Archive for the ‘Question of The Week’ Category
It’s not November yet, but I have a lot to be thankful for, first and foremost living here in Sonoma County. I was a ‘lurker’ of the area for a decade before I finally took the plunge in July 2009 (hard to believe such a short time isn’t it?)
I owe a lot of my discoveries and love of the county to the Wine Road. I kept coming to great events, and it was at the Winter Wineland 2 years ago I knew I had to find a path to make this happen, travel challenges or not with my technology industry exec full time job.
Since then I have immersed myself headlong into the wine industry, hobby viticulture (grape growing), garagista oenology (wine making), professional tasting, and more. My ‘big’ dream – buy some land (solo or in partnership, as well as lease vineyards) and be a farmer, and grower. A bit of a change from an American Airlines Two Million Miler.
And now, here we are a year later with the Blog’s Birthday. I only write about 10% of the topics I’d like to from lack of time, but the intent remains; connect consumers with Wine and Food Artisans. It’s not Vinography, but we now average about 3,000 unique readers a month, and ~200,000 hits. And go figure, the more we write, the higher it goes.
Stay with me, at the end of the post are some great giveaways!
A Ticket to the Wine Road
Without taking anything from the many fine AVAs (wine regions) I love and support, the Wine Road team has always done an incredible job promoting their wine regions, event planning, education, and marketing. They embrace both traditional and social media, and are a benchmark for what solidarity can be, in an industry that can splinter with emotion and opinions. Hospitality staff have generally learned here, when the Wine Road speaks, listen.
One of the cool offerings the Wine Road started some months ago is the “Ticket to The Wine Road.” For $25-$50 you can create your own 1-3 day Tasting Excursion, like a mini-event, self-designed.
How Does it Work?
Its simple – 66 of the ~170 (at this time) Wine Road Wineries participate: for $25/person for one day, or $50/person for 3 days, you can taste for free at any of the participating wineries. With wine tastings often costing $5-$20 these days, it’s a value right there, but it also includes many other benefits, which vary by winery; such as:
- Acorn – free Riedel tasting glass with wine purchase
- Balleto – 20% purchase discount
- Downtown Wine – 15% discount and free case shipping
- Quivira – complimentary marble logo coaster
Hotels, Inns and Restaurants also participate with things like:
- Applewood Inn – $25-$50 restaurant voucher
- Farmhouse Inn – free additional spa treatment with purchase of first
- Rio Villa Beach Resort – 20% off stay
These are only a sample, of the many choices of tours, pairings, discounts and more. For the complete list, click here.
- Some wineries are appointment only, be sure to book in advance
- Tours, food pairings etc usually request at least 24 hours notice
- Not valid during other Wine Road events, such as Wine & Food Affair, Barrel Tasting.
- Valid for Groups less than 8.
Special Wine Road Offer and Giveaway to Celebrate Simple Hedonisms One Year Anniversary
To celebrate, the Wine Road has generously offered these two giveaways:
2. We are drawing for TWO pairs of One Day Passes.To win the first pair, go to the Wine Road Facebook Page and post “”Why (or what) You Like About the Wine Road.” The 2nd pair will be given away to a Email subscriber of Simple Hedonisms.
If you can’t attend, a license plate frame and 2010 cookbook, is an alternate prize. If you are not on Facebook, post on the Blog in comments.
Contest ends this Friday evening, so don’t delay!
A heartfelt thanks to all the readers; Consumers, Wine Industry, and Fellow Bloggers. Simple Hedonisms is here to stay, and in fact looking to expand coverage. (Details to follow.) Cheers!!!
Don’t miss the Sept 9-10 inspiring “Black Cat Cabaret” Fundraiser for Pet’s Lifeline Sonoma; Ticket Contest Giveaway ($150 value)
Experience a magical evening with performances by international cirque aerialists, acrobats and musicians in support of a good cause at the 2nd annual Black Cat Cabaret. This one-of-a-kind event takes place in an intimate venue that transports the audience into an exotic environment with a “Year of the Tiger” theme.
Twenty aerialists, artists, dancers and musicians, who perform daily in one of Las Vegas’ best-known theatrical shows, are taking a time out from the big stage to generously donate their time and talents to present entirely original acts in an exclusive local showing that will support the programs and services offered by Pets Lifeline, Sonoma Valley’s only animal shelter.
So what does this have to do about wine you ask?
