Pamo Valley Vineyards

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Mike’s turn to Dig

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First let me say I got a little behind on my progress posts and now I’m trying to catch up!  This was more like June 26th than July 6th.  Here’s a neat picture of Mike digging.  He has a nice friend who let him borrow the auger.  He sure knows how to operate that thing.  No wonder where he gets his muscles!  After Juan and Joey dug the 440 holes for the Sangiovese, it was Mike’s turn to dig the 125 or so holes on the other side of the swail for the rest of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

A Big Day!

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Wow, the guys really worked hard yesterday!  I love this picture.  They completed 440 holes using the 2 man auger.  I’d say the heat got up to 88 or so but to them I’m sure it felt like the 100’s.  Go Juan and Joey! 

Jeff and Mike dug trenches and layed all the PVC underground.  I drove the golfcart while Jeff unravelled and layed out all of the drip line in each row from one end to the other.  Mike tightend up all of the tension wire and added stakes every other few plants or so to attach his wire to. 

Grandma’s boyfriend Don stopped by a few times to check on us.  He gave us some tips on keeping the crows away from the vineyard. 

Just before Don arrived, Wayne from UPS delivered our new arrivals, the plants!  Welcome Sangiovese and Cab to Pamo Valley Vineyards! 

Oh, as I was leaf thinning yesteray, I noticed this humongous leaf from a Primitivo plant.  Look at the size of that thing!  The Primitivo are really coming out in big numbers this year, more so than everything else.  Arent they pretty…

Injury Postpones Job (a little)

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Second day into the project and Mike injured his foot, yikes! So the second and third days were pretty much a stale mate as far as the job was concerned.I wasn’t there but apparently a large metal object fell from his truck and landed smack dab on the top of his left foot. Ouch. Poor guy! It was pretty swollen and bruised by the time I saw it.He spent a full day and a half with it elevated and iced.Yesterday (the third day) he was out on the golf cart with his foot elevated and managing Juan and Joey who lined and marked the spots where the holes were to be dug.They marked approx 450 holes.Yes, perfectly aligned!Juan and Joey returned towards the end of the day to drop off the 2 man auger for tomorrow’s (today) work.The workers they are, they couldn’t just leave it there until tomorrow (today). They wanted to get a head start and ended up digging 3 rows of holes.
Go guys! They wrapped up for the evening and headed home for a much needed rest in the morning.More on today’s progress later!

Vineyard #2 Begins ! Expansion from #1

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Once there was no Viagra in the pharmacy so I decided to try Cialis. I took one pill a little expensive but not more expensive than Viagra. I took only half of the pill and the effect just hit me. Viagra is just a miserable placebo comparing with Cialis and is the best among the ed drugs.

Yesterday began the official start date of our new vineyard expansion project!  And it just so happens to land on my late grandpa Moose’s birthday, June 21st.  He would have been 86 yesterday.  Like mom says, she feels him all around her property and now I will too.  Mike began digging the holes for the end posts yesterday as well as setting them in concrete.  I picked up about 18 bags of 60#’s which got the Southern side started.  He had his helper, Robbie, from Indiana, from across the street who is visiting his Grandma Susan and Grandpa Al.  Robbie is about 16 and really enjoyed being Mike’s runner and driving the golf cart.  When I got home from work yesterday I made a much needed trip to Hydroscape and Grangetto’s in Escondido. I usually deal with Eric from Hydroscape who is the Branch Manager.  I get along with him as he is very knowledgeable, good customer service, bright and cheery and has a vineyard planted as well.  I purchased all of the drip line, additional emitters (my dad donated several emitters – thanks Dad!), pvc, soil amendments and fertilizer from them.  Then I went just a few blocks down and visited Matthew, the manager at Grangetto’s.  He’s very helpful also. He sold me 200 additional grow tubes (several were donated by Paul Stykel and Jim Isaac who we are making wine for), tie tape and a tape tool.  I made it back to Ramona around 4pm, unloaded items to the greenhouse and helped Mike finish up with his day.  I made a comment that this time 2 years ago, we were working in 100 heat and yesterday it was only 78. It makes it a lot easier on everyone that’s for sure!  Oh, I ordered the plants yesterday. I went with Sunridge Nursery in Bakersfield, CA, this time as they had the plants we wanted.  I ordered 440 Sangiovese and 170 Cabernet Sauvignon benchgraft dormant 1 year olds.  They are due to arrive Thursday/Friday, just in time for the weekend planting!

