Posts Tagged ‘Mendocino’

Wine Events in the North Coast for February 15 – 24

Wine lovers and romantics are still coming down from the chocolate-induced sugar high last weekend’s pre-Valentine’s Day festivities caused. Fortunately, events for the coming days put the emphasis back on wine.

Start off your weekend with a jaunt

to the town of Sonoma this Friday evening. The Lodge at Sonoma is hosting the VinOlivo Grand Tasting. Nearly 60 different Sonoma wineries will be pouring and 25 restaurants and caterers serving.

If you’re a fan of Alsace varietals, or just like to laugh at people trying to say “Gewurtztraminer,” then I highly recommend you head up to Boonville this Saturday for the 7th annual Int’l Alsace Varietals Grand Tasting. There you’ll find more Pinot Gris under one roof than imagine. And, if you get white wined out, you can amble down the road a bit and enjoy some lovely Anderson Valley Pinot Noir.

If you have an interest in California wine history — and would like to meet it — you’ve got to go the 6th Annual Vintners Hall of Fame Induction Celebration at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena. The food and wine are always excellent and you’ll never have a better opportunity to meet the legends of the California wine industry. Here are this year’s inductees.

All events listed below are in chronological order by region. Some events require advance reservations or ticketing, so it’s best to click through for any event you’d like to attend. The headline links for each event will take you to the calendar at NorCalWine.com where you’ll find further details on that event. And event organizers sometimes change details at the last minute, so it’s always a good idea to contact the host prior to showing up at their doorstep. For events in other regions, also check the calendar or my weekly NorCal event articles.

Lake County

Saturday, February 18

Ceago Winemaker Dinner at the Tallman Hotel — Upper Lake: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Owner Jim Fetzer, winemaker Barney Fetzer and family members will be there to introduce the wines and pairings.

Mendocino County

Saturday, February 18

Int’l Alsace Varietals Festival Technical Conference — Boonville: 9:00am – 11:30am
Winemakers from around the globe discuss winemaking and grape growing specifically for Alsace varietals.

7th annual Int’l Alsace Varietals Grand Tasting — Boonville: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Meet the winemakers and taste Alsace-style white wines from around the world, including Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Muscat.

Alsace Festival Winemakers Dinner at Shaffenberger Cellars — Philo: 6:30pm
Enjoy a sumptuous dinner with the winemakers and learn more about their wines in the elegant private dining room at Sharffenberger Cellars.

 

Napa Valley

Ongoing Events

Saturday February 11 – Monday, February 20
The Ultimate Decadent Tasting at Trefethen Family Vineyards — Napa:
10:00am – 4:30pm
Enjoy special selections of Trefethen wines paired with handmade confections produced by one of Napa’s finest chocolatiers.

Friday, February 17

Cornerstone Cellars Winemaker Dinner at Bardessono — Yountville: 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Enjoy a special 5-course tasting menu drawn from Lucy’s Garden by Chef Victor Scargle, inspired by the wines of Jeff Keene.

Saturday, February 18

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Release at Nichelini Family Winery — St. Helena: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Leona Marini, 4th generation, will be on hand to offer food pairings and stories.

Winemaker’s Dinner & Bob James Concert at Miner Family Winery — Oakville: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
An intimate concert in the caves followed by a a four-course dinner prepared by La Saison chefs Natalie & Jonathan Niksa paired with new release 2009 Miner Cabernets.

Sunday, February 19

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Release at Nichelini Family Winery — St. Helena: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Leona Marini, 4th generation, will be on hand to offer food pairings and stories.

Monday, buy online prescription viagra February 20

6th Annual Vintners Hall of Fame Induction Celebration at CIA Greystone — St. Helena: 4:00pm – 8:00pm
A rare opportunity to mingle with noted winemakers, famous chefs, and wine-loving celebrities.

