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Kellie Duckhorn
 
May 23, 2016 | Kellie Duckhorn

Fall in love with Mother Earth

Today I am headed off to Yosemite National Park for a week of waterfalls and sunrises…normally, my husband and I choose to interact with nature in a more isolated way. We often backpack and enjoy the solitude and amazement of living in nature in some remote space.

Half Dome by Ansel Adams

This week, though, we decided to honor the 100 year anniversary of our National Parks. We’ve been watching the Ken Burns series, on PBS, and it has inspired us to revisit Yosemite after nearly 25 years. Our National Parks, and the vision behind their creation, is something that I try hard not to take for granted. It isn’t easy to act today for the benefit of a very distant future.

Locally, our Napa Valley’s agricultural heritage was set in motion by the actions of a group of legislators and vintners, in 1968. Beginning with then Napa County Assessor George Abate and County Administrator Albert Haberger, plans were drawn up to protect some 26,000 acres of farmland, mostly on the valley floor. Chaired by Felix Vanderschoot, of the Napa County Planning Commission hearings on the ordinance were started. Supporters of the proposed ag preserve included Louis M. Martini, Robert Mondavi, brother Peter Mondavi from Charles Krug, Roy Raymond from Beringer and Jack Davies from Schramsberg. After much heated debate, on April 9, 1968, the board of supervisors, on a 4-0 vote, approved the first agricultural preserve in the United States. Today, the Napa Valley Ag Preserve protects more than 38,000 acres of land.

Side by side comparison of Napa and Santa Clara Counties
Napa Valley, 2005 Santa Clara, 2005

Although the Ag Preserve is a powerful tool for land preservation, there are also other dedicated entities such as the Land Trust of Napa County and the JLD Ag Fund to help bridge the gap. The County also has a variety of state and local parks for connecting with nature. Our wine grape economy does not come without its challenges, but it has provided a base for both financial opportunity and land preservation. This is a unique combination, and not easily duplicated in other high public use areas of natural beauty (Lake Tahoe basin, for example).

Regardless of how you feel about wineries and vineyard land, there is no denying that the Napa Valley is beautiful.

Baldacci Honey B Vineyard, Carneros

 

Time Posted: May 23, 2016 at 11:33 AM
Michael Baldacci
 
May 18, 2016 | Michael Baldacci

“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

This month Baldacci Family Vineyards celebrates Land Stewardship. How can we talk about land stewardship without speaking about John Muir, the original steward of the land. John Muir’s spirit lives through all of us in California, as he was a proponent for conserving California’s natural treasures, especially Yosemite

 

 

Personally I have heard about John Muir my whole life, starting in 4th grade when we learned about California history, to when my grandparents took us to Yosemite. I have heard the name and understood what he stood for since I can remember… but I have to admit, I wasn’t fully aware of the impact he has had on ALL National Forests until more recently. 

 

Yosemite National Park  Yellowstone National Park Muir Woods National Monument

 

Have you ever laid eyes on the beautiful Yosemite Valley, Yellowstone, Muir Woods, or any National Forest or Park? If the answer is yes, which I hope it is, then you can thank John Muir’s tireless efforts to make this possible. His passion for the land and preserving the land lead him to start the Sierra Club, which is still active today. The club made efforts to switch the ownership from state held land to a federally run and organized group that was tasked with maintaining and growing the beauty of our National ‘Natural’ Monuments

 

 

The United States is a beautiful piece of land with a lot to offer, from the amazing beaches stretching both coasts, to the mountain tops of the Sierra’s and a little place in the middle of California called Napa Valley. There is so much to be admired about this country. John Muir made great efforts and started something that had never been done in the world! He pushed for preservation of this land, and at the time it seemed far fetched that anyone would want to change the natural scape of our land, but as the country now continues to grow, we can thank John Muir and the Sierra Club for their efforts. Next time you are in a National Park, remember who started it, our good friend and Californian at heart…John Muir.

 

 

Kellie Duckhorn
 
April 22, 2016 | Kellie Duckhorn

Color Outside the Lines

First, I am not an artist! I’m not even really a connoisseur of art, but I do like to visit museums and depending on the exhibit, either stroll or run through! My most recent excursion was last December, to the Chihuly Garden & Glass exhibit, in Seattle. Wow! Color, imagination, a fantasy world of texture and light…astonishing. To see a local Chihuly piece, take a cave tour at Pine Ridge Vineyards.
 
