Equine Massage Therapy Greatly Enhances Overall Health Of Horses

Full-body massage therapy treatment for a horse may sound unessential and perhaps a bit excessive, but research has shown it can greatly aid the muscular and physiologic systems.

Hands-on therapies, including massage, acupressure and joint mobilization, are one of the fastest growing equine therapy categories. Many schools offer certification programs in the areas of animal and companion massage, and many are approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (be sure to ask for credentials before hiring a massage therapist for your horse).

Equine massage uses the hands, fingers and elbows of the therapist, as well as other tools, including tennis balls. During the massage, the soft tissue is manipulated with the goal of loosening tight muscles, joints, tendons, scar tissue and edema; increasing blood flow and lymphatic activity; and reducing stress. Equine massage is used in exercise warm-up and post-injury or surgery rehabilitation, and will give a skilled therapist great insight into the state of muscular problem areas.

It is always advisable to have a veterinary consultation regarding any injury, however it is not feasible for your vet to spend an hour or more massaging your horse. A skilled and certified Equine Massage Therapist can help determine the root cause of muscular problems and offer valuable information to your vet or other equine care providers.

horse massage

Here are a few of the benefits of equine massage therapy:
• Relieves tension and muscles spasms.
• Dilates blood vessels and improves circulation, which promotes more rapid healing of injuries.
• Enhances muscle tone and range of motion, and stretches connective tissue
• Increases potential performance and endurance.
• Reduces inflammation and swelling in the joints.
• Increases the production of synovial fluid in the joints.
• Lengthens connective tissue and breaks down/prevents the formation of adhesions.
• Helps extend the good health and lifespan of a horse.
• Helps drain sluggish lymph material.
• Lessens stiffness and swelling.
• Has a stimulating or sedative effect on nervous system.
• Brings awareness to the area being massaged.

Although massage can greatly benefit the lives and health of all horses, it’s especially needed in horses that exhibit the following symptoms or behaviors:
• Head tossing
• Refusal to pick-up correct lead
• Unexplained lameness
• Difficulty with lateral movements
• Girthing or “cold back” problems
• Lack of forward impulsion

Aside from its physical benefits, massage speaks to the nervous system in such a way that a horse will experience a significant state of relaxation and mental clarity as well. Any horse in a constant state of mental stress will never perform to its full potential.
Annual massages do not address underlying issues, and the horse never reaps the benefits. Regular massages not only benefit the horse, they benefit the horse owner in these ways:
• A decrease in vet visits, saving you time and money, and increasing time in the saddle.
• A competitive horse that moves more efficiently, with less pain, can achieve more on the track or in the arena.
• A horse that recovers more quickly from workouts provides you with a willing horse to ride.
• You may have a much happier horse with a better work attitude, making your daily ride a pleasure rather than a fight.

Whether you ride for pleasure or performance, equine massage is a simple addition to your horse’s health care program. It may seem luxurious and expensive (a 90-minute massage averages about $150, depending on the provider), but science has shown that horses respond well to initial treatment, while consistent massage builds positive effects over the long, happy life of your horse.

Japanese And Jewish Cultures Come Together In Beautiful, Poignant Ceremony

carl and felice 2

In America, interracial couplings are no longer a mere curiosity. In fact, the 2010 Census revealed that 1 in 10 married couples are now mixed race, the highest level in our history.

Love is indeed blind, and people are merging race, culture and religion to create a fusion of something different and new. While many Americans ease into these relationships without concern, the marriage (starting with the wedding ceremony) can cause a culture clash as parents and family members lobby for their own traditions and cultural mandates.

carl and felice 3

To pull it off, it requires patience and consideration — and knowledge and understanding of each family’s desires. If done appropriately, the ceremony can be quite moving and enlightening.

Carl Gebhardt and Felice Barash found the process easy and inspirational as each family came together to help blend the cultures seamlessly as an outdoor ceremony in June of 2014 at Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley. Carl’s heritage is Japanese and Felice is Jewish, two disparate cultures to be sure.

“We had a lot of culture in our wedding!” said Felice. “We incorporated both Jewish and Japanese traditions into our day.”

