he became like a pet to me. One summer my older brothers got their hands on a Suzuki 90 cc trail bike. I bet my middle brother that Farley was faster than the bike and off we went. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even have a saddle, or at least in my memory, I was an epic horsemen. On the straight, always there was no doubt that the bike had the advantage, but on the curves and the hills Farley was sure footed. At the last turn we both had to navigate the creek. My brother tried to jump it but the bike hit the far bank and slid out from under him. Farley and I sailed across like some sort of Western and became the victors.”- CB

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Milk Truck

“Our first harvest snuck up on us. We didn’t even have a roof on the winery and the delivery of our fermentation tanks was weeks out. But the Sauvignon Blanc was ready when it was ready so we harvested it. Unsure of how to proceed, we found ourselves down the hill at the bar, lamenting the fact that we very well might ruin our first batch of grapes. A local down the bar over heard us and said he had something at his junk yard that might solve our problem. Up for anything, we quickly said yes. The next day at dawn a huge commotion woke us. He was half towing, half dragging the tank of a huge stainless steel milk truck down the drive way, still dripping with milk. We scrubbed it up, sent mom down for some dry ice, and quickly got our grapes inside. We later entered that Sauvignon Blanc in Sonoma County’s annual Harvest Fair and ended up winning the highest honor – the Sweepstakes Prize. Not sure who was more shocked, the winemaking community or my family, but that milk truck put our name on the map!” – CB

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