What's great in wine, beer, fine dining,
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in California State

Sam Sebastiani, winemaker and conservationist Sonoma, CA – May 13, 2014 – Sam Sebastiani has announced the release of La Chertosa wines. Named for the 14th century Renaissance monastery in the Tuscan valley of Farneta, Italy where the Sebastiani ancestral roots began, the wines are produced from California grapes grown primarily in red Tuscan series soils and aged moderately in new and young oak barrels. Their style is described as “Old World” because the wines are made in a balanced and food-friendly style. When Sam’s grandfather, Samuele Sebastiani, came to Sonoma in 1893, he found that the area closely resembled…
  Our first tastes came at Wine & Rosesby Dan Clarke Lodi is both an old region and a new one. Though some of its century-old vineyards are still productive, much new planting has been done in recent years Lodi is now home to between 110,000 and 120,000 planted acres of winegrapes. It produces about 40% of all the Zinfandel grown in the state. Though maps will show Lodi just about in the middle of California's very warm Central Valley, its growing conditions belie that fact. Lodi benefits from a marine influence that travels eastward from San Francisco Bay, making…
by Dan Clarke Accepted dogma used to be that Muscadet, a crisp white wine from the Loire, was the go-to wine for oysters. There's no doubt that's a fine pairing, but the time is long past when the rest of the world meekly submitted to all opinions French. We produce some wonderful oysters here in the US and some excellent wines, as well. Twenty years ago Taylor Shellfish Farms began the Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition, which seeks to identify each year's ten best West Coast wines to accompany oysters. Making the list assures a winery will get placement in…
Rutherford, CA, April 10, 2014 – The 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay crafted by Miljenko “Mike” Grgich that was the champion of the 1976 Paris Tasting is part of the exhibit selected by the Smithsonian Institute as one of “101 Objects That Made America.”  Chosen from 137 million artifacts in the Smithsonian collection, the 1973 Chardonnay is joined by other iconic American objects such as Abraham Lincoln’s hat, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone and Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit. The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects chose Julie Child’s Kitchen, which includes the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay crafted by Grgich, in a major…
Representatives from many of the world’s most renowned wine regions – including Champagne, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, Napa Valley, Porto, Robles, Sonoma County, Long Island and Rioja – gathered this week in the Champagne region of France to welcome new members of the Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin. The new members represent the wine regions of Bourgogne/Chablis, Bordeaux and Santa Barbara County. EPERNAY, France May 27, 2014 —The American wine region of Santa Barbara County, California, and French wine regions Bordeaux and Bourgogne/Chablis became the latest signatories of the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin, a global movement aimed…
Mike Grgich at age 90Rutherford, CA March 26, 2014 - Mike Grgich began his life as a peasant in communist-controlled Croatia and arrived in the Napa Valley with $32, his life savings, sewn into the sole of his shoes. He was able to fulfill his American dream first by having his 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay win the 1976 Paris Tasting and then by founding his own winery, Grgich Hills Estate in 1977. A bottle of the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay is currently displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History along with his signature beret, original suitcase and textbooks,…
by Jim Laughren, CWE There are numerous levels on which we “enjoy” a glass of wine. It may be simply a drink: an aperitif at the cocktail reception preceding a business dinner is perfectly served by a glass of vino merely decent; a quaffable red or white that gives us something to hang on to, and that doesn’t overwhelm with either acid or alcohol. As a beverage to accompany the meal itself, a bit more personality is expected from our wine. Distinctive flavor, a good mouthfeel, and sufficient tannin or acidity to enhance the experience of what we’re eating. Wine…
by Dan Clarke   Saturday I took a drive up to Amador County to check out Behind the Cellar Door, a two-day event that offers more than just the usual wine tasting opportunities. Most of the 39 participating members of Amador Vintners put out some food for this occasion and many have live music. Educational opportunities are offered, too. Visitors can experience unfinished wines poured from the barrel, see how vines are pruned or maybe watch a barrel-making exhibition. My friend Ray agreed to ride along. He likes Zinfandels, but hasn't spent much time in this nearby area that is…
  Dario SattuiTASTE News Service February 26, 2014 – The Napa Register reports that Dario Sattui is recovering from a serious bicycle accident that occurred just over a month ago. Sattui is the owner of the V. Sattui and Castello di Amorosa wineries in the Napa Valley. According to the Register, he had nearly completed a 10-mile ride on Diamond Mountain Road when the accident occurred on or near Highway 29. The crash may have been a result of his hitting a piece of wood on the roadway. First taken to St. Helena Hospital, Sattui was transferred to UC San…
  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…
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