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Other

ISSUE #20: Metamorphic Bags – Available at the Browne Tasting Rooms!

Browne Family Vineyards and Metamorphic Gear recently collaborated on a series of exclusive merchandise after Courtney was introduced to this brand by a friend. She fawned over one of Metamorphic’s slick looking and functional totes but was even more excited when she found it was made from recycled sail cloth. The company is giving second lives to boat sails and other materials (tarps, climbing ropes, seatbelts, and parachutes) as renewed, eco-friendly lifestyle products. Tough, stylish and sustainable, the concept works! Courtney took action to partner up, and it’s clear why.

Metamorphic Gear founder Lindsay Lawrence is a traveler, sailor and outdoorsman in his own right, and he drew inspiration for the urban lifestyle line from his own adventures. He was most impressed by the durability of sail material; long after their use at sea, sails still have plenty of life when used as items such as tote bags.

Pop into either the Browne Family Vineyards Walla Walla or Pioneer Square tasting room and discover a Metamorphic Gear range you’ll only find here: dog leashes, wine totes, big totes, camo wallets, duffels and more. Get ‘em while they last!

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Other

ISSUE #20: Float Tanks – Sensory Deprivation for Better Health & Creativity

It’s a thing all around Seattle, but also everywhere I travel: Float tank centers! In the 1970s, commercial float tanks were created and began being studied for possible health benefits. Today, finding a sensory deprivation tank is easy, with float centers and spas offering float therapy all over the world. If you see a shop with “Float” in the name, chances are you’ve found one, too.
Scientific evidence is backing the popularity of floating. Studies suggest time spent floating in a sensory deprivation tank brings muscle relaxation, better sleep, decrease in pain, and decreased stress and anxiety. Who doesn’t want those benefits?!

It works like this: the sensory deprivation tank is heated to skin temperature and plenty of soothing Epsom salt provides buoyancy, so you float more easily. When you enter the tank, and the lid or door is closed, all outside stimulation, including sound, sight, and gravity are removed from the equation. As you float weightless in the silence and darkness, the brain enters into a deeply relaxed state…sometimes a mild hallucination even!
Having your own home tank runs $10,000+ but why do that, especially when you can pop into a local float tank spa for $50–100 a visit? Give it a try if you’re looking for a new way to hit that personal reset! You only live once.

Categories
Taste

ISSUE #20: Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Energy Bites

Here is a simple no-bake recipe Andrew and I fall back on time after time and all year long. Luckily, the kids love them, so they’ve been a great addition to the lunchbox! They’re great grab and go snacks when you’re on the run—they taste so indulgent but are packed with protein, so they give you the perfect little boost just when you need it most!

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I use old-fashioned oats, but it also works with gluten-free oats)
2/3 cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
½ cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:
Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least half an hour, to make the mix easier to handle and form. *
Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Makes about 20–25 balls.

*If the mix seems to dry, add an extra tablespoon or two of honey or peanut butter. If the mix seems too wet (which may happen if you use natural peanut butter), add extra oatmeal.

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Read

ISSUE #20: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Writer and popular outspoken blogger Mark Manson gives readers a firm shoulder-shaking to emphasize not everyone deserves a gold medal. In this self-help book he argues that improving our lives is not about turning lemons into lemonade but learning to stomach lemons better. Humans come with flaws and we need to learn to accept that. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, and once we stop running and instead confront painful truths, we can begin to live better lives.

Manson makes clear there are many things to give f*cks about, but you need to prioritize. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. If you know me at all, you know I live by this: skip the minutiae and stick with what matters most!

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Explore

ISSUE #20: Hood Canal, Washington

Western Washington, namely the Olympic Peninsula, is home to some of the most stunning waterways and rainforests in the world. Delineating this area is a vast elbow-shaped saltwater inlet with the majestic Olympic Mountains just to the west. It’s a place of retreat for us and where Courtney spent much of her childhood. You must go!

Mary E. Theler Wetlands: See bird and water plant species, bat houses and stunning ornamental grasses and native plant demonstration gardens at this interpretive center. Walk along endless footbridges – peaceful place!

Twanoh State Park: The forested park is perfect for water play with a swim area, boat launch foraging for choice edible mushrooms, oyster picking, also camping and hiking. Courtney’s family had reunions there each summer. Big cookouts, games, catching up and sharing memories.

Union: Home to Alderbrook Resort for lodging, entertainment, brunches, and holidays on the water’s edge. Hands down, the best place to bring friends, family, kids and dogs! We make it a point to boat over every time we’re in town in summer. The kids request the French fries and Andrew and I are able to enjoy a meal and a cold bevvy while the kids and dog run on the lawns.

Belfair State Park: Much of Courtney’s childhood was spent here. This was one of the comfy, safe campgrounds that my extended family would gather for a weekend and the kids could go on walks, ride bikes, get ice cream at the store (that no longer stands) and the adults didn’t have to worry! Too many cribbage games to count were played on those old picnic tables!

Tahuya: “Tahuya Days” is a festival tradition that we both have been engaging in for YEARS – separately and as a couple – and now with our children. It is a HOOT! The first Saturday in July, the road to Tahuya shuts down for a few hours and anyone who is in town works their way down to this little section of “town”. There are haggle sales, street markets and a parade that only the locals could understand and fully appreciate. We never miss it! #whatsittahuya

Lake Cushman: People love this area just west of the Hood Canal for its hiking, swimming, boating and camping. Lots of options to get lost in the Olympic woods!

