September 2009 Archives

More Than Just Winetasting

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benzigerTractor.jpgWith wine sales down and tourists carefully considering every dollar earmarked for travel, Napa Valley and Sonoma are trying to attract local visitors with more than driving from tasting room to tasting room along the highways.  According to Linda Castrone's new article "Wine Tourism Goes Local" from Palate Press, "wineries are getting creative".

No longer just a couple of glasses of  wine with a few crackers here and there, many wineries have since expanded to offer wine education classes, food & wine pairing tastings, vineyard tours by tractor, SUV, or even a hay wagon, picnic areas and Bocce ball courts.

Places like Kunde Family Estates in Sonoma even offer "Eco Tours" with their winegrower Jeff Kunde perfect for those who like to hike, bike or want their dog to tag-a-long. (Upcoming Bike Tour is on October 4th!)

There's a three day Spring Blending Camp at Schramsberg in Napa Valley (March 14-16, 2010), though the cost ($1100/per person) may preclude most.  Their three day harvest camp has already passed, but several Sonoma and Napa Valley wineries are still offering a host of crush and harvest related activities that are much more affordable. Be sure to check out the events calendar.

Suffice to say, visitors to wine country have plenty of activities to choose from whether you are a local going on a day trip or out of the area spending a couple of days.

To read full article from Palate Press, CLICK HERE.






Wine Country Personality: Remi Cohen

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personalityMerryvale.jpgMerryvale Vineyards - Vice President of Vineyard Operations


Remi Cohen has been a winegrower and vineyard manager in the Napa Valley since 2001. Remi oversees Merryvale Vineyard's grape growing operations, emphasizing wine quality, sustainable farming practices and green certification on their estate vineyards. 


Remi has worked closely with the Napa Green Farm Certification program and Fish Friendly Farming to develop environmentally friendly farming plans.  Sustainable practices include utilizing permanent cover crops for erosion control, utilizing compost to recycle nutrients, attracting beneficial insects through the use of insectaries, and adjusting canopy management practices to reduce disease pressure. 

CRUSH IT - Book Signing by Gary Vaynerchuk at V. Sattui Winery

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garyV.jpgPRESS RELEASE:

St. Helena, California, September 2009 - Internet entrepreneur and wine retailer extraordinaire Gary Vaynerchuk will talk about his new book CRUSH IT! Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In On Your Passion and sign copies in his only wine country appearance this fall, at V. Sattui Winery on Saturday, October 24. V. Sattui Winery is located at 1111 White Lane off Highway 29 just south of St. Helena. The book is published by HarperStudio and retails for $19.99.

From 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Gary will talk about the book, answer questions and sign copies for the public. The event is free and all are welcome. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at $19.99. A range of lunch/picnic options are available at a range of pricing, from bbq to pizza to sandwiches, cheeses, salads and more.

In honor of Gary's visit to Napa Valley, V. Sattui Winery will be making a donation to Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School in St. Helena.

During his visit to Sattui, he will also appear in a 'cameo' appearance on V. Sattui's The Wine Guys online program, hosted by President Tom Davies and Senior Vice President Peter Godoff.



Bottle Shock Movie: Fiction vs. Fact

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bottleshock3.jpgBRENDA LHORMER, Producer, Bottle Shock: "The heart of the story is true - the competition in France, Spurrier's role in facilitating the competition, the Napa vintners taking first place, and Bo and Jim's struggles and ultimate victory as the owners of the winery who made the winning Chardonnay.
 
We would have loved to tell the entire story about the competition and all the wineries involved, it would have been impossible - one can only cover so much in a 100-minute narrative feature. Bo, Jim, Gustavo - REAL. Sam (the pretty blond intern) -- FICTIONAL, but inspired by the groundbreaking and aspiring female winemakers who were out there working. Jo, the bartender -- FICTIONAL, for fun.
 
Many will note that Mike Grgich, who was the winemaker at Chateau Montelena at the time, is not a main character, as we chose to focus on the Jim and Bo Barrett - the father/son story. We could only work through so many character arcs; and more importantly, when you are dealing with real life characters, there are many legal hurdles to contend with in order to portray them."


Read on for more fun facts vs. fiction in the film or go online and buy the DVD to watch for yourself! Already seen the movie, CLICK HERE to share your story and enter the Bottle Shock Getaway Contest.

Save The Date: Carneros Harvest Passport

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carnerosEvent.jpgPRESS RELEASE:

CARNEROS, CA - For the first time in its history, the wineries of the Carneros Wine Alliance (CWA) will hold a Harvest Passport, a unique wine trail through the highways and back roads of Carneros on October 17 from 10 to 4 p.m.

Many CWA wineries never before open for a public passport event will be open to passport participants and pouring for the first time. An On-Line Auction of The Carneros Experience will offer holiday gifts, shared experiences with friends and family and special wines from the '07 and '08 vintages widely lauded by industry professionals.

