Posts From April 2006

April 20, 2006

Quixote winery toasts friends of the Earth


You are a guest of nature.

From the first meeting with Friedensreich Hundertwasser in Vienna, Austria to his last visit (1928-2000) here at Stags Leap Ranch, he had much to teach and we had lessons to learn. He gave us a winery that, from its tree-planted sod roof to its undulating walls and uneven floor, reminds us each day how to regain our equilibrium.

Thinking of him on Earth Day, we recall a few of his teachings:

"The nature of the plant world is always constructive. It is always the teacher in the creative as well as the ecological sense."

"Let plants grow in the cracks of the walls. Allow buildings to change and mutate as you'd allow a child to grow."

He taught us that we are of this earth and that the meaning of, "Adam" is soil as is the Spanish, "hombre." Hundertwasser worked to merge buildings with the surrounding terrain as he created a stairway from the garden to our rooftop.

Discussing his painting, he asserted that the egoistic thing about perspective is that what is nearer is more important and bigger and what is farther away is seemingly less important.

A Petite Syrah toast to our friend Hundertwasser and the magical way he built us into the earth.

Quixote Winemaker Mario Monticelli surrounded by the Hundertwasser design that merges with the earth.

Beginning February 2007 we will welcome visitors by appointment.
Carl Doumani
Quixote Winery

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HBO Special: Too Hot Not to Handle

Our friend, television producer Susan Lester, worked with environmental activist Laurie David to create,Too Hot Not To Handle, which airs on HBO, Saturday, April 22 at 7 p.m.

Susan Lester, co-producer of, Too Hot Not To Handle, pursues her passion for music for an appreciative audience in Jack's Grove at Schramsberg.

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I like to garden, how about you?

This is the question from 7-year-old Jason Giaquinta. His 11-year-old brother Jeremy recently put up a new web site at

Students at Sonoma Country Day School, the brothers Fratelli Giaquinta- work with their mother Amy to run a backyard business that offers organic seeds and heirloom tomato starts.

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3 Million Worms Toiling For Jack Chambers

Jack Chambers is an airline pilot. In fact he is captain of a 747-400 that travels to and fro between Shanghai and the U.S. But in his spare time, he is landlord to 3 million worms that toil away producing a material that wineries like Quixote have learned are nature's food for young or ailing grapevines.

A long view of the reactor where the Chambers' worm crew works on the
dairy manure they've been hired to process.

Feeding on compost and manure, worms repeatedly rework the material to create castings that at once establish microbial colonies in the soil and serve as a plant regulator.

Growth trials conducted at the COPIA gardens in Napa's Oxbow District are illustrated in a progression. The plant on the left received no worm castings, the others received 5, 10 and 15 percent respectively.

Washed root masses illustrate the difference in growth when worm
castings were added to the potting mix on the right.

When the combined influence of restaurateur Alice Waters and neighboring vintner Rob Sinskey moved us to farm sustainably, Jack Chambers came into our lives. Sonoma Worm Farm has been also been used to great result by Araujo, Turley, Quintessa and the Reserve on both grapevines and olive trees.

A yard of finished worm castings ready for delivery to a local vineyard.

Jack and Lois Chambers have a lush and productive vegetable garden rooted almost entirely in worm castings that produces the best rhubarb we've ever had.

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