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  Kelli White decantsSan Francisco, CA February 11, 2014 - Stags Leap District,famed home to great American Cabernet Sauvignon, has announced that 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of this region as one of the first sub American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in the Napa Valley. Recognized as an official AVA in 1989 by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the Stags Leap District was the first sub-AVA to be defined completely by soil, climate and natural barriers. Its AVA status and distinctive terroir are a result of the combination of rolling hills, cooling wind, loam and clay soils,…
  Old pals Adam Firestone and Andrew MurraySanta Barbara, CA January 16, 2013 – “My life has been a series of fortunate events,” says winemaker Andrew Murray, who recently announced that he will be leasing the former Curtis Winery estate vineyard and winery, including the production facility and tasting room, from long-time friends, the Firestone family. Located near the crossroads of the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail and Zaca Station Road, the former Curtis Winery facility will be Murray’s new winemaking home, where he will remain focused primarily on the production of small-lot Syrahs and Rhone-inspired blends. Murray, who started his…
Site of new Wine Institute at Sonoma State Rohnert Park, CA, January 16, 2013 - Sonoma State University President Ruben Armiñana has announced that its Wine Business Institute will have a new permanent home on campus in the former University Commons building, which was recently vacated with the opening of SSU's new Student Center. Gary Heck, president and owner of Korbel, also announced a personal gift of $1 million on behalf of Korbel to seed the renovation of the building to suit the needs of a 21st century learning center. "The wine industry needs leaders with solid business skills and…
Santa Barbara, CA January 15, 2013 – The Terlato family has announced the opening of the Sanford Winery tasting room in downtown Santa Barbara. The facility is expected to attract tourists and locals, who are increasingly frequenting and following Santa Barbara’s celebrated Urban Wine Trail, which includes a wide array of wine tasting rooms situated in the very active downtown area of Santa Barbara. Evening view of La Arcada tasting room captured by Barron Spafford “Since 2005, our family has been leading the efforts at Sanford Winery and its historic vineyards—we set down roots in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation…
By Laura Madonna With homage to Venetian folklore, fairy tales and fun, Napa Valley ultra- premium wine producer, Del Dotto Vineyards, is creating a very special winery in Yountville. And a wicked marketing plan. Ca’ Nani – translated from Italian means “House of the dwarves”- and is the name of Del Dotto’s newest, and third, winery in Napa Valley. With locations in St. Helena and Atlas Peak, Del Dotto is known for exceptional and expensive wines, tours through extensive wine caves and an exclusive wine club other wineries could envy. The Ca’Nani brand is a more playful theme – hard…
by Jim Laughren, CWE   It’s that time of year again, when the wine writers and bubbly lovers all prepare for their over-the-top annual fix. You can expect a blizzard of articles informing you of the year’s best or most interesting or finally-available winners of the sparkling sweepstakes: Champagne, Cava, Cremant, Franciacorta, Prosecco, etc., etc. And all are bound to be tasty, festive, and the ideal pairing with... something. It was, in fact, a mere handful of weeks ago that I made my first pilgrimage to the hallowed ground of Champagne itself. For years I had been anticipating this trip,…
  Ray Johnson poursby Katie McDonagh November 27, 2013 Rohnert Park, CA - Last Friday night, wine business student Cooper Niswonger placed first in the final round of a wine competition in San Francisco and won a fully paid trip to Beaune, France. Niswonger competed in the student wine tasting competition at La Soiree, an annual fundraising event hosted by the French American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco. She was announced as the winner after correctly identifying a 2012 Chenin Blanc from California and a 2011 Syrah from France. “I’m incredibly excited. I’ve never really been to Europe before,”…
Napa, CA – November11, 2013 – Smithsonian Magazine, the publication for the world’s largest museum and research complex, has published a list of "101 Objects that Made America" in its November 2013 issue. Included in the items selected from among more than 137 million artifacts, works of art, and specimens in the collection, was the 1973 Vintage of California Wines which won the 1976 "Judgment of Paris." This prestigious award and recognition catapulted California wines into the international spotlight. Renowned winemaker Warren Winiarski crafted one of the winning wines. Warren and 1973 S L V "It’s an honor and a…
CAMINO, CA – Nov. 11, 2013 – Madroña Vineyards, one of the premiere wineries in the Sierra Foothills, has turned its unique Lake Tahoe labeled wines into a fundraiser for the Tahoe Basin by donating a portion of sales to key groups supporting the region. In its first try, Madroña raised more than $6,000 for four of the most respected organizations doing work to help protect the natural beauty and health of the Tahoe Basin and the county around it -- the Tahoe Fund’s Angora Bridge Project, Ag in the Classroom’s Tahoe Farm Day, the Schnell School Garden of Learning,…
The Stags Leap District Winegrowers Association has released its Appellation Collection – the only Napa Valley wine offering comprised entirely from a single appellation. This year’s compilation features one bottle of 2009 Stags Leap District-designated Cabernet Sauvignon from each of 18 member wineries of the association. Designed to showcase the quality and distinctive characteristics of the District’s Cabernet Sauvignon, the Appellation Collection offers wine enthusiasts an opportunity to taste their way through the appellation and experience the region’s “sense of place.” These wines are no longer (or never were) available in the broad market. Michael Beaulac "The 2009 vintage enjoyed…