Chihuly Museum, Seattle WA
Another local place to bring out your inner artist is Nimbus Arts. On your next visit to the Valley, see if you can plan a trip around their annual fundraiser, Nimbash. This is an event where you can meet and experience the artwork of some of Napa Valley’s finest. My short list of local artists includes Melissa Garden Streblow, Briana Clark-Forgie, and Alex Dunn.
Chalk drawing of Beau by Alex Dunn
All these inspiring artists brings me to an unexpected discovery into the world of adult coloring books! I was the winner of our family Easter quiz and the recipient of my first adult coloring book. The book sat on my desk, at home, for a few weeks, and then one mid-week evening I stole a glance at the cover and the bright pack of colored pencils. Why not, I thought!
Adult coloring is everything that the pundits claim it to be: relaxing, mesmerizing, engaging and most of all, amusing! I actually found myself thinking about color, patterns, repetition and perspective on what the final page would reveal. I would become fixed on a small section of the image and then realize that there was a bigger view…how did the small area fit into the final design?
Baldacci Wine & a coloring book...unwind!
I now color a few hours per week…often with my favorite Spotify play list and a glass of wine. It’s fun and the best part, at this age, it is totally permitted to color outside of the lines!
Michael Baldacci
 
April 1, 2016 | Michael Baldacci

Music to My Ears

 

Art. What is it? Is it a beautiful picture painted by a wonderful artist? Or the more modern form which oddly enough involves chairs more often than not… 

 

 

Art takes many forms, the one that I enjoy the most is music. I think that musicians and bands in particular are the ultimate artists. Creating sound and playing together involves not only the talent to perform, but timing and precision over and over and over again to keep the sound consistent.  

 

 

Wine has brought many opportunities to my life most include traveling to places I had never seen before. But one of the coolest and most unique experiences I had through working in the wine industry, was seeing John Legend perform live. My brother and I attended Auction Napa Valley last year and while there were rumors, we did not want to get our hopes up. After a bit of Instagram stalking of his wife Chrissy Teigen, we were confident that John Legend was in the Napa area… As the auction rolled on, I was getting antsy, I almost got up and left but then the lights dimmed and the crowd hushed. Out of nowhere a piano came on stage and John Legend followed. The venue was tiny, less than 500 people, not a bad seat in the house. I could not believe it, we were going to see John Legend perform live, just him and the piano. His most famous song was “All of Me” and sure enough that was exactly what he played. Perfect tune of the piano paired beautifully with the pitch in his voice, no one could take their eyes off this amazingly unique experience. John Legend, a beautiful white piano and a room full of people awe struck at the talent on stage.

 

 

Performing live and opening a bottle of a wine you have worked on I think would bring similar emotions. Performing live you have the rush of the crowd, but also a bit of nerves, you have practiced over and over and now it is time for everyone else to be the judge of your song. When you open a bottle of wine that you have watched grow from grape to barrel aging now to bottle, it can give you an amazing rush, but also bring out some butterflies… I think the wine is great, I sure hope everyone else thinks the same way about it. I will never know the feeling of performing live, but I would like to think that performers and I have something in common.

 

Art takes on many forms, none better or more significant than the other. Art in the form of music is my personal favorite, and it NEVER hurts to have a good bottle of wine with you to maybe help you appreciate it even more. 

 

Elizabeth Burchard
 
March 25, 2016 | Elizabeth Burchard

It’s Dog Friendly

 

We all know that it can be very difficult to leave our furry four-legged friend at home. Well if you are coming to Napa Valley, there is no reason to leave them behind. There are many restaurants, hotels and wineries in the area that are dog friendly. The Napa Valley is really the “paw-fect” place to visit. 

 

 

My copilot is Olive! She is the definition of a lap dog and a spoiled brat, but I love her. She does not like being left behind and I love having her with me. So together we have mapped out some great places that you can bring your pal. Even though I work at Baldacci Family Vineyards, Olive loves to stop by and say “hi” to her friend Beau, the Cab Lab.  After Olive and Beau have had their fun running around the vineyard or playing fetch, I sit back and enjoy some wonderful Baldacci wine. Olive and I also like to visit some of the neighbor wineries like Chimney Rock, B Cellars and Frogs Leap, which are also pup friendly.