Carl’s sister Amy made the couple a beautiful piece of art out of 1,001 paper cranes. In Japanese culture, the crane is a symbol of longevity and prosperity, and so 1,001 gold origami cranes are folded to bring luck, good fortune, longevity, fidelity, and peace to the marriage.

carl and felice 1

His family also constructed the couple a chuppah, a traditional Jewish canopy.

“We were under the stunning chuppah that Carl’s family made for us, sharing our personal vows and there was so much emotion and love,” Felice said. “We had an unplugged ceremony, we asked that all guests kindly put away their cameras and cell phones and be fully present and in the moment with us. It was perfect. We will never forget the ceremony, the gorgeous view from the ceremony is as beautiful as it gets.”

The couple also took time to thank their parents by giving them flowers, which is an old Japanese tradition. And instead of champagne they toasted with sake during a ritual called san-san-kudo. It is performed by the bride and groom along with both sets of parents. Each person takes three sips of sake from each of three cups. The first three represent three couples, the bride and groom, and their parents. The second three represent three human flaws: hatred, passion, and ignorance. “Ku,” or 9 ,is a lucky number in Japanese culture. And “do” means deliverance from the three flaws.

“We were married under a chuppah and had Jewish traditions guiding the ceremony with circling, blessings over wine, and breaking the glass,” she said. “Of course we danced the horah (a circle dance traditionally performed at Jewish weddings and other joyous occasions).”

Carl and Felice met and became friends while attending Mission San Jose High School in Fremont before graduating in 2002.

“We started dating a few years later in 2005 when I was home for summer break from college, and the rest is history!” she said.

Their first date was at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse.

“I joined him for a friend’s birthday party and we shared a pizookie,” she said. “We went on four dates that week and couldn’t get enough of each other.”

A pizookie is a hybrid term for pizza-cookie — the perfect metaphor for a perfectly suitable couple.

Other Wedding Vendors:
Wedding Planner: Allison Silber of Engaged and Inspired
Caterer: Paradise Catering
Photographer: Jasmine Lee Photography
Videographer: Our friends who brought their Go Pros!
DJ/Band/Musicians: Jon Belmont of Belmont Entertainment
Bakery: Our friends and family provided home baked goods for our
dessert bar
Hair and Makeup: Gina Fernandez of Skin by Gina
Transportation: Main Event

The Anything But Chardonnay Revolt Changed The Wine World

The Chardonnay grape produces a juice that, when fermented, yields wine notes of crisp, tart (some say sour) green apple and tropical notes such as pineapple.

A secondary fermentation can transform those tart malic acid notes into lactic acid notes of butter and cream. Holding the wine in oak barrels can impart additional flavors of oak, toast, clove, caramel, butterscotch and vanilla. And if the juice is allowed to ferment AND age in oak barrels, a more intense oak flavor becomes prominent.

In the 1980s, when large California winemakers such as Kendall-Jackson began making bold, buttery Chardonnay, others followed suit, and consumers came to expect all Chardonnays to taste creamy and oaky. Soon, other wineries were hiding the varietal character of Chardonnay, the unique fruit notes, by increasing their use of malolactic fermentation and oak aging.

The country was awash in rivers of Chardonnay, and the masses demanded it in amazing volumes.

But then, around the start of the new millennium, savvy wine drinkers staged a revolt, calling themselves ABC drinkers, with ABC standing for Anything But Chardonnay. They discovered other varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chenin Blanc, Marsanne, Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Viognier, Pinot Gris — anything with fruit notes and some acidity.

Over the course of the last five years, however, wineries have decided that malolactic fermentation and oak aging do not have to be employed with every Chardonnay.

Suddenly, the once homogeneous Chardonnay had many different styles and personalities, with some wineries foregoing malolactic fermentation or putting only a portion of their Chardonnay juice through malolactic while blending it with single-fermentation juice. Others now hold their fruit in stainless steel tanks instead of oak barrels to allow the fruit to shine, or hold some of their juice in stainless and some in oak to blend the juices.

Happily, winemakers are now using these tools in varying ways to create wines that are unique and appealing.

For example, Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley makes a rich yet crisp Chardonnay with all of the elements of Old World styling. A bright finish with notes of toasted nuts and warm brioche follow hints of brown grass and cinnamon on the nose. Completely balanced and medium bodied, the Holman Ranch Chardonnay pairs well with food.

