Friday, September 2, 2011

#13 on the Road; #14 settling down.

I suppose I could count living out of a car, in a tent - or not - as #13. We did find generosity and hospitality along the way. While visiting New Orleans, we decided to ask at the Charity Hospital Nursing School Residence if they had any rooms we could rent. It was common in Delaware, for traveling nurses to rent rooms in the Student Nurses Residence Hall. The Mother Superior was kind and very enthusiastic to have us stay there at no cost in a 6 bed dormitory room on the top floor and even offered parking for free. The only expense we had while in New Orleans was for meals and entertainment. It was a great experience and a fabulous memory. Brenda and I have talked about donating to Charity Hospital, especially after Katrina.

Texas seemed to go on forever ... we finally made it to the Rio Grande near McAllen and camped out under the big Texas sky. Remember now this was winter and Ruby Red Grapefruit were cheap and delicious. I purchased a supplemental car insurance policy for Mexico while in Atlanta, suggested by our hosts. As we crossed the border into Mexico, there was a distinct cultural change. Pavement turned into dusty dirt roads; children as young as four were selling 'Chiclets' chewing gum and making perfect change. We got lost a few times on the way to Mexico City. In one small town near Monterrey, we were escorted to the only English speaking person. A Radiologist helped us with a map and clear directions. How we finally met up with Georgia [Summerville] and Rick Paez in Districto Federales = Mexico City, I don't remember. They took us to his parents home and a Bull Fight. They hosted us in their home in CuernaVaca, the City of Eternal Springtime. We were advised to not camp in Mexico, so we found lovely accommodations and inexpensive meals along our way back to the USA.

Somehow we arrived in San Francisco, almost out of money. We stayed at the YWCA and subsisted on Sour Dough Bread and water. My grandmother Robinson in Bend, OR welcomed us, fed us well and helped us get to Boise, where we stayed with my Haight grandparents on Morris Hill Road #14. We got our Idaho RN licenses and went to work as soon as we could - I worked at St. Alphonsus Labor and Delivery, while Brenda worked in Pediatrics at St. Luke's. Brenda purchased her first car - a snazzy Midnight Blue 1965 Mustang - she named "Amigo". Boise Photos:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

#12 and beyond ...

My pursuit of a career in journalism was forever changed by becoming an R.N. Writing nurses' notes is a form of descriptive journalism, but doing this blog takes more creativity than I had imagined. I keep trying to find the time and age appropriate photographs to add to the blog appeal. In the summer of 1965, before graduation in September, I represented Delaware at the American Student Nurses Convention in San Francisco and the International Congress of Nursing in Frankfort a/M Germany. I met Gisela Beer and visited her family home in Cologne. I also travelled with an Australian nurse, Alverna Ballard, from Perth. With a co-loan from my father, I purchased my first car in Wolfsburg on a special deal: "buy it there and pay no import tax." Car payments were $52/month. My first job as a new R.N. was in the Labor and Delivery department. #12 residence was an apartment on Bancroft Parkway, just a few blocks North of the Brandywine River, within walking distance from the Delaware Hospital.
After graduation, Brenda Payne, R.N. and Robin Haight, R.N. headed west in that green VW bug "Gruenschen". She had a sunroof, but we covered that with a tarp and filled it with camping gear. We left in 10 inches of snow, aimed towards the South, camped the first night on top of picnic tables in Cumberland Gap, MD. As we headed westward, Brenda voiced amazement at seeing the Smokey mountains in Georgia - there aren't any mountains in Delaware or Eastern Maryland. Knowing we were going towards the Sierras and the Rocky Mountains, I'd always giggle and reply: "You ain't seen nuttin' yet, Brenda." We stopped in Atlanta at the home of one of my parents friends - George and Betty Somerville. They took us to see the sights - Stone Mountain - the Famous men of the South carved as their version of Mount Rushmore. Their oldest daughter, Georgia, my age, was living in Mexico. They encouraged us to travel to see her and their youngest daughter, Liz, age 9, taught us the necessary Spanish to survive a visit to Mexico. How to order milk with ice [rather than drink warm milk] Please, Thank You, Right, Left and straight ahead and how to find or ask for the ladies room.
On our way towards Texas and eventually Mexico, we found ourselves in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. We could have camped on the NE side of Lake Pontchartrain and taken the hiway bridge each day into the city. Gas costs and travel time convinced us to look for another place to stay.
To be continued ...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

