Starting a new journey also comes with goodbyes. Not permanent goodbyes but more similar to à bientôt! A good place to start this story is with my goodbyes. I said goodbye to San Luis Obispo, moving out completely of the town that has held all my memories of the last two years of my life. The day I moved was the same day Mike and I started our last weekend together at Outsidelands, a three day music festival in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco! We drove up, following each other to the city to start our last adventure before harvest. On Monday morning, I rolled into Sonoma to meet my dad at Littorai to taste and tour with the assistant winemaker, Daniel Estrin. He gave us a very wonderful tour of the property that was inspiring for us to see the true potential of a fully immersed biodynamic farm, the true future potential for Narrow Gate Vineyards..
on Tuesday morning, my father and I met at Dutton Ranch in the Russian River Valley. They put us in contact with Lauterbach Cellars who are small Pinot Noir producers that have Clone 115 and Pommard available. We took our time walking the vineyards and found a favorite site at the rocky top crest of the hill. The fruit was beautiful, we had found our second site for the Pinot Project.
Tuesday evening we made our way back to Narrow Gate Vineyards. The next few days were full of checking off last minute to-dos and packing. Never would I never think that I would have a surprise waiting for me on Saturday evening. A bouquet of sunflowers, a bottle of Domaine Carneros Champagne and my Michael, waiting for me outside my room on the patio to join us for dinner. What a wonderful evening spent with the ones I hold close before leaving for San Francisco the next morning. We enjoyed a wonderful meal with a 1993 Burgundy and a 2011 Looney Vineyard Archery Summit Pinot Noir, ahhh.
Sunday morning we took off to the city, meeting Mike for dinner at Rocca in Burlingame, near SFO. Mike and I said our final goodbyes watching the planes landing over the water on the boardwalk outside of the hotel, wishing each other good luck with the upcoming vintage.
When being a “Hildebrand” there are a few rules one must always follow: 1. Hildebrand’s always do extra credit. 2.Hildebrand’s never quit. 3. Hildebrand’s always arrive at the airport WAY too early. I checked my bag at SFO, said my goodbyes to my parents, made it through security and to my gate, just shy of three hours before my plane was to depart. I ended up finding myself with just a minute to spare at my next two connecting flights, which had me running through the airport, across terminals to my gates. A Denver thunderstorm was putting on a show, delaying our landing, therefor shrinking my layover time to connect to my international flight to Frankfurt from 45 minutes to 15 minutes.
When traveling 16 hours, you are bound to meet some characters. I met a New-York house wife, made good friends with a German stewardess who gave me Riesling and chocolates, ordered whiskey for the Indian couple sitting next to me, and a professional female mountain biker from South Africa. I left San Francisco at 1pm on Monday and arrived in Lyon, France at 2pm on Tuesday, enfin!