- I am a massive dog fan. My current companion for the last decade is Flash, an amazing Aussie I got from rescue when he was two, after being abandoned once, then rescued and beaten in his adopted home. His resilient, majestic, loving presence has touched the hearts of many throughout his life, and I am blessed to have found him; a gem among the many wonderful dogs of my life.
- I am a huge fan of Cirque du Soleil. Their amazing demonstrations of human prowess and grace are stunning to behold, the closer the better. A number of Cirque performers volunteer in this fundraiser. You can see their bios here.
- Simple Hedonisms was never just about wine; it celebrates the many simple pleasures, not ‘things’, that enrich our lives, good food, good friends, music, celebration of life; which for many in Sonoma County includes a furry friend who makes our heart lift when we come in the door after a hard day.
Enter to Win Tickets ($150 value):
This event WILL sell out again, but two lucky readers of Simple Hedonisms, and Two Fans of the Facebook page for Pets Lifeline of Sonoma will win a pair of tickets.
To win couldn’t be easier. Head to their Fan page, ‘Like’ Them and then tell us in your own thoughts
What is the best thing about adopting a cat or dog from a shelter?
Personally, I’d love it if you wish to embellish in your answer, or here in blog comments, any heart warming stories about your own adoptions and rescues; but make sure you post on the Fan site to be eligible to win.
Contest starts Thursday, August 26th on their Fan page and ends next Tuesday August 31st.
For a video about the amazing job Pets Lifeline does, and some insights to the show and auction:
More on Black Cat Cabaret
The 2nd Annual Black Cat Cabaret features renowned performers from Las Vegas in an all-original show to benefit Pets Lifeline of Sonoma.
Filled with spectacular theatrical exploits, the Black Cat Cabaret includes exciting pre-show entertainment, fabulous wines, local cuisine, a live auction of extremely distinctive items and special behind-the-scenes VIP receptions. All proceeds go to support the programs and services offered by Pets Lifeline, Sonoma Valley’s only animal shelter.
When: Thursday, September 9 and Friday, September 10
- Time: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. VIP Reception
- 7:30 – General Admission check-in
- 8:00 -10:00 p.m. Performance with Live Auction
- Location: “Field of Dreams” (Fazio Field)
- 151 First Street West, Sonoma, CA 95476
$250 Top Dog: Tickets include: Best seats in the house. Pre-show reception with food and wine at the Black Cat lounge and garden. Preferred parking at Veteran’s Hall. Complimentary beverage service at your seat. An invitation to join the artists backstage after the performance.
$175 Cool Cat: Tickets include: Second best seats in the house. Pre-show reception with food and wine at the Black Cat lounge and garden. Complimentary parking at Veteran’s Hall. Complimentary beverage service at your seat.
$75 General Admission: Due to limited supply General Admission tickets are only available by phone. Please call 707.996.4577 x110
The Sonoma Index-Tribune described the event as:
It was an event, an experience, that raised Sonoma Valley fundraising to a new level…an evening that will not be forgotten.
I will be down front enjoying the show, and actively bidding for a good cause, hope to see all of you – cheers!
As contributing editor Katherine Parker wrote earlier this week in her article on Wine Goings-on in and around town of Sonoma August 7-8th, Simple Hedonisms has teamed up with the ten artisanal wineries of the Eighth Street Enclave to offer two different drawings for free tickets.
This one-day event will feature both current and new releases as well as library offerings, barrel tastings, and food pairings. Tickets include all food and wine plus a souvenir wine glass. Even if you don’t win, for $30 its a heck of a value for a day out – try and have a quality date with food and wine for less than that!
Enter to Win a pair of tickets ($6o value) by responding in comments below to these three simple questions, which you can find by clicking on the wineries on from the main web page for Eighth Street Wineries.
- Whats the website price for the Ty Caton 2008 The Ridge George’s Malbec?
- What wine release from Tin Barn just won Double Gold medals at the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2010?
- Name either of the two two less common white wine Rhone releases from Parmalee Hill, named after Daughters. (White Rhone wines rock, branch out!)
A drawing at 1pm Friday August 6th will be held.
2. Second Chance to Win: Drawing from Simple Hedonisms Email Subscribers
This drawing will also be at 1pm this Friday.
Enjoy and Remember:
Winners and Attendees: enjoy the event and remember the four mantras of Simple Hedonisms for Wine Events:
- Drink/taste responsibly: Ten wineries pouring 3-4 wines adds up to a lot. Consider paying that unemployed summer teen a few dollars to drive you around!
