Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Great Unveiling!

I'm pleased to announce that Riverbench Santa Barbara will officially be opening on Tuesday, May 28! Come in, taste some delicious wines, and check out all we've done to make the space gorgeous.

Enjoy wine by the glass or the bottle, or do a fun tasting. Our staff is awesome and we're running on a high right now with all the excitement.

Short and sweet, but again, come see us from 11 AM to 6 PM in the Funk Zone!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Rain, Rain, or Lack Thereof

"It's been a dry year," said my skin, cuticles, and hair.

No, really. We're wayyy under average for rainfall in 2013, and fire season is off to an early start already. It's going to be interesting.

So how does less rain affect the vines? Jim Stollberg answered this question, and the response isn't what I was expecting:

After harvest, in the early parts of the year, the vines get more water to recharge and rejuvenate them after all the hard work they do producing those lovely little grapes. Without much rain this year, we watered with water from our wells. Apparently, while this is fine, well water is not nearly as clean as rainwater, and can result in more salt deposits than usual. Short term, this isn't a big deal, but if we were to be in a drought for, say, five years, it might become an issue.

See, rain helps dilute the salt in the soil, which is good, because if you get too much buildup, the vines can't absorb water and nutrients as easily.

So there you have it. We need more rain.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Riverbench Goes to the Windy City

I love cities. Their energy, the masses of people, the endless list of things to do. It's like being on a sort of high with overwhelming options for entertainment, especially for people who love food and wine and excitement.

Needless to say, I couldn't wait to visit Chicago for the first time. It's an absolute haven for amazing restaurants and people who love to eat and drink. An assortment of distributors and friends had given me many recommendations of places to go, which ended up being all combined onto one document which became affectionately known as "The List." I just unpacked that crumpled and stained piece of paper, which will have to be edited and retired because everywhere we went someone added their own recommendations to it. The result? "The List" is now longer than when it started, though we did manage to hit up several amazing places every day.

This just means I'll need to go back.

Among the favorites were Girl and the Goat (goat empanadas! nom!), Pops for Champagne (no explanation needed), Longman and Eagle (tete de cochon, anyone?), and this awesome little cocktail joint called Billy Sunday (giant ice balls - Enough said). But every place we visited was outstanding, serving delicious food, fun wines, and upbeat atmospheres.

The main reason I planned to visit Chicago was to pour at Pinot Days there. Riverbench has participated in the event in Los Angeles and San Francisco for years, but never this one. Man, we've been missing out! This event at Navy Pier had some of the most fun wine lovers in attendance! There wasn't a drop of Riverbench wine left at the end; wine drinkers in Chicago apparently have wonderful taste. I was also invited to participate in a Diversity Seminar to talk about the Santa Maria Valley that morning which was really awesome, and featured some lovely wines as well. Overall, a killer event. We have sold wine in Illinois in the past, and have now re-established ourselves there with a new distributor, so will be back in the area a little more often. (Thank goodness, as I'm already suffering from withdrawals.) :)

See you again soon, Chi Town!