Sunday, July 6, 2014

Colter's Creek, Juliaetta, Idaho

Liza, Maddie, and I traveled down to Juliaetta, Idaho for a few days with Beth and Mike. Melissa and her husband (also Mike) own Coulter's Creek winery. It's a family run winery that means business. It was fascinating to go and see just the tip of the iceberg of this huge operation. I was really in awe of the scale of the whole thing.

Buty what makes it really cool is how tied-in the Sandborn parents are with the essential running of the place. Wes is in heaven: working all the time, driving tractors, fixing big equipment, mowing giant fields, etc. Carol moves through the background in that Midwestern way: quietly (but fiercely) efficient in keeping the multiple houses in order, assuring a steady supply of excellent food, watching the baby, assisting with the front of the house in the tasting room, and no doubt, a bunch of other stuff.

They all work super hard, but it's clear they all value each other's respective roles and contributions and that they're all 100% in on the operation without qualification.

It was impressive and inspiring to watch them all do their things. They have this characteristic that I find very attractive. I've seen it with many people that build their own stuff: they often have a purposeful worldview -- they must build a thing. The permanence of the endeavor is pure to me. And I really admire it when a group of people work together to build a thing in such a singularly-focused way.

Juliaetta is down the road from Lewiston. It's  really hot little region there. Rattlesnakes are fairly common. This guy was curled up outside our house on the second night we were there.

Maddie has been taking tae kwon do from Beth.  They paused on a nighttime stroll to strike a pose.

Beth gets all juiced up on adrenaline by capturing angry roosters. This was a great thing to watch. Click for big: the rooster is all hackled up here. It was pissed. And serious about messing Beth up.

But she caught it and calmed it.

Mike and Melissa's house has a design that resembles a truss-style bridge. Aside from being super smart in lay-out and in its energy efficiency for the extreme seasons of the region, it fits really well with landscape. It cantilevers over the river and visually just belongs there.

The guest house is down the road a bit. It's got an amazing deck that shoots out over the river too. No picture of that.

This is the Colter's Creek tasting room in the town of Juliaetta. The night we were there it was pizza night. Mike bakes all the pizza on a Big Green Egg, which works amazingly well and is surprisingly production-friendly. Since it was "pizza" night, he was able to turn out about 30 pizzas in an hour and a half... I don't have a picture of Mike, but he's a super intriguing dude. The Green Egg pizza solution might be a good indication of how he approaches problem solving. I'd like to know him better. Given his schedule, I only had the opportunity to have a couple brief conversations with him.

Carol, Melissa, Faye...  a quick pose before popping back up and seeing to guests.

Wes and me: sharing a moment. Our family's have known and hung with each other since I was about 9 years old. I get to kiss Wes for that.

The winery at the confluence of the Potlatch and Clearwater rivers. This is the Clearwater. Super cold and wonderful. Mike and Melissa had just recently purchased the chunk of land and house that abuts this piece of river. They're looking to plant more vines down there.

The winery is full-on. Many barrels in this temp/humidity-controlled room are waiting it out. 

We spent a couple hours one morning planting new grape vines. We planted a bit over 300 vines in about 2 hours. Hard work. I'd like to go down for a longer chunk of work when crushing happens. I'm guessing doing small chunks of work down there won't do much to temper my romantic vision of the operation... but I'm curious...

Here are some of the guys that work in the vineyard and winery: they're watching Beth do her rooster catching. They seemed impressed.

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