 

Sonoma County

Friday, February 17

VinOlivo Grand Tasting at The Lodge at Sonoma — Sonoma: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Sip Sonoma Valley’s best wines as you get to know the personalities behind the

wine. Sample food from more than 25 of Sonoma’s purveyors.

Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Guitar ballads with Brian Ward

Saturday, February 18

Mardi Gras Celebration at Meadowcroft Wines — Sonoma: noon – 4:00pm
The St. Gabriel’s Celestial Brass Band, down home Louisiana cookin’, a Second Line-Parade, award winning wines and of course BEADS!

Sunday, February 19

Amphora’s Zinvitational: Zinfandel and Cioppino at Amphora — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:30pm
Current, library and barrel-sample Zinfandel plus Cioppino, sourdough and green salad.

President’s Day Celebration at Old Roma Station — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Limited production wines from Bluenose, Hart’s Desire, J. Keverson, Kelley & Young, Sadler-Wells, Sapphire Hill, Skewis, Shippey and Willowbrook.

Sundays on the “Terraza” at Santa Rosa Vintners Square — Santa Rosa: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Bring a picnic. They’ll will provide the wine, bocce ball court and live music.

Thursday, February 23

J Vineyards & Winery Winemaker Dinner at John Ash & Co. — Santa Rosa: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Join J Vineyards & Winery Assistant Winemaker, Scott Anderson, for an excellent dinner paired with five J wines.

 

Event organizers and publicists get your events published here. Post your events in the calendar at NorCalWine.com. Posting events there requires a one-time registration (easy, peasy), but is totally free of charge. And it only takes a couple of minutes. I’ll soon post a guide at NorCalWine.com with tips on how to make event posts as effective as possible.

Disclaimer: The events I’ll call attention to here are those that I’ve become aware of and which offer something beyond the standard winery tasting room experience. Neither I nor William are compensated by any of the event organizers in any way. The listings are for the benefit of the community. Event details are subject to change without notice.

This article is by Fred Swan for Simple Hedonisms. All rights reserved.

Valentine's Day Weekend Wine Events Update

Everybody wants to be your Valentine! Wineries, wine bars and restaurants are pulling out all the stops. And all the chocolate! Even if you don’t have a romance to kindle, you can cuddle up with a glass of wine and y

our sweet tooth this weekend.

My previous post included a whole box of chocolate and wine events. And even some without cacao. But then I got a Kiss-o-Gram with even more events for this weekend!

All events listed below are in chronological order by region. Some events require advance reservations or ticketing, so it’s best to click through for any event you’d like to attend. The headline links for each event will take you to the calendar at NorCalWine.com where you’ll find further details on that event. And event organizers sometimes change details at the last minute, so it’s always a good idea to contact the host prior to showing up at their doorstep. For events in other regions, also check the calendar or my weekly NorCal event articles.

Mendocino County

Saturday, February 11

Valentine’s Wine & Chocolate Sampling at Milano Family Winery — Hopland: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Bring your Valentine and tickle your taste buds with heavenly creations by the ladies of Milano Family Winery.

Parducci’s Valentines Day ‘Death by Chocolate’ Event — Ukiah: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Parducci Wine Cellars presents a romantic day of music, sensuous wines, and exquisite chocolates to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Napa Valley

On-Going Events

Saturday February 11 – Tuesday, February 14
Chocolate and Wine at Cornerstone Cellars — Yountville:
10:00am – 6:00pm
Bring your sweetie to Cornerstone Cellars and indulge them in a wine flight paired with 3 chocolates hand crafted by Brent and Anette at Anette’s Chocolates, Napa Valley.

Saturday February 11 – Monday, February 20
The Ultimate Decadent Tasting at Trefethen Family Vineyards — Napa
:
10:00am – 4:30pm
Enjoy special selections of Trefethen wines paired with handmade confections produced by one of Napa’s finest chocolatiers.
Daily Events

Sunday, February 12

Cooking up Sweet Passion: Amy Reiley, Author of Romancing the Stove at Peju — Rutherford: 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Learn to make hand rolled chocolate truffles from Amy Reiley’s new cookbook Romancing the Stove while sipping Peju wines.

