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El Bloggo Torcido

("The Twisted Blog" - more or less)

Welcome to the new home of The Twisted Blog! If you are looking for older posts you can find them here. Have fun!

El Jefe
June 15, 2017 | El Jefe

A Massive Missed Twisted Missive!

The Twisted Missive!
Issue #5

I'm just going to flat out admit that the whole Missive thing got away from me in May - so much to do to get concerts and pizza nights going - and the prognosis for June is still running flat out. What's going on, you might ask? Well, read on Montague!

Speaking of Concerts and Pizzas....

front country!

Don't forget that we're having Twisted Pizza and Music Nights on selected Fridays all summer long! The next one is this Friday starting at 5pm at our Murphys Tasting Room - come and grab a pie and bottle!

And concerts at the winery! The next concert is June 24th featuring modern bluegrass band Front Country - you won't want to miss this! Get your tickets here!

In This Missive

  • Powdery Mildew? - boo hoo!
  • A Naming Contest? - woo hoo!
  • Meet the Crew? - you hoo!
  • Wine in the Summer? - you bet!

Farming da Grape, Part XXXVII

If you live or hang out in Northern California - or suffer from a seriously twisted weather addiction - you may have noticed the unusually cool and moist weather we've been having up here lately. (Heck, as I type this I'm wearing a long sleeve shirt - and the summer solstice is just a week away!)

purty vineyard picture

At times of extreme weather I am often asked how this affects the grapes. Most of the time, the answer is "not very much." In the winter the vines are basically asleep and don't care about rain, snow, wind, or toads falling from the sky. We have a period of time in the spring where frost is always a threat, but once we get into the nice warm month of May we can breathe a sigh of relief...

Unless we get a cold and wet spring like we are having now. The grapes are fine... except that soggy grapes make conditions ripe for powdery mildew. We can weather the occasional wet storm during the spring and summer months, as long as the storm is followed by a nice bit of heat to make the problem evaporate. So to speak.

Last year Twisted Oak got certified as Sustainable... which smells a lot like Organic certification (heh) but without all the paperwork. Everything we do in the vineyard is done to maintain the natural cycle. We use natural sprays for whatever is needed, and usually spray at night so the beneficial insects are not affected - and certainly nothing that will harm bees - we like bees! All natural waste - stems, seeds, grape sediments - spends the winter in the back 40 and is returned to the vineyard as fertilizer.

So when the mildew threatens on a wet day like today, we use an oil-based spray product to prevent it. The oil - mixed with water - keeps the mildew spores from germinating, and also controls the little buggers that bring the spores. And that makes for happy grapes and yummy wine! Or as they say on the tee vee...

the more you know

The Vintage Green Bride's Private Tasting Room

earls by maria
The Earls at Twisted Oak 2017,
photo by Maria Camillo

Ima gonna tell you all about that in a moment, but first: Last month's survey produced some great responses! Here are just a few:

  • Shari: "I am so looking forward to Sonny Landreth because I am a sucker for the white-boy blues! (Especially when there's a guitar god involved.)"
  • Angel: "I'm most excited for the pine Leaf Boys concert on July 8th! I love their Ragin Cajun music it makes me feel as if I was in New Orleans for real! I think you would be an awesome treat to go see them at your Vineyard and enjoy some good wine with a loved one."
  • Kevin: "Most excited about Sonny Landreth because he owes me 10 bucks. NEVER loan a musician money."
  • Jon: "Holy *%#&@!....  Sonny Landreth?!!  You better clear the brush way back from the stage,  he might just set the hilltop on fire!!!" 
  • Briana: "I LOVE Sonny Landreth. His bottleneck slide guitar is unrivaled! I am really hoping to come up and see him in concert. Especially since that is my birthday weekend!"
  • Julie: "I love Pine Leaves because they aren't really leaves and I love Boys so I want to see the Pine Leaf Boys!"
rubber chicken dustbowl fun
A little rubber chicken fun with the Dustbowl Revival!
  • Nigel: "I would definitely be excited about the Earls of Leicester concert. This is not ONLY because I am from England originally and know how to pronounce Leicester correctly but also, to quote your own words, Jerry Douglas is a legendary and world-renowned dobroist!"

