Darius Miller

5 Years Ago, Today…

5 years ago, I stood in the parking lot puffing on what was to be my last cigarette. I was nervous. My heart was racing and my mind spinning. The words I hear moments ago rattled me to the core. I snubbed the cigarette and walked through the Emergency Room doors and admitted myself. The day before was a Sunday and I woke up feeling a little weird, like when you sleep funny and you feel all scrunchy and numb.…

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Sad Times and Sad People

On Monday, Lisa was opening the winery for a yoga class and discovered that the winery had been broken into. The window next to the front door had been smashed and there was glass all over the floor. She called me immediately called me and I raced over with my heart in my throat.   We looked around and tried to figure out what happened while we waited for the police to arrive. The damage was not too bad and…

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Hurry Up and Wait

I have heard the expression “hurry up and wait” over and over while working with the military for over 20 years and the same expression is true around the winery.  Wine takes time to mature, parts have long lead times and staffing and space utilization are always a challenge.   Just as in life, getting all of the pieces staged and in place is often a challenge and frustration. Our current dilemma is waiting for more corks, capsules, and bottles…

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We Crushed It!

Earlier in the month, the NASS (National Agricultural Statistics Service) released the 2018 Grape Crush Report which is an impressive 164 pages of all kinds of geeky information. The bottom line is that California Crushed (processed) 4,506,583 tons of grapes in 2018! That is up 4.6% over 2017 which was also a bumper crop and so was 2016.   Now let me tell you, that is a lot of grapes. Last year, Koi Zen Cellars processed 53 tons of fruit…

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Get The Franc Out!

Pre-dawn one cold morning last November, Steve and I were standing in the Camp Four vineyard in Santa Ynez staring at 12 macro bins heaping with Cabernet Franc grapes. I was contracted for 12,000 pounds but what stood before us was a whole lot more.  We loaded the trailer and it groaned and complained but we were on the road, at least for a little while.   We traveled a few miles and then pulled into a gas station to…

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What’s Up Bud?

As the weather warms and the winter clouds begin to fade, the grape vines are waking up. The vineyards have soaked up the winter rains that will nourish the plants throughout the summer. As the sun warms the vineyard and the temperature rises, sap in the vines begins to flow from the root to the tip. The sap carries water, nutrients, and stored carbohydrates from the roots into the trunk and then out the cordons which look like the arms…

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Rack and Roll

As spring rolls in, it’s time to rack and roll in the cellar. The 2017 wine is getting ready for bottling and the 2018 wine is waking up and growing up. The French call this process elvage which is comparable to the word “raising” as in raising a child. This is the period of time when adolescent wine begins to mature.   This is also an ideal time to check the young wines progress. For the last few days, we…

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picture of bottle tops

What’s In the Bottle?

ast week we talked about barrels, but what about bottles? Starting about 6,000 BCE large earthenware containers called “kvevri” were used in the country of Georgia; they were coated with beeswax were used for both the fermentation and storage of wine. The Egyptians improved the kvevri by adding handles to allow for the safe transport of wine called amphoras. The amphoras were made in all different sizes however all had two handles and a long skinny neck to reduce exposure…

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dog smelling grass

What’s That Smell?

s a winemaker, I smell a lot of wine. Some wines are very aromatic and others are more reserved. Some smell like fruit while others are earthier or herbaceous. Each wine has its own set of aromas based upon the type of grape, the place it was grown and how it was produced and the kind of critters (bacteria) that are in the wine. When I lead private wine tastings, the third “Zen Steps of Wine Tasting” is learning how…

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empty pants pockets

Sac or Bust

Next week a small armada of Koi Zen Cellars folks will be converging in Sacramento. Nothing starts the new year off as a trip to Sacramento for the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium. On January 29-31, thousands of merchants, vendors, distributors, producers, consumers all converge on the Convention Center for 3 packed days of everything wine. This is the largest wine conference in both North and South America. The entire convention center is packed with every conceivable piece and part…

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Hours

Monday – closed (Private Events Only)

Tuesday – 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Wednesday – 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Thursday – 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Friday – 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Saturday – 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Sunday – 12:00 – 6:00 pm

Visit Us

12225 World Trade Drive, Suite P

San Diego, CA 92128

858.381.CORK(2675)

When you need a break from shopping in Carmel Mountain, just swing on over to visit. We’d love to show you around.

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