To take it even further, Holman makes what it calls a Virgin Chardonnay. This unoaked wine is cold-fermented in stainless steel tanks and unveils light aromas of minerals and fresh summer flowers on the nose. The clean, crisp finish offers a refreshing wine, full of citrus that’s perfect for a warm day.

Chardonnay, once boring and predictable, is now full of character and nuance — and fun to taste! And the guerrilla ABC movement has all but disappeared.

‘Chance Encounters’ Lead To Love And Marriage

Our thanks to One Love Photography for their stunning photographs…

one love photography 6

How does a man show interest in a woman without crossing the line into stalker territory? For Michael O’Brien, he took the direct approach when it came to meeting his beautiful neighbor living in a lower duplex unit in Newport Beach.

“I was eating dinner on the patio with my roommates and Michael introduced himself,” said Kris Rusert. “They recalled the situation as he ‘bee-lined’ for me, and they made jokes about how it would be mentioned at our future wedding.”

Kris wasn’t thinking wedding right then, but wondered how she kept running into her new neighbor through “chance” encounters at the beach.

one love photography 5

“He’d do random drop-byes, until we finally made official plans to hang out,” she said.

Michael avoided stalker territory, but he underwent an aggressive pursuit of the woman of his dreams — a woman he would later marry in March of 2014 at Holman Ranch.
And, yes, the story of Michael’s “bee-line” toward Kris was repeated several times that day.

For their first official date, the couple actually stayed in and made dinner, “which is essentially exactly how we are as a couple now,” Kris said. “It was around Michael’s birthday and we whipped up quite a little feast in celebration. It was fun to cook together and really get to talking about our lives and families.”

one love photography 4

Later the couple moved from Newport Beach to Northern California for Michael’s job and the two loved to spend time in local parks.

“Cuesta Park in Mountain View was such a fun location to picnic, jog and walk the dog,” Kris said. “We would go there almost every weekend. In September right before moving into San Francisco, Michael suggested doing a picnic there. I didn’t think much of it since it was such a part of our life. Well, that night started like a normal evening and ended with him asking me to marry him. It’s a day and a place we will never forget.

The couple knew Holman Ranch was the perfect wedding venue for them from the moment they stepped foot onto the grounds.

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“Holman Ranch takes your breath away,” Kris said. “I wanted a location that required little design and it did exactly that. It’s magical.”

The couple loved how they could transition throughout the property for the event. “Every part of the property unfolds a new perspective,” Kris said. “The town (Carmel Valley) is very charming and was a great destination for our guests.”

Because their family and friends are so important in their lives, Michael and Kris felt overwhelmed emotionally. “Seeing everyone you love from different parts of life come together in one space is truly hard to explain,” Kris said.

one love photography 2

To honor their family and their traditions, Michael and Kris included a few blessings — one during the ceremony and one before dinner. Their pastor gave a traditional Irish blessing during the ceremony to honor the O’Brien family’s Irish heritage. Then Kris’ father Mike blessed the dinner with a prayer both the bride and groom had recited with each of their families growing up.

“Our families had a slightly different version, but it was really neat to hear a moment when both families said a familiar prayer in unison,” Kris said. “That day we really saw the unity and love amongst our families.”

The one wedding memory that stands out for the new Mr. and Mrs. O’Brien is being announced as husband and wife.

one love photography 1

“That is literally the happiest moment of your life,” Kris said. “We felt such ease walking back down the aisle and we had never been happier. The rest of the night you just float, at the best party you’ve ever been to, with everyone you love.”

Other wedding vendors:
Caterer: Paradise Catering
Photographer: One Love Photography
DJ/Band/Musicians: DNA Entertainment, DJ Darion
Bakery: Patisserie Bechler
Hair: Brooke Burdett
Makeup: Janelle Walker
Flowers: Whitney Rose Events

Equestrian Apparel Crossing Over Into Mainstream Fashion

The expression “clothes horse” describes a person, typically a woman, who is excessively concerned with wearing fashionable clothes. These days, the words “clothes” and “horse” go together for a slightly different reason, as equestrian wear has crossed over from the saddle into mainstream fashion.