And the winner, chosen at random, is... Julie! Now, what about that funky room?

If you have visited the winery, you may have noticed that very cluttered office at the opposite corner of the building. That's supposed to be my office but frankly I don't do a lot of office-ing in there these days. So instead we are turning it into a sort of all-purpose room, for the bride at weddings, for musicians at concerts, and most importantly, for you!

A Private Tasting Room! This will be a place you can reserve to enjoy a personal tasting of our entire lineup, plus a previous vintage or two - and also enjoy a tour of the winery, and even grab a little taste of something in the cave.

But... this room needs a name! I have asked myself and the crew, and none of us has yet come up with a name we like.

So, we are asking you: Name our new private tasting slash bride's room slash concert green room. Just reply to this email with your best idea. If we pick your name, you'll get a $35 MasterCluck gift card. (In the event of a tie, the first person to suggest a name will get the gift card.)

Meet the Crew - A New Feature!

Speaking of the crew... our new Event Coordinator Lynnie is writing a new feature for the Missive, each time featuring a member of the Twisted Crew. Take it away....

Here's Kelsey! An old soul, born and raised across the river in Jamestown, CA. Kelsey only watches one show on TV, reruns of M*A*S*H. And she only listens to Classic Rock, Country, and Punk on vinyls on her record player at home, and a cassette player in her truck. Kelsey and Nick, her fiancee (sorry guys), live in a 100 year old home in Angels Camp, with their two babies: an American pit bull mix named Peggy, and a frisky young black lab named Beau. Kelsey & Nick’s hobbies are rock climbing, hiking, gardening, and fishing and hunting, providing the only meat they eat. They grow all their own veggies and their passion is restoring old hot rods and classic cars: 1952 Mercury, 1931 Buick, 1972 Scout, and... a motorcycle. Come visit Kelsey at either of our tasting rooms!


Summer Shipping

Just a quick note to mention that two-day summer shipping is now in effect! Between now and September 15th any shipment that would take more than two days to deliver will be automagically upgraded to two-day. And (if you are the "belt and suspenders" type) "Cool Packs" are also available in six and twelve bottle sizes.

That should do it for now. Have fun and stay Twisted! - el jefe

Time Posted: Jun 15, 2017 at 8:54 AM
El Jefe
April 21, 2017 | El Jefe

Twisted Missive - We Got Concerts!

The Twisted Missive!
Issue #4

Slightly Tuneful Edition!

In This Missive

  • We got concerts!
  • We got wine for the Twisted Few!
  • We got great places to sleep!

Twisted Folk Concerts Announced!

We've put together what we think you'll agree is the strongest lineup yet for the 2017 concert season! There are two returning crowd favorites from previous seasons, two multiple Grammy Award winners, two who have been nominated for Grammys multiple times, and one whose latest album is currently #2 on the Billboard bluegrass charts!

dustbowl at twisted oak!reviving at the oak!

Returning to the Oak Saturday, May 13th is none other than The Dustbowl Revival! This band of eight talented musicians - considered the "best live band in LA" - wowed us last year with their creative mix of blues, jazz, swing, and soul. And, their favorite wine is Tempranillo! What more could we ask? Bring your dancing slippers for this one! Buy tickets now!


And we incredibly honored and delighted to feature on our stage, Jerry Douglas presents The Earls of Leicester! This is not a throwback to Elizabethan times, but is in fact the legendary and world-reknowned dobroist Jerry Douglas - of Union Station and Soggy Bottom Boys fame - and his band of equally talented bluegrass musicians. You won't want to miss this, one of only two stops in California this season! Saturday May 27th - buy tickets now!

earls of leicester at twisted oak!no Dukes, just Earls!

2014 torcido garnacha

Other upcoming concerts - which we will expound upon further in future Missives - include:

For our monthly $35 MasterCluck Gift Card giveaway, please reply to this email and tell us which concert(s) you are most excited about, and why! I'll choose one response at random for the winner! (Congratulations to Julie R. for being last month's winner!)

