After winter rains throughout the state put an end to years of drought, temperate weather patterns produced ideal grape growing conditions in Monterey County. At the beginning of harvest, the crop outlook seemed to be slightly lower in volume compared to years past, although quality was high. We kicked off the season with sparkling grapes in early August, with still grapes following just a few weeks behind. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon all ripened slowly and evenly with persistent warm temperatures through the end of the month.
Then September arrived with a bang. The record-setting heat wave of 100+ temperatures across the state and throughout Monterey County caused spikes in some areas that were 25 degrees above average, compared to previous years. With these high temperatures motivating our vineyard teams, harvest kicked into high gear. Minor “sunburn” could be seen on some grapes and in the canopies, but, for the most part, the heat helped increase sugar content and intensify flavors.
Fortunately, mild temperatures throughout the rest of September helped preserve grape quality. When the temperatures dropped again, so did the sugar levels. In Monterey County, our ranch managers are accustomed to these types of fluctuations, and they know that being patient and not picking before the flavors have fully developed is key.
The Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc harvests are complete, while Chardonnay will wrap up by the end of September. Merlot is next, then the harvest of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes will complete this year of very high highs, but not too many lows. Harvest should be finished by the end of October, or the first week in November.
The bounty of fall is upon us and that means it’s time for easy comfort foods..like stew! With the mellow sweetness of butternut squash, the deeply complex flavor of cocoa, and the gentle smokiness of chipotle, this stew is sure to become a staple on the dinner table.
This recipe easily transforms to fit a number of diet preferences including low-carb, gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, and vegan, making it perfect for those family get-togethers where it’s hard to accommodate everyone in the room! Cook it in the slow cooker for a make-ahead option or in the pressure cooker when you only have 20 minutes until the family arrives!
Best of all, the stew pairs perfectly with our 2016 Bountiful. The crisp, refreshing fruit flavors of the wine are balanced with the heat from the chipotle powder while matching with the slight sweetness of the butternut squash. Bountiful's bright acidity holds up to the stew, especially in the meatless version. For a contrasting effect, try the Red Blend with the beef version. The tannins in the Red Blend will help refresh your palette from the richness of the beef and the deep red berry flavors will pair well with the chocolate.
Heat Level Note: The version of the recipe below results in a mild heat level (1/5 chilis – little to no tingle/sting of spiciness). Add fresh jalapenos, chipotle chilis, more chipotle powder, chili powder or crushed red chili flakes if you prefer a spicier dish!
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2, 14 oz. cans black beans
2, 14 oz. cans fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp. pure cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp chipotle powder
½ tsp smoked paprika powder
1 cup water
Electric Pressure Cooker Instructions:
Layer ingredients in the pressure cooker in the following order: water, butternut squash, onion, bell peppers, and beans. In a separate bowl, mix the tomatoes, garlic, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chipotle powder, and smoked paprika powder. Pour the mixture on top of the beans in pressure cooker. For the Instant Pot, use the Manual setting on high pressure for five minutes. Be sure to move the pressure valve to “sealed.” It will take 10-15 mins for the Instant Pot to come to pressure, then the 5 min cook time will start. Once the 5 minutes are over, quick release the pressure by turning the vent to “venting” (be sure to wear oven mitts or protect your hand in some other way as the steam that is released is very hot). Once the pressure is released, open the lid and test the butternut squash for tenderness. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and your favorite hot sauce or oyster crackers.
Slow Cooker Instructions:
Layer ingredients in the pressure cooker in the following order: water, butternut squash, onion, bell peppers, and beans. In a separate bowl, mix the tomatoes, garlic, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chipotle powder, and smoked paprika powder. Pour the mixture on top of beans in the slow cooker. Set to low and cook 4-6 hours until the butternut squash is tender.
To add beef to this recipe, quickly sear 1 lb. of cubed beef stew meat in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop, then make this the first layer in the slow cooker. Cook for 4-6 hours on low.
Follow the beef option and omit the beans. Cook in slow cooker for 4-6 hours on low. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and hot sauce. *Please consult your nutritionist or doctor for medical advice before following our recipe.*
Simply omit beans and follow the rest of the recipe as noted. There is a wide range of personal preference in what is considered paleo, so alter the recipe to fit your tastes!
Follow the original recipe noted, making sure that the canned ingredients are manufactured with no animal byproducts. Pair with the 2015 GIFFT Red Blend, a vegan wine! This tasty stew should satisfy vegans and non-vegans alike.