Big designers such as Ralph Lauren and D&G have long incorporated equestrian elements into their fashion lines, from jodhpurs to dressage jackets and horsebit detailing in luxury leather goods. And Gucci recently named Bruce Springsteen’s daughter, Jessica Springsteen, to its team of equestrian ambassadors. But these days we see teens at the mall wearing faux knee patches, equestrian jackets, tall, sleek, cuffed boots and, yes, designer riding breeches. And who hasn’t seen a purse or belt with a stirrup or bit design?

Today, equestrian fashion can be found at Target, The Gap, Kohl’s, Gymboree and plenty of other stores. The trend in 2014 (ironically The Year of the Horse on the Chinese Calendar) is the commonly revisited “equestrian look,” and it’s inspired a serious resurgence of horse sense in fashion.

According to Lifestyle Mirror, an international online magazine (lifestylemirror.com) focusing on style and fashion: “The key to mastering this trend is to stick to clean lines, fitted silhouettes, and anything that feels like something ‘Downton Abbey’s’ Lady Mary might wear riding. The color palette is dominated by nude, white, and black accented with pops of red and rich brown leather. But rather than wearing the look from head-to-toe, try adding one key piece to your daily uniform. Switch out black jeans for slim riding pants or polish off a work look with a jaunty Hermès scarf. We’ve always loved the timeless feel of all things equestrian, which never seem to really go out of style. It’s a trend you can safely invest in now and wear forever.”

Fashionable leisure riding clothing for women has been around since the 16th century, when riding overskirts and cloaks were first introduced. Jodhpurs were originally designed to be very practical long trousers, snug from the calf to the ankle, with reinforced fabric protecting the inner calf and knee from rubbing.

Jodhpurs are longer in length than riding breeches, finishing at the ankle, and have a turn up of material that may be uncomfortable when worn with long leather boots. Breeches stop at mid-calf and fasten with a button or more commonly, Velcro, and are more suited to use with long boots, as there’s less bulk at the ankle.

Ladies began wearing jodhpurs during the 1920s, as they shifted from riding side-saddle to riding astride. Today, jodhpur-style trousers can be seen on fashion runways and are often part of everyday wear. One of the first high-profile women to redesign jodhpurs for everyday wear was Coco Chanel. She transformed it into a fashion statement, both on and off the horse.

Equestrian clothing has become popular with many who have never even set foot in a stable yard, which doesn’t sit well with some equestrian folks who think true riding boots must have a little manure on the soles, and that jodhs and breeches need to always be covered in horsehair and mud.

Where to shop for equestrian fashion depends on budget and lifestyle. Le Fash (lefashny.com) is a good place to start. The company produces the first-ever cross over clothing line suitable for equestrian competition and the fashion forward. Its goal is to “fill the void between standardized riding attire and high-end equestrian inspired sportswear by creating one product line that can cross seamlessly into both markets.”

Equestrian Fashion Outlet (efoequestrianfashionoutlet.com.au), is an online store based in Australia that specializes in competition wear that works for everyday use as well.

Wine Industry Taking Note Of Thirsty Generation Y

In the U.S., wine purchases are split along generational lines. While Baby Boomers are still the biggest spenders, Millennials (age 21 to 34) are the fastest-growing group of wine drinkers. And unlike boomers, who tend to stick with familiar varietals such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, the younger Millennials have a more adventurous palate and are not afraid to experiment.

generation y

According to research conducted by Napa Technology, wine accounts for about 20 percent of alcohol purchased by consumers age 21 to 34, up from just 13 percent a decade ago. This so-called Y Generation is consuming more wine then previous generations when they turned 21, and the industry is taking note in the way it markets wine to young Americans. In short, boomers are not going to live forever and the industry sees a new era in wine and the way it’s packaged and sold.

Unlike older Americans, Millennials don’t care about the pretentiousness of a wine, instead preferring something that is authentic and speaks to them.

According to current demographic research, there are 62 million Millennials of legal drinking age, and in two years another 8 million will celebrate turning 21. Of core drinkers, or people who drink wine at least once a week, Millennials represent 30 percent of the market.

