What's New at Rock Basin Vineyards
~ Winter, 2010/2011 ~
El Nino or La Nina...which do you prefer? Mother Nature has treated Southern California to both this winter. From late October to the end of December I measured 16.4" of rain at Rock Basin... the wetter La Nina element to this winter. Nearby Santa Margarita Lake went from 60% (+/-) to 102% (spilling) by the years end. Other local lakes saw similar increases in their water storage. Some road and highway closures resulted from snow, mudslides and damages caused by flooding. The first days of January were laden with moisture before the arrival of the La Nina facet to Winter, 2011.
The La Nina is characterize by cooler nights, warmer days and a drier atmosphere overall. From the first week of January the nights have been ranging mid 20's to mid 30's with daytimes topping out in the mid 60's to upper 70's with a few low 80 readings, too. The extra sunshine is bringing out the grasses and the wildflowers are sure to follow in March and April. With much harsher weather enveloping much of our Nation this season, I am getting daily requests for rates and information from many folks in the snow bound latitudes.
Frogs, Foxes and Ducks...Oh My!
Yes, our seasonal friends are back. The frog orchestra began their nightly serenades in November and will continue well into Spring if the as long as there is water in the ponds. The smaller middle pond is shallow, only a few feet deep, with warmer water. The frogs prefer this area for their mating and breeding rituals. The sound can be near deafening when all the frogs are croaking away and many a guest has said they find the noise quiet comforting to sleep to.
The Red Foxes are out of their dens early this year. I have had four fox sightings now, all at the end of the day or at day break. I think a young vixen (female fox) has a den with babies up the canyon in the rocks. The dogs certainly seem to know when the fox has been around the pond. A couple of times Penny the Boxer pup has taken off into the hills following a scent trail from the pond. Foxes are very beneficial animals in vineyards, helping to keep the rodent population in check.
The Mallard ducks are back, too. I suspect they are the same drake (male) and hen that raised a clutch of eggs to babies here last winter. I have been feeding them some of the sweet corn/grain mixture I feed to the sheep in hopes of fattening them up and keeping them here all year long. They seem quite happy and contented to call the big pond home. Last year I let the pond dry out so I could remove the clay, sand and weeds so I hope to be able to keep the water level full for duck and irrigation this year.
Ancient Peaks Vineyards opened their doors in Santa Margarita three years ago. Their 2006 Zinfandel has scored in the 90's with Wine Spectator and their tasting room is roomy, bright and cheerful. They are offering ten wines for tastings with a fee of $5.00 for tastes of five wines. Rock Basin guests interested in trying Ancient Peaks wines can receive a complimentary card for a free tasting for two guests. Don't forget to ask "B" for the card before you go to the tasting room.
Pozo Valley Vineyards has their tasting room in Santa Margarita, too. There is no fee to try their wines, which are good examples of the varietals they grow on their ranch in Pozo Valley. This is a small family run operations with daughter, Michelle running the tasting room Friday - Sunday. Son Joey is the wine maker and manages the vineyard's daily operation. Located inside Bonnie's Kitchen & Catering, the winery is a good place to start your tasting experience while having Bonnie & staff pack your picnic lunch. Talk about one stop shopping!
The Guest House has enjoyed visitors from Idaho, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, California, Texas, New Mexico, Alaska, North & South Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylania, Hawaii, Canada, Ireland, England, Italy and Germany. All have said the pictures on the website don't do the homes justice; the homes are more spacious and better equipped than exected. We hope you will visit us soon and see for yourself why so many of our guests book a return visit before they leave.
Til next time,
Berenice, aka: 'B' & Bernie aka: Mom
Proud members of: Central Coast Vineyard Team & San Luis Yacht Club.