- Dump/Spit: If you are serious about wine tasting to experience and compare wines; consider learning to use a spit cup, as industry people do, or dump regularly wine you don’t wish to consume. If you had four 1 oz tastes at two wineries, that’s already two full glasses. Its scientifically proven that your sensory analysis is impaired; you have gone from tasting to drinking. (Which if following rule 1 is fine, have fun.)
- Its a Business, Not a Charity: These are small wineries who stay in business by selling their product, not large corporations. Think $30 covers their costs for an event like this? Not even close. Try a wine you like, purchase a bottle to take home. Many of these wines will only be available at the winery anyway.
- Bring a Cooler: In summer months, load up a cooler in the car with a few beverages and a place to store your purchases, even at a event like this where all wineries are close. Heat is like kryptonite to wine.
In my last post about the upcoming Taste of Alexander Valley, I mentioned there will be several ways to win tickets. We gave away tickets last Friday night at the Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup. Today Simple Hedonisms and Alexander Valley Winegrowers kick off the Alexander Valley Trivia Contest. Below are 4 Trivia questions, that come right from the Alexander Valley Winegrowers website. (please note, contest is now closed)
To Enter The Contest:
- Make a comment on the blog with your answers to the questions. I will see these, but they will not be published until the contest has ended so people don’t copy answers.
- The person with the most answers correct wins. If there is a tie, a drawing will be made.
All questions come from information on their website, and is considered the source for correct answers:
- What Winery produces a Grenache?
- What year did Alexander Valley received federal recognition as an AVA?
- Which Winery is the Farthest North (by map)?
- Which 3 Wineries are listed as available for Weddings and Events?
Contest Winners will be announced Friday at noon.
!Make sure you leave contact info! (and check email/blog/FaceBook for winner announcement)
One additional chance to win:
One final winner will be drawn from email subscribers of Simple Hedonisms. To win you must have a validated (accepted) registration for blog email updates. (You get a simple two2 sentence summary of new blog posts via email.) These email updates are brief, secure, and never distributed.
The contest begins NOW – Good luck!
(and don’t forget to use Promo Code: ‘FBOOK” – when ordering tickets for a special discount!
Simple Hedonisms is almost giddy with the second Christmas coming this month; aka Hospice du Rhone.
Only 15 Days left, and as part of the “22 Days of Rhone”, tonight’s virtual tasting, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. features Grenache. For details on how to participate click the link.
Also, don’t forget tonight is the closing for the 2nd drawing of the Saturday Grand tasting. This time a pair of tickets ($200 value) will go to a lucky couple as part of the “Question of the Week Contest”
To enter, simply go to the Simple Hedonisms Facebook Fan page, and post your question about WHITE Rhone wines. And don’t forget this Friday, there is another drawing for Email subscribers of Simple Hedonisms.
p.s. don’t forget to check out their great iPhone app!
We had lots of GREAT questions posted on the Simple Hedonism Facebook Fan Page. Two winners were picked; here are their questions, and of course, the answers! Winner receive $100 ticket to the Friday or Saturday tastings at Hospice du Rhone the end of this month.
Our first winner is Tetja Barbee with her question:
While Syrah is the principal red varietal for the Northern Rhone region, what is the principal red in Southern Rhone?
Our 2nd winning question came from Amy Cleary:
The answer may surprise those who might have guessed Syrah. Syrah has a huge planting, with half of the world’s production in France. However, globally, the top red varietal planted is Grenache. Grenache actually came from Spain, where it is known as ‘garnacha’ but most of its fame and following came from France.
Next Monday we start Round Two of the Contest. This time the questions are requested to be about WHITE Rhone wines. Winners will be selected on Wednesday.
Also don’t forget, this Friday is the first of the drawings for tickets, for email subsribers of Simple Hedonisms. To be eligible to win, simply sign up for (brief, secure) email updates, in the top right. You must have verified your subscription to be eligible to win.
And don’t forget this Wednesday HdR Virtual tasting: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PST – Featured Variety: Grenache
Last week Simple Hedonisms kicked off its coverage of the upcoming wine event Hospice du Rhone, one of the wine industries most lauded events. Simple Hedonisms is one of the official wine blogs, and as a passionate Rhone wine lover, can’t wait!
The generous HdR2010 team is sponsoring ‘Question of the Week, with tickets to the Friday and Saturday tastings ($100 value!). We will combine this with our usual “Question of the Week” with a Rhone theme. (updated) Please post the question on the Simple Hedonisms Facebook Fan site , and a question will be selected for a free ticket, and answered in a blog article.
