Don't Miss this Saturday's Open House at Donelan Family Wines in Santa Rosa

Wine Aficionados , especially Rhone lovers,  have an opportunity for a special treat this Saturday. Donelan Family Wines, a  boutique winery which  is normally open by appointment only, is opening its doors, bottles and barrels as a treat, as well as showing off its newly renovated tasting room and winery. There is also a (limited space) seminar, by one of my favorite winemakers, Tyler Thomas.

A Unique and Talented Winemaker

Thanks to an introduction via Vinecrowd, I have had the opportunity to spend some time with Tyler and interview him, as well as welcome him as the newest member of the Rhone Rangers. (One of my roles as a new board member.) Donelan and Tyler captured my attention at my #chardonnay day event. Their inuagural chardonnay release, Nancie, was one of the top 3 wines picked by attendees, and my personal favorite of the day.

Later I went to the winery to spend more time with Tyler to taste through his wines, talk about his winemaking practices, and just talk shop.

I already knew as a “shepherd of the yeast” Tyler was talented and creative. Tasting through the rest of the portfolio simply reinforced that. What

also struck me about Tyler was his strong grasp of the industry, trends, and marketing.

I spend a lot of time with wineries, especially small ones, and generally you find two different skill sets, and individuals, driving success. The artisan, 'left brain' winemaker, focused on making the very best wine he or she can, but  not always in touch with the aspects of marketing and branding.  Often a second person “right brain”  person on the team focuses and executes on sales & marketing, a different but equally critical set of skills. The best vintage of your career means nothing if no one is aware of it to purchase.

Tyler is a talented winemaker, innovate, and technically very deep. He is also passionate about the business aspects and as we sat and discussed marketing techniques, events, industry trends, and eager to learn more and try new things.  I was truly impressed, and excited when Donelan Wines decided to join the Rhone Rangers national organization, and will be a part of our new North Coast Chapter, an effort I am spearheading. Donelan and Tyler's wines and energy, enthusiasm, are a welcome addition.custom essay writing service


RSVP for Limited Seminar: Cuvees: Building Northern Rhone Blends

From 1-2 pm Tyler is giving a seminar  about the process of making Northern Rhone inspired wines. Donelan’s goal  is to produce the best wines possible using only the best-of-the-best juice from our unique, cool climate Sonoma County terroirs.  The careful process of  blending barrels is key in producing outstanding signature cuvees and single vineyard wines. Tyler will discuss how Donelan makes complete wines of certain styles and illustrate his points with tastings.  Learn & taste the process that results in a ‘complete’ wine: complex aromas, perceived depth and weight on the palate, a long pleasing finish, and tremendous balance. In essence what makes a Donelan wine a Donelan wine. Seating is limited, an RSVP IS required. Call 203 658 1248.

You can also see a video about the seminar  on Donelan’s new blog:  just click here.

2-4 PM – Open House, Barrel Samples and Other Rare Treats

From 2-4 pm the public is invited to taste Donelan’s latest vintage with an assortment of charcuterie and cheeses. In addition to the 2009 vintage they will be pouring barrel samples of three wines: the incredible new 2010 Donelan “Two Brothers” Pinot Noir, the  2010 Donelan “Nancie” Chardonnay  and the 2009 Richard’s Family Vineyard Syrah. These three wines are produced in extremely limited quantities. This will be an extraordinary chance to taste these amazing wines.

Donelan is normally open by appointment only, so don’t miss this chance to spend an afternoon learning, tasting and meeting this talented team.

By the way, they are in a business park in Santa Rosa that houses 3 other open wineries, Inspiration Vineyards, Carol Shelton, and the new Vinoteca tasting room. Visit these 3 members of the Santa Rosa Wine Trail and make a day of it without having to drive! (Remember a to put a cooler in your car for your wine purchases!)

See you there, followed by Russian River Valley  Hog in The Fog after! Cheers!

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