Hoodsport Winery: There’s a fun winery way out in Southeast Hood Canal. Visit for tasting with friends and be sure to check out the recycled grape pomace hills—very sustainable!

Brinnon: Whitney Gardens (gardening friends, this is for you!)– Along Hwy 101 you’ll find the seven-acre garden at the foot of the Olympic Mountains. See rare trees and ponds, the most beautiful array of rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, maples, conifers, kalmias, camellias, perennials, trees, shrubs and ground cover. Inspiring place!

Categories
Drink

ISSUE #20: Wine Cans!

Are you one of the few holdouts in the U.S. who has not yet cracked the top on a can of wine?  You can do it; yes, you can (and should)!

Cans: They’re portable, more suitable for individual portioning, easily recyclable, no cork spoilage for obvious reasons, and they’re very affordable. Blind taste tests also show wine in cans taste like wine from a bottle. Precept Wine has always been an early innovator of wine formats (and varieties) and consumers have spoken! Almost as validating, so have the tough-to-please traditional wine media. Recently, we were delighted to see the Wall Street Journal recommending our House Wine Brut Bubbles can as an easy-drinker, photo and all!

One of our recent can wine releases is Day Drinking by Little Big Town, a collaboration with the beloved country music group The line of 375ml cans (that’s the equivalent of half a bottle) come in Southern Peach, Rosé Bubbles and Watermelon Rosé varieties.

And best for last: Browne Family Vineyards has just released two canned varieties of its own: Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon in 375ml size! You can get these at either Browne Family Vineyards tasting room and through select Washington state retailers. With cans being the fastest-growing format for wine in the US, and because you already love Browne wine, it’s time YOU also tried our wine in cans!

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Introduction

ISSUE 20#: Autumn 2019

I wish I could pause time. The sweet season of warm, sun-drenched windows, early morning pool parties, swimming lessons, picnics for every meal, bare feet and bonfires…it all came and went in what felt like the blink of an eye! If there is one thing Andrew and I crave more of it is time: time with each other, time with the kids, time in general.

This fall our daughter, Elliott, started preschool at a new school and it was a decision that Andrew and I took great care in making. We toured several options but every time we came back to this school, we all felt at ease. Like the release of a deep breath you didn’t know you were holding in kind of ease. It’s a transition that I thought would be much harder on all of us (okay, me) as she’s now attending school 5 (half) days per week, wearing uniforms and surrounded by 600 new kids whose ages span from preschoolers to high school seniors, some living down the road and others who board. While it really shouldn’t have been terribly surprising to any of us, sister was READY. As mom and dad geared up for our very first goodbye of the school year, she hung up her backpack for her very first time – yet made it look like the hundredth – gave us each a quick hug and kiss and marched into the classroom like the confident little thing she is. That was it. As a parent there are so many milestones that feel so bittersweet and this is just one of them and we could not be prouder of our sweet girl.

With school starting, we have adopted new routines to help everyone ease into it and one of our new routines has been having Elliott participate in packing her lunch box. I absolutely treasure this special time with her! We use a bento-box and she thoughtfully places her food in all the compartments. I’ve found if I let her actively participate in planning the next day – whether it is selecting her uniform combination or something as small as choosing between the trail mix or the granola bites (recipe below)– it gives her a sense of independence and ownership over the next day.

We also love to read a book or two before bed and lately, our book of choice has been Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. Below are two of my favorite quotes from it:

“So be sure when you step. Step with great care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!”
“You’re off to great places, Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting, So…get on your way!”

As I sign off, we are preparing to take off for Italy to celebrate Andrew’s milestone birthday. Stay tuned as in the next newsletter I will share photos and details on where we went, what we ate – and of course drank – with some of our best friends in one of the most famous wine regions in the world. Cheers to 50, babe! It looks really great on you!

– Courtney Browne, Proprietor

Categories
Drink

ISSUE #19: Browne Family Vineyards White Blends

SPRING IS THE SEASON when we see the release of racy, refreshing aromatic white wines and rosé. This year, our winemaker John Freeman took it to the next level blending two new French-inspired whites exclusively for our tasting rooms. The first, a Meritage White Blend, created using the most “noble” grape varietals, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. This bright and balanced wine boasts flavors of honey, ripe apricots and white peaches and is a perfect refresher served alongside freshly caught seafood. The new Rhône-Style White Blend consists of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Picpoul and bursts with floral aromas of jasmine and honeysuckle and flavors of white peach, nectarine and honey. We can’t wait to drink these refreshing whites while we barbecue our catch of the day in Hood Canal.

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Other

ISSUE #19: Final Thought – Earth Day

Everyone can help save the planet through better habits. Your moves don’t have to be extreme to be revolutionary. It’s the little things. Consider pitching in on a beach cleanup—or on a micro level, walk the block with a bag to pick up litter. Plant a tree which helps produce oxygen. Think about what you might already do and do more of it: reuse bags at the grocery store, walk (run!) or ride a bike in lieu of driving on short trips, shop at a local farmers market, commit to using your own water bottle to cut down on plastics. Of course, recycle the glass, paper and plastics in your own household. Compost food waste and enrich your own dirt while saving the landfills of more waste. We know what to do, and we should be doing it every day. Need ideas? Check out earthday.org for more.

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Other

ISSUE #19: Spitfire

This 99-minute documentary captures the story of the fighter plane and pilots that helped win the Battle of Britain in World War II. Thrilling wartime footage, historical accounts, and more contextual history than we rarely learn in textbooks. (We only wish Bitner Browne, our own family WWII hero, could watch it with us.) Bitner would approve!