Additionally, there will be TWO drawings for all registered email subscribers of Simple Hedonisms, and a drawing at the April Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup April 22nd at Artiste Winery in Healdsburg.
The schedule will be:
Question of the Day
- Monday: April 5, 12th, 19th – Question of the Day Post Opens Up
- Wed: April 7, 14, 21st – Winner Selected, followed by follow-up blog answer
Email Subscriber Drawing
- Tickets will be given to a randomly drawn subscriber Fri April 16th and 23rd.
- Tickets will also be a door prize at this month’s Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup.
Stay tuned for LOTS more great info on Rhone varietals.
To be eligible to win you had to post a question on their Facebook Fan site. (Which I recommend for following event updates, etc.)
Our winner is Jason Klafter. Jason is an avid lover of Sonoma County and their wines. Sonoma County is where I first started experimenting with wine about 5-6 years ago. I couldn’t acquire a taste for it at first and now I love it! I am a red wine fan and would say my favorite type of wine is an old vine Zin and his wife is a huge white wine fan. For fun we like to go check out different wineries in Sonoma County and find ourselves changing wine clubs ever year or so so we can get a good taste of each winery.
Jason’s selected “Question of the Day” asked:
Excellent question Jason.
First, it stems from tradition, started in the wine regions of France. The philosophy was that roses were more susceptible to disease and insects than grapevines, and more visibly affected, thus making them like a miner’s canary, or an early warning system.
More specfically, Roses and grapevines are both susceptible to a fungus called powdery mildew. If a grapegrower noticed that the roses had powdery mildew, they knew it was immediately time to spray sulfur on the grapes to prevent them from getting the same disease. It was believed roses also warn of other diseases and growing problems before they affect the grapevines, and they serve as a habitat for some beneficial insects that eat other undesirable insects.
They certainly aren’t bad to look at either, and one could even match the color of the rose to the grape, red or white.
I have read several rebuttals to this theory, that believe that if this theory was true, then the roses would be like advertising “come here for a treat” to bugs, drawing in bugs that might normally have trundled along towards a flower garden. Sharpshooters, a known threat to vineyards, and who purportedly like roses.
I hope to see many of you at the event this weekend, or at my Sonoma Wine Meetup in Downtown Sonoma – 80-100 people wine industry, consumers.
For more details on the event, check out the article from earlier this week. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for a special article on featured sales promotions by wineries – cheers!
Never a dull moment here in Wine Country, coming off the heels of 2 weekends of The Wine Road’s Barrel Tasting, we change to another part of Sonoma County, and a ‘cozier’ event, hosted by the Heart of Sonoma Valley Association. The 20th Annual Savor Sonoma Food and Wine Experience features 22 wineries in the historic Glen Ellen and Kenwood regions.
This event is fun and ‘savory’ – all participating wineries are offering food and wine pairings. In addition many are offering barrel samples, selling futures, and featuring live music and local artists. The full program is available here; as always I encourage attendees to print it out, and make a mini-plan, especially if you only plan one day.
Glen Ellen and Kenwood are easily accessible from downtown Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Carneros and Napa – why not enjoy the scenery, leisurely drive, and spend one day (or both) this weekend enjoying food, wine, art and music, with wineries large and small, new and historic.
Participating Wineries Include:
Audelssa Estate Winery, Benziger Family Winery, Chateau St. Jean, Deerfield Ranch Winery, Enkidu Wines, Eric Ross Winery, Family Wineries of Kenwood, Imagery Estate Winery, Kenwood Vineyards, Kunde Family Estate, Landmark Vineyards, Ledson Winery & Vineyards, Little Vineyards, Loxton Cellars, Mayo Family Winery, Muscardini Cellars, Paradise Ridge Winery, St. Francis Winery, Ty Caton Vineyards, VJB Vineyards & Cellars, Valley of the Moon Winery and Wellington Vineyards.
Featured Musicians include:
- Laurent Fourgo’s Trio (Jazz) at Landmark Vineyards
- Josh Little & his Trio (Jazz) at Little Vineyards
- Seth Walker (Blues) at Loxton Cellars
- The Sharks (Saturday) & The Corkpullers (Sunday) at Imagery Estate Winery
- Sparky Thorne at Benziger Family Winery
- The Don Giovannis (6-piece Italian Band) at VJB Vineyards & Cellars
- John Shearer (Acoustic Guitar) at Valley of the Moon Winery.