Everyone can reap the benefits of kids heading back to school. Certainly if you’re a parent with young kids in grade school, you have newfound freedom to catch up on your to-do list kid free or head off to work with a clear mind while your kids head off to school. Or, you may have just sent a child off to college and you’re wondering what to do with the extra space around the house. Maybe you’re a grandparent who enjoyed spending extra time with your grandkids over the summer and now you’re looking forward to hearing about their next achievement. No matter what your age or stage in life, we’ve gathered a few tips to help you focus on you.
Get together with friends.
With a bit more free time in the morning, invite a few friends over for a back-to-school brunch. Eggs Benedict is a classic and the combination of poached eggs, ham, and an English muffin with a big, bold hollandaise sauce pairs beautifully with GIFFT Chardonnay. Melon and prosciutto, veggie quiche, or smoked salmon pair well with our GIFFT Pinot Noir Rosé. Or for something simpler, set up an acai bowl bar with all the toppings – granola, shaved coconut, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, etc. Although wine may not come instantly to mind when thinking acai bowl, it’s yay for GIFFT Rosé, a wine that pairs with just about everything! Whatever you decide to serve, remember to relax and enjoy the time with friends while catching up on your summer adventures.
Use your phone for more than social media.
Posting pictures and seeing what your relatives are up to on Facebook is nice, but really connecting with the ones you love is so important. Let’s face it, with busy summer schedules, vacations, and just having kids about the house, it can be hard to find even a minute to pick up the phone and call a loved one or old friend. Now is the time to use your extra quiet moments during the day to catch up with those who you are missing or haven’t seen in a while. Connecting with friends and family feeds the soul.
Print summer memories.
You probably took hundreds of pictures during your vacation or throughout the summer. Now is the time to do something with them. Upload your photos to your favorite photo site to have specialty prints made, or just print a few from your computer at home. With a collection of simple frames, you can create a fun family collage to fill that empty space on the wall.
Clean and declutter.
Yes, spring is supposed to be for cleaning, but the in-and-out of summer activities seems to bring in dust, dirt or sand. The remnants of back-to-school shopping and organization are also probably piled up in different parts of the house. Take this time to thoroughly clean those areas that have lacked some cleaning love, like the baseboards, kitchen cabinets, or the kids’ rooms. Focus on one small area each day and in just a couple of weeks, you will have your house reorganized and clutter free.
Take care of you, part I.
Parents are great about taking care of their children – scheduling doctors’ appointments, dentist appointments, and whatever-else-they-need appointments – but what about your own health needs? Take the time to evaluate the appointments that you’ve put on hold and make them today. General check-up, teeth cleaning, dermatologist skin check, mammogram, colonoscopy….yeah, we know they’re not fun. But your health is important not only to you but your family and peace of mind feels great. Get out your calendar and take care of yourself by being your own health advocate.
Take care of you, part II.
There are countless hours in your life that you have spent taking care of others. Take some time to take care of yourself. Enjoy a long walk, get engrossed in a good book, or schedule a rejuvenating appointment for a pedicure, facial or massage. It's amazing how a refresh of your mind, body and spirit can restore your energy and open your heart to new ways of giving and sharing the true joys of life with others.
Labor Day is dedicated to the achievements of the American worker and honoring the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. It’s also time to enjoy a well-deserved day off and celebrate with a BBQ or enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. Here are a few ways that you can enjoy GIFFT wines while you wrap up summer and move easily into fall.
Get the BBQ Going.
It’s Monday and there’s no school, no work, nothing you need to do but take advantage of the opportunity of an extra day off to relax with family and friends. Plan a BBQ in your backyard and celebrate the last long days of summer with a lovely bottle of chilled white wine. Keep it simple by grilling up some shrimp skewers that pair well with our GIFFT Chardonnay. Herb-marinated chicken with grilled asparagus is another easy combination that tastes great with GIFFT Pinot Grigio.
Plan a Picnic.
What food makes the perfect picnic? Fried chicken, of course! When you’re loading up your basket, start with some cured meats, soft cheeses and crusty bread, then add a tangy potato salad for a side. With a beautiful blanket, some easy-to-carry, on-the-go stemless glasses and a bottle of GIFFT Red Blend, you are all set. Just choose your favorite picnic spot and treat friends and family to great food, great wine, and most importantly, great company. Remember, it’s not about creating the picture-perfect picnic – it’s about enjoying the moment with family, friendship, laughter and love.
Look at your Local Events Calendar.