In general, polls have shown the Y Generation is more distrustful of institutions and corporations, and therefore gravitates to smaller, boutique wine producers with a unique story, a unique blend or a unique region (the mystique of French Bordeaux is perceived as old-fashioned and pretentious). What’s more, the Millennials are not impressed by large, bulk wineries with legendary names, and they certainly are not swayed by expert reviews such as those published in Wine Spectator or medals won in grand wine competitions. And in a restaurant setting, they are less apt to seek out advice from a traditional sommelier.

Wineries rely heavily on social media to attract Millennials, because they can engage with winemakers and talk about what they’re drinking with their friends. They especially prefer Twitter because their customers want to know what their friends are saying about a wine over the opinion of wine critic Robert Parker.

As far as spending goes, the Boomers still outspend their younger counterparts by a wide margin. For the Millennials, the $20 price tag seems to be the ceiling, with $10-$12 being the sweet spot.

Finally, the younger generation is changing the packaging of wine and having a cultural influence in society. The traditional 750ml bottle might be on its way out — at least for the younger demographic that is more eco-conscious. Consumers have already seen more boxed wine (while a bottle can serve 1-3 people, the average box holds 4 bottles-worth of wine, making it better equipped for an impromptu gathering of Millennials), aluminum vessels and packages with cool designs and informative verbiage that tells a story. There is also an uptick in tapped wine, an industry many experts predict will explode in the coming decade.

In the end, companies targeting Millennials are going to have to face the group’s lack of purchasing power, compared to the more financially secure Boomers, but those getting ahead of the trend will have a large wine-drinking audience for decades to come.

Man’s Romantic Gesture Leads To Dream Wedding

Society is under the impression that real men aren’t romantic. The truth? All men have the ability but many are just afraid to step out on that limb.

Relationship experts say there are five elements to an effective romantic gesture; surprise (don’t be boring or predictable), thoughtfulness (show time, energy and effort), calibration (cater it to her tastes and comfort level), self-initiation (be original) and simplicity (complex isn’t always better).
Kristin Miller knew her husband-to-be Jason Gates had a romantic side, and he showed all five elements in his proposal to her.

Jason proposed on Nov. 30, 2013, in San Francisco where they both lived and worked.

“I had a friend’s birthday party to attend on Friday after work. Jason had previously made dinner plans but wouldn’t tell me where we were going,” Kristin said.

miller gates wedding

She attended the friend’s happy hour party for a short while before meeting Jason back at her apartment to head to dinner.

“When I got to my apartment there were rose petals leading up the stairs to the living room, candles were lining the entire house and there was a fire in the fireplace,” she said. “He was waiting for me in front of the fireplace where he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.”

She said yes.

From there Jason took his fiancée to dinner at Terzo (where they had their first date) and they headed back to Kristin’s apartment for dessert.

“As I walked up the stairs to my apartment my family and Jason’s family were standing at the top of the stairs with Champagne yelling congratulations!” she said.

Kristin’s family lives in Southern California so Jason had secretly arranged for them to fly up and surprise her.

“Best day ever!” she said.

Until the wedding that is. The couple married on April 5, 2014, as 168 guests gathered at Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley.

“We had a pastor from my childhood church come up and marry us,” Kristin said. “Growing up going to Mariners Church in Orange County, I had always envisioned getting married there, but when we decided on Holman Ranch, I knew I wanted to incorporate a piece of Mariners into our ceremony. It was the perfect touch.”

The couple decided not to see each other before the wedding, waiting for that special moment when the bride walks down the aisle.

“Seeing Jason’s face for the first time and his reaction is something I will never forget,” Kristin said. “I also chose to have a first look with my Dad. Seeing him for the first time in my wedding dress was really special.”

The close-knit, simple couple that first met while playing in a kickball tournament in San Francisco chose Holman Ranch because “it has the perfect combination of rustic and romantic touches and is hidden amongst the gorgeous hills of the valley where you feel like no one else is around. We loved its beauty and uniqueness and felt it was the perfect place for us to say I do.”

The couple’s only regret? Not having a videographer chronicle their special day so they could watch it over and over again.

But for this romantic couple, the images will never leave them. For a honeymoon they flew to Kauai, Hawaii. “It was a very relaxing island and the perfect place to recap all of the fun wedding activities,” Kristin said.

