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Wine Down and Chill Goes Sideways

The world is itching for a reprieve and those of us at wine down and chill are still trying to help you through it by doing our part. Most of you are drinking more wine lately (in-home sales are apparently up 27% from this time last year). And we heard that you’re super interested in learning about different wines so that you can get down to drinking them – got it! So here is Part 2 of our Women and Wine Series.

Theme: Sideways

As someone who grew up in Canada, composting, using canvas bags from just about the first time I’d ever shopped to being conscious of product waste, environmental sustainability has always been a theme for me. When I was a child, and even as a teenager, I didn’t know the term, but I knew the ramifications for the world were dire if we all didn’t do our part.

From doing sit-ins at the mayor’s office to tree-hugging to block the onslaught of chainsaws, I’ve wrestled with how the world views responsibility when it comes to climate change and eco-preservation. Some countries are better than others when it comes to a mindset to protect nature, but most simply don’t do enough. So, this wine down and chill column is dedicated to all those who do their part, like Kathleen Inman, co-founder of Inman Family Wines. Grit Daily News had the opportunity to speak with Kathleen and we shared our views on how much of the world has gone sideways with respect to environmental conservation.

Listen: Over Under Sideways Down

The 1966 song with that title by The Yardbirds pretty much sums up where our planet is at when we think about the plastic water bottle crisis and how plastic bags have found their way 36,000 feet below the surface in the depths of the Mariana Trench. Sigh … We can all do better! To keep the wine down and chill theme going, listen to the 2004 Sideways movie soundtrack.

“It’s a hard grape to grow, as you know. It’s thin-skinned, temperamental. It’s not a survivor like Cabernet that can grow anywhere and thrive even when neglected. Pinot needs constant care and attention, you know? And in fact, it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time… to understand Pinot’s potential… can then coax it into its fullest expression.”  ~Miles Raymond, Sideways

Learn: Sustainability Inman Style

Kathleen is dedicated to “sensitive farming” some of the finest handcrafted wines in Sonoma County. She’s renowned for her “eco-ethics” and established her winery in 2000. Natural winemaking, environmentally responsible business practices and yes – Pinot Noir – are some of the other things that Kathleen is celebrated for. Her winery is solar powered, energy efficient, water conscious and the building itself is fabricated from reused, recycled and upcycled materials. These features were critical to the distinction of being certified sustainable.

Grit Daily: Neighboring winemakers have questioned why you harvest your grapes earlier than most, why is that?

Kathleen Inman

Kathleen Inman: They call me a “grape groper” because I go around the vineyards pinching grapes. I am not focused on sugar levels and picking my grapes when the Brix table measures the sugar to be at a certain level. I pick on taste, so I pick my grapes when they taste ready, which is when the acid is higher. Because I make wines as naturally as possible so that I don’t have to add water to dilute them or add acid. 

GD: The vast majority of advertising for Rosé wines prominently feature women, do men like your Endless Crush Rosé equally?

KI: Yes, they do. It’s low dosage so it’s not sweet. We don’t see any gender bias!

GD: How are your virtual wine-tasting, “Meet-the-Maker?”

KI: People love them! We’re doing a lot of them for companies who are doing them now as team-building exercises.

GD: What was the reaction when you selected screwcaps for your premium wines?

KI: We were the first luxury brand to select screwcap wines. We started doing this back in 2002 and we had to explain why up until 2005 or so but people have since learned why this is important. Screwcaps allow me to use about 30-40% less Sulphur dioxide (which you need to do with a cork) which gives me consistency with my wines. And it’s easy to open! Cork can impart negative flavors and our screwcaps allow our wines to age.

Wine: Inman Family Pinot Noir

The Russian River Valley 2017 Pinot Noir by Inman Family Wines is incredible. It’s a special blend and not what you’d expect (echoing this week’s wine down and chill theme of sideways). The winemakers blended Pinot Noir grapes from three vineyards: OGV Estate, Pratt Vine Hill and Pratt Sexton Road Ranch. The result is subtle hint of cherries with a rich, earthy taste and maybe even a bit of black licorice. The wines are handcrafted in small, one-ton ferment batches then aged in French Oak.

Inman Family Wines

Here’s another sideways surprise – it’s one of the premium wines of Sonoma County – yet it’s bottled with a screwcap. Kathleen raised a few eyebrows with that move but stands by it; not only is it sustainable from an eco-ethics perspective, but it allows for even bottling and aeration, so the flavor is also preserved.

Dine: Skuna Bay Salmon Burger

It’s easier to buy a ready-made burger than make one, or choose to support a local restaurant with a socially distanced take-out! Add chipotle mayo and alfalfa sprouts to make it interesting. Yum!

Watch: Sideways

This 2004 RomCom was highly acclaimed back in the day, including Oscar nominations for Best Movie, Director, Supporting Actor & Actress and numerous other accolades. Not only is Sideways spot-on with our wine down and chill weekly theme, but the whole idea of “recycling” old movies seemed like a good fit, too. The term itself is used in the context of “being sideways” which means fall-down-drunk intoxicated. The movie highlights mid-life crisis and, of course, Pinot Noir is consumed heavily throughout the show.

You can wine down and chill all week long

If this week’s theme didn’t float your boat or fill up your glass to wine down and chill, no worries. We’ll continue to offer affordable suggestions for music, wine, dinner and movies with a different wine down and chill theme each week. You can also follow me on Instagram for wine art and photography @WineDownAndChill. We’re here to help you sit back, wine down and chill. If you missed an article, fret not! You can find every article here.

If you like podcasts, well, wouldn’t you know, we’ve got those, too! Three of them, in fact: 1) Like a Boss with snappy insights; 2) wine down and chill; and 3) Monday motivation. All three are available on all streaming channels including Apple, iHeart Radio, Spotify and more. Tune in!

It’s the weekend. Time to wine down and chill. Cheers!

Images were supplied by K. Inman.