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@LMR (the ranch blog)

Ted Hall
April 15, 2009 | Ted Hall

Bottling Day At LMR Debuts New Wine

Ryan McGee bottling at Long Meadow RanchOur friends from Ryan McGee, the ones with the bottling-line-in-a-truck, arrived on Tuesday evening in time to set up for today's early morning bottling of two of our most approachable red wines.  

We have used Ryan McGee for years.  We effectively share a state-of-the-art bottling line with a group of our fellow Napa Valley wineries by bringing the "bottling line in a truck" to Long Meadow Ranch about four times a year.  

Partners Andy Ryan and Brian McGee also bring their expertise and experience honed by bottling almost everyday - something we could never do on our own.

2006 LMR Merlot being filled in bottling-line-in-a-truckThe day went uneventfully with a crew of about twelve hustling empty bottles around the pad in front of the winery and loading them onto the conveyors into the truck.

And then, after the bottles are sparged with nitrogen, filled with wine, capsuled, and labeled in a blink of the eye, they are packed into case boxes and stacked onto pallets.  

After a night or two resting in the cave, the wines will be off to our warehouse. 

We bottled our everyday favorite Ranch House Red - with our whimsical cork imprinted with "Whoa!" and my favorite horse, E-Z, showcased on the label. But, the highlight was a 55-case lot of our first ever Merlot from the 2006 vintage.

2007 Ranch House Red

Last year we selected a few barrels of Merlot for a "Left Bank" blend we made for the Napa Valley Premiere barrel auction.

We loved the wine so much that we made another cuvee to savor for ourselves and to offer exclusively in our tasting room. A few lucky members of the LMR Corral Club may also have the chance to try this wine, too.

This rich, succulent wine has the wonderfully graceful mouth feel and long finish that distinguishes the wines from our ranch. The inky black color is also remarkable.

In a few weeks when the "bottle shock" from bottling is passed, we look forward to savoring this wine - probably with a grass-fed Highland steak.

Can't wait.

2006 LMR Merlot
April 13, 2009 |

Live Internet Tasting

I will be participating in a live Zinfandel tasting panel on the internet today. The webcast is being filmed at Chappellet and will be from 10:30am-11:30am. This will be, I am fairly certain, the first blind tasting panel shown live on the internet. Wish me luck!

To view the tasting please visit

Ted Hall
April 12, 2009 | Ted Hall

Long Meadow Ranch Olive Oil Becomes Chrism

We are very honored to have our olive oil blessed as Chrism by the Diocese of Santa Rosa.  Bishop Daniel Walsh consecrated our olive last Thursday in a centuries-old Holy Week tradition.  So, this seemed to be an appropriate posting for Easter Sunday.

Used to annoint the sick in what most laymen call "last rights," the oils are also used at baptisms, confirmations, ordinations, and other Church sacraments.

 Throughout the Catholic Church for centuries, the bishop of each diocese has distributed oil to every parish for use throughout the year. 

In our case, the oil will be used throughout the six-county area covered by the Diocese of Santa Rosa.  This means our oil will potentially touch the lives of more than 150,000 people. 

Our olive orchards are believed to be the oldest in Napa County, with the original cuttings coming aboard ship from the Mediterranean region around the Horn. The opportunity to provide continuity to a centuries-old sacred tradition and to be recognized for the integrity of our traditional, sustainable approach to farming is truly an honor for our family and for our team at Long Meadow Ranch.  

For more background, see our brief press release.

Ted Hall
April 9, 2009 | Ted Hall

Ground Broken at LMR Winery & Farmstead Site

Yesterday was a major milestone for us.

Ground Breaking at White Hall NuseryFirst, we broke ground at the site of our new tasting room and offices - part of the LMR Winery & Farmstead project in St. Helena.

Laddie, Chris, and I were joined by Sheamus Feeley (our executive chef), Kevin Twohey (Whiting Nursery), and Frank Borges and Tony Gouveia (Borges Construction).

The crew began site preparation yesterday morning on the historic Logan/Ives House which will be the new home to our tasting room. Removal of the asbestos shingles will start on Monday. And, in about two weeks the house will be raised four feet in the air so that we can rebuild the foundation under it!

Second, last night we had a very informal reception for our staff and the members of our extended team who have worked so hard to get this project moving so quickly.

