Sunset in the Vineyard
November, 2017 - Issue #158
Last month, we introduced our readers to the picturesque house of Jeannie and Chris Carpenter and shared that their property is home to the Assistance League's annual event, Sunset in the Vineyard. This month, we're giving you a premier tour of their vineyard space. Want an even closer look? Be sure to attend Sunset in the Vineyard on Sunday, November 5.

ABOVE: "My husband had this tabletop custom made for this space," says the owner. "Then, we sat it on top of two wine barrels and, ta da! We were done! Simplicity at its finest." INSET: The Carpenter's grape vines are oriented on terrace steps for ease of picking and improved sun exposure. "As time goes by, they have to check the brix to determine the sugar and alcohol content; when it's at the right level, that's the day you have to pick. It's kind of like a baby. There's a lot of, 'It's here! It's time!' conversations," says Jeannie Carpenter.

In the Carpenter's backyard, there's a massive slab of reclaimed wood that has been fashioned into a table, thanks to the support - physical and otherwise - of perfectly-positioned wine barrels. In many ways, this exquisite piece of furniture is a solid metaphor for everything that surrounds it.

ABOVE: The right accessories can make all the difference. Here, a collection from Refined Vintage Boutique adds an organic touch with a vintage pedestal, wooden server, ceramic serving pieces and linen bread basket. 505-7175 LEFT: The name "Compa Vineyard" is proudly displayed on each bottle made from these familiar grapes. "Compa" was the name of Tim Carpenter's beloved dog who passed away from a heart attack at only 11 months old. "'Compa' is short for 'compadre,' 'best friend.' It's a very fitting name for this space. The vineyard has definitely brought my husband and his brother closer together," says Jeannie Carpenter.

You see, this family is incredibly good at working together to take raw material and turn it into something completely different, yet extraordinary. And, because of their big hearts, they then share that extraordinary new thing with the people - and community - they love.

Cheerful orange-cushion topped lounge chairs and colorful umbrellas bring bright contrast to the exterior of the home and play foil to the subdued bouquet-stone underfoot. The furniture and umbrellas were selected from Green Thumb Nursery. 259-1071

"We had no idea when we bought this house that this would be what we ended up doing with it," says Jeannie Carpenter, who shares the home with husband Chris. "We lived nearby and actually saw that this home was for sale on one of our walks. A few years later, the property next door to us went up for sale and we approached our neighbors and basically said, 'We have a buyer for you! Would you consider selling to us?' Chris's brother Tim was living in Vegas at the time and wanted to move to the SCV. Once it was his, we took down anything that separated the properties - all the fencing, everything, it had to go. Now it's kind of a 'compound,' one big unified space - so there's lots of room to entertain and, of course, grow the vineyard!"

ABOVE: The Carpenter's Newhall home still boasts many of the original details and elements that were present when it was built decades ago. A stacked-stone facade, manicured lawn, playful flowers and shade-friendly oaks combine to create a home with curb appeal to spare. ABOVE RIGHT: "Our house has a lot of tudor-style qualities, especially here in the front - and when we have the ivy growing!" says Carpenter. The bouquet-stone entry and heavy, dark-stained door add a sense of permanence and timelessness to the space.

"It's a lot of fun," says Carpenter, on the little vineyard her family has become known for. "But no stomping grapes here! I tried it once. It's gross - and it doesn't really work. Chris and Tim put the grapes in a big food-grade container and they get crushed that way. But they don't press them right away; they go into the wine room first and sit there for a while before they use what is considered 'old-fashioned technology' to process them. It's amazing what they do by hand. And, I love this - so many local winemakers use this exact same press. It literally goes from house to house during harvest time. It's pretty cute how everyone shares!"

The sense of community Compa Vineyard has cultivated still is pleasantly surprising to Jeannie 10 years after their first Sunset in the Vineyard event was held. "This whole thing has been such a labor of love for these two guys; it has brought them together in a way that no one could have planned," she says.

The results are worth toasting to. "It has affected all of us in wonderful ways. We do so many parties and fundraisers because they planted this vineyard. So many of our friends have planted vineyards of their own, and started making wines, because of what Chris and Tim have accomplished. And it has created a real community. A few times a year, we have winemakers over for a big Sunday barbecue. We do a lot of wine tasting, everyone brings their family and it's wonderful," reflects Jeannie Carpenter.


Sunday | November 5
Assistance League Santa Clarita Hosts
"Sunset in the Vineyard"

From 1pm to 4pm at the Compa Vineyard in Newhall
Assistance League's fall fundraiser, Sunset in the Vineyard, is an annual event featuring
select local vintners and gourmet foods benefitting the Santa Clarita community through
the philanthropic programs of Assistance League. Please join them in celebrating local
wine growers and makers with an afternoon of music, hors d'oeuvres,
wine tasting, picturesque landscape design and more!


Think You Want a Vineyard, Too?
Does the idea of having your own miniature vineyard sound appealing? Before you jump in, there are a few things to consider.

One of the things you'll need to check for is soil quality and your micro climate; wine grapes like neutral soil, mild summers and some cold weather during their winter dormancy period. Some varieties like Norton and Chardonnel are more frost tolerant, and many nurseries and vineyards can offer more information on what grapes will show the most return for your effort. Generally, wine grapes only want enough water to stay alive - and some may require trellises and severe pruning to stay productive. It may take up to three years for your vines to produce viable fruit, so you don't want to overwater and get lovely leaves, but no grapes!

Another question you'll need to ask yourself is, "What kind of pests will I be waging war with?" Everything from gophers to small critters like root-louse phylloxera will consider your grapes just as mouth-wateringly delicious as you do. Luckily for you, there are plenty of pest deterrents like traps or naturally-based pesticides that won't harm your babies, but will keep the enemy forces at bay. Some grape vines are also grafted so that the fruit is a beautiful, lush European variety, but the roots are hardy and pest-resistant! With a bit of research and tender loving care, your backyard can evolve into a gorgeous home vineyard.
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