Chairman and Chief
Clams is the first male miniature dachshund of Michael and Patti Workman. He was born in 1999 somewhere outside the Isle of Weenerslavania, and soon joined his older Hominidae brother Max and sister Lauren at their home in San Jose, California.
Clams, like most miniature dachshunds, looks cute and cuddly, but is tirelessly energetic, clever and curious—some who know him might even say “intense.” Always up for a walk or a round of fetch, he loves the outdoors, especially the beach.
The Weener decided to employ Mike Workman back in '03 as the head workhorse for WLC. While the Weener has often regretted this clumsy selection of a critical executive, it has had some side benefits in that Mike is so short that he fits between the barrels in the cellar which has save him the cost of a forklift. Although Mike's credentials were quite impressive, the fact that he will work for free played a major part in excusing his "horrible palate for wine" according to wine critic Barker Roberston. Luckily, Mike's enthusiasm for wine allowed his product to skyrocket over his peers over at Red Mountain Vin Rose, making a wine that is eagerly consumed by all at the Watsonville Driving Range.
Inspiration for Weener’s Leap
I love making things, building things. Wine is mysterious. It's tough to master. It's complex. Every year the grapes are a surprise -- the must fights me, and I fight back. Sometimes it wins, but that just convinces me that it's worth another try. And sometimes I win :-) . I think this also explains why I love golf.
So, I have this weener dog. He's a huge 10 pounds. Like most small dogs, he doesn't know he's small. One day my son Max and I were walking on the beach with the weener. He loves his orange latex ball....somebody throws it and he runs and grabs it, gives it a shake or two, and then brings it back for another throw. On the beach that day, one of us threw the ball over a sand dune which had been eroded by waves. We didn’t know it at the time but there was a steep drop off on the other side of the dune. Well, Weener didn’t care or hesitate one bit and sailed right off the cliff, nearly 5 ft off the ground. After nearly going ass over schnoze, he recovered and landed quite nicely…and, of course, snagged the ball.
It turns out he loved this trick and wanted to do it over and over again. So I ran back, got the camera, and captured the image of him in full flight that inspired the name and now appears on our Weener’s Leap labels. Yes, "Leaping Weener" is a real shot.
So the moral is, if you don't know you can't, then perhaps you can. If you know you can't, then you're right. I've seen posters since then with a similar theme, but this seemed to me a great reason to believe that I could make wine.
And sometimes I'm right!
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Dwain has been Clam’s chief apprentice for quite some time. While under Clams’ tutelage, Dwain has grown as the sole winemaker for Oak Hollow Cellars, and can now quickly determine whether a wine is white or red. Preferring red wine, Dwain has focused on massive additions of enzymes and colorants over old-school techniques like cold soaking, extended maceration, and hard work. Using mordents like oak tannin, Dwain has learned to fix wine color before the wine slips into the all-too-familiar shade of brown oft found in his earlier wines, wines made without Clam’s assistance. Becky Coggins, Dwain’s better half, is closer to two-thirds and has been a major supporter of all of the wine escapades Dwain has dragged us into, including the now infamous “I am sure a trailer with two wheels can haul 4 tons of grapes, besides, one with 4 wheels costs an extra $27”.
As noted above, clearly the most concerned about quality in the whole winemaking process, Becky inspects a bottle of premium Weener's Leap Cellars wine, noting tighter inspection criteria over Dwain's Oak Hollow Cellars variety.
Tooter has been talking since birth, so don’t hold your breath that he will stop anytime soon. Sandy has participated in every stage of winemaking, but prefers to focus mainly on consumption. A true friend-of-Clams, the Tooter has only nearly killed Clams twice by allowing unsupervised “visits” of his >100 pound dogs to Clams’ lair. The late “Gurgy” was sweet and wonderful to us all, towered over Clams and out-weighed him by 100 pounds, but couldn’t hold his liquor. Cici Tooter, Sandy’s esteemed bride, is a saint, and you don’t need to meet her to know that if you have met Sandy.
Greg is an industrious wine maven who has managed to turn this wonderful hobby into a business grossing over $9000 a year. Close to Clams, Greg has learned several of Clams’ most closely guarded secrets. Located in scenic Needles California, Route 66 cellars boasts of 15 varietals and all represent a reasonable way to get loaded. High fermentation temperature has allowed Greg to make some really big wines, all of which pale in comparison to Weener’s Leap Cellars, but hey, Clam’s doesn’t mind giving old Greg something to shoot for.
A major supporter of Weener’s Leap Cellars, Patti has nearly drank an entire bottle of WLC output in over 5 years, nearly as much as the amount of Nyquil she has consumed, and we know how she loves that. While she loves Clams dearly, her clear unwavering support of Clams and his adventures in wine include such gems as “Why are you making so much wine?” and “Could we have a real bottle of wine, you know, something good with dinner tonight?”