Needless to say, tickets for all shows are now on sale at!

Twisted Few Shipment - Coming Soon!

Twisted Few members, watch for a separate email coming soon with details about your next shipment. We can tell you now that it will feature the new vintage of one of your favorites, the 2014 Torcido Garnacha! We think you'll find it goes great with anything that your springtime grilling can rustle up, or even that leftover corned beef hash! (Not currently a member of the Twisted Few? You know you want to! Sign up now at!)

Speaking of corned beef, last month's Missive did produce a wide range of pairings with our favorite St Patrick's feast. Andrew suggested our *%#&@! (which sure sounds like an Irish word), Kelly likes our 2014 Tempranillo, and Debbie called our Torcido "one of the great pairings of all time." (Wow!) On the other hand, Stephen from Reno always reaches for a chilled Viognier. And to split the difference, Kathleen likes a "Cab Rose" (but I don't understand what that has to do with taxis.) 

mmmm bacon!
mmmmm... bacon!

You Gotta Sleep Someplace

Why not a cozy bed with sweeping views of the foothills? We recently were invited to visit and tour one of Murphys best local lodging options - and longime Twisted Few members - the Courtwood Inn. Owner and innkeeper Chris whipped up a nice breakfast of fresh fruit, waffles, and bacon - on a stick! - for us to try. After that we toured the tennis-themed rooms and grounds - which look really cushy, I gotta say. Check them out at!

As always, do reply to this email and tell us which concert(s) you are most excited about, to have a shot at that $35 MasterCluck gift card!

Finally, a programming note: For reasons beyond our control - among other things, the futures market in rubber chickens is completely haywire right now - we have decided to postpone Rubber Chicken Appreciation Day to later this year. Stay tuned to this station for further updates.

That should do it for now. Have fun and stay Twisted! - el jefe

Time Posted: Apr 21, 2017 at 10:00 AM
El Jefe
January 10, 2017 | El Jefe

A Twisted Missive!

The Twisted Missive!
Issue #1

Yes, that's right! A moment's indiscretion in providing your email address some time in the distant past now results in this little missive hitting your email box! We hope you will give it a chance - read on!

In This Missive

  • What?
  • New Petite Sirah!
  • When Food and Wine Go Bad
  • And - little contest!

Why a Twisted Missive? Why Now?

Why not?

OK, So What's New?

Glad you asked! One of the new releases this month is our 2014 Petite Sirah, a variety that has been absent from our tasting menus for several months. Made from 100% Petite Sirah fruit from Tanner Vineyards, we think you'll find it perfect to warm you up on a cold, rainy or snowy night. (And some Twisted Few members will find it in their next shipment!)


Can Wine and Food Go Horribly Wrong?

Recently I was cruising a favorite website* and stumbled into something called the "Incompatible Food Triad." It goes like this:

Name three foods, where any two of those foods taste good together, but when all three are combined, taste terrible?

It turns out that coming up with three foods that create an "IFT" is not at all obvious. One classic solution is salted cucumbers, sugar, and yogurt. Combine any two - sweet pickles, sweetened yogurt, tzatziki sauce - but mix all three? Yucko!

Wine was not mentioned but - since wine is of course a food, and we do love to match wines with other foods - we think wine should be part of the discussion

2014 petite sirah

mmmm bacon!
mmmm... bacon!

For example, I think we can all agree that bacon and eggs were made for each other, and we can agree that the 2014 Petite Sirah is delicious with bacon, and we might also agree (or not) that Petite Sirah is also delicious with two eggs, over medium. Assuming we do, it's a certainty that we'll agree that all three go together fabulously, and so this combo is not an IFT.

Can you think of an IFT that includes wine? Or do you think there is no such thing? Whatever you think, just reply to this email with your thoughts. I'll compile some of the best responses for the next Twisted Missive, and we'll also discuss it over in our new Facebook group - for discussion of all things Twisted - which you can find at - just click on the Join button and we'll get you set up!

