Kathleen Hill: La Prenda’s thinnings, plus Father’s Day preview
La Prenda’s ‘Thinnings’ and new tasting room
Speaking of Ned Hill and his La Prenda Vineyards, he loves working in the dirt and driving a tractor, which he started doing with his dad, Steve Hill, who managed Ed Durrell’s vineyard. During the 30 years of Steve’s management, the Durrell Ranch became renowned for its quality grapes and it now belongs to Bill Price, who also owns Three Sticks Wines.
Ned graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo in fruit science with a minor in plant protection, becoming an Outstanding Fruit Science Graduate, and then moved back to Sonoma to work with his dad at Durrell Ranch. Soon he was named Outstanding Young Farmer at the 2005 Sonoma County Harvest Fair.
As Ned said on my radio show on KSVY last Friday, “I’m kind of a ‘whole hog’ sort of guy,” a reference to the practice of utilizing every part of an animal for food.
He meant he realized every part of the wine grape plant can be used, including the “thinnings.” Thinnings are the grapes that normally are cut out of a cluster of bunches to allow more thorough growth and maturation of the best wine grapes. “There is a use for everything we grow.”
La Prenda’s “thinnings” wines have lower alcohol and lower sugar content than normal California wines, and are much more like inexpensive French countryside wines. He thinks they make a great lunch wine you can drink and not have to go home and take a nap afterward. You can find these wines at Broadway Market, Sonoma Market and Sonoma’s Best.
And watch for Ned and Erika Hill to open their first tasting room with a wide selection of wines from their own 100 acres and those made with grapes from their many clients. They will take over the spot in the First Street West space opposite the Red Grape in the breezeway, which has most recently housed the tasting room Jeff Cohn Cellars, he of Rosenblum winemaker fame, focusing on zinfandel and Rhone varietals and blends. 535 First St. W. Sonoma.
Father’s Day – June 20
Father’s Day is next Sunday, June 20, which seems far off, especially to restaurateurs who are just trying to survive today and this week.
There seems to be a broad assumption that all men and dads are big carnivores and therefore therefor restaurants must offer big steaks and other meats, possibly a throwback to our hunter-gatherer days. Remember the chant: “real men eat quiche”? Some do. And even salads.
A few businesses have responded already to my Father’s Day inquiry; here they are:
First off the blocks as usual was owner Rob Larman who says, “The whole restaurant is a Father’s Day special.” Larman’s Cochon Volant, which translates to “flying pig,” features smoked beef brisket, ribs, giant Guy Fieri-favorite burgers, fried chicken and terrific sides.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn
Of course the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa offers golf, massage, spa and wine packages, but here’s the skinny on the food offerings.
Their CaliForno Food Truck chefs will offer a “Blues, Brews, & BBQ” lunch in addition to the truck’s regular menu. Barbecue specials will include a Memphis-style barbecued pulled-pork sandwich with chipotle slaw, beer-battered onion rings, and Lagunitas seasonal beer ($24), and a half-slab of slow roasted baby-back ribs with potato salad ($20), all served with live music on the front lawn on Sunday, June 20, from noon to 3 p.m. Reserve at 938-9000 or Fairmont.com.
Hanson of Sonoma
Hanson of Sonoma, a local organic distillery, offers tastings of its American single-malt whiskey for dads to taste in the “spirits garden,” along with cocktails for moms and wood-fired pizzas for everyone.
Hanson also offers a “DIY Old Fashioned Cocktail Kit” as a gift that includes a bottle of Hanson’s whiskey, a bottle of Bitter Girl bitters, a package of brown sugar cubes, and a package of dehydrated organic blood orange slices for garnish, with prices starting at $225. 22985 Burndale Road, Sonoma. 343-1805. Reservations at hansonofsonoma.com/visit.
Labor shift or labor shortage?
We all hear locally and on national and world news that restaurants, wineries and some hotels are having trouble getting people to apply for new jobs or just to come back to assume their old jobs.
Some people prefer to shrug it off as lazy people who are getting too much money from the government.
Stephanie Ruhl, senior business editor of NBC News and former editor-at-large of Bloomberg News, suggested last week on MSNBC that maybe we have a labor shift and not a labor shortage.
During a year’s confinement with some people getting government money, many people had time to think about what they really wanted to do.