Featured Artists include:
- Stella and Dot Jewelry at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
- Leslee Maggiora Jewelry at Eric Ross Winery
- Bella Barrels (Barrel Stave Merchandise) at Valley of the Moon Winery
- Zaza Gallery (Stretched Canvas Photography) at Valley of the Moon Winer
- Belgique Truffle Gateaux (Baked Truffles) at Valley of the Moon Winery
- Twisted Sister (Local Handmade Jewelry) at Valley of the Moon Winery
- San Tasti (a new drink to relieve palate fatigue) at Valley of the Moon Winery.
Enter “Question of the Week” to Win 2 Tickets, or Merchandise
Wednesday night we will be drawing for a pair of free tickets. To enter, go to the Heart of Sonoma Valley Facebook Fan page, scroll down to the Question of the Week posting, and submit your question. Wednesday night will draw a winner, and answer the question.
I can’t wait to attend this event! Look for a 1-2 more posts this week, including a special article end of week featuring special winery sales incentives. Until then this recent article on barrel tasting may help as well!
Wine, food, music, art, Sonoma Valley, for only $55 for 2 days – and you don’t have tickets why? Available online through Wednesday, grab some, they have sold out before!
p.s. See some of you at the Friday night Sonoma Wine Meetup in Downtown Sonoma – 75+ wine industry, consumers. Putting the social in Social Networking!
The winning question, from Robert Henry Hartley Jr, was:
Question: Some of my wine club wine say enjoy next spring, others say keep for decades. Why the big difference?
When you purchase your wine, as you noted, often the Winemaker or Wine Club notes will often say “drink this year” or “Can drink now but will hold well for xxx years.”
He or She is making these recommendations based both on their personal knowledge of the varietal, as well as the influences of methods they may have employed, so following their advice is recommended.
It is a myth that all wine gets universally better with age; the majority of wine is consumed soon after purchase, and some wines were crafted specifically to be drunk young, and enjoy the full fruit characteristics. While there are no universal rules, rose and white wines are often in the category. Less expensive wines often also are as they may not have gone through barrel aging and other (more expensive) methods that may add structure for aging.
Many red wines are often higher in tannins, which come from contact with the seeds and skins during fermentation, as well as contact from oak during barrel aging. (White wines do not have skin or seed contact after crush.) Tannins act as a natural preservative, and help a wine age. A young red wine high in tannins, will benefit from aging; in fact it may be bitter and unpleasant drunk too early, as the tannins can be unpleasant in the mouth at too high a level. Over time the tannins soften and breakdown, making the wine more complex.
Other Factors That Impact Aging
Wine is very sensitive to outside factors, especially light, temperature, and vibration.
- Newly bottled wine, or wine subjected to adverse travel conditions, often goes through ‘bottle shock’ and should be stored for a few weeks to allow it to regain it natural harmony of its components.
- High temperatures are wine’s mortal enemy. Just a few hours of 80+ temps can take years away from the wine’s aging capacity, if it doesn’t also negatively impact the wines present quality. People visit wine country in July, and leave their purchases in the car, and wonder why when they get home, they don’t taste the same. Same goes for wine club shipments. You guys in Texas in August, ever feel how hot your wine box is….if it’s been riding around in the brown UPS truck all day, don’t plan on cellaring it for 5 years. Ask your winery if they will hold shipments during inclement months, or pay more for better, non ground shipping. When visiting wineries, always bring a cooler.
- Equally bad is temperature fluctuation. Your house that doesn’t have AC and spikes to 90s during that heat wave…guess what it’s done to your wine. I highly recommend a small wine cellar for anyone who holds wine,at least for those special bottles. Lacking that, try and find a place closest to the ground that keeps a stable temperature. I have 3 wine cellars now, and put overflow cases in a closet with wood floors, thats low to the ground, and always cool.
- Light and vibration. Wine doesn’t like excessive exposure to direct light, especially florescent. It also doesn’t like vibration. So that wine rack on top of your fridge with sunlight streaming in all day….move it!
- Moisture: in order to keep a seal, the cork must stay wet. That’s the reason bottles of wine are laid down, not stored upright. The cork stays wet, and keeps a seal. Ideal cellaring conditions have a bit of humidity as well to help with cork moistness. For your average collector, laying the wine down and at a proper temp are the highest priority, unless you live in an especially arid climate.
I hope that was useful. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for more articles on Barrel Tasting, and a special article on winery promotions. We will have one more drawing for free tickets for Blog email subscribers, end of this month, so sign up today!