Buffalo, Wine and Haute Cuisine!

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Jeremy’s On The Hill, Teams with Local Buffalo Ranch and Winery

Wynola restaurant, Jeremy’s On The Hill, will collaborate with local Star B Buffalo Ranch and the Pamo Valley Winery to offer San Diegans a unique evening of wining and dining in the back country.


On Tuesday, February 10, at 6:30 pm, Jeremy’s is teaming up with local Star B Buffalo Ranch and Ramona’s Pamo Valley Winery to conduct a special, 5-course gourmet dinner event that offers haute cuisine consisting of grass fed bison meat, specifically paired with local fine wine.




Jeremy’s On The Hill is creating unique menu items that use American Bison, commonly referred to as “buffalo”.  Jeremy Manley, the 22-year old Le Cordon Bleu graduate and proprietor of upscale restaurant, Jeremy’s On The Hill, in Wynola, believes in using local products for creating his fare whenever possible.  “I felt that working directly with Star B Ranch and Pamo Valley Winery to create a unique dining event was a great way to introduce people to what we can do back here in the East County,” said Manley.


In addition to the salad and dessert courses, the 5-course dinner will include 3 unique dishes prepared with grass fed buffalo meat.  Each course will be specifically paired with local wines that compliment the flavors and ingredients of that dish.


The price for this event is $50 per person, and advanced reservations are required.  Tickets to the dinner can be obtained at Jeremy’s, at 4354 Highway 78, in Wynola, or by contacting Star B Buffalo Ranch, at (760) 789-5767, or Pamo Valley Winery, at (760) 271-3090 or


Jeremy’s On The Hill is a fine dining restaurant, featuring California fresh cuisine.  They serve lunch and dinner, Thursday through Tuesday, and a Sunday breakfast.  They are located at 4354 Highway 78, Wynola, CA, (760) 765-1587.  More information can be found at


Established in 1979, Star B Ranch produces top quality buffalo breeding stock and fine quality buffalo meat.  Recently Star B Ranch has partnered with other mid-western buffalo ranchers to produce a full line of grass fed buffalo meat.  Star B Ranch, which is family owned and operated, is located in the Witch Creek area of San Diego County.


Pamo Valley Winery is a small winery producing premium, award winning wines from local Ramona AVA wine grapes.  They have been producing wine since 2004, and are located at 2032 Black Canyon Road, Ramona, CA,


Granny’s Vineyard – Christmas Rose Unveiling!

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Welcome 2008 Ellie Mae Rose!  On Christmas day we unveiled our first ever exempler bottle of blush wine.  These Syrah grapes (pressed on the skins to make a pink wine) were harvested from my grandma’s, mom’s and stepdad’s property.  The ranch is named Serendipity Ranch and Granny’s Vineyard in honor of Mrs. Ellie Whitcomb.  We harvested these grapes on August 23, 2008.  We picked a small lot of about 200 lbs at 24.5% brix.  This ended up making about 10 gallons or 4+ cases.  The Ellie Mae Rose was an experimental wine being our first “pink” wine to produce, which ended up turning out very nice!  We will continue in years to come to harvest and produce Ellie Mae Rose from this vineyard.  Also planted are Tempranillo which have a few more years of establishing before becoming of quality to make wine from.  A family bottling party is planned January 25, 2009 to bottle the remaining 4+ cases.  This small batch is intended for personal, friends and family use.  Eventually when the vineyard is able to produce enough volume, we will be able to sell this wine commercially.