# 8 for the Haight family

In 1960, my senior year at Newark High School, my parents decided to build a modern house. 1103 Church Road in Christine Manor became quite a project. The architect was dubious about the western "Ranch Style" home with a 'butterfly roof', redwood and red brick siding with turquoise painted trim.

A kidney shaped swimming pool took up about one third of the back patio, half-covered by the roof. The interior fireplace was massive with a smaller outside grill fireplace connected but open to the patio.

It was quite an entertaining house, with hardwood floors in the living room covered with a huge teal carpet that was rolled up for dancing.
I had a summer job at LeBro Lincoln Mercury as a telephone solicitor. The following summer after graduation, I went to Rehoboth Beach with friend Leilani Snow to work in the restaurant business as a short order cook. We rented a room over the restaurants on the first block of Rehoboth Avenue.[#9] In pursuit of a career in Journalism, I also had a column in the weekly newspaper - "A Bird's Eye View by Robin" mostly a synopsis of social activities going on at the beach.
When it came time to go to the University of Delaware for my English/Journalism career education, I was assigned a room in Kent Hall [#10] with a roommate, Barbara Campbell. She talked in her sleep ... in French! I had asked for someone 'interesting' on my dormitory application. She was the daughter of a DuPont employee from Geneva, Switzerland. Although an American, she had been schooled in French. I have lost track of her.
I did not do well enough in required courses to stay at the U of D; I played too much bridge and studied too little. My choice was to attend the Delaware Hospital School of Nursing for an education that was very suitable for life. The tuition, room and board, books and uniforms was far less than the U of D. $300 for all three years compared to over $1000 for one year at university. I moved once again [#11] to the Nurse's Residence on Brandywine Avenue in Wilmington, Delaware. Nursing students were often employed as babysitters by the Medical Staff. My favorites were Dr. Mette's five children who were bi-lingual and helped me practice German and Dr. Mustafa Oz, Chief of Thoracic Surgery. Dr. Mehemet Oz was five when I first met him. He and his younger sister were brilliant and well-behaved children.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back East for #6

My parents had divorced and re-married in 1951. My dad was transferred to a Baltimore DuPont pigments plant and we lived in a house at 1924 Norman Road in Glen Burnie, MD. I attended 2n'd through 4'th grades and remember watching Queen Elizabeth's Coronation. My parents took dance lessons from Arthur and Kathryn Murray and appeared on Television as dancers. I appeared on T.V. in the peanut gallery of the Buffalo Bob show with Howdy Doody and Clarabelle the clown. We had an English Setter named 'Ski' and he loved to chew on shoes. We had a housekeeper / babysitter who was later fired for stealing.

 Next move, dad was transferred in 1953 to the Louviers building in Newark, DE where he was one of the first five DuPont employees trained to run the first computer, the "Univac". Those five each trained five other employees and so on until most of the staff at Louviers were computer-literate. Meanwhile, I struggled with math. We lived in home #7 at 530 Papermill Road for $75/month rent. Dad could walk to work. The house on 365 acres was owned by Hallock DuPont. It was a 6 story 1860's house with 18 " thick walls, a slave cellar, a coal steam heater with rattling old cast iron registers, a tin roof over the porch, window seats, and wasps in the attic. We had a black Collie named "Shep", a grey kitten "Misty" and "Liverachee" orange stripe.