And: I will choose one reply** at random to receive a $35 MasterCluck gift card. Just for fun!

That should do it for now. Have fun and stay Twisted! - el jefe

* The website is "Atlas Obscura", and here's the article.

** Even if you have no idea, you can still reply and enter. Your reward for reading all the way to the end!

Time Posted: Jan 10, 2017 at 4:47 PM
El Jefe
June 16, 2014 | El Jefe

Garnacha Blanca

nacha vineyardIn the Spring of 2004 two momentous events occurred. We moved into our new winery in Vallecito, and a little white pup came into our lives.

We had been visiting friends down in Orange County when a neighbor came by with her. She had been locked in a nearby house and left to die. The neighbor had rescued her and was trying to find someone who could take care of her. She licked my face and it was all over.

The next day she rode all the way home with us, sitting peacefully in the back seat just enjoying the ride. (We soon realized that her favorite thing to do was to go in the car, it didn't matter where - just go!) We stopped every hour in case she needed to pee, but she waited until she got to her new home. She knew where she was going. She wanted to wait.

nachaWe never understood how anyone could leave such a sweet, lovable, well behaved puppy to die like that. At only four months she was fully potty trained, she knew how to sit and stay and shake hands. It still boggles. (That's our first photo of her in her new home, just a bag of bones but already blocking traffic!)

She must have had a name but of course we never knew what it was. Being the wine geeks that we are, we named her after a grape: Garnacha Blanca. Nacha for short.

Many of you who have tasted from the barrel at the winery will remember her as the happy dog who loved to lick the drop off the end of the wine thief - "Nacha's Share". Or maybe she came up to your picnic hoping that you would drop something - she never entirely got over nearly starving to death as a pup. She was our "see-food dog".

We also have cats, and Nacha raised all of them from kittens. It was a little unnerving at first to see "The Big White Thing" carrying a kitten around with its whole head in her mouth - but she was perfectly gentle and plopped them down safe and soggy. 

nacha wine dog bookAnd just this month she "made the big time", she got her picture in the latest release of the "Wine Dogs" series of books, page 121.

Last week I noticed that she was having trouble getting into the car for the trip to the winery, I had to help her up. And she was clearly in pain. When we got to the winery our see-food dog refused a treat. This was not right and we had her into the vet the next day. X-rays showed a large mass in her abdomen, we scheduled surgery for today.

The mass was cancer, her liver had turned into one large tumor. There was nothing to be done. At best she would have only a few more days of life and more pain. We decided to accept the inevitable and let her keep sleeping.

I knew one day I would have to say goodbye to her, I just didn't think it would be so soon.


Time Posted: Jun 16, 2014 at 11:53 AM
El Jefe
October 25, 2013 | El Jefe

Warehouse fun!

Time Posted: Oct 25, 2013 at 2:28 PM
El Jefe
October 24, 2013 | El Jefe

Look who's haunted!


(Just test driving a Facebook feature. You need to be logged in to Facebook to see it. Then you can do all those fun Facebooky things, such Like, Share, etc.)

Here's a direct link to the article.

Time Posted: Oct 24, 2013 at 10:27 AM
El Jefe
June 19, 2013 | El Jefe

Should I blog more often?

In this world of a bizzilion social media web sites, it seems that blogging has fallen by the proverbial wayside.

Over on Facebook you can find all sorts of cool stuff, like this post concert photo of headliners David Lindley and Joe Craven:

david lindley joe craven rubber chickens twisted oak winery

Or even this awesome video of Mr. Dave and Mr. Joe fencing with a rubber chicken:

But that cool stuff never makes it here. I suspect that is wrong of me... but should I try to do better? Say something non-spammy in the comments!

Time Posted: Jun 19, 2013 at 10:59 AM
El Jefe
June 2, 2012 | El Jefe

Bushwalla Video!

Bushwalla singing "Mayhem is Beautiful", Saturday May 12th at Twisted Oak Winery. (Filmed by El "Shakyhand" Jefe.) Enjoy!