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Tim Fulnecky is the affable assistant winemaker at Paso Robles based Field Recordings Winery. Tim is 6' 6", in case you're interested, and one of six children from a midwest, Irish catholic family who moved to San Francisco to pursue a career in environmental (solar) science. There he met his girlfriend Lauren who studied graphic design at Cal Poly and today works creating labels for Field Recordings and Tin City Cider. Tim volunteered to pitch in one weekend when the winery crew was shorthanded, and was offered a job on the spot for his work ethic and quick study. But that's not where Tim's love of wine began...
In Tim's words:
"I can still remember the first glass of wine I ever drank. I was about 15 years old when my grandmother pulled me to the side at one of our summertime meals at Hollyhock Lodge and poured me a glass of red wine. I can't honestly say that this was the moment I knew wine would be my career, but it certainly stuck with me. I still have memories of my grandmother teaching all the grandchildren what wines were appropriate for the occasion or meal. Most distinctly I remember her telling a story about standing in line on Beaujolais Day to get a couple bottles of Nouveau which in her mind was the perfect wine for Thanksgiving."
The 2016 Hollyhock Lodge Gamay is Tim's personal project named for the Fulnecky family lake house in Cassopolis, Michigan that was unfortunately sold a few years ago when his grandmother passed away. The back label pictures his parents and honors the generations and time spent together. For this wine's first release, the grapes are thoughtfully sourced from Santa Barbara's biodynamic/Demeter certified Martian Ranch, and only 200 cases were made. Martian is owned and farmed by Nan Helgeland - who blended the names of her sons Martin and Ian for the vineyard's eponym - and her two plots of Gamay are the first vines to harvest each year. Traditional fermentation without stem inclusion or carbonic maceration, minimal sulfur additions, and eight months in neutral barrel frame this beautiful, pure and easy-to-love style. The wine's fresh cherry and red berry aromas with a touch of white pepper, fresh herbs and smoked meat offer more complexity than you might expect from Burgundy's "other" red variety grown in California. With a 15 minute chill, this is a wine you will want to drink all afternoon and throughout the last weeks of summer. If you're disciplined enough to save a few bottles until the third or fourth Thursday of November, you can enjoy raising a glass to Tim's family and your own.