WineCountry Staff: April 2011 Archives

Mom Deserves a Glass of Wine

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mwd_PamperPinkBasket.jpgAh, Mother's Day!! When the sun is shining and Mom is serenely smiling while her children play happily and quietly in a flowery meadow, frolicking with brand-new puppies . . . at least that's what it looks like in that greeting card commercial.

In reality, Mother's Day is when children of all ages shower their mothers with well-deserved Mother's Day gifts and praise, blissfully forgetting the frustration and stress they've caused.

Moms have handled it all and she really deserves the best. Is it any wonder why Mom always keeps a bottle of wine around? She deserves a little luxury and relaxation now and then! Mother's Day allows us all to show our moms the appreciation she deserves.

This year, pamper her with gifts from For ultimate relaxation, give her a homemade spa day with the Luxury Wine & Spa Basket or the Pamper Her Pink Wine Gift Basket. In addition to a bottle or two of wine, each basket is filled with soothing and sweet-smelling bath and body soaps, lotions and treats from San Francisco Soap Company.

Korbel Champagne Cellars' 2011 Garden Opening

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korbel_gardenopening_041311.jpgGUERNEVILLE (RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY), CA
Korbel Champagne Cellars'
spectacular garden will open for the 2011 season on Friday, April 15th. Featuring extraordinarily beautiful plantings - including 250 varieties of roses - amid towering redwoods that surround the historic circa 1882 Korbel House, Korbel Garden is both a popular Sonoma County attraction and an example of Korbel Champagne Cellars' commitment to sustainability.

It may be coincidence that Korbel Garden opens this year just a week before the world celebrates Earth Day, but several aspects of its care are representative of Korbel's efforts to conserve, reduce, reuse and implement natural, sustainable techniques throughout its vineyard and winemaking operations. The garden's drip irrigation system, carefully calibrated to each planting, and operated at night to conserve water and keep energy use off-peak, is similar to that used in Korbel's vineyards. The garden and vineyards both benefit from integrated pest management, including utilization of beneficial bugs and nematodes to control destructive insects. The rich, natural compost for the garden and the vineyards is produced from vineyard waste, including pruned vine canes, grape stems and grape pomace. Native, drought-resistant California plants, a significant element in Korbel Garden's vibrant color palette, help reduce water consumption.

The History of the Zinfandel Grape

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20297WNE.jpgFew grape varieties can match Zinfandel for its complex, mysterious past, ability to polarize drinkers, and rollercoaster ride of popularity in its various guises. Zinfandel as a grape is unique in that it's quite rare to be planted in just one New World region: California. South Africa has its native crossing Pinotage, and Argentina the musky Torrontes, but Zinfandel's ability to adapt itself to changing tastes while gathering a passionate army of admirers is unparalleled.

Zinfandel's history in the United States dates back to the mid-19th century, or even earlier, as there is mention of it as 'Zenfendel' and 'Zinfindal' among East Coast growers in the 1830s. Along with the California Gold Rush of the 1850s it moved out West where it was planted in both Napa and Sonoma. DNA profiling has actually shown that Zinfandel is the same grape as the Primitivo of southern Italy. Indeed, it is likely that Primitivo was imported there from the US. However, the grape's origins have recently been traced back to the beautiful Adriatic coast of Croatia. In 2001 it was established that the obscure and ancient variety Crljenak Kaštelanski, found only on a small island near Split, is in fact the Zinfandel we know today.

Burgess Cellars

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Burgess_Cellar_Door_040411.jpgTom Burgess arrived in Napa Valley in 1972 with a dream of opening a family winery. A pioneer at the time, Napa had mostly been left to wither after Prohibition in the 1920's and 30's. But Tom saw more in the land, so along with his family they transformed the abandoned land into the now thriving Burgess Cellars. Their vision is simple - produce unique handcrafted wines that complement food.

The French concept of terroir is at the heart of Burgess Cellars' winemaking process. Tom Burgess and longtime winemaker Bill Sorenson follow the belief that in order to produce quality wine, the varietals planted must match the vineyard's soil composition, sun and wind exposure, and overall micro-climate.

Hall Vineyards

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hall.jpgIt starts with the land. HALL's estate vineyards stretch from ancient riverbeds on the valley floor to sun-drenched hilltops, encompassing more than five hundred acres of classic Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc.

In the pursuit to craft the finest Bordeaux varietals possible, each HALL estate vineyard was strategically chosen for its elevation, micro-climates and soil type. The Napa River Ranch vineyard, north of the town of Napa, sits at the confluence of three rivers/creeks - the Napa River, Hopper Creek and Dry Creek. The soils are relatively deep and are made of clay, loam and some river gravel, ideal for dry farming practices and intense, complex fruit.