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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oh Heller Yeah

He not only makes memorable wines for Heller (659-6220), he was the only guy at the Monterey County Vitners and Growers' Winemakers Celebration earlier this month to pack along barrel-sampling action.

Good people, I give you winemaking guru Rich Tanguay. (That's him doing mandatory barrel quality control at the winemakers event.)

He's a star of the upcoming grape-stomping harvest party at the glorious Cachaugua grounds. It's coming 1-4pm Saturday, Oct. 16, with delicious al fresco treats from Bahama Billy's, tastes of new releases and all kinds of messy, squooshy, grape-stomping fun. I went last year and may make it an annual pilgrimage.

Here's the quick lowdown from a year ago:

Heaven might be a place called Heller. Or so a tribe of young oenophiles and I discovered at their annual wine stomp held at their pioneering 1,000-acre organic outpost, where the views of the Cachagua Valley are angelic.

Rich Tanguay led a lively tour of the grounds, pouring unfermented grape juice from the catwalk and pausing for word from Rep. Sam Farr (“I took this wine to the White House,” he said, “and told them they should make it their official wine.”). Dozens sloshed, hugged, giggled and jiggled in the grape tubs – there’s no feeling like having cool dark purple skins up to your knees – then rinsed in rose and lavender water before adjourning for some of Heller’s delicious new releases, Bahama Billy’s grub and plucking from a pair of Cachagua Playboys.

Smiles and sunshine blanketed the affair. Cheers to the Hellers for assembling a fun and friendly group as welcoming as the gorgeous grounds.

Estimated price—$25 for members; $30 for nonmember knuckleheads—is a solid deal.

One more heroic bit from RT appears below. He posted it on TwitFace yesterday. I give it a 9.5.

(If it's too small you can click on it and it will appear in a larger window.)