  Nadia and Selim Zilkha October 30, 2013 – (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) Selim Zilkha has spent a lifetime searching out sustainable solutions to life’s everyday complexities. With a background in such varied industries as retail for mothers-to-be and their babies, natural gas exploration and renewable energy, Zilkha’s most pleasurable pursuit by far has been implementing sustainable methods at Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, on California’s Central Coast. Originally founded by an established French Champagne house in 1982, the Laetitia estate carries on in the longstanding traditions of Burgundy and Champagne with a focus on small-lot Pinot Noir and sparkling wines. Born…
Charles Banks and BobLindquist in photo by JeremyBall Santa Barbara County, CA October 14, 2013 - Charles Banks and Terroir Selections have acquired a majority stake in Santa Maria Valley’s iconic Qupé winery, long considered one of America’s finest Syrah producers. Founder and winemaker, Bob Lindquist, will assume the role of partner, while Louisa Sawyer Lindquist will continue to assist with sales. Moving forward, both parties are committed to improving quality at Qupé. “I am thrilled to work alongside a gifted winemaker and legend like Bob Lindquist,” says Banks. He continues, “Bob has been a steadfast visionary of Syrah for…
Milka Barsic (left) and Violet Grgich with Cep d'Or Trophy Rutherford, CA, October 11, 2013 – “Like the Old Vine (Kao Stara Loza),” a documentary about the life of Vintners Hall of Fame inductee Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, was presented the Grand Jury’s Special Award from the 20th annual Oenovideo International Grape & Wine Film Festival. The documentary’s director, Milka Barisic, accepted the Cep d’Or Trophy in the French Senate at the Palais du Luxembourg, Paris, France on September 27, 2013. Violet Grgich, Mike's daughter, said, “I was extremely honored to represent my father at the award ceremony. This has been…
  Bob Blumer, Surreal Chefby Dan Clarke   By any measure, Jessup Cellars is an unusual operation. When we visited for a Surreal Meal with Bob Blumer, it was especially so. Once known for its home for veterans and not much else, the little town of Yountville continues to evolve. It now boasts very comfortable lodging and some of the best restaurants in California. In fact, the Jessup Cellars tasting room is just a couple of blocks up Washington Street from The French Laundry, an establishment Restaurant Magazine has twice named “The Best Restaurant in the World.” It's a propitious…
 Morning sun rises over Arroyo Seco vineyard. (Monterey, CA) September 17, 2013—With world-renowned terroir ideal for producing complex and concentrated Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco district celebrates its 30th anniversary as an American Viticulture Area (AVA) this fall. One of the first areas in Monterey County to be distinguished as a unique winegrowing region, and one of the smallest in California, the Arroyo Seco AVA had already been recognized for growing outstanding wines – Chardonnay in particular – since the 1960s. Factors such as a cool climate influenced by nearby Monterey Bay, well-drained rocky soils, extreme winds,…
  Napa Valley, CA -- Gayot, the highly-respected, 44 year old “Guide to the Good Life,” has lauded the 2005 Jana Cathedral, made by Scott Harvey Wines, in two categories. In Gayot's September 2013 feature, “Best Wines for Pairing with a Steak”, the Cabernet Sauvignon received the highest score of all 10 wines highlighted. “The 2005 Cathedral definitely wows upon entry,” the review begins. “Its intense, concentrated fruit flavors boast plenty of complexity and show an excellent balance of acidity and tannin. Match Cathedral with perfectly marbled wagyu beef or dry-aged Angus steaks.” Gayot also rated Jana Cathedral among “The…
Last week I tasted a wine that had been sent for review. I thought it was terrible, but decided to run it as our August 30 Wine Pick of the Week. This invites some explanation. Each week for the last couple of years Taste California Travel  has chosen a “Pick of the Week” for both beer and wine. In the former category we have used a “man in the street” format, identifying beer fans and asking them to give our readers some brief, spontaneous comments about a brew they're enjoying at the moment. Our wine reviews are similarly short, but…
  Dr. Liz ThachRohnert Park, CA August 28, 2013 - Dr. Liz Thach, MW, the Korbel Professor of Wine Business at Sonoma State University, has been selected for a Fulbright Specialists project in Mendoza, Argentina at the National University of Cuyo, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Thach will teach classes on wine business, wine marketing, and eno-tourism to students in the Masters of Viticulture and Enology, as well as work with faculty on curriculum design. The project runs from March 8 through March 22, 2014. Thach is one of…
Jan Shrem, retiring at age 83. SANTA ROSA, Calif., Aug. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Vintage Wine Estates announced today the acquisition of iconic Clos Pegase Winery and Vineyards. The purchase of the classic Napa Valley estate includes the Calistoga vineyards and a lease of the Los Carneros vineyards which total 450 acres. Jan Shrem, who celebrated his 83rd birthday in July, said, "It is with admiration and respect that I pass the torch of my beloved Clos Pegase to Pat Roney and Vintage Wine Estates. I know they will build upon my success and carry forward my passion for great…
  John and Jim Concannon flank Steve Heimoff and Gus in this Jose Diaz photoby Dan Clarke   Makers of Petite Sirah, ever upping their wine quality, have decided to adopt a more aggressive attitude in promoting the variety. The Eleventh Annual Petite Sirah Symposium was hosted in late July by Concannon Vineyard. The venue was especially appropriate as James Concannon planted Petite Sirah cuttings on his Livermore property back in 1904. Sixty years later his grandsons Joe and Jim were the first to bottle a varietally-labeled Petite Sirah. To suggest that the Concannon family has some history with this…
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