Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Sometimes, especially when harvest ends, I get a little down. It's rare, but it does happen, and as a naturally positive person I despise feeling sad.

So, in times like that, I like to think about the things I'm super thankful for.

The best dog in the world. Ever. Seriously, ever.

A sweet mom, smart dad, kewl sisters, and other loving family members.

Wine, specifically Champagne. Chocolate. Uliveto's Tre Funghi pasta. A chance to travel. A lifetime of happy memories. A rockin' job and kind owners. A fun loving and outstanding group of co-workers. Taco Fridays. A good cry. Bubble baths. Les Marchands (do NOT laugh, I seriously have been dying for a wine shop like this to exist in my area for YEARS). My health (and my admission that I'll just never be skinny). Truffles. Foie gras. Really good smelling dirt (I shouldn't admit this, but I've tasted Riverbench dirt, too, and it's rather...nice). Copper pots. Indian food. Friends, who support me no matter how stupid I am sometimes. Indoor plumbing. Croissants. Really good coffee. Oysters. Sunsets. Love, even if it's unrequited. The fact that my MBA program is over. (Ha!)

So many things to be thankful for. And that puts a smile back on my face.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

SIP-ping the Good Life

Our annual SIP audit reminded me that I haven't done a blog post in a while about this wonderful program. It's time.

Three years ago, Riverbench Vineyard became SIP (Sustainability in Practice) certified by the Central Coast Vineyard Team. The process was lengthy, involving a full record inspection, questionnaire, and paperwork audit.

We at Riverbench chose this program over other certifications because it supports many great things. It limits our use of harmful pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. It makes us pay attention to natural resource use and conservation. And, importantly, it considers our reputation in the community and the safety and attention we pay to our employees. People matter at Riverbench, as much as our vineyard, so the program was a perfect fit for us.

We're proud to have our vineyard and wines certified by the program. It does so much, more than I could ever describe, so for more information, check out

In talking to Jim about the audit this year, he said he was asked lots of questions to make sure we are keeping up with our commitments.

"Like what," I urged, always bugging him for more information.

"Like...owl boxes," he said.

Wait, we have owl boxes?! How have I worked here six years and not known that we have fifteen...count 'em!...fifteen...owl boxes! How cool is that? I've known owls were great for rodent control (you know, mice and gophers) but never considered they were so vital that SIP would include questions about them in our audit. Very cool!

Photo credit: Stolli, taken early one morning before he had coffee.