Spring into April

Spring has sprung here in Central Texas. God blessed us with much needed rain the last few months that not only has brought an end to our drought and filled our lakes (Lake Travis is now 100% full), but coupled with our unseasonably warm weather has brought the colors of life to all of our vegetation as well.

However, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, most of California remains in various degrees of drought. Both Napa and Sonoma counties, California's best known wine regions, are still classified as Abnormally Dry, as well as Mendocino County just to the north of Sonoma County. Many of California's other wine growing regions are still in more extreme conditions. Unless they get relief soon, this year's grape yield may be impacted.

Did you know that each mature grape vine can take up to 10 gallons of water per day during fruit set in hot dry climates? Therefore, it goes without saying that vineyard operations require access to a plentiful fresh water source. And what about all the other wonderful produce that comes from California? So, let's all ask God to send rain to California soon, so they can keep us supplied with their wonderful wines and produce. As well as, allowing them to enjoy the colors of Spring as we here in Texas are blessed to do.

Speaking of wine and Mendocino County, I recall many years ago stopping by the Milano Family Winery near Hopland in Southern Mendocino County on my way north to Eureka, CA. We had to climb the stairs of an old Hop Kiln to reach their tasting room. But, believe me it was well worth the climb when I tasted their Sunshine. I still remember the soft floral lychee nose and subtle taste of a Gewürztraminer style wine with just a hint of sweetness. No wonder they called it Sunshine!

Well, the winery has changed ownership since that visit. However, the new owners, Ted and Deanna Starr, as luck would have it, have continued producing the same style wine, now known as Sunshine Quattro. Oh, and Deanna is now the Winemaker. The only downside is finding it locally. As far as I know, you can only get it from the winery. Luckily, they do ship to Texas and if you would like some, go to their website at www.milanowinery.com. Sunshine Quattro retails for $15.00 a bottle plus tax and shipping.

Sunshine pairs well with those Spring picnics or a simple spring-mix salad. Of course, you could always enjoy it by itself sitting by the pool waiting for the water to get warm enough to go swimming. So, get some while you can then drop me a note and tell me what you think.

Speaking of shipping, did you know that most wineries will hold their shipments to Texas during the hot months of Summer? For good reason of course. So, I always try to order wines I can’t find locally during the cooler months. If you are concerned with shipping cost, try enlisting a few friends to split a case, which will reduce the costs.

Until next time, Cheers!