If you do an online search or look in the local newspaper for Labor Day events in your area, you are bound to find a bevy of activities. From sand sculpting challenges to concerts in the park, many towns and cities provide events that are free and open to the public. Put aside the To Do list for a day and pick something that’s right up your alley or outside of your norm. The important thing is that you make time to enjoy the company of family and friends while doing something fun. You deserve it!
What is the purpose of the wind turbine?
The wind turbine will generate power for our winery operations using a clean, renewable source of energy.
How does a wind turbine work?
The wind turns the propeller-like blades around a rotor. the rotor is connected to the main shaft, which spins the generator to create electricity.
How tall is the wind turbine?
The wind turbine’s blades reach 396 feet into the sky (nearly a 40-story building), and the centerline of the turbine’s hub is 264 feet above ground. On a clear day, the turbine can be seen for miles.
How much power is the wind turbine capable of creating?
The turbine will generate 4.5 million kilowatt hours yearly. this is the equivalent of powering 467 homes or using 7,300 barrels of oil. The wind turbine eliminates approximately 3,162 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
How fast do the blades turn?
The blades turn at a speed of 22 RPM (revolutions per minute).
What technology does the turbine use?
The wind turbine has five internal computers: one in each blade to monitor and adjust the rotation speed when necessary, one in the nacelle (which houses the generator), and one main computer in the tower base that communicates with all the other computers. This turbine has its own server at Foundation Windpower and is monitored continuously by GE.
Why did you choose a wind turbine over solar panels?
For our local conditions in Monterey County, turbines are more effective than solar. The wind turbine generates electricity at night, it doesn’t lose efficiency due to dust, and it doesn’t use valuable agricultural land or create the maintenance issues that rooftop installations create. It is the perfect power source for the inexhaustible winds of the Salinas Valley.
How much energy does the winery use and how much will the wind turbine offset?
The winery uses about 900,000 watts at peak (0.9MW) and the turbine will generate double this load.
How does this wind turbine fit into Scheid Family Wine’s commitment to sustainability?
Scheid Family Wines has always been committed to sustainability. All 4,000 acres of our estate vineyards in Monterey County are officially certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. 100% of our wastewater is recycled and all our grape must is composted and spread as nutrition in the vineyards. We use 100% drip irrigation and low impact farming methods. we even have 250+ owl boxes to control rodent populations naturally. installing this wind turbine is yet another facet of our desire to preserve the environment.
Fire up the grill, slice those fresh summer vegetables and pour yourself a chilled glass of white wine—it’s summertime!
GIFFT Bountiful is a sweet white blend with bright fruit flavors and a tropical finish. Very light and refreshing, Bountiful pairs perfectly with this Blackened Shrimp Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing to serve while entertaining family or friends on the deck or patio!
Blackened Shrimp Salad & Cilantro-Lime Dressing with GIFFT Bountiful
Yield: 2 saladsTotal Time: 20 minutes
8 ounces shrimp (approximately 12 shrimp), deveined & tails removed
2 tbsp. blackening seasoning
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups spring mix lettuce
½ cup grilled corn
½ cup heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 avocado, thinly sliced
Lime wedges to finish
½ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Juice & zest of 1 lime
Place shrimp in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the blackening seasoning over the shrimp and toss gently to coat each shrimp. Grill shrimp outside on a charcoal or gas grill, or inside using a grill pan. Grill shrimp on each side 2-3 minutes, or until the shrimp is opaque. To assemble the salads, split the spring mix, as well as the grilled corn, heirloom cherry tomatoes, and avocado between two bowls. Top each salad with a serving of the blackened shrimp, and drizzle the cilantro-lime dressing over top to taste. You may garnish the salad with a few lime wedges if desired.
You may use a food processor to pulse and combine your dressing, or whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
"We’re so blessed that the enthusiasm for GIFFT is growing and our wines are now being sold to fans in nearly every state. Some of you have asked, “Do you have a blend with a bit more fruit and sweetness?” My friends at Scheid Family Wines embraced your requests and were happy to share the bounty of their vineyards.
The result is simply delicious. The name Bountiful was inspired by the gratitude I feel for all of life’s blessings. The wine is a harmonious blend made in a refreshingly sweet style for year-round enjoyment. It is a perfect pairing with salads, soft cheeses, fried chicken, Thai cuisine, backyard BBQ … and all on its own sitting on your front porch!"
-Kathie Lee Gifford
Our 2016 vintage is a beautiful blend of seven varieties featuring aromas of tropical fruit and citrus, and flavors of ripe stone fruit and pear. It is soft and well-balanced with bright fruit flavors and a lingering tropical finish. Light and refreshing, it can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere.