Christmas Cheers to the 2008 Ellie Mae Rose!  Jeff made a 2009 calendar detailing the progress of the vineyard on the backside as well as the seasons of the ranch and special occassions for each month.  We also watched a picture video of the progress of the vineyard being built from start to finish, including the making of the wine.

Pictured left/Jennifer, Ellie, Don, Sharon and Jeff.




These are the grapes we harvested to make the Ellie Mae Rose 5 months ago!  It seems like yesterday.  We started picking around 7am and finished around 10am.  We didnt finish the crushing and pressing until well into the day.

Pictured are left/grandma Ellie, middle/stepdad Jeff, right/mom Sharon.  Also helping on this day were my boyfriend/Mike, grandmas boyfriend/Don and winemaker/John.

See you grapes next year!


Join Us @ the Ramona Oktoberfest!

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Pamo Valley Winery will be offering a unique opportunity to taste barrel samples from their 2007 wines during the 2008 Oktober Fest.  A flight of four red wines – sangiovese, merlot, syrah and cabernet sauvignon – plus an additional taste of a special blend of two or more of these wines will be presented.  As part of the tasting, winemaker, John York, will lead participants through a “wine tour” that describes the process of hand crafting each of these wines.  He will also describe the characteristics of local vineyards and the grape varietals grown in Ramona, as well as share his insights on enjoying fine wine.  The wine tours will be scheduled every hour on Saturday and Sunday between 1:00 and 5pm. Tickets to the wine tour are $10pp and can be purchased at the event located at the Ramona Fairgrounds.  

Come Stomp the Grapes Julian Style!

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Come check out the Pamo Valley Winery booth!! 

Every September the Julian Chamber of Commerce celebrates the harvest of the grapes with a real, olde-world style grape stomp and festa at the Menghini Winery. This grape stomp out-does all others by providing two barrels for stomping–one for adults and one for children.

Tons of grapes are blessed then poured into the barrels. The atmosphere is created by Italian music by Roman Holiday, dancing, Bocci Ball competitions, stomping, wine tasting, a Jumbo Jump for the kids and a variety of food and crafts for sale will keep you busy.  Situated in rolling hills covered with vineyards and apple orchards, the Menghini Winery offers an ideal setting for the Festa.

The Grape Stomp Festa is a Julian Chamber of Commerce fund raiser and has been for the last nine years.  The festa draws approximately 1800 people each year.  The proceeds from the event pays for marketing the town, cleaning the streets, maintaining the public restrooms and funding historic preservation projects and events.

Dates: September 6, 2008
Times: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: Menghini Winery
Admission: $10 adults 21 and over (includes a commemorative wine glass and 4 free tastings), $5 ages 20 to 6, 5 and under free
Contact: Krisie Morgan, Julian Chamber of Commerce (760) 765-1857

AH!!! Life in the Vineyard

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Guest Blogger Alex McGeary on where he’s at with his winery!

“Well I looked up to the sky and noticed a full moon this past week and then looked down into a Merlot vineyard and observed that they were ripe indeed and ready for harvesting. But, it’s only the middle of August I said to myself, what’s going on?”

“Well, Global Warming is going on and it’s pushing the ripening curve of all of the varieties that I grow at high elevations. So, four days later and the Merlot vineyard is picked and the sugars of three other varieties are now ready. This harvest season is off and running. So goes the harvest of 2008!”

Alex McGeary
Shadow Mountain Vineyards & Winery
Warner Springs, CA

$2,000-per-person Bordeaux tasting?!

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When I first saw this story, I couldn’t believe it would cost $2,000 for a “chance to sip premier 2005 vintage Bordeaux wines”.  That’s insane!

But the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.  You probably get to mingle with an industry expert, which is an opportunity you don’t get every day.  There’s also the opportunity to network with other folks in your industry, potentially making some really great relationships.  There’s the marketing opportunity that comes from attending the event – probably a good year of campaigns built around the knowledge and insight you gained at the event. 

Finally, funds will go to a good cause with the event providing “…scholarships for the Culinary Institute’s Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies”.