October 2008 Archives

By Courtney Cochran

Those of you who follow this blog probably know that I'm a big fan of user reviews and the whole "wisdom of the crowd" model that's taking the online world by storm. Lamentably, wine web players - outside of a handful of cutting edge companies involved in the Wine 2.0 movement - have been slow to get on the user review bandwagon. But with Sonoma-based Dry Creek Vineyard's recent addition of user reviews to its ecommerce site, there may be hope for change after all.

Ghost Wineries

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
by Robert P. Farmer

Stroll on any afternoon through the Vintage 1870 shopping complex in Yountville and you'd never know ghosts surround you. The shops, restaurants, and art galleries give little hint of the building's past. But the structure is actually living its second life. As the name implies, the first life was in the late 1800s--more than 130 years ago. Back then, this building contributed to Napa Valley's original winemaking boom. Today the old winery enjoys a reincarnation, its winemaking past gone but not forgotten.

By Courtney Cochran

"It's not like Wall Street," mused Chris Howell, winemaker and general manager of Napa's Cain Vineyard and Winery, in describing the challenges facing California vintners when planning for the future in the face of climate change.

"When you're a farmer you have to be optimistic," he continued, noting that "you're planting a vineyard for [generations that will tend it for] 20, 50 or 100 years...we need to be grounded in reality and need to think about how to adapt."

Top 10 Emerging Wine Regions - California

| | Comments (4) | TrackBacks (0)
By Courtney Cochran

With close to 200 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) recognized in the US - more than 100 of which are in California alone - there's no shortage of interesting domestic wine regions for oenophiles to explore.  And, thanks to the bumper crop of AVAs recently added to California's already impressive lineup, there's an exciting bunch of new regions angling for your attention.  Read on for our picks on those to watch.       

Wine Country Itinerary: Amador County

| | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0)
By Robert P. Farmer

Forty-five minutes east of Sacramento is Amador County, where once upon a time people rushed in for gold, but today they slow down for wine. Amador County, part of California's Gold Country foothills, has emerged as an important wine-producing region, a reputation rooted largely in zinfandel and more specifically in the old-vine style of the varietal. Of the more than two dozen wineries located along Highway 49 between highways 50 and 88, most are family-owned and operated and all offer casual, friendly atmospheres for getting to know their wines. Amador wineries do not charge for tastings, but many are only open a few days a week--usually Fri-Sun. Call ahead to confirm.
Submitted by Tri-Valley CVB

Gather your girlfriends and get away from it all in Livermore Valley wine country. Greenville Road has got everything you'll need for a fun filled weekend, boasting a 27 hole golf course, a luxurious inn with a full service spa and plenty of boutique wineries.  
katzwinery.jpgSubmitted by Tri-Valley CVB

In these tough economic times, that trip to Italy is looking less likely! Have no fear, in Livermore Valley you can take a trip to Italy without the hefty pricetag.  Livermore Valley wineries offer Italian inspired wines with a warm and friendly atmosphere.  Play bocce ball on world class courts and enjoy your meals.

Eat: Terra Mia Italian Restaurant
Slow down and enjoy the food in a truly warm Italian atmosphere. At Terra Mia, dishes are carefully prepared using only the freshest locally grown organic ingredients. All the food is made from scratch, like the trattorias and ristorantes in southern Italy. It takes time to make these fresh pastas and entrees, so expect a 20-30 minutes wait while your food is prepared. Spend that time enjoying an appetizer and glass of wine, relax, enjoy your food and conversation with your friend, partner and family.
Phone: (925)456-3333

Wineries: Breasts' Best Friends

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
By Courtney Cochran

Guffaws over the title of this entry aside, breast cancer is no laughing matter. And with Breast Cancer Awareness Month squarely upon us, I'm happy to report that numerous wineries are spearheading initiatives in October to help spread the word and stem the suffering associated with this terrible disease. Read on for highlights of wineries with the most interesting - and interesting-sounding - breast cancer support programs.

Breast Cancer: A Survival Story, Wine Included

| | Comments (4) | TrackBacks (0)
lori_breastCancer.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

When Lori Ondaro was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time, her children knew she would need a big show of support if the single mom was going to beat the disease a second time around.  After successfully battling the disease more than 20 years ago, Lori had recently learned from her oncologist that the cancer was back, only this time it had spread throughout her entire body.

Family Ties - The Roots That Bind

"[Following the first cancer battle] I'd gotten my wish to see my children grow into exceptional adults, but I wasn't through," Lori explains of her first thoughts on hearing the news.  "I wanted to see my grandchildren grow up as well."  As members of her family gathered together to lend support during the critical days following the diagnosis, Lori's eldest son and his wife - both of whom work in the wine business in Northern California - proposed founding a wine label whose proceeds would go towards helping to find a cure for the disease. 

Wine 2.0 Takes Off

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
By Courtney Cochran

With the rash of new social (heh, Facebook) and micro-social (Twitter, anyone?) networking sites, it was only a matter of time before the techno-connectivity bug hit the wine world, big time. Enter Wine 2.0, an organization whose tagline - "Blending the Line Between Wine & Technology" - sums up its vocation, though there's a lot more to the organization that just sips and bits.

Picking through harvest season Pt 2

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
By Robert Farmer
As I hopefully illustrated in my previous post, in addition to espousing my love for harvest season, it is at this time of year that winemaker's earn their wings. But in addition to bringing together the culmination of a full year's work in the vineyard, winemakers are also, alas, forced to play the hand they are dealt. That is, not everything is within their control. And in California this year, vintners have been harvesting in the aftermath of a particularly challenging growing season. Beginning with unexpected and untimely late frosts at the beginning of the year, moving through a hellish season of wildfires, and finally enduring another drought year, the grapes in this season's haul have been through it all.

Picking through harvest season Pt 1

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
By Robert Farmer
I love harvest for so many reasons. Most have to do with the time of year--I'm a big fan of fall; the crisp air, the changing colors, the shortening days, the whole thing. But with particular regard to wine itself, harvest is an obviously interesting time of year.  It's the time of year at which everything that happened in the preceding months comes to bear in the vineyards.  From weather to soil quality, to farming techniques, this is more like "crunch" time than it is "crush" time.