Their crew of one is John who can often be found in the orchard with his battery-operated electric pruner. It’s not that all 800 trees require severe pruning every year, but they still need attention. Everything is done by hand in crafting the estate-grown EVOs, the exception being the milling process which is done at Figueroa Farms in Happy Canyon.
FROM THE VINE Some of the best lessons I’ve had while learning about wine took place in a winery’s vineyards. There’s little, other than wine tasting, that is quite as eye-opening as hearing about the hard work of farming.
The olives are pressed within hours of harvesting them. The herbs, citrus and fruit used in the various flavored oils are sourced locally and crushed along with the olives. The oils then “age” for a few weeks prior to bottling.
“TV producer or farmer, I’m still up at the crack of dawn,” John said. “There’s always something to do. It’s magical walking the dogs through our orchard at sunrise. It’s fulfilling to see the stages that the olives go through from the little buds to the flowers to the fruit set, and finally, to watch the olives grow and darken.
“I look out at the orchard and say, ‘Wow. We really did this,’” John continued. “Shannon is a force of nature and wouldn’t let go during the start of this operation. We persisted.”
“It was very slow at the start,” Shannon said. “I assumed that all wine drinkers were also foodies and they’d, therefore, be interested in olive oil. Since we’re right across from Brander Vineyard and their popular tasting room, I figured we’d attract wine and food people, and they’d buy a lot of olive oil. Wrong! We didn’t get the traffic we expected.”