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Claiborne & Churchill Winery Blog
San Luis Obispo, CA
Interests: good wine, pinot noir, dry riesling, dry gewurztraminer, pinot gris
Recent Activity
March 29, 2010 marks the day when we at Claiborne & Churchill went live with our new Point of Sale (P.O.S.) System, HOORAY! I, (Fredericka Churchill a.k.a "the Churchill half") founded the winery with my husband Clay ("the Claiborne half") in 1983. Since then...we have progressed from shoebox to cash register to better cash register and recently to our new P.O.S. system. Most remarkably, all of this progress has only taken 27 years! The first few years (say 10 or so) Clay and I just kept a shoebox under the small tasting bar to collect any cash or checks which... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2010 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery Blog
This past Saturday we held our 2nd Annual White Wine Blending Party/Seminar. Twenty-five guests were divided into five teams ("Wine Divas", "Goes Well With...", "Alice in Wineland", "Weekend Vintners", "Rag Tops") that competed to create the perfect white wine blend. Each team was equipped with barrel samples of three white varietals from our cellar, a beaker, a graduated cylinder, and a stir stick. After owner Clay Thompson welcomed the participants, Winemaker Coby Parker-Garcia began the event with an introduction on which varietals they will be using (only participants know what these are), characteristics they should look for in the final... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2010 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery Blog
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Mar 15, 2010
Vineyard workers pruning the vines of our estate Claiborne Vineyard. We are trying a new pruning method this year. The vineyard will be spur pruned with one "kicker cane" per vine. The reason for this method is to increase yields per vine. Each vine is carefully assessed before pruning. Here is a finished vine ready to produce fruit for 2010. Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2010 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery Blog
Crossword Puzzle solvers (“Cruciverbalists”) are a peculiar breed, and I must confess that I am one. Obsessed, addicted, fanatical, whatever you want to call it, we hide away in our burrows with the New York or L.A. Times, agonizing over obscure clues and words, our spouses threatening imminent divorce proceedings. We even have our annual celebration, the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, now held in Brooklyn every February, founded thirty years ago and still run by Will Shortz, who just happens to be the Crossword Puzzle Editor of the New York Times. (You may have seen him in the movie “Wordplay”... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2010 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery Blog
Thank You to everyone who attended our Library Tasting & Warehouse Sale. Thankfully the weather held off and we enjoyed a beautiful San Luis Obispo day while sipping on some historic C&C wines. A total of fifty library wines plus six current wines were available for tasting. The tasting consisted of five varietals including: Dry Gewürztraminer, Dry Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir (Edna Valley and Twin Creeks), and our very own PortObispo. We have a couple of the wines still available for purchase, to find a complete list please visit our website at Luckily guests had a total of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2010 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery Blog
“That’s always the first question I get asked.” We were talking with Claiborne (Clay) Thompson, who with his wife Fredericka Churchill owns Claiborne & Churchill, a small ultra-premium winery in the Edna Valley, just outside San Luis Obispo. Twenty-seven years ago the Thompsons left their former careers in college teaching behind in Michigan when they moved to California to chase their dream in the wine business. “Whenever people hear my story,” said Clay, “they always ask me: ‘Don’t you miss teaching?’ At first I tried explaining what I didn’t miss about academics (teacher burn-out, politics, bureaucracy, etc.), but as time... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2010 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery Blog
The Claiborne & Churchill Cellar Club was started in the Spring of 1994. Wines were released every other month, two at a time. Everything was done by hand then, from filling out the address labels on the boxes and in the big UPS book, to processing each credit card number one at a time, and getting authorization for each over the phone. Local club members even had their wine delivered to their doorstep in person by Clay and Fredericka. It would usually take them two days, one day in and around San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande, and the other... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2009 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery Blog
We would like to share with you pictures of our 2009 Crush here at Claiborne & Churchill. We have found that many people have no idea exactly what goes into making that delicious bottle of wine. Below is a simplified tour of the many processes that our winemaker and crush interns put into making the best wine possible. The grapes arrive from our local growers. Here, Clay is carefully unloading the grape bins (you never want to run over a customer with the forklift). Fruit ready to be weighed. Each bin holds about 1,000 lbs. The handy dandy scale. Every... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2009 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery Blog
All of us at Claiborne & Churchill are very excited to be releasing four new wines in our upcoming Fall Cellar Club Shipment. These wines include our 2008 Pinot Gris, 2008 Chardonnay, 2007 Runestone Pinot Noir, and the popular Straw Bale Red. One of my co-workers, Don Reynolds (retired chef and caterer), mentioned that Tilapia Vera Cruz would pair wonderfully with our new Pinot Gris, and it occurred to me to share it with everyone who reads our Blog. This featured recipe is really easy to make, and you don’t have to stand in the kitchen for four hours! Perfect... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2009 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery Blog
The following "Guest Blog" comes from Sarah Shotwell, a talented Creative Writing Major who worked for Claiborne & Churchill as a part-time Tasting Room Attendant during the last two summers. My name is Sarah, and I’ve worked behind the bar at Claiborne and Churchill for the last two summers. Last week, pouring Pinot Gris for some of my favorite customers In the tasting room, we pourers get asked a lot of questions. For example, someone might ask, "Is this Chardonnay 100% malolactic fermentation? Or perhaps What does 'Notes of Cassis' mean? Or Those temple rubbings on the wall--where do they... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2009 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery Blog
No, we haven’t gone bonkers. While most of you are thinking that this year is about two-thirds gone, we in the wine business know that the new year is just beginning! For us, September starts a brand-new cycle, as we harvest and crush the new vintage of grapes. The summer is over; we’ve finished bottling the wines from last fall, some of which we are now releasing to our thirsty customers. The busy summer tourist season is also winding down; in fact, it’s not too soon to start thinking about the upcoming Holiday Season: Thanksgiving, Harvest Festivals, Christmas. It’s going... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2009 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery Blog
As co-owner of the winery (with my wife Fredericka Churchill), it has fallen upon me to write the initial entry of the brand-new Claiborne & Churchill Winery Blog. Such delicious irony, that a technological Luddite like myself should receive such an honor! When I was in school, our most advanced technology was the slide rule. (Later, there were calculators!) In college, I wrote my senior thesis on a manual Olivetti typewriter; five years later I bought an IBM Selectric to type my Ph.D. Dissertation. Will progress never cease! We started Claiborne & Churchill Winery in 1983. It was 1991 before... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2009 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery Blog