LMR wines flowed and Sheamus Feeley prepared LMR grass-fed beef meatballs with tomato-ginger marmalade, "Sheamus-made" ricotta with LMR Rutherford Gardens apple butter, LMR deviled eggs with crispy bacon, and LMR grass-fed beef tartare with chive blossoms and radishes. 

What a treat!

Hanging the Farmstead BannerWe capped off the evening with a ceremony as we hung a banner announcing our project on the fence along Main Street.

Ted Hall
April 7, 2009 | Ted Hall

New Website Launched

After many long months of work, we launched our new website yesterday afternoon.  Tomorrow afternoon we will be sending an e-mail announcement to all of our friends, both consumers and trade members.  We are looking forward to the feedback.

Many may not know that LMR was among the earliest small wineries to have a web site.  We first launched in 1997 - well ahead of the Internet boom - and we were able to take online orders when we released our first wine (1996 Cabernet Sauvignon) in September 1999.   The technology was crazily clumsy. 

Since then we have continued to modify and extend the original design.  Our first web designer was Kim Webb (!) of Webb Design and she was assisted by Freema Hillman, the designer of the distinctive LMR logo and wine labels.

Old Long Meadow Ranch Home PageThroughout this period the site was largely homegrown (and continues to be).  One of the reasons the site "speaks with one voice" is because it has one, namely mine.  A screen shot of our old site is on the left.

We did a major revamp during 2005 as we added more content and improved the beef presentation.  Now, with the help of the excellent team at vin65 (aka K-1 Technology) led by Peter Andres and Andrew Kamphuis we have brought the site up to contemporary standards. It's kind of our own version of Web 2.0.

Because we have been at this a long time (especially in "web time"), the site is very deep - in some cases you can drill down five or six layers. 

And, we have an extensive archive of much of what we have accomplished over the past thirteen years. 

Brendan Scoggin, our Customer Service & Marketing Support Administrative Assistant,  did yeoman duty bringing over all of the historical content.  Take a look at the Press Clipping Archive or the Menu Hall of Fame for examples.

We hope you will take the time to explore our site.  Let us know what you think.

Time Posted: Apr 7, 2009 at 8:18 AM
April 2, 2009 |

Olive Oil Bottling Begins!

 This week we began bottling our 2009 harvest olive oils.  The 2009 Napa Valley Select and Prato Lungo blends are among our best oils as of yet.  Upon chemical analysis of these oils, we have confirmed that they are well within the COOC (California Olive Oil Council) standards for quality oil. 

Oil Bottling Olive Oil Bottling

The COOC (and international) standards for extra virgin olive oil require oil to be less than 0.5% acidity (oleic free fatty acid) and to have a peroxide index under 20. Prato Lungo achieved 0.08% acidity with a 5.0 peroxide index while the Napa Valley Select came out at 0.04% acidity with a 3.0 peroxide index.  

Both of of our 2009 oils are more than six times below the standard for extra virgin olive oil.  We are very proud to continue our record of producing some of the lowest acidity (most virgin) olive oils in the world.

To learn more about olive oil see: About Olive Oil

March 11, 2009 |

2009 Olive Oil Blending Underway


Oil TastingToday we began tasting through and rating oils made from our Italian cultivars. The Italian cultivars (like "varietals" in grape vines) we produce are Frantoio, Moriaolo, Pendolino, and Leccino.

Typically, these Italian cultivar olive oils produce a dramatic amount of spiciness (pungency) in the back of your throat, causing you to cough or clear your throat.

A particularly pungent oil is a "two cough oil" - something we try to make! After much discussion and evaluation of these oils, we are beginning to see the blend for the Napa Valley Select.

Olive Oil TastingOlive Oil Tasting
Time Posted: Mar 11, 2009 at 8:12 AM
Ted Hall
March 10, 2009 | Ted Hall

Launching Our New Website

We are now testing our new website with members of our team trying to find all of the good, the bad, and the ugly about the site. We have found many big and small details to adjust, but we still hope to launch on Monday, April 6th.

We started the new design for the site last fall with the help of the excellent team from vin65 (aka K-1 Technology).  We are very pleased with the new look, which we completed after four or five iterations in early January.  Somewhat surprisingly, the task of bringing over all of the existing content to the new site has taken us nearly three months.  Along the way, we have added many new features and pages.  

Believe it or not our site now includes more than 400 pages!

Time Posted: Mar 10, 2009 at 4:01 PM