The Tail of Little Ricky

After the loss of our beloved Boxer Rooney in August 1994, Tuna, our aging German shepherd, was all alone. In December we decided it was time to get a new Boxer and found an ad in the paper for a Boxer and sent a deposit. Soon after we left on our long-planned dream trip to Burgundy, France, where we would research small vineyards for our Naughty Boy Pinot Noir. We had hoped to pick up the new pup near the end of January.

Upon our return, we found that the dog breeder had left several messages asking us to pick up Ricky immediately as he needed the final payment. Jim went the following day and brought back Little Ricky. Ricky was so small he could almost fit in the palm of your hand. We had a small iron door stop about 6 inches by 4 inches of a Boxer at the time, and out of the corner or the eye, one could easily confuse Little Ricky and the doorstop! However, this was nearly impossible because Little Ricky was constantly in motion.

Ricky immediately decided Tuna was his mother and she kindly let him sit on her and nibble on her, which seemed quite funny as Tuna was a 80 lb dog and LR about 8 lbs. Ricky continued to sit on her throughout his life even when Tuna went down to 60 lbs and Little Ricky was 80 lbs. She never seemed to mind. Tuna was a saint, although we think it may have irritated her when Jim constantly asked her “Why the Long Face?”

Little Ricky was a pistol and much too much energy for our apartment near Golden Gate Park. Jim would take both dogs to the Pan Handle at 7am, where he ran around like a bolt of lightning. He took great joy in being outdoors and didn’t like his days in the San Francisco apartment. Although we worked in San Francisco, we owned our property in Potter Valley and divided time between SF and Potter Valley.

Potter Valley is a magical valley 2 ½ hours north of San Francisco. Potter Valley is its own wine appellation, and the perfect appellation for Naughty Boy Pinot Noir. We worked in San Francisco Monday thru Thursday and then drove up every Thursday night to Potter Valley. Ricky could not contain himself when we came off the turn off from HWY 20 leading into the Potter Valley. He would begin whining and continue the next 8 miles to our house, refusing to understand when Jim tried to explain to him that he couldn’t get there any faster. We worked hard on the land and property, and began the work of planting our dream vineyard, based on what we had learned in Burgundy, and what we knew of the local wine-growing conditions.

 It was during this time that Jim conceived the name and logo for Naughty Boy Vineyards in Ricky’s honor! At every step of planting, nurturing and pruning Naughty Boy Vineyards, Ricky was with Jim.

When we finally were able to move to Naughty Boy Vineyards full time, Potter Valley and Ricky and Tuna couldn’t have been more delighted. We moved in March and Jim began frost protection with our teenage Pinot vines. Ricky would eagerly jump up from his warm bed and follow Jim into the freezing 3 AM world of cold and vineyard. Ricky loved the vineyard and tended to it faithfully with Jim, never leaving his side.

In 2003, Ricky was diagnosed with cancer, and despite two operations he died on July 23rd, 2003. He is laid to rest on the property but will live on forever as the Naughty Boy of our Vineyard. He truly embodied the spirit of our endeavor.

Little Ricky in what will be Naughty Boy VineyardRicky, Faithful Vineyard DogSo, the next time you drink Naughty Boy, raise a glass to Little Ricky. He worked hard for your wine!!