Sonoma County

Friday, February 10

An Evening with Merry Edwards at Paradise Ridge Winery — Santa Rosa: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Come spend a great evening celebrating Merry Edwards stellar career at a benefit for the Sonoma County Wine Library.

Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: 7pm
Music by Michael Hantman plus belly dancing by Kimberly Andora.

Saturday, February 11

Special Valentines Day Vertical Tasting at John Tyler Wines — Healdsburg: 11:ooam – 5:00pm
2004-2006 Pinot Noir and Zinfandel wines in a mini vertical tasting paired with Brix Chocolates.

Wine & Chocolate at Amista Vineyards — Healdsburg: noon – 3pm
Join canadian healthcare viagra sales us at Amista Vineyards for award-winning wines paired with specialty chocolates from Sebastopol chocolatier Peters Chocolates.

5th Annual Amphoradisiac Winemaker’s Dinner at Amphora — Healdsburg: 5:30pm – 10:00pm
A multi-course gourmet dinner with fabulous wine pairings, white tablecloths, candlelight and roses.

 

Event organizers and publicists get your events published here. Post your events in the calendar at NorCalWine.com. Posting events there requires a one-time registration (easy, peasy), but is totally free of charge. And it only takes a couple of minutes. I’ll soon post a guide at NorCalWine.com with tips on how to make event posts as effective as possible.

Disclaimer: The events I’ll call attention to here are those that I’ve become aware of and which offer something beyond the standard winery tasting room experience. Neither I nor William are compensated by any of the event organizers in any way. The listings are for the benefit of the community. Event details are subject to change without notice.

This article is by Fred Swan for Simple Hedonisms. All rights reserved.

Upcoming Wine Events in the North Coast, February 4 – 12

William has invited me to keep you apprised of upcoming wine events for the North Coast with weekly posts here at Simple Hedonisms. Each article will cover roughly 2 weeks of events taking place in Lake, Mari

n, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties. Every now and then, there’ll be a sneak preview of something farther out in time or distance.

All events listed below are in chronological order by region. Some events require advance reservations or ticketing, so it’s best to click through for any event you’d like to attend. The headline links for each event will take you to the calendar at NorCalWine.com where you’ll find further details on that event. And event organizers sometimes change details at the last minute, so it’s always a good idea to contact the host prior to showing up at their doorstep.

One-time, up-front disclaimer (in future articles, this will appear at the end): The events I’ll call attention to here are those that I’ve become aware of and which offer something beyond the standard winery tasting room experience. Neither I nor William are compensated by any of the event organizers in any way. The listings are for the benefit of the community. Enjoy!

Event organizers and publicists wishing to maximize the likelihood of their events being published here should post their events in the calendar at NorCalWine.com. Posting events there requires a one-time registration (easy, peasy), but is totally free of charge. And it only takes a couple of minutes. I’ll soon post a guide at NorCalWine.com with tips on how to make event posts as effective as possible.

Now that that’s out of the way… Wow! What a busy couple of weekends we’ve got coming up. If it weren’t for the Super Bowl this Sunday — an event against which few wineries are daring to compete — I’d still be clacking away, adding festivities. Valentine’s Day has inspired a huge bouquet of events pairing wine and chocolate, wine and oysters, wine and flowers, wine and romance. I’ll take any of those over a Hallmark card. (Gentlemen, this is not a suggestion that you forgo a card this year. Bad idea!)

Have a great weekend and I hope to see you tomorrow afternoon at the Micro-Winery Collective Open House at the Inspiration Vineyards tasting room in Santa Rosa.