The true artist of WLC, Kevin has crafted many fine labels for these delicate monsters with creativity and passion. His work with Big Dog, WLC’s flagship Petite Syrah, was selected as “Editors Choice” in Wine-Maker magazines label contest. Kevin loves all aspects of wine making that include Photoshop.
Nancy is a strong supporter of WLC, Nancy even cooks with the 2003. Without condemning the '03, Nancy just dreams up a Red sauce if Robert accidentally opens one. As Queen of the Waxers, Nancy has not only done more than her fair share of Waxing, she has personally re-worked nearly a hundred bottles done by Amir Hadid before he was unceremoniously fired from the Waxing line.
Brian is the hardest working member of Clams' extended family. Brian has participated in more pressing and bottlings than everyone except Clams himself. Brian's beautiful bride Kristi is an exquiset wine bottle waxer.
The Watts are major wine afficianados, and have a vineyard and winery operation of their own. Luckily, Em and Gary haven't forgotten their roots in the Weener's operations. And given the amount of wine Gary can suck down, it's a great thing that Em doesn't drink.
who is this guy? He keeps showing up but we can't find anyone who knows him?
Blindermans are work crew members even though they have never done a damn thing due to their obsession for posing for bridal magazines in Milwaukee. Regardless of the Milwaukee Brewers winning, they better kick in soon or they will be the first cast members fired for not guzzling on the job.
These people are principle workhorses of WLC.
Diogee is one of the Weener's best friends, and in fact occaisionally stays over nite for a "sleepover". Diogee is an Entlebucher, a Dog infamous for delivering the "bad news" to winemakers such as Dwain by refusing to even taste an Oak Hollow Wine. While Diogee weighs in at 50 lbs, The Weener occaisionally has to take him down, delivering a major head butt to the bottom of Diogee's Paw and landing the Weeners chin firmly into Tera Firma.
After riding in on the back of a Harley, Vicky tries to work twice as hard as everyone else, making up for the fact that "Brewler" has probably broken some equipment or is taking too many breaks. Adept at bottle labeling and quality sampling, Vicky tries hard to avoid stumbling into heavy equipment after a hard day of wine "testing".
Gary is usually involved in all phases of wine making, but has defected to his own Vineyard where he keeps the equipment stolen from WLC. Occaisionally you can find Gary pretending to work as he combs through the Weener's records looking for tips and techniques on winemaking. Luckily, The Weener is wise to his little game, planting critical tips in his files like "Important - don't forget to add 1 pound of Citric Acid to each barrel like the pros do".
Stuart is a principle member of Weener's Cast, only failing to attend critical events when he would rather ride his bicycle or take a swim at the local pool with his neighbors who don't swim, instead getting hammered poolside.
Helen has labeled many of the Weener's products, but refused to work on the automatic corker as it was apparently going to force Dave out of a job on the manual corker.
Impersonating a guy who rode into town with the Hells Angels on a Hog. This picture was taken minutes before he broke off the bottle filler feedpipe on the nitrogen pressurized blending tank. Mike is a hard working member of Weener's team, only missing an occaisional work party when an important stamp arrives that he has to add to his collection.
Amir is a hard working member of the Weener's Team. Of course, we have to keep Amir away from the waxing stations at bottling time, as he well, just cant seem to master the process. As you'll notice from this shot at the 2006 Press, Amir has a hard time not drinking most of the output, and in fact usually has to be carried home in a stretcher. Amir's dog Mack is a "Westy" and as such is not allowed within 5 miles of the wine making process (he could turn burgundy with one small spill). Amir grows his own grapes and makes his own wine now, with some help from Clams.
Dave is a corker, really, I mean he puts corks in bottles. Working at Weener ’s Leap bottling events is perhaps the only time Dave is actually putting a cork in a bottle. Most of the time Dave focuses on wine consumption, preferring his cellar to almost anywhere else in the planet, except another place with Opus One or similar beverages.
There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch
things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened. While
Clams drools with wonderment, Robin "the Schoosster" Schooss makes things happen. She's a jack of all trades, and the grease that keeps the gears running at WLC. When not snarfing a swig or two of the little
guy's good stuff, Robin can be found in the front office, back office,
manufacturing and procurement areas around Weener's Leap. Occasionally we find her passed out in the cellar from consuming too much of the profits, but you didn't hear that from the Weener. Our wines are not for sale, but if you want to sniff an empty bottle, help a friend 'put a cork in it', or simply snag a free Weener's Leap poster, the Schoosster can make it happen.