Ten Questions You Should Always Ask Your Wedding Caterer

Food can make a wedding reception truly memorable, and the caterer plays a pivotal role in whether the meal is a delicious standout or an unappetizing dud. Whether you are having a gourmet sit-down affair or a casual buffet, pre-planning is the key — along with asking your catering candidates all the right questions.

Want to avoid sticker shock? Ask what’s included in the per-person price, and whether there are hidden costs. Do you want to taste the items before the big day? Work that out beforehand. Want your leftovers to go to charity? Ask if that’s allowed.

holman wedding layout

To make your reception go off without a hitch, here is a list of important questions your caterer must be able to answer:

1) Do they specialize in certain types of food or service? They should provide you with sample menus to review, and be able to accommodate reasonable requests.

2) Can they arrange for a tasting of the specific foods you’re interested in prior to the event? Every reputable cater should be able to schedule a tasting based on your menu requests.

3) Do they have references? Ask for and follow up on references, and ask your friends and family to help dig up information on the caterer’s reputation. Review sites such as Yelp could be useful toward this purpose.

4) How will they handle last-minute requests? A good caterer should be able to adjust the menu or the table setup to accommodate reasonable last-minute guest changes or menu requests.

5) Does the cost-per-person include all charges? Some caterers include the cost of the staff, rentals, linens and food in their cost-per-person. Knowing whether this is the case will help you comparison shop.

6) Can they provide a detailed list of included and additional charges? Caterers will charge you for every service provided so be aware of all the charges. A reputable caterer will list out all charges, including overtime and set-up/cleanup chargers.

7) Will the client be able to see the event order? All the information you’ve discussed with the caterer about your party will be listed on this order sheet. Review the details carefully so you know that all your requests have been chronicled accurately.

8) Does the caterer have the proper licenses? This applies to health department requirements and liability insurance. Caterers that don’t readily provide this information should be avoided.

9) How long will it take to set up and break down? The reception venue will undoubtedly provide you with an allotted timeline. Make sure the caterer can work within that timeframe.

10) Who will be on site and responsible for the catering? It’s a good idea to meet the point person, and hopefully it’s the person you’ve dealt with from the beginning.

At Holman Ranch, the bride and groom are welcome to bring any vendor, as long as they are licensed and insured. They do offer a preferred vendors list as a suggestion, and those on the list are familiar with the property, services and restrictions. Their knowledge, coupled with their individual expertise, will help reduce the planning workload so that you can enjoy the planning process. Any vendor not on the list would also need Holman Ranch management approval.

Find out more about Holman Ranch weddings at www.holmanranch.com.

The Uniquely Rich History of Carmel Valley

From high in the Ventana Wilderness, the Carmel River winds 36 miles through steep canyons into the verdant Carmel Valley. For centuries, native tribes fished along this river, first chronicled in 1602 by Sebastian de Vizcaino.
Vizcaino called the waterway El Rio del Carmelo, describing it as “lined with black poplars and other trees of Castile.” The shallow riverbanks also welcomed deer, mountain lions, and waterfowl, and soon ranches, dairies and orchards thrived under the flags of Spain, Mexico and, finally, the United States.

Long before that, of course, Native Americans settled in the valley, with the Esselen tribe well established by the time Spanish explorers documented them in the late 1760s. (In 2010 the skeletal remains of a Native American woman who likely lived more than 3,000 years ago were uncovered by trenching work at Carmel Valley Ranch).

When the Spanish arrived, most of the Esselen people were rounded up and forced to live within the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo, leaving much of their traditions behind. When the Mexican government secularized the mission lands, one of the first ranchers in Carmel Valley, Don Jose Manuel Boronda, was granted the Los Laureles Rancho — 6,625 acres that included what is now Holman Ranch.

In 1928, San Francisco businessman Gordon Armsby was attracted to the rich farmland and leisurely pace of Carmel Valley, and purchased 600 acres in the Los Laureles area of the Valley, including the parcel that would be the Holman Ranch.

Carmel Valley’s true modern era began in 1946 when Byington Ford and his brother Tirey Ford developed the Carmel Valley Village and Airway Market, first known as the General Store, and accommodated a barber shop, a drug store and soda fountain, a beauty shop, and a liquor store. All were in walking distance of the Airpark and decorated to resemble a Mexican village.