As a family-owned winery, we are committed to sustainability throughout the operations. From our founding in 1972, we’ve held firm to the belief that this can only be achieved through following the three E’s of sustainability: Environmentally sound practices, social Equity and Economic viability. When the land is respected and the people who farm it and live in our community live well, true sustainable quality can be attained. All of our vineyards are officially certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a statewide certification program that provides third-party verification of a winery’s commitment to continuous improvement and the adoption and implementation of sustainable winegrowing practices. Our commitment to environmental stewardship and equitable treatment of our employees is woven into the fabric of our company. We are dedicated to adhering to sustainable farming practices every day and investing in our workforce through real, meaningful programs.
IN THE VINEYARD
We use 100% drip irrigation, with technology that senses soil moisture and monitors plant stress, in order to use only the amount of water that is necessary. Planting a variety of cover crops between vineyard rows improves soil health naturally, prevents erosion, controls vine vigor, discourages weeds, and promotes the sustainable health of the vineyard. We follow an integrated pest management strategy to allow beneficial insects to control pests whenever possible and utilize low impact methods, such as herbal-based preparations applied to the soil to promote soil vitality through increased microbiologic activity and diversity. Over 250 owl boxes are perched amongst our vineyards, a natural way to control rodents that prey on grapevines, such as gophers and field mice. Barn owls take residence in our owl boxes where they nest during the day and hunt at night, helping to keep the land in balance.
IN THE WINERY
Our state-of-the-art winery was designed to reduce energy usage and cut waste. Sunlights throughout the winery reduce our electricity usage dramatically, as well as provide a more comfortable environment for our employees. The latest lighting technology, with automatic light sensors that turn on and off as needed, means no one has to remember to “turn off the lights”. Our tanks are all designed for maximum efficiency, with insulating jackets that reduce heating and cooling energy needs. We compost 100% of the grape pomace, stems and seeds and spread it back into the vineyards, and we recycle 100% of winery water through our wastewater irrigation ponds and reuse it on our vineyards. Our winery location just off of Highway 101 and less than a few miles from the majority of our vineyards, means fewer trucks on the highway.
Responsibility to our vineyard and winery workers has always been at the forefront of our mission. Programs to promote health and safety amongst our employees, such as regular training and safety meetings, exercise warm-ups, break rooms, shaded areas, and incentive programs, have been in place throughout our history. We provide 100% paid-for healthcare, vacation and retirement for all of our full-time employees. Much of our workforce has been with us for over 20 years, with several of our vineyard managers working for our company for over 40 years. We support many local organizations and programs in our community. One of our favorite programs, the Writing Contest, has been held annually since 1988 and we have awarded over $350,000 in scholarship money to local-area students.
The circle of life, that everything in this world is interrelated, is at its core what the word sustainability means. Just as herbivores eat plants, carnivores eat herbivores, carnivores die and plants absorb them to grow, we tend our vineyards, craft the grapes into wine, compost the grape pomace and winery wastewater, and return them to the vineyards. In the same way, we employ a vibrant local work force that supports our vision, and return to them, their families, and the community at large through providing health insurance and benefits, giving generously to local programs and events, and funding a long-running local scholarship program. It’s a complete circle: using resources wisely and giving back to replenish and renew them.
Oysters on the Half Shell with Rosé Mignonette
½ cup GIFFT Rosé
2 shallots, diced
2 tablespoons vinegar
½ teaspoon ground pepper
2 dozen oysters, shucked
In a small bowl, whisk together the rosé, shallots, vinegar, and pepper. Serve alongside the oysters on a bed of shaved ice. Enjoy immediately.
Did you know that oysters are one of the most sustainable seafood options out there? Just one more reason to enjoy them more often! For more sustainable seafood options, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch app here: http://www.seafoodwatch.org/.
4 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
½ cup flour
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
2 whole lemons
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup capers
1 pound angel hair pasta
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well. In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season each side of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour. Working in batches, place the chicken breasts in the hot skillet and cook for about 3 - 4 minutes on each side, or until nicely crispy and no longer pink inside. Ensure breasts do not touch and that there is sufficient room in the pan. When done, remove from skillet and set aside on a plate.
Turn the heat to medium. Add chicken broth, lemon juice, heavy cream, and capers. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to low and continue cooking until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, place pasta on plate, set chicken on pasta, spoon the sauce over both then sprinkle chopped parsley on top.