Gracias from La Cuadrilla


On Friday November 7th, we gathered under the oak tree for our annual Cuadrilla profit sharing party. It’s a day I look forward to all year.
Early in the morning, Ruben and his chef buddies broke down a whole pig and slow cooked big hunks in the animal’s own fat. The smell of Carnitas wafted through the dormant vineyard.
The crew members requested goat cooked Oaxaca-style, so Ruben enlisted the help of friends from the Southern state. Jose, one of the senor Equipo de Jonata members slaughtered the goat at dawn. The Oaxacans then heated river stones and placed them at the bottom of a freshly dug hole. A pot of vegetables, broth and small goat segments went on top of the Agave, surrounded with large bone-in pieces.
With the pig and goat both cooking, we played intense games of volleyball until dusk. Tom Stolpman arrived and joined in the game. Despite our height advantage, Cuadrilla’s vertical leaps and raw athleticism landed me on the losing end of every game.
As the shadows drifted down the vineyard rows, we feasted together on platters of carnitas, goat stew, and flavorful goat meat. Many of the Cuadrilla members brought their children, who all decided the goat meat was a bit too flavorful for their sensitive palates. The kids none-the-less enjoyed running around the vineyard.
Upon the conclusion of dinner, the most important moment of the night arrived. Time to give out the bonus checks! With the 2012 Cuadrilla sales totaled, Ruben and I divided the profit among the Cuadrilla members based on seniority.
I first thanked La Cuadrilla for another great year, and in my rudimentary Spanish, I stressed that our farm is not only for my family, but for all of our families, the Stolpman Vineyards family. Ruben and I then called each Cuadrilla member up individually, handed them their cut, and next year’s Cuadrilla sweatshirt. Perhaps the highlight of the ceremony came at the end, when we welcomed the three new members who joined this year – their inaugural Cuadrilla party!
With the ceremony complete, Ruben ignited an Oak Tree Stump in the fire pit, turned up the music, and we dove into the mountain of wine allocated to the crew. Toasts, songs, and hugs stretched late into the night, and I awoke Saturday morning fulfilled and rejuvenated, ready to make 2015 another great year in Ballard Canyon.
On behalf of La Cuadrilla, a huge Gracias to our wine club members, customers, distributors, restaurants, and retailers that support our loyal, passionate crew members and their families.