A Valentine Love Story
by Angie Van Ruiten Rogan
My parents grew up in Spaarnwoude, a province of North Holland. My mom's brother, Ted, was my dad's best friend, so Dad spent a lot of time at the Dykzeul home. He never showed a romantic interest in my mom until the night of the "Freedom Ball."
When WWII ended, and the Netherlands was liberated on May 5, 1945, my parent's village and surrounding towns decided to put on a dance to celebrate the end of the war. My mom and her sisters made dresses and excitement filled their farmhouse as they prepared for the Ball. On the evening of the dance, my mom, sisters, and brothers were getting ready to leave their house on bicycles when my dad arrived on his motorcycle. Dad saw that Mom was riding a bike with tires made out of heavy, recycled rubber, so he offered her a ride. Weighing her options, she agreed to ride along wih him.
When they arrived at the Ball, Mom and Dad went their separate ways and danced with friends and neighbors. At the end of the night, my dad approached my mom and offered her a ride home. She agreed to his kind request and off they went back to the Dykzeul farm.
Upon arrival at the house, Mom thanked Dad for taking her to the dance and started to walk away. My dad said something to my mom about getting more than just a "thank you" for the ride, after all, he spared her from a grueling trip to the dance on her old bicycle. Mom asked what he wanted. Pointing to his cheek, he replied, "zoentje" (little kiss), so Mom gave Dad a kiss. Dad followed up by asking Mom on a date the following weekend. This sweet moment between childhood friends started their five year courtship. They got engaged in Holland, and after immigrating with their families in 1948, they married in August of 1950 and bought a dairy farm in Lodi. Dad and Mom were happily married for 63 years.
Happy Valentine's Day, Angie
Wine Maker's Corner
by John Giannini
This time of year we are blending and bottling our wines. These are the final steps in the winemaking process. We are fortunate to have our own bottling line which is an engineering marvel. It assures that we have consistency from bottle-to bottle due to its complete automation. Our responsibility is to sterilize the line before use, make sure every station is correctly adjusted to the particular bottle, and set up for cork and capsule, or screwcap. We manually deliver empty bottles to the beginning of the line, fill cases with the bottled wine and stack pallets. One person will monitor the line to replenish labels, corks and capsules, or screwcaps to ensure everything is working properly. We can typically bottle 1000-1200 cases per day. The variation has to do with allowable speed. We run faster with straight-sided bottles and slower with tapered bottles. The tapered bottles will fall over if the line of bottles touching each other becomes too long. We also conduct several quality control tests during bottling.
At Van Ruiten Family Winery we have control of everything from grapes to bottle. This is reflected in every bottle of Van Ruiten wine.
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