Lake County

Saturday, February 11

Wine & Chocolate . . . and More! at Mt. Konocti Winery — Lakeport: 12:00 – 4:00
There will be more than 30 wineries pouring premium Lake County wines paired with gourmet chocolates and savories by Master Sommelier Candidate and Masters of Wine Candidate Sommelier Stephanie Green.

Marin County

Tuesday, February 7

Happy Hour with Tudal Family Winery at Bacchus Venus — Sausalito: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Taste through a flight of Tudal Wine’s for $10.


Mendocino County

Sunday, February 11

McFadden’s Second Saturday — Hopland: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Enjoy McFadden’s wines made from 100% organically-grown grapes and paired with a delicious food treat.

Wine & Chocolate Extravaganza at RWV Wineries — Redwood Valley: 11:00am – 5:00pm
One ticket gets you a glass for Wine Tasting and Chocolates at all 9 locations.

Cupid in the Caves at Saracina Vineyards, Hopland: 12:30pm – 4:00pm
Stop by the Saracina Tasting Bar for the romance-inducing foods of the gods: wine, oysters and chocolate!

Crab Feast in the Barrel Room at Jaxon Keys Winery — Hopland: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
A Valentines Weekend Crab Feast in the Jaxon Keys Barrel Room. They’ll start things off with Oysters three ways: Rockefeller, Florentine, and raw and then it’s all about the crab!

Napa Valley

Friday, February 3

Annual Open House at Charles Krug Winery — St. Helena: 10:30am – 4:30pm
The Peter Mondavi family welcomes you to their annual open house. Meet the family, taste new releases and enjoy live music.

Saturday, February 4

Annual Open House at Charles Krug Winery — St. Helena: 10:30am – 4:30pm
The Peter Mondavi family welcomes you to their annual open house. Meet the family, taste new releases and enjoy live music.

Winter Release Day at Silver Oak — Oakville: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Release celebration for the 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and kicks off of festivities for Silver Oak’s 40th Anniversary.

Cabernet Release Event at Bennett Lane Winery — Calistoga: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Visit Bennett Lane Winery for the pre release of their 2009 Cabernet and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Winter Tag-a-Long at Saddleback Cellars — Oakville: 11:00am – 5:00pm
It’s a great day to taste at Oakville wineries since most in the area celebrate the release of the 2007 vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon! At Saddleback, they’ll have an enhanced tasting day with food from Rebel-Dog and live music by the Wasted Rangers.

Cabernet Pre-Release Day at Cosentino Winery — Yountville: 12:00pm – 04:00pm
Get a sneak peak at the Cosentino Winery Reserve Cabernet and its library varietal, paired with chocolate.

Cabernet Pre-Release Day at Girard Winery — Yountville: 1:00pm – 5:00pm
A sneak peak at the inaugural release of the Girard Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.

Friday, February 10

Cupid’s Kitchen at Girard Winery — Yountville: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Bubbles, the Oyster Girls from Tomales Bay, a sensuous chocolate fountain and exquisite cheeses.

Saturday, February 11

Valentine’s Oyster and Wine Pairing at Black Stallion Winery — Napa: 12:00pm – 4:00pm or until the oysters run out
Oysters by the pair, six-pack or dozen. And wine!

Goosecross Valentine’s Day Party at TopFlight — Napa: 2:00pm – 6:00pm
Enjoy an afternoon of wine, chocolate and romance.

San Valentino Dinner at Andretti Winery — Napa: 6:00pm – 10:30pm
Put on your best Upscale Wine Country attire and come celebrate amore and Valentine’s Day with Andretti Winery.

Sonoma County

Saturday, February 4

Crab Feed at Sbragia Family Vineyards — Geyserville: 5:00pm – 8:00pm
The Sbragia family invites you to join them for an evening of cracked crab and fabulous wine!

Winter Release Day at Silver Oak — Geyserville: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Release celebration for the 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and kicks off of festivities for Silver Oak’s 40th Anniversary.

Syrah Saturday at Amista Vineyards – Healdsburg: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Enjoy Amista’s signature estate wines with gourmet food pairings from 11:00-4:30 on Saturday, February 4th.

