PS I Love You,Winemaker,Winery

Moss Creek Winery: Twas the Season then ~ and no doubt, still is

[The above image was taken from the Moss Creek Website. This is not one of my images; the rest in this blog posting are ones I’ve taken.]

I’ve long wanted to write this blog entry about my PS I Love You member and colleague, George Moskowite of Moss Creek Winery.

When Sergeant First Class Cheryl Dupris contacted me about returning from duty in Afghanistan and only wanting to enjoy Petite Sirah is California, I went into overdrive. I created a 10 day extravaganza that included everything from wine tasting, being hosted at wineries in their guest cottages, dining rooms, tasting rooms, B-B-Qs, restaurant reservations with vintners, spa treatment, hot air balloon ride, overnights in lovely bed and breakfasts, a limo tour, winery tours with the owners and/or principles, and driving through a vineyard in an all terrain vehicle… It was a totally out of the box experience… Not just for her, but once set up I thought, “How is she going to get herself around for the next 10 days?” so, I became the guide to something I know was never created before, and will – no doubt – ever be created again.

I tried to keep up with it all; but in the end, the 10 days of journaling with several stops each day, it just became too much to articulate – toward the end – with any joie de vive. I just ran out of steam, but never ran out of intent.

The time spent at Moss Creek hasn’t left my thankful consciousness. Cheryl and I met with George at his winery and tasted his Petite Sirah in his tasting room, toured his production area, went into his wine caves, and then he took us to lunch at his favorite Mexican cantina.

So, George, “Twas the season” in your heart in April of 2007, and I’m sure it still is during this holiday season of 2008. Generous people reach out at all times of the year, and we (Cheryl and I) still think of your addition – and the wrapping up – of her amazing introduction to Petite Sirah in wine country that involved Sonoma, Napa, and Livermore.

George retired from being a stock broker, epitomizing the saying, “It takes a large fortune to make a small fortune in the wine business.” I heard him utter these words at the American Wine Society Conference in Sacramento, where he was one of my Petite Sirah panel members.

Four generations of the Moskowite family have been farming in the Napa Valley since 1917. They have 145 acres of planted vineyards, which began in 1972.

At the American Wine Society Conference this past September, George Moskowite addressed how difficult it is to grow Petite. Most winemakers will tell you that PS is difficult to grow, but easy to make. It tends to take over, once fermentation begins, but getting it from bud break to harvest is the tricky part. George listed slip skin, sun burn, and bunch rot as the most problematic parts of maintaining a PS vineyard.

Moss Creek is a destination, not one of the valley floor wineries that you whiz by during an introduction to Napa Valley. Moss Creek is located at an elevation of 800 to 900 feet, with neighboring prominent valleys of Atlas Peak, Chiles, and Wooden Valley in the Mayacamas Mountains.

When visiting Napa, you’ll do yourself a favor if you get “out of the valley” and travel up the mountainside to many of the wine companies who have tucked themselves into the hills. Located at 6015 Steele Canyon Road, here they raise mountain fruit with such intensity of flavor that it’s always a luscious visit…

Nils Venge, winemaker for Moss Creek, has a stellar reputation; and, the fruit that George delivers to him with which to work is from low yielding, mature vines from over 30-year old mountain vineyards. The winery produces about 300 cases of each wine that it offers. Growing fruit for others has its rewards; growing it for small case prduction is the true reward for wine grape growers. Visiting Moss Creek is a must do for anyone with an adventurous soul.

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