Wine Staycation 2008

Eastern Sierra Staycation Wine Adventure

As far as I know, there are no active wineries or wine growing regions on the east side of the California Sierra Nevada mountains. After all, it is a desert with blistering heat in the summer and consistently freezing temperatures in the winter. And most of the water has been siphoned off to green Los Angeles lawns and keep celebrities and others clean.

But last summer we enjoyed quite the wine adventure staycation in the Eastern Sierra! Since we were saving money by staying closer to home, and by camping, and by cooking most of our own meals, we splurged on the wine and brought along nearly a case of Australian red beauties from Grateful Palate.

To travel along, enjoy the views, and taste the wines, click on the following links:

DAY 1: White Mountain Bristlecones: served with a shiraz mustache

July 14, 2008

July 5, White Mountains, Inyo National Forest, Eastern California served with
porkloin, grilled corn, and 2005 Marquis Philips “Roogle” shiraz, chilled briefly in a bucket of snow
At 10,000’, we’ve left paved road and the Schulman Grove of the Bristlecone Pines in the White Mountains of California’s Inyo National Forest to climb steadily up a well […]

DAY 2: Grandviews from this Dead Letter Office

July 14, 2008

Day 2: White Mountains, Inyo National Forest, Eastern California
After an easy oatmeal breakfast with coffee and exceptionally delicious treats from the Alabama HIlls Cafe and Hard Rock Legends bakery in Lone Pine (a croissant and even better a Danish made with locally grown fresh peaches), the boys play more ball and I dive back into […]

Dan Philips Grateful Palate & my high altitude dreamin’

July 15, 2008

When I was in college, my environmental lit and writing class taught by Page Stegner (Wallace Stegner’s son) went on a rafting trip through the goosenecks on the San Juan River in the American Southwest. I traveled there with other students in climber Mike Carville’s brand new VW pop-up Westfalia campervan, and we stopped on […]


July 16, 2008

The views from the White Mountains across the hot dry Owen’s Valley to the Sierra typically overwhelm even the most jaded traveler with superlatives.
On our recent trip to the Eastern Sierra, however, our views came and went with the winds and fires (some 1400 burning in the state). We could smell the smoke in the […]

Day 3: Hot Springs Connoisseur

July 16, 2008

Day 3: Keough’s Hot Springs, 7 miles south of Bishop just off Highway 395, Eastern Sierra, California
Someone recently tried to convince me that I am a wine connoisseur. No—not yet anyway! A connoisseur to me means someone experienced, knowledgeable, an expert of sorts. I would admit to being a connoisseur of life, of exceptional places, […]

Day 4: PCT Through Hiking & Reds Meadow

July 17, 2008

After a leisurely breakfast of delicious french toast made with raison walnut bread from Schat’s famous bakery in Bishop (the secret of great French toast is to use exceptional bread, one egg per person, equal amounts milk plus a tablespoon or two, and soak for a long time!), we headed north along Highway 395 toward […]

Day 5: On a mission to go fishin’

July 18, 2008

Day 5: On a mission to go fishin’ — Middle Fork San Joaquin River, Sierra
The Big Monkey wondered at first what we’d do for more than a day or two down here in Reds Meadow along the San Joaquin River near Devil’s Postpile National Monument. Now he never wants to leave!
Today we hiked from our […]

Day 6: Devil’s Postpile

July 18, 2008

A National Park Service ranger leads a walk at 11am daily to the Devils Postpile from the Ranger Station and today is the day we’re going along too.
But first, we’re moving from our lovely but sunny site next to the hikers for one under more pines and along the creek. Once we’re somewhat established, and […]

Day 6: a Mataro finish

July 19, 2008

DAY 6 AFTER DINNER: Reds Meadow, Inyo National Forest
I am about to take my first sip of mataro, a grape I had never heard of before I bought this wine in April 2008, at the Grateful Palate Imports sale. Since I love the RBJ–that would be Chris Ringland, Bruce, and Johnstone– theologicum grenache/mourverde blend so […]

Day 7: Trip 2 Town

July 20, 2008

Whereas fishing with a stick on Sotcher Lake and the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River hasn’t worked out too well (for us–the fish are doing fine!), and
whereas we like it here at Reds Meadow Campground so much we’ve decided to stay longer requiring a resupply,
we’re on the shuttle heading for the Town of […]

Awesome Field Guide: John Muir Laws

July 21, 2008

I love books. I always have. I love to be surrounded by them. Books have always offered me a warm loving home. When I was growing up, I saved my money to buy books, even though I practically lived at the library. There is something about owning a book, being able to return to it, […]

Day 8: Minaret Falls

July 22, 2008

“Wake up! Wake up!” says the small boy. “It’s time to go fishing! It’s morning time and the fish are awake! Quick let’s wake up Dad!”
The two scamper off, the young red head and the old red head, hand in hand, to take the trail to Sotcher Lake, but return a few hours later empty […]

Day 8: last night, Reds Meadow, Brothers in Arms shiraz

July 22, 2008

What is it about these Australian wines (or is it Grateful Palate Imports wines??) that they offer so much creativity in what could be a boring enterprise—the label of a wine bottle?? For example, Boarding Pass,
from R Winery, which we enjoyed before dinner in early July the night Dave Staeheli flew in from Alaska to […]

must mention mosquitoes & the bombardment of beetles

July 23, 2008

According to page 194 of my wonderful new Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada (for review, see post one previous to this one), we are being bitten by 3 or possibly 4 different kinds of mosquitoes: black snow mosquito, common snow mosquito, and cool weather mosquito are the most likely culprits here at 7600′ […]

Day 9: wishin 4 fishin

July 24, 2008

After five nights at Reds Meadow, it’s time to pack up and head out to the Eastern Sierra for one last night of our 10 day trip and some more fishing!
Rain threatens. From the Mammoth Mountain ski area parking lot, the Big Monkey rides off down the trail to meet us at the Visitor Center […]

Day 9: Flash floods, Still Life Cafe, last bottle of Aussie wine

July 25, 2008

While a flashflood watch was in effect when we were fishing in the eastern Sierra south of Bishop, turns out it was a deluge the previous night which closed Highway 395 just north of Independence, and slowed traffic to an escorted crawl.
Even though this flashflood was 24 hours old, only one of four lanes on […]

Day 10: trout for breakfast

July 28, 2008

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Footsteps on the gravel in our campsite wake me.
THWACK! Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.
It is 6:37am. We are at the BLM’s Tuttle Creek Campground a few miles and a thousand feet or so up from Lone Pine toward Mt Whitney Portal. Last night when we climbed into bed, it was raining and windy. Naked, […]

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