Wine & Chocolate Fantasy at Rodney Strong Vineyards — Healdsburg: 10:00am – 5:00pm
The Rodney Strong barrel room is transformed into a beautiful series of halls and rooms, featuring wine and chocolate and chocolate and wine!

Micro-Winery Collective Open House at Inspiration — Santa Rosa: 11:00am – 5:00pm
These wineries don’t have public tasting rooms. This is a special opportunity for you to try and buy wines from seven uniquely different wineries, each

with their own winemaker present to tell you their stories and introduce you to their wines.

Fundrasier for the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue at Marimar Estate — Sebastopol: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Tapas, wine, and an education booth run by Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue

Tuesday, February 7

Tasting Tuesdays at Willi’s Wine Bar — Santa Rosa: 4:00pm – 05:30pm
This week’s guest is Jesse Inman of August Briggs Wines.

Friday, February 10

Roche Winemaker Dinner at Sheraton Sonoma County — Petaluma: 6:30pm – 09:00pm
This “Pre-Spring Fling” Winemaker Dinner is open to the public, however, advanced reservations and RSVP are required.

Saturday, February 11

Reds & Romance Weekend at Dutton Goldfield — Sebastopol: 10:00am – 04:30pm
Featuring Dutton Goldfield Winery‘s luscious red wines, including single-vineyard Pinots from the amazing 2009 vintage. A special sweet treat awaits you as well.

Bring Your Sweetheart! at Deerfield Ranch Winery — Kenwood: 10:30am – 4:30pm
Deerfield Ranch Wines paired with Robert’s handcrafted chocolate truffles.

Culinary Romance: Valentine’s Weekend at Bella Vineyards — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:30pm
Bring your special valentine and bask in the elegant ambiance of our wine cave as you explore the culinary side of romance.

Sweet 116 at the Wineries of 116 — Sebastopol: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Enjoy decadent treats and delicious wines at six wineries along Highway 116 near Sebastopol.

Valentine Library Wine Flight at Skewis Wines — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:00pm
We have a special tasting planned for Valentine’s weekend; a single vineyard, vertical tasting from our private wine library.

Miette Pastries at J Vineyards — Healdsburg: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Head over to J Vineyards and Winery and enjoy tasty treats prepared by Executive Chef Mark E. Caldwell from the Miette, San Francisco’s most charming pastry shop.

Tasting Room Grand Opening at Karah Estate/Windy Hill — Cotati: 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Come to the grand opening of the new Karah Estate tasting room and enjoy a free tasting, plus its panoramic view of the Petaluma Gap!

A Zin Affair to Remember at DeLoach Vineyards — Santa Rosa: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Vertical Zinfandel tastings, gourmet chocolate, local artisan cheeses, live music and more!

Sunday, February 12

Reds & Romance Weekend at Dutton Goldfield — Sebastopol: 10:00am – 04:30pm
Featuring Dutton Goldfield Winery‘s luscious red wines, including single-vineyard Pinots from the amazing 2009 vintage. A special sweet treat awaits you as well.

Bring Your Sweetheart! at Deerfield Ranch Winery — Kenwood: 10:30am – 4:30pm
Deerfield Ranch Wines paired with Robert’s handcrafted chocolate truffles.

Culinary Romance: Valentine’s Weekend at Bella Vineyards — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:30pm
Bring your special valentine and bask in the elegant ambiance of our wine cave as you explore the culinary side of romance.

Valentine Library Wine Flight at Skewis Wines — Healdsburg: 11:00am – 4:00pm
We have a special tasting planned for Valentine’s weekend; a single vineyard, vertical tasting from our private wine library.

Love and Meritage Blending Party at Topel Tasting Room — Healdsburg: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Topel winemaker Marcus Topel will pair up with KRSH Radio’s Ziggy Eschliman, best known as Ziggy – The Wine Gal, to guide friends (with or without benefits) and lovers through the wine blending process.

