Sunday Dinner with Kendall Hoxsey

Sunday Dinner

For today’s Sunday Dinner, I invited Kendall Hoxsey. Kendall is the business manager at her family’s wine vineyard, about which she’s going to share with us today.

Sunday Dinner is a traditional (noon) meal served after church on Sundays. Whole families, including extended family, would gather over a large meal to celebrate a day of rest. Multiple cultures enjoy this Sunday Dinner tradition. In my experience, I know it from both my Midwestern farm family as well as my Italian-American family. Now, I’d like to bring Sunday Dinner virtually to you. So, pull up a chair as we invite various guests to join us each week!

Without further ado please tell us interesting readers would enjoy learning about you.

Hi everyone! First off thank you Danielle, I’m very excited to be here! My name is Kendall Hoxsey. Something interesting about me is that I am a redheaded left-hander, they only make up 2% of the entire world population.

I understand you work at a vineyard … can you give us a little of your background? What do you do there?

I am a fifth generation grape-grower. I also got an MBA in Wine Business in 2012 (yes its an actual thing 😉) I am the business manager for the family vineyards and custom crush winery (basically other brands make their wine are the winery)

What types of grapes do you grow?

We grow over 18 different varietals. A few varietals for sparkling wine, white wine, and red wine.

What are your grapes used for? (ie, eating, wine, juice?)

We grow grapes exclusively for wine.

Can you tell us the process grapes go through from seedling to leaving your vineyard?

From the time we plant rootstock and then graft a clone we don’t have a crop for another three years, so it is big investment. Grapevines tend to produce a crop for twenty to thirty years. From the grapevine’s third leaf (year) then we will harvest the crop in the late summer/early fall. We use 40% for our own family wine brands and then sell 60% to other wineries.

What are some of the challenges you face with your crop? What about in the industry?

Weather is always a factor along with economic forces of supply and demand. California is a heavily regulated state so much of my time I deal with different regulatory agencies on a county, state, and federal level.

Do you grow anything else besides grapes?

We have some apple, peach, cherry, and fig trees that we either give to employees or use to make homemade jam, crisps, and other delicious deserts during the season. My personal favorite are the blackberries.

What do you wish consumers knew about growing, managing, or owning a vineyard?

Farming is a lifestyle that requires your heart and soul. There are so many different aspects from soil science to till/no-till, what rootstock is right for your soil, what varietals are consumers drinking, to pest management strategy and overall farming strategy such as biodynamic, organic, or conventional.

How important is it for you to stay abreast of new knowledge and information about the industry? Why?

It is always important to read trade journals or join organizations so that you can mingle with other growers or go to seminars and hear what new research is occurring. New permits for water management, certifications for organic growers, fire prevention, etc. are always coming through. Even though farmers tend to not be good marketers, farmers do need to think about how to educate neighbors and the greater population about the importance of farming.

What is your favorite part of working at a vineyard?

I love early morning walks before the fog has lifted. It is so quiet and peaceful that your feel God’s presence all around you. Every season is special but there is just something in the air during harvest time which is August through October.

The afternoon is slipping away, so we have to draw the stories to an end. Kendall, thank you for joining us today!

If you would like more information about Kendall’s vineyard or about vineyards in general, you can visit Kendall’s vineyard website at ghostblockwine.com.

Kendall is also a writer. You can follow her journey on Instagram.

Over Sunday Dinner next week, we’ll be joined by historical fiction author Rita Gerlach.


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