 

 

When it comes to eating out there are many wonderful places in Napa to take your pet. In the mornings Olive and I usually walk to Bouchon Bakery or the Coffee Caboose where not only do I get my coffee, but the people at the bakery and the Caboose always have little dog treats for all the furry friends that stop by. Farmstead is the place to be when it comes to Happy Hour. You can sit outside in the bar area to enjoy a cocktail with a few appetizers while you hang with your dog. Many restaurants in the area have “pet-friendly” patios, making them the perfect place to enjoy your pups company and a local glass wine. With the warming weather, outdoor seating with your pup is a treat. 

 

 

If you want to extend your stay there are a number of Hotels that love pets.  The Westin Verasa and the Bardessono are just a few suggestions.  You can find more hotels and places that are pet friendly by checking out the website bringfido.com.  Under “Dog friendly attraction in Napa CA” you will notice my favorite place, as noted earlier, Baldacci Family Vineyards.

Next time you are planning on visiting Napa Valley don’t worry about leaving your four legged friend behind, let them enjoy this beautiful valley with you!

 

 

Kellie Duckhorn
 
March 17, 2016 | Kellie Duckhorn

Sixteen Guinea Pigs and Twenty Nine Hamsters

To understand the title of my blog, I first have to share a bit of my childhood...

A few of my friends had horses or ponies, when I was in grade school. A typical adventure included riding Midnight (black pony) from Bale Lane up to Larkmead Lane to visit Suzie (brown & white pony)...or, taking the train to Reno to watch another friend compete with her Quarter Horse and win beautiful, shiny silver belt buckles! Before I had a chance to even consider what large animal I might like to own, my father pre-empted any discussion with the following edict:

  • No animals that required a pasture

  • No animals that can't survive a couple of days on their own with a bowl of food and water

  • No animals that can't live outside

Simple enough...and naturally, my brothers and I created our own counter attack. We had rabbits and guinea pigs, fish and turtles and of course a beloved black lab and a cat that looked like a skunk. Despite my father's strict rules, he was the one that brought home all variety of wild life that had experienced some adversity: there was a crow named Ajax, a Great Horned Owl that was quickly sent to the Lindsay Wildlife Hospital, and three baby chipmunks that had fallen out of their nest. The final contradiction was my father's total passion for duck hunting and fly fishing, which meant we ate a lot of his passion!

Childhood pets

 

Forward my life, twenty years, and suddenly I was a parent with two sons who wanted to experience the wild kingdom. We had the requisite and adorable Golden Retriever, a bit of a rotation of cats, and then the menagerie which titles my blog. It started out with that classic line from the Kindergarten teacher: "Who can keep the hamster for the summer?" One small Habitrail and cute hamster on Friday afternoon became 10 baby hamsters and an aggressive mother, two weeks later. The quick trip to PetCo to expand the Habitrail distracted me from reading up on the average gestation cycle (21 days) and within another three weeks, we were at twenty-nine! The next trip to PetCo was not to buy more Habitrail...

The Guinea Pig experience was more nuanced...same baited question from the second grade teacher, but this time, the pigs came as a pair and were quickly lodged outdoors, in an awesome pen built by me and the boys. Fortunately, the litter size (2) and the gestation cycle (approx 65 days) were much more reasonable and we settled in to a nice rhythm of breeding guinea pigs for PetCo. They told us that since they were raised outside, they were stronger and less susceptible to disease. The project lasted about a year and then baseball and swim team, soccer and camping took over. The dog travelled with us, the cats met my dad's rule of self-feeding and the rodents all found other homes!

Napa Valley Wildlife

 

Today, my boys are grown and out of the house. I have a dog and two cats, but my real interest is in the wildlife in the Napa Valley. If you are into birds, grab a pair of binoculars and head out to Lake Hennessey or Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. Another local resource is the Napa-Solano Audubon Society

The Napa Valley has an amazing diversity of wildlife...wake up early and drive your car down to the Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area. You won't regret it!

Ricardo Herrera
 
March 11, 2016 | Ricardo Herrera

A Man's Best Friend!

 

They say that a man’s best friend is his dog. I find that to be true when it comes to my dog Bello. Bello is a purebred German Shepard. He is a friend that I can always find by my side. On hot summer days he tags along with me as we ride through the vineyards. Bello was only nine weeks when he came into my life. I taught him discipline, commands and to stay by my side at all times. He has always enjoyed playing tug of war and fetch. I can’t help but love him even when he digs through plants and chews my shoes. 