Oregon Odyssey: Top 10 Willamette Wines

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By Courtney Cochran

Wine hasn't been big in Oregon's bucolic Willamette Valley for long - in fact, it was only in the 60s that the first plantings were made in what is now considered by many to be some of the most hallowed ground for wine production in the world. With a cool, moist climate that favors Pinot Noir in particular, the region just an hour's drive from Portland has fast turned into one of the most exciting places to swirl, sip and savor your way through wine country. Read on for my top ten wines tasted on a recent visit.
bvwines.jpgCelebrate a Milestone Birthday with the Original Cult Cabernet

NAPA, Calif., Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- In 1936 Georges and Fernande de Latour, founders of Beaulieu Vineyard, harvested the grapes that became the inaugural vintage of Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet, Napa's Benchmark Cabernet. Throughout the years, Beaulieu Vineyard has continued to foster and use the same remarkable, heirloom vineyards and handcrafted techniques that made this wine one of the most collected Cabernets. Today, Beaulieu Vineyard is releasing the 70th Anniversary vintage of this American Classic, the 2006 Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $110).

"Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon remains the ultimate artistic expression of Cabernet Sauvignon at BV and sets the standard for great California wines," said Jeffrey Stambor, BV Winemaker. "This wine was first created in 1936 to honor founder Georges de Latour, and with each release we commemorate his vision and passion for excellence."

Since its beginning, Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon has been sourced from the famed vineyards, BV Ranch #1 and BV Ranch #2. The first and second vineyards the de Latours purchased, these legendary vineyards help develop complex flavors because of their optimal location on the Rutherford Bench.

Wine Country Itinerary: Willamette South Valley

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ribbonRidge.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Visitors to Oregon's wonderfully Pinot-centric Willamette Valley will do well to split their tasting excursion into at least two days, as the area's wide open spaces create not only lovely panoramic views but also drives of some distance between wineries. Thus, this itinerary starts in the centrally situated Dundee Hills and meanders from there to the nearby towns of Carlton and McMinnville. Along the way, you'll visit one of the region's best-known (not to mention physically striking) wineries in Domaine Drouhin Oregon, a start-up venture in Scott Paul Wines and the birthplace of Willamette wine in The Eyrie Vineyards. In all, it's a fabulously diverse lineup where Oregon winemaking is concerned - and one just waiting for you to savor.

For more on wineries further north, check out our North Valley itinerary.

Oregon Odyssey

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oregon_wine_country.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Oregon's famed Willamette Valley - a wonderfully bucolic spot an hour's easy drive from Portland - may just be the anti-Napa Valley. You won't find any medieval castles or Persian Palaces here, though you WILL find no shortage of ridiculously good wine, an incredibly warm people and a far slower pace of life than that in bustling California. So slow down (literally, the police ticket a lot around these parts), take your time and prepare to be awed by the natural beauty of your surroundings, the superb quality of the wines and the kindness of the people serving them. It's not exactly wine country in slow motion, but it's not far off.

And given the hectic pace of our lives these days, this can be a very good thing.

Willamette Itinerary: North Valley

Willamette Itinerary: South Valley

Wine Country Itinerary: Willamette North Valley

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By Courtney Cochran

Stop 1: Adelsheim Vineyard

A Willamette tour wouldn't be complete without a visit to well-known Adelsheim Vineyard, which boasts stellar views of the Chehalem Mountains from its newly refurbished tasting room just outside Newberg. Founded in 1971, the winery is run by the affable David Adelsheim, a Willamette wine pioneer whose passion for the area and its world-class Pinots runs deep. It's worth going just to taste the winery's nuanced single-vineyard Pinots - the Ribbon Springs Vineyard ($68) is a standout - though Adelsheim's Willamette Valley-classified bottling ($32) is easier on the wallet and does a better job capturing the full scope of the region's signature aromas, flavors and silky texture.

Tasting Room: 16800 NE Calkins Lane, Newberg, OR 97132. Open daily 11am-4pm (tel) (503) 538-3652
Tasting Fee: $15 for 6 wines
Watch My Video of David Adelsheim at the winery

Tip: Take a picnic lunch and enjoy it on Adelsheim's spacious outdoor patio (bottle purchase will be appreciated as a courtesy for using the space). There are no other lunch options in the immediate area, and you'll want to make sure to refuel in the midst of a full day of tasting.

Watch the Harvest in Napa Valley

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Want a first hand glimpse of crush season in Napa Valley already underway? Of course you do, which is why you're here!

See what Hall Wines and Goosecross have been up to . .  .

Hall Wines




Goosecross Cellars

Pre-harvest Grape Sampling from David Topper on Vimeo.



Top Napa Wine Stops?

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vineyardPic.jpgWondering which wineries to stop by on your next trip to  Napa Valley? Need some new choices if coming on a return trip?  Roy Isle of Food & Wine Magazine picked his top wine stops in Napa Valley.They included:

  • Newton Vineyard
  • Acme Fine Wines
  • CADE Winery
  • Conn Creek Winery
  • Freemark Abbey
  • Vineyard 7 & 8

All wonderful choices as they all make some great wine. You'll have to decide which ones are worth your tasting room dollars and driving mileage when you are planning your trip.

CLICK HERE for a list of Napa Valley wineries.

In the meantime, what are your favorite Napa Valley winery stops?

PRESS RELEASE: California Sustainable Winegrowing

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California has the most widely adopted green winegrowing and winemaking program in the world, one that has earned the state's top environmental award. The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers, has released a new video  to show highlights of its program's earth-friendly practices embraced by the state's vintners and winegrape growers.

"Consumers are interested in knowing where and how their wines are grown and made, and the California wine community has responded by becoming a progressive advocate of environmentally conscious practices," notes Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. "As our sustainable program develops and expands, we're seeing how responsible sustainable practices have a positive impact on the environment and in our communities."

CLICK HERE to read press release in it's entirety.

WATCH VIDEO BELOW:



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