Category Archives: posts

Still a Beautiful Day in America

President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service 100 years ago. In honor of the National Park Service’s centennial this week, the Guardian has compiled scenes from around the country. From coast to coast, Hawaii to Maine, the beauty, nature and scope of US national parks are still breathtaking.

One hundred years from now, who knows what the story will be?

Ad Hoc Wine Labels

Cadillac Red wine label - wandi

Grape harvest started for one of our clients today, and that somehow got me thinking about wine labels.

Cadillac Red back label - wandiWe’ve been making our own wine for several years. The first vintage came from cab franc grapes gleaned from a vineyard on Castle Road, not too far from where we lived at the time. We dodged the hounds of the Baskervilles (long story) and came back with enough grapes to make a few cases. It actually turned out surprisingly well – especially considering it was a first attempt.

This was the label that went on that first vintage. Well, the main one anyway. Tom comes up with labels to match the occasion and must have turned out a million plus by now for our various wines and various parties and dinners and people.

He’s also done a number of labels for legit wineries, but it’s the ad hoc ones for the homemade wine that are on my mind today.

Red Door wine label - wandiThe second year we made cab from grapes we picked high in the Mayacamas Mountains. We were lucky to get those grapes, even if Carmenet wasn’t going to use them because the vines were affected by phylloxera. There were plenty of them, and for us they worked just fine.

That vintage sported an unknown number of labels while it lasted. And it lasted quite a while. Very late season harvest generally means pretty high alcohol so it ‘kept’, as they say. And changed for the better over time.

Aviation Red wine label - wandiAnyway, here are a couple of the labels from 2000. As you can see, the themes for our ad hoc labels are pretty much all over the place. That’s the fun of being able to do your own – and having an over abundance of ideas.

Aviation has been a recurring theme, however. Tom is kind of into aeroplanes. (You can find out more about that on the Marin Aero Club blog: It’s serious stuff.)

And then there were the labels that were more about the occasion or the person of the hour than the wine. This one went on some bottles of syrah and was created for our friend, Flying Ace George Benson (that’s him in the picture, although Photo- shop put him in the plane).

George Benson Carpe Hora syrahThe trouble with special commemorative labels is that people feel compelled to save the bottle – and not drink the wine – and that’s just a shame.

Because there will always be another harvest and another vintage and another occasion for an ad hoc label.

Carpe hora.

For the Honeybees

bees in the field by tom whitworth-xWe recently got interested in keeping bees. We’ve flirted with the idea of setting up a hive in a noncommittal (read: airy fairy) kind of way off and on for years, but then someone issued a casual challenge by asking, why not? We couldn’t think of a reason why not – lots of excuses, but no good reason – so one of us said, “OK, we’ll do it.”

Yeah, it was one of those unilateral group decisions. Don’t you hate those?

Within days we were over at the Petaluma Seed Bank for a lecture on natural beekeeping, and then just this past weekend Vanishing of the Bees opened in Sonoma at the Sebastiani Theatre. We have the definite impression there’s no turning back on the bee thing.

And how could anyone turn back – on the bee thing – after seeing Vanishing of the Bees? Oh my goodness, if you have the opportunity to see the film, do not miss it. And then take up the challenge yourself and do something (anything) for the honeybees.