Today vineyards, tasting rooms, boutiques, golf courses and resorts decorate the landscape, attracting visitors and locals alike. Most don’t realize that Carmel Valley is home to the Jamesburg Earth Station, one of the world’s largest tracking satellite dish antennas. NASA used this telecommunications facility during its Apollo moon landings. Currently, a SETI project called Lone Signal uses the antenna to send messages from Earth to would-be extraterrestrial civilizations.

Tracking, preserving and promoting Carmel Valley’s uniquely rich California history is the From its first meeting in 1987 it soon incorporated and became a nonprofit organization. As it claims in its motto, the society is: “Dedicated to the Future of Our Past.”
Through fundraisers, the society’s board constructed a new building for its museum in 2012. It has acquired a significant collection of artifacts and memorabilia through the years. One of the Society’s primary goals has been the documenting of oral histories from old timers who knew the valley “as it used to be” — when farming and ranching were the primary way of life. Audio and videotapes capture a fast-fading insight into historic Carmel Valley life.

carmelvalleyhistoricalsociety

The Society’s barn-like architecture building is just north of the Carmel Valley Road on the southeast corner of the Carmel Valley Village’s Community Park. Information: 831-659-5715

Handmade Wine..?

Handcrafted wine no longer requires using one’s feet In one of television’s most memorable comedic moments, Lucille Ball trampled wine grapes in a large wooden vat before a having a messy tussle with a feisty Italian villager.

While that episode of “I Love Lucy” romanticized this fun, personalized wine crush, no commercial winery of any significance uses foot-stomping as a method anymore. Issues of hygiene aside, mechanized wine presses do a far better job in less time.

Grape-stomping (also known as pigeage) is part of a method of maceration once used in traditional winemaking. Workers crushed grapes by foot to release the juices and allow fermentation to begin.

lucy-grapes

One of the earliest visual representations of the practice appears on a Roman sarcophagus from the 3rd century. The drawing depicts an idealized pastoral scene with a group of Erotes harvesting and stomping grapes at Vindemia, a rural Roman vintage festival.

Winemaking in ancient Egypt undoubtedly used people’s feet for crushing and pressing the grapes. Tomb paintings show that they also developed some innovations to the process, such as the use of long bars hanging over the vats that the workers could hold onto while treading. There is also evidence that around 1,500 BC the Egyptians were using a type of cloth “sack press” where grapes would be twisted and squeezed by a tourniquet to release the juice. This early wine press not only had the benefit of exerting more pressure on the skins and extracting more juice than treading but the cloth also acted an early form of filtration.

In the Middle Ages, religious orders (particularly in France and Germany) owned vast amounts of vineyard land and produced large quantities of wines. They employed the use of a basket press, with a large cylindrical basket made of wood staves with a heavy horizontal disc fitted at the top. The disc would depress downward, with juice seeping out between the staves into a waiting basin.

As the use of the basket press became more popular, winemakers started to recognize a distinction between the quality of wine that came from different levels of pressing. The highest quality was the vin de goutte or the “free run” juice that was released by the mere weight of the grapes squeezing and bumping together.

In the 17th and 18th century, France led the way in producing heartier, more full-bodied wines that could age and survive long ocean voyages. They did this by blending in a bit of the vin de presse to enhance color, body and tannins. By the end of the 18th century, most prestigious Bordeaux wine estates were allowing the grapes more time to ferment in the vat and then using a basket press before putting the wine into new oak barrels.

In the 20th century, wine presses advanced from the vertical style pressing of the basket press to horizontal pressing with pressure either being applied at one or both ends or from the side from an airbag or bladder.

Another advancement in the horizontal batch press was the complete enclosure of the press (sometimes called “tank press”) that reduced the exposure of the grape must to air. Additionally, many of today’s modern presses are computerized which allows the operator to control exactly how much pressure is being applied to the grape skins and for how many cycles.

Many modern wineries hold grape-stomping contests to attract visitors, but it’s just for show. No longer is wine hand-made (or foot-made), but the mechanized process satisfies a high demand – California alone produces nearly 700 million gallons of wine per year – without undermining the integrity of this ancient tradition.

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