Wine Lover’s Event at Mounts Family Winery — Healdsburg: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Indulge yourself with a wine, cheese & chocolate Pairing and try pre-release Petite Sirah, Malbec viagra best buy and Zinfandel. RSVP required.

Looking Forward

Don’t forget the 7th Annual Int’l Alsace Festival coming up on February 18 in Boonville. There will be an Int’l Alsace Varietals Festival Technical Conference a Grand Tasting and a Winemakers Dinner. I’ve attended this event before and really enjoyed it.

 

This article is by Fred Swan for Simple Hedonisms. Photograph ©Igor Prole, used under license. All rights reserved.

Celebrate Sept 1st #Cabernet Day: complimentary Vertical tasting with Topel Winery & Simple Hedonisms in Downtown Healdsburg 1-7 p.m.

Thursday, Sept, 1 is International Cabernet day. People and wineries all over the world will be sharing and celebrating this noble grape, the number one sold red varietal in

the US. (Expanded hours – now from 1 to 7 p.m.!)

Special 3 Year Vertical Tasting

Join Simple Hedonisms and Topel Winery owners Mark & Donnis Topel for a special free vertical tasting of their Estate 2005 (library wine), 2006, & 2007 Cabernet from 1 to 7 p.m..

The tasting will take place in separate room adjacent to their tasting room, where you will enjoy a food pairing, and be able to taste this great vertical while chatting with the owners and winemakers, and other Cabernet aficionados.

These delightful cabernets are from the Topel’s estate in Hopland, and showcase why Mendocino County continues to grow in stature as a wine region. If you love Cabernet, you owe it to yourself to experience the quality and valley of  mountain fruit.

After your tasting, feel free to head to the regular tasting and try other wines. Topel was one of the highest overall medaled wineries in the recent Mendocino Wine Competition, come see why!

Register to attend here: http://topelcabernet.eventbrite.com/

Special Cabernet Day Offer

As a special celebration, and thank you for attending, Topel is offering the 2005 Estate Reserve Cabernet, this day only, at a special purchase price.

The 2005 Cabernet, normally $36, will be offered at 40% discount,  $21. (William says its like stealing!)  Or 50% discount on a case purchase.

Participants also receive 20% discount on the 2006 & 2007 Estate Cabernet.

Topel is also dog friendly, bring along your friend, we’ll have treats!

Come be our guests, experience great wine and great hospitality – cheers!

Mark & Donnis Topel – Topel Winery

 

Kept telling my husband how good these were. He finally tried them now he wants me to keep ordering for him too. Levitra online sale. Sixty-three percent, 74%, and 82% of the patients on 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg of our medications, respectively, reported an improvement in their health.

4th of July Weekend Marks Two Year Anniversary for 'Sonoma William' – and Brings More Changes, Evolutions & Decisions

It's snuck up on me again, perhaps because (as many echo to me) it is sometimes hard to imagine I have only been here two years. In many ways I feel like was always here.

Two Years Ago – The Long Overdue Journey Begins

I knew in my heart and soul, over 12 years ago this is where I would live: The result of  working for a Petaluma startup and discovering Sonoma County's Russian River Valley. However being (at that time) in my early 30s's,  and single, I was in denial a rural, agrarian county was the place for me, and instead lived in San Francisco and Marin, but sojourning regularly into Sonoma for work and play. Russian River Valley (I fell in love with Pinot, my 'first girl') and often Dry Creek Valley, became monthly visits.

Flash forward to 2009; after leaving the Bay area and brief stints in Seattle, Denver, and Baja Mexico, I returned to California in 2007 and was working in Silicon Valley.

