Walk through the valley

It’s time to write about our (very) local winery, Monserate Winery. The paths around a through the vineyards are where I’m taking my Happy Hour Walks. Ironic, because I’m trying to break the habit of popping open a bottle of wine around 5pm and replacing it with a habit of a 2-3 mile walk – at a winery. Go figure.

There’s a lot to say about the place. It’s beautiful, and its establishment probably saved our home value back in 2016-2017. At that time the venerable Fallbrook Golf Club was closed, bankrupt, and it seemed no one wanted the rapidly-decaying property. Developers were licking their chops at 116 acres of ready-to-build land. Our low density rural valley was at risk.

But then Jade Work came along with a plan to build an ambitious new winery on the property, and over the last 6 years, that’s just what has happened. The fact that we can now look down into our valley and see vines, a well-managed world class vineyard, instead of apartment buildings or cookie cutter homes, is a blessing. We got lucky.

Earlier this year a Bay Area transplant bought a home just across Gird Road from the winery, and almost immediately began complaining about the live music played at the tasting room, outdoors in the summer. There was a huge debate on Nextdoor, and I weighed in. My take – you knew what you were buying, the winery had been operating for a couple of years at that point. They have a permit for the music and it’s actually quite nice to hear, wafting up from below. So STFU. Sadly, it does seem that the idiot complainer has had an effect. We went to the winery for some wood fired pizza and wine on a Friday recently and learned that (a) the live music now stops 4pm-ish, and (b) they now close at 6pm and stop serving food at 530pm. So no more cool evenings with good food and wine at their place – we’ll have to stay home for that.

One thing I didn’t expect when the winery and vineyards were built was the resurgence of wildlife in Gird Valley. On my walks recently I’ve seen so much wildlife – herons, cranes, hawks, ducks, turtles (so many turtles), a resident osprey, fish and frogs. Part of the reason is that the vineyards now feature three good-sized ponds (small lakes, big ponds), and those plus the running stream through the property make for a nice local ecosystem. To be fair, most of that wildlife was already here, but the stability and peace of the vineyard has brought more of them out to play.

We really did get lucky. Gird Valley will remain tranquil and beautiful through my lifetime, and now I’ve got a great place to walk.

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