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Thursday
Mar122009

Time to step up to the plate!

It's time to step up to the plate!...Hello Baseball and Wine Superfans! Welcome to my blog! This is dedicated to talking about two things that I know and love best in life, baseball and wine! Hoping to give you the inside scoop as the season progresses ON the field and IN the vineyard.

My life-long association with baseball started in 1954 when my Little League team from Colton, CA. played before 10,000 fans as they made it to the finals of the Little Leage World Series in Williamsport, PA. Came in 2nd but it will always be a highlight growing up of what goals and teamwork can accomplish. I went on to be a 2nd team All-American catcher playing for Hall of Fame college coach, John Scolinos at Cal Poly, Pomona. In 1963 I signed to play minor league baseball with the Detroit Tiger organization, playing in all its glory in '63,'64, and '65 with such great names as Andy Kosko, Mickey Stanley, Willie Horton, Jim Northrup, and now RIO SECO wine club member, pitcher Darryl Patterson. As my playing days were coming to a close, I took the next step and in 1966 went into Junior College coaching at Mount San Antonio College in Pomona, CA. and started part-time scouting with the Cincinnati Reds and the old Washington Senators. I went on from there to coach at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo as the pitching coach and the assistant in charge of recruiting. Found a scrappy young player with incredible talent named Ozzie Smith, recruited him to come play at Cal Poly, and the rest as they say is history! All in all we had 41 drafted players and 4 ML players in eight years - quite a decent record. 1981 was the start of my full time scouting adventure, 28 years total on the road in search of baseball talent - area scout, regional cross checker, and major league scout were some of my title with six different clubs: Padres, Cubs, Expos, Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers and the 1992 and 1993 World Champion Toronto Blue Jays...What a great road trip with many good times all those years! Along the way I did find a love of farming...has something to do with being in the dirt, I guess. Now, along this next season of life, I am finding many similarities from baseball to winemaking - as any championship team knows, it starts with the talent...like wise, in winemaking, it starts with excellent farming and exceptional grapes.

In 1996, my wife, Carol, and I bought a 64 acre, old ranch in Paso Robles, CA. which happened to be the fastest growing wine region in the good old USA. We planted 30 acres of grapes including Zinfandel, Cab, Cab Franc, Syrah, Merlot and Viognier...taking the next step we moved forward to establish a family winery, working with consulting winemaker, the notorious John Munch (LeCuvier, Paso Robles, CA.) As I was a coachable student, I learned a lot from the Munch man! We took it then a step further and opened our tasting room here at RIO SECO on Superbowl Sunday Y2K...This is now the "family business" - we include our kids, nephews & nieces, sisters and brothers-in-law and friends, along with any and all who will get their hands a little dirty and share the passion with us!

Hope you will stop by sometime - we are here 7 days a week living the life of "fine wines, friendly people" - we can go over the hitters and have a glass of RIO SECO wine! More to come....

From the Clubhouse to the Barrel Room,
Tom

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