A rapid series of life & work  events landed me here in North Sonoma, newly single, on paid 6 months off, really not knowing anyone, and keen to dive, at least partially,  into the wine industry. After much urging by friends, I also decided it was time to start a wine website and blog on it. I was fairly new to Facebook, not even on Twitter, but realized, with my background in marketing & technology, that these Social Media tools really could provide some social integration and networking, as well as establishing the brand of 'Sonoma William.' Today the blog Facebook page has 2400 followers, and Twitter, 4000.

Which incidentally I get push back on occasion as a wine writer. I write, travel, and review all wines and AVAs. Sonoma County is where  I live and love, not my wine focus, per se. Although she holds a special place in my heart, and where above all other places, I choose to live.

I wasn't alone – we had other new entities like Hardy Wallace and Rick Bakas, all of us only a brief span apart. move into wine country. The differentiator for myself being I was completely independent and self funded. (Not that I wouldn't want a large or progressive thinking, funded, winery at my back!)

It wasn't long before I heard regularly – 'you are everywhere!'

Diving In

Things coalesced: I finished the blog site,  self designed and hosted;  I was fortunate enough to have good  local Industry backing, especially of the North Sonoma Wine Road, and then it spread to organizations like Hospice du Rhone,  and momentum just grew. More of my background and first adventures can be found in my post: ‘Sonoma William’ Joins Forces With the Rhone Rangers; Some History & New Directions. I jumped into 2009 harvest. I covered events and just waded in head first.

Alas, my 6 month 'sabbatical' ended prematurely and I had to stop mid harvest and begin the struggle of trying to balance time between two very distinct worlds.

Now, two years later much has evolved, personally and professionally, but one thing  is certain – being involved in the wine industry was my calling – but on what path?

More Changes and Several Paths To Choose From Ahead

  • New Life Changes

Two years later, a touch ironically, I am amidst another series of life changes.

Until last month, I have been head of sales for a small, VC funded,  software company, which by its nature brings volatility, especially when you are subject to the whims of Venture Capitalists, and in turbulent times. Despite the fact I helped the company grow and 2011 was on target to meet or exceed another 25+ percent growth year, a never ending series of  changes and  re-orgs, my role was eliminated. Without the big corporate severance package this time.

It was clear this was an opportunity to assess and decide – is this the time to jump full time into the wine industry? I have had offers before (and now) – but the issue has always been a huge decrease in income, at a time with a new farm, small vineyard, and other projects where capital is needed…can I afford to? We shall see, for right now I am pursuing other avenues and interests, hopefully through Harvest 2011.

Additionally, a bit  unexpected, I am in a relationship with someone, also in (and new to)  the wine industry. After many years of focusing on everything but my own life, I am investing substantial hours per week in building and growing this relationship, and spending time with a person who completes my life in many ways. My 'usual' line of work involves heavy travel 2-3 days a week, every week, and has always made relationships a challenge, so I am welcoming the quality time getting to know a dear person I both greatly respect and whom I think the world of.  Life is short, time is precious. It's time to live, love and practice what I preach about enjoying life's primary pleasures.

  • Wine Marketing Consulting

Over the last year, I had been doing some side consulting for marketing and social media integration to several clients, mostly in conjunction with wine Public Relations veteran Marie Gewirtz of MGPR, and occasionally independently. Given recent changes, I am now open to new clients, and have recently closed several with more request

opens for proposals. These can range from a Social Media only focus, helping launch Facebook, Twitter, building a following, integrating key applications like Cruvee and Google Analytics for measurement, training, and handing over the keys to the castle over some months, to campaign and event consulting, or a full blown soup to nuts Marketing , Public Relations, and Social Media campaign combining the resources and and experience of MGPR, and others who work with us.

I need to build an 'accolades' page, as we have already accomplished some great things, and I have also launched several projects including the new Santa Rosa Wine Trail. I also teach seminars for Wine Organizations, teach at Sonoma State University, guest lecture at Santa Rosa Junior college, and have presented at winery's national meetings. Work has never been this much fun, or fulfilling, until now.

  • Starting My Own Wine