The property had an immense barn with 12 " beams, lots of pigeons, a hay stack inside for great jumping and stored some of the farm equipment used by High School Ag classes. They grew mostly corn in the fields surrounding the barn. The Delaware Police push-mobile derby track was a relatively new feature used once a year for races; the rest of the year we had a private bicycle race track and sledding hill.
The Wilbur [Bill] and Vieve Gore family of five: Susan, Bob, Ginger, David and E.[Betty] Gore lived on the other side of Papermill Road and they were the only other Idahoans I met in Delaware. They also had a swimming pool. Bill developed teflon products - Gortex - in his basement and left DuPont to pursue his own business creations.
 I attended 5'th grade through High School in Newark. My parents started the first Fred Astaire franchise in DE. I met Bob in Cotillion Ballroom class when I was 13 and he was 14. I got to go to "Philthadelphia" with mother's teen dance class and dance on Dick Clark's Bandstand. The featured 'stars' were Eydie Gourme and Steve Lawrence.
I met my best friend, Nancy Bonney, in Newark. Her parents were both teachers. More to come ....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Where I have lived

Bob and I were talking about how grandson Christopher has only known us while living in this 1905 Boise Home. I decided to list all the places we each have lived since birth. Niether of us were military brats, so we may not have the diverse numbers some of our friends have accumulated, but we have a lot more than most people. I counted 32 and Bob counted 12.
I was born in Rahway, NJ while my parents rented a duplex apartment there. Dad was attending Columbia in NYC getting his Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering and working on the DDT project for his war effort. 1943. He was transferred to Carney's Point NJ in 1944 and we lived in a house in Penn's Grove. That was where I lost my first baby tooth in eating an apple, my mother got rid of our first set of kittens by re-locating them in the woods behind our house. I locked her out of the house - she had the mailman help her get back in. I remember Dad taking me to a bakery for the best cream puffs I've ever eaten. I had a Tea Set table, chairs, couch and lots of dolls to attend the many tea parties I arranged. 45-47.
In 1946, Mother and I went to live with her family in Wenatchee, WA as she was expecting my sister, Rhea. She wanted her mother near-by for her second delivery - When I was born - it was during WWII blackouts and other scary experiences. In Wenatchee, the Robinson house was next door to a castle with a reflecting pool. Both houses had circular staircases - the castle's had a blue bathtub at the bottom with goldfish in it. The Robinson home had two 'landings' one each over the living and dining rooms.The backyard had a great apple tree with a rope swing and grandpa had Irish and Gordon setters he took bird hunting. Christmas, I remember that my Uncle Bob - mother's 16 year younger brother got coal and a railroad spike in his stocking, because he was 'BAD'. After Rhea Frances was born April 4. 1947, I don't remember Dad being around, but we took the train or drove from the East Coast to Portland, Wenatchee and Idaho a couple of times. In Ketchum, Idaho 1948, I was 5 and we lived in a cottage down the hill from the RR tracks and the sheep drover's path. I attended the one room school house. Sometimes 5 of us neighbor kids would ride the draft horse to school - legs astride, holding on to the child in front. The winter snows were above roof tops and mother worked as cashier in the SunValley Lodge and sang in a trio in the Ram. We had a housekeeper nanny named Mrs. Wright. I learned to ski on Dollar Mountain and how to swim in the Lodge Pool with a chef 'Gus' who pulled me as I kicked and held on to his toes. I also got rides around Sun Valley on the Postman's bicycle. 1949 1'st grade started in September in Ketchum. Then, after ski season, we moved to #5 Sacramento - 2120 Murietta Way - with mother's Lynfield college roomate Frances Cottingham Longworth Robbins and her 3 children: Joy, John and Craig. Mother delivered Leslie Carlynne on Mother's Day, 1950.  I remember the sidewalk gutters flooding such that we could wade knee deep in the streets. Lynn Sherman was my friend and she wore braces on her legs due to Polio. One of the neighbors had the first Television I had ever seen and we got to watch Roy Rogers, Hop-a-long Cassidy, Gene Autrey, The Lone Ranger and Tonto. More to come ...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Apples -> Grapes

This original Apple packing box label was used on lug boxes of Blue Lakes Apples in the early 1900's. The apple 'pictured' is a Rome Beauty - my grandmother's favorite. You can see two of the many medals I.B. Perrine won for his fruit: Nebraska State Fair in Omaha, 1896 and the Paris, France International Exposition of 1900. On the left of the label there is a horse drawn stage coach descending down the north grade hairpin turn road that took I.B. seven years to build - it is still the main road into the Blue Lakes Canyon today. In a small frame on the right side of the label is a depiction of Shoshone Falls [the Niagra of the West] by the Oregon Short Line Railroad.
Apples would have been designated in the lower left blank space for "Variety" and the intended recipient's address in the space marked "To_____"
Many vineyardists I have known say that wherever you can grow good apples, you can grow good grapes. That is why so many acres in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho have been converted from apple orchards to vineyards. Historically, apples of the heirloom varieties produced good crops only every other year. Bankers like to have annual income guarantees when they loan money to farmers. Many orchard farmers could not get loans for apple orchard necessities in the early 70's, but they could get loans for grapes - especially wine grape vineyards. The growth spurt of vineyards was based on a flowering of the trends indicating wine was a good investment for the predicted increase in future wine consumers. Two things about this strike me as sad and funny - a number of heritage apple varieties disappeared or became endangered species.  Bankers would most likely not get any return on investments in vineyards for at least 5 years. Bankers are born Gamblers!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wine Consumerism

It is often enlightening to read marketing reports of current consumer trends. As the population of 70 million millennials become 21 years of age and start buying alcoholic beverages, their wine habits are more diverse than any previous generation. They grew up with the Ipod and seem to enjoy the random lack of structure that setting things on "shuffle" affords them. They are not easily intimidated by "experts"; they are not afraid of screw tops or wine in boxes. They love to explore the world, take some risks, and drink wine to have fun. They are not likely to plan a dinner with wines matching courses as their parents may have done. They most likely will have a buffet party with their favorite foods on the table - pizza, sushi, wraps, tacos and a side table with a variety of different wines that often have wild names and crazy labels. Marketing to them necessitates visible and audible quick catch unique personality, creativity as well as informational clarity and authenticity.

Only 27 % of people buy and drink luxury brands; 73 % do not. Women buy 75% of all wine, mostly because they plan the household meals and buy wines to accompany and complement specific food.

There are six key wine consumer 'types' : The Enthusiast, who explores and buys with adventure, the Image Seeker who buys only wines rated over 90 to impress others, the Savvy Shopper who loves to find a good bargain, the Traditionalist who sticks with the tried and true, the Satisfied Sipper who doesn't want to know why or how a wine pleases - just that it does, the Overwhelmed who cannot decide without help from others.

A look at which traditional table wines and varietals US consumers purchased in 2004, when, for the first time, Americans led the market, buying over 160 million cases of wine. Chardonnay leads with 41.5 million cases or 26%, White Zinfandel was second at 22.8 million cases. Red blends = 31.5, Merlot = 21.9, Cabernet Sauvignon = 19.7, Sauvignon Blanc = 5.8, Red Zin and Pinot Noir = 3.1 each, Syrah = 1.8, Pinot Gris [or Grigio] = 1.6  and all others = 10.6 million cases.

For more in depth consumer and marketing information, visit Constellation Wine's Genome Project.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

“Dandelion Wine”

Pick dandelions from an open field or yard far from any insecticide spraying, and if you can, pick early in the season when the leaves of the plant are still tender. Newly opened flowers are also ideal. You should have a large soup pot with a lid and 2 clean gallon glass jugs, a wire mesh strainer and 2 fermentation locks. 12 clean wine bottles with stoppers - corks, o-ring glass or screw tops.
8 cups whole dandelion blossoms, stems removed
16 cups water
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
Peel of 1 large orange coarsely chopped
Peel of 1 lemon coarsely chopped
2 ¼ teaspoons brewers or Champagne yeast
¼ cup warm water
6 cups sugar
8 whole cloves
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
1. Wash the dandelion blossoms well in a colander. Put them in a pot with the water, orange and lemon juice, and the orange and lemon peels. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 2-3 minutes.Turn off the heat and add the whole cloves and ginger. 
Let cool and sit, covered for 24-48 hours.
2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Add the sugar to the dandelion liquid and stir. Add the yeast mixture as well and stir.
4. Fit a large gallon jug with a funnel and fit the funnel with a mesh strainer. Ladle in the liquid one spoonful at a time, pressing down onto the dandelions as they go into the mesh strainer to ensure all of the liquid is extracted. Dump the dandelion and peels into an empty bowl to allow each new batch of liquid to go through easily.
5.  Fit the jugs with the fermentation locks. Let rest for one week in a cool dark place as the fermentation begins.. 
6. Strain the liquid again into bottles using the funnel.  Then cork the bottles, or use bottles with screw on tops, and store them in a dark cool place for 3 to 8 weeks and up to a year. This kind of wine is best consumed while it is young.
Some recipes call for just petals not whole buds. Fermentation can sometimes stop before it is complete, meaning it’s “stuck.” This can happen when there aren’t enough micronutrients for the yeast. You increase the chance of success by using whole buds because it adds more micronutrients, but you will have a slightly more bitter wine. I’m okay with that, I like a little bitter. But if you’re not, try the petals only. This will require more picking and separating.

Monday, May 9, 2011


The Century Club an organization founded in London, with a logical, educational aspect on wine tasting - you become a member by documenting 100 wine grape varietals you have tasted. The Century Club certification is free - however, Mr. De Long sells charts, maps and tasting reservations for the annual tasting/meetings in London and NYC. There are also American Chapters of this organization.

I don't know the details of forming a Century Club tasting group - I know they are relatively new. Here is the link to their website: Wine Century Club. The old Chevalier du Taste Vin and Les Amis du Vin were French "clubs" - I think they may now exist only in France. There are also guilds and courts - Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers headquartered in London - certification organizations that are based on very rigid testing and writing a thesis related to Wine [MW] ... or the alcohol service business [MS] and are very expensive and prestigious - there are only 20 MW's since 1990 in the USA, only three people in the world who are certified both MW and MS. Doug Frost is the only one in the USA.

American organizations have started widely varied certification programs - for knowledge of wines of the world, qualified wine judges and the organizers expect to make money. I am skeptical that certification will mean much in the future - except that it may be easier to get a job / promotion in the wine business, as Leslie Young has recently been promoted to manager of the CO-OP Wine Shop. To my knowledge, she is the only one working there with certification credentials.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rabbits and wine

Getting close to the day the Easter Bunny arrives. How is it that Easter eggs are delivered by a rabbit? Well, here is the tale I've heard told ...Easter often coincides with the 10 days of Passover, a Jewish holiday celebrating the passage of enslaved Jews from Egypt into Palestine, led by Moses who performed a miracle parting the Red Sea, allowing them to walk right across land where there once was water. A special dinner called a Seder is shared amongst family and congregants, with four glasses of kosher wine per adult swallowed quickly at different occasions during the feast, after raising the glass with a toast "La Chaim" = To Life!.
The first course consists of symbolic foodstuffs, Parsley, salt water, bitter fruits and nuts, a lamb shank bone, a honeyed mash of apples and hard-boiled eggs.
Years ago a congregation was making plans for the Seder. All invitees were to share in bringing something. Rabbi Thoshinski volunteered to bring the hard-boiled eggs. He left a note: "Rabbi T bringing the eggs."
As Christians evolved holiday rituals from Jewish as well as Pagan holiday celebrations, the message was interpreted as Rabbit bringing the eggs. To color the holiday as a spring celebration, Easter eggs were dyed lovely floral colors.
Now you know ...
Why there is a Leaping Lapin in front of a Bordeaux vineyard is perhaps just as a creative artistic creation as my colored pencil drawing of Rabbits making Wine.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


As I age, the more I appreciate acknowledgement of the oldest of anything.

I recently read that the oldest winery in North America is Casa Madero in the state of Coahuila in Mexico, founded in 1597. Mexican wineries have been winning medals in European competitions for at least a century. The one winery I have visited is Santo Tomas in Baja. One of the many winemakers at Santo Tomas was Dimitri Tchellichief, son of Dorothy and BV vintner Andrae. The present winemaker is Laura Zamora, who has been publishing food pairing suggestions on some of the labels. Always helpful for consumers trying a wine for the first time.

There are also wineries located in the states of Aquascalientes, Zacatecas and Queretaro.

A popular family Restaurante Nicos in Mexico City, Districto Federal, includes many wines of Mexico on their wine list. Chef Lugo is an advocate of pairing his culinary creations with wines of his nation as well as tequila and artisanal beers.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Wine Century Club

A couple of years ago I qualified for membership in the Wine Century Club by completing my application listing 100 wine grape varieties I had tasted. At the time,
this seemed like a lot and the idea of getting to 200 seemed unimaginable, so I just relaxed, framed my certificate and hung it on the wall in the wine cellar. I also purchased the DeLong Grape Varieties deluxe wall chart package. [~ $30]The chart resembles the periodic table of elements. We also purchased one for grandson, Chris and our friend, Cristi from the Buzz, who was studying to be a certified Sommelier. She has hers beautifully framed and hanging in the Buzz coffee/wine Café. There are now quite a number of regional century club tasting groups, meeting to widen the education of members and increase the number of varietals tasted. Here is a link to the Wine Century Club where you can apply for membership.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wine and Food Memberships

Geneology is slowing me down, so I decided to record my wine history as actively involved in world of Wine and Food for nearly 40 years:
San Francisco, California Friends of Wine, 1973 membership # 200 - it became the California Wine Institute.
Napa Valley Wine Library Association, Journeyman Diploma
1974 UC Davis various short workshop courses for winemakers
1975 - 1977 Basque Hotel Every Thursday Night Tasting Group San Francisco
1972-1979 Taster and contributing critic, Mark [Sante Fe Cafe] Miller's Marketbasket wine and food periodical
1975 Ravenswood Winery First Assistant to Joel E. Peterson, the Winemaker
1976 - 1979 Draper-Esquin tasting group
1972 - 1979 Women's Wine Group [organizer]
1979-1981 Wine and Health course for RN's - European Tour - Oxford, Champagne, Bordeaux
1981 J'faire les Vendage en Meursault,
1982 I made wine from friend's vineyard in PA - Marechal Foch and Seyval Blanc.

Since moving to Idaho, I have vinified dandelions, rose petals, huckleberries, cherries, elderberries, Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot and a 'backyard bubbly' from unknown grape varietals in yard since buying this 1905 home in 1986.
Idaho Grapegrowers and Wine Producers Org. - attended meetings at St. Chapelle in 1984.
Idaho Chapter of Les Amis du Vin 1983 - 1990 Brooks Tisch, organizer.
Johnny Carino's Wine Club, 1998 - 99.
Treasure Valley Wine Society 2004 - present.
The Wine Century Club, 2007
Buzz Wine Club - monthly and quarterly wine tasting dinners since 2009.
Boise Wine Club monthly tasting meets newly formed 2010 - 2011

Various Winery Wine Clubs:
Joseph Swan, Ravenswood, Ridge, Indian Creek, Davis Creek, Cold Springs, Fraser, Bedrock, Brown-Haight, Hell's Canyon, Syringa and Vale.

Other related education and experience:
Cheeses of the World - certified in San Francisco 1977. Worked part time in a Cheese Store in Marin County, CA.
1978 Certification from Comite National Des Vins de France.

Wine Regions visited:
California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Virginia, Maryland, NY Fingerlakes, Missourri, Ohio, Mosel, Rhine, Necker, Nahe, Austria, Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Jura, Loire, Rhone, Provence, Frontenac, NE.Spain, N.Italy - Piedmont, Friuli, Tuscany, Sienna Wine Museum.

Wine and Food Festivals attended:
Heirloom Tomato Fest, Sun Valley Idaho Wine and Food Festival, Gilroy Garlic Festival.

 Interests: - ongoing Home Winemaker, Foodie, History of Wine and Food, Organic Chemistry, Home Brewer, Ida-Quaffers, Anthropology of Wine and Food, maintain with my husband a Foodie and a Wine Blog, Amateur Restaurant Critic list of reviewed restaurants on our WebPage - ... Ongoing research of regional wine and authentic food pairing for optimal balance and pleasure. Wine steward for judging- 2005, Judge for Idaho Wine Festival & Competition-2006, Past Chair of Judges for Idaho Wine Competition 2007, 2008, 2009. I had to write it all down before my memory leaves me and there are days I just wave!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Geneology of Perrin / Perrine

The surname of PERRIN was a baptismal name - the son of Peter, the name was from the Old French Pierre, a name brought to England with William the Conqueror in 1066. Apparently, family surnames were generally not in use until after 1200 except among royalty. It does seem odd that first names are the only way I [we] remember the identity of various royalty in history and the present: Henry the 8th, Catherine of Aragon, Louis XIV, King George and Queen Elizabeth. Do we use or even know their family surnames? Not as commonly as other titles such as the Duke of York, Prince of Wales and the same holds true for elected Papal personages, in that only a first name is commonly used: ie, Pope John.
As I have been trying to trace back Perrine family geneology and hoping to connect with the Chateauneuf du Pape wine producers Perrin et Fils, the fact that there were so many sons of Pierre or Peter all over Europe raises the probability of only being able to trace a family lineage through DNA comparisons and eliminations. At the very least, this has been challenging and mind expanding. Who needs drugs? Perhaps a little wine sets my imagination free to roam.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


The Perrine Bridge presently crossing Snake River between TwinFalls and the hiway to Shoshone, Hailey, Ketchum, Galena Summit to Stanley is a replacement for the original cantiliever suspension bridge first erected in the 1920's. This is the bridge that people free jump off on the East side - parachuting and landing on the south bank of Snake River. Popular with daredevils from all over the world, most succeed without injury. There is a bridge across the river down in the canyon. Originally, built as a toll bridge replacing a "ferry or raft" method for crossing Snake River, it now holds the water cysterns transporting drinking water to Twin Falls from Blue Lakes.
IB Perrine designed the center of Twin Falls on a diagonal plat, to take advantage of sunshine with no cardinal facing buildings. The original center city Perrine Hotel was often a destination for political candidates, with a grand balcony used for campaign speeches. William Jennings Bryant, 2X presidential candidate, loved to visit Idaho and the Blue Lakes Ranch.
Thomas Edison and Luther Burbank were good friends to IB Perrine. He had the first electric light bulbs installed in the canyon house. The first Red and Golden delicious apples were grafted onto Blue Lakes apple trees. My aunt just found a document that invited IB Perrine to consult with orchardists in France, but he declined. At the peak of his fame and wealth, he would attend the Opera in Salt Lake City with his wife and my grandmother. They had a family box and the 'ladies' had to have the latest couiture dresses made by a French dressmaker in SLC.
IB dabbled in investments in others gold mines and the stock market. He lost everything in the crash of 1929. The Blue Lakes Country Club leased the land from him until he had to sell it to them to live on. IB died the same year I was born, HG [ GiGi] died in Boise when I was 4.
more to follow ...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Idaho/Oregon Rootstock

Recently, I was asked to describe the origin of my interest in Idaho wines.

My mother's family were Oregonians from the 1800's. She and her mother were born in The Dalles. One of those earlier Remington ancestors was from the Dr. Benjamin Rush lineage, who consulted at President Thomas Jefferson's request, by training Merriweather Lewis in medical knowledge and asked him to bring back samples of indigenous medicinal herbs. The voyage of discovery brought many pioneering families into Oregon and Idaho. My Robinson relatives became wheat farmers and livestock ranchers in the John Day and Redmond, Oregon areas. Not wanting to stay on the farm, my mother's father became a salesman and eventually a J.C. Penny Manager in Wenatchee, WA, Bend, OR and Twin Falls, ID.

My mother graduated from Twin Falls HS in 1938. She was the first "Miss Twin Falls" competing in the Miss America pre-lims at Sun Valley. She met my father in elementary school in Twin Falls. He was a 6'th grade student who instructed her 4'th grade class during a 1929 seasonal flu epidemic that knocked out a lot of teachers as well as students.

Photo of Grandmother Stella Haight, my mother Jeanne Robinson Haight and me on GG Perrine's lap.
My father's family roots included Donald McKay who came 'round the horn' from Boston to San Francisco. [see picture of clipper ship] during the Gold Rush in the 1850's. He followed the rush to Idaho in the 1860's and became a "founding father" of Hailey, Idaho.

He must have made a good income from mining: he ordered Kangaroo skin shoes from Australia and wore 3 piece wool suits. He married Amanda Bartholemew, they purchased the McPhail Hotel in Shoshone,and raised two daughters, Stella and Hortense Genevieve. [my great grandmother]. He was a knowledgeable blacksmith as well and was remembered by my grandmother as always carrying mints in his vest pockets.

Ira Burton Perrine left Indiana at age 18 to find his fortune in the Idaho mines. He was too small of stature to do much heavy lifting, but he learned how to use dynamite and knew enough about dairy farming to bring the first herd of milk cows to Hailey in the 1880's. When the snows of his first winter became too deep in Hailey for the cows to graze, he was told by hotelier Henry Walgamott about the Blue Lakes in the Snake River Canyon, where the snows rarely stuck and grasses grew year round - probably due to some of the warm springs. He drove his cows down an entrance through a box canyon, where his only neighbors were a white trapper and a native woman. The present day N. canyon wall double hairpin curved road to Blue Lakes Country Club east of Alpheus creek and the fish hatcheries to the west was a one-lane project that took him 7 years to complete. He was also hired by Mr Walgamott to drive the stage coach back and forth from Walgamott's canvas hotel to the train station in Shoshone, where he met and later married H.G. McKay known to me as GG or GiGi. IB Perrine built a fine house down in the canyon and became an early fruit farmer and orchardist. He took saddlebags of fresh strawberries to the pioneers on the Oregon Trail stopping at Rock Creek station. His prune plums and Roma apples won awards at the 1900 Paris World expedition, as well as the first Idaho State Fair in 1897 and fairs throughout the west. The only ranch building remaining is the bee-keepers cabin on Alpheus Creek.

Ward Hooper graphic of the IBPerrine bridge.

The Perrine family ancestry in the US began with the Huguenot, Daniel Perrin immigrating in 1665. He was granted 80 acres on Staten Island. Winegrape growing was a natural cultural necessity, along with the usual crops for feeding his family.
IB Perrine planted Delaware grapes [from Delaware, Ohio - some believe Napolean's son planted the Ohio vineyard - Lord De La Ware was honored with the common name for a grape which is neither native labrusca, nor a vinefera cultivar, but thought to be a french hybrid] IB made cider from his apples, but no one remembers him making wine. The Delaware grapes were my father's favorite grape. He lived down in the canyon while attending school in Twin Falls. I surmise he accepted employment as a Chemical Engineer with DuPont, thinking he could get those grapes in the state of Delaware.
Although the surname Perrin / Perrine is as common in France as Smith or Jones is here, we like to claim a family relationship with the reliable Southern Rhone family of winemakers - Perrin et Fils or the Champagne Perrins in the Aube/Ardennes between Reims and Dijon.

To be continued ....

Monday, January 3, 2011


Happy New Year !
Resolve to try something new. Perhaps a wine varietal you have not yet experienced.
People often ask me how do you 'taste wine' ? How do you know the different varietals?
In my random tasting experiences, I have garnered a method based on the 'enotype of the varietal', the Davis 20 point system and my own preferences. However, if one is just beginning to explore wine, I would suggest the very logical method suggested by Terry Thies in his new book "Reading between the Vines" : take one white varietal and one red varietal - over the course of three months. You will train your palate to recognize the grape varietal from its basic characteristics. During those three months purchase wine from every region that those two varietals are produced. You will be training your palate to recognize terroir. Other variables you can study - age of vintage, whether the wine was aged in oak [what kind] or not, % alcohol, grape vs wood tannins, dryness or residual sugars and food matching. Take notes on what you find, read, taste and conclude.

Building on the basics - strengthens your knowledge, palate confidence and will lead to your individual preferences.