 

 

Bello comes from a long line of show dogs, so naturally he inherited his beauty from his parents. This makes his temperament and posture one of a kind. Since he was a puppy I taught him to embrace his show dog legacy through some serious training. I have enjoyed every experience with Bello from the intense training to the vineyard drives, but what I have enjoyed most is just chilling out with Bellow while enjoying some Baldacci wine! He really is a man’s best friend.

 

 

Time Posted: Mar 11, 2016 at 12:29 PM
Joaquin Herrera
 
March 4, 2016 | Joaquin Herrera

The Perfect Pet

Pets are great companions, my favorite is a dog, more specifically I like the breed German Shepherd. As a young boy growing up with a German Shepherd was amazing, she always had lots of energy, and could keep me entertained ALL DAY. My favorite adventures were playing in the creek or hiking through the trails.

German Shepherds are best known for being strong, and courageous. They are very intelligent, often used as a guide dog for the disabled, or police K-9 search and rescue units, they are valued for their tenacity, loyalty and focus.

German Shepherds are like Syrah, strong, bold, but not for everyone. It takes a special owner to get the most out of these amazing dogs, just like it takes a special person to understand and appreciate the intricacies and beauty of a powerful Syrah. A perfect pet adventure for me would be sharing a glass of Allwin Syrah while I watch my amazing dog scour the yard for anything he thinks may cause harm to our family. 

 

Michael Baldacci
 
February 26, 2016 | Michael Baldacci

Berserk for Gewurz

 

Premiere Napa Valley celebrates 20 years, and Baldacci Family Vineyards decides to show the world their Gewurztraminer.

Premiere Napa Valley is an annual auction put on by the Napa Valley Vintners to raise money for the association that helps to build and protect the Napa Valley. It is an auction that we look forward to participating in every year. The auction is only open to the trade; anyone with a license to re-sell our wines can purchase a ticket… no consumers allowed!!

It is a week full of activities and tastings, it’s a great way to see old friends in the industry as well as meet new ones. Cabernet is the focus of the week, most wineries show off new releases, or bring out older vintages to show how well the wines can age, but the common thread is Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

 

This year Baldacci Family Vineyards decided to be a little different. We wanted to grab the attention in another way, by pouring something typically not found at the auction, Gewurztraminer.  A dry white wine to cut through the Cab that everyone has been drinking all week will definitely grab their attention and raise eyebrows… it worked! We have always known that our Gewurztraminer was a unique and well liked wine, but on such a small scale. A wine that was not well known, but after this weekend, this wine is known!

Premiere Week is always a blast, but this year we had a bit more fun with our lot than normal. Check out the video to see the Napa Valley’s best attempt at pronouncing Gewurztraminer… oh yeah and me in a magnificent pair of Lederhosen. 

 

 

Elizabeth Burchard
 
February 19, 2016 | Elizabeth Burchard

"Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose!"

 

The New York Yankees are a well recognizable baseball team that has been around since the 1900s. They are known to be one of the most successful sports clubs in the world, with many championships and awards, to back up their franchise. With the recurring success of the Yankees, they have been and continue to be a popular team with a strong fan base. Not only is this team known for being an American icon, but it is also one of the top 5 spending teams, in pro sports.

 

 

I got to thinking that the New York Yankees are like some of these larger wineries in Napa Valley. They have been around for a while and have the ability to create a strong following with budget, production and quality of wine. This is where things can be challenging to a smaller producer, such as Baldacci. We may not have the same budget or even the production like some of the big guys out here, however, we do have the quality of wine and the team to prove that we are here to compete.

I believe Baldacci resembles our beloved, Golden State Warriors. The Warriors have only been around since 1970 and really started off with a fan base in California. They were not always as popular as they are today. However, they have since changed all of that. They are a young team that are determined to win, similar to Baldacci. We have only been producing since 2000 and with a small team we are still able to produce premiere wines. We have been creative in finding ways to build our brand and develop new relationships with fans. Baldacci Family Vineyards continues to strive in being recognized as a small premium winery. 

 

Go DUBS & Go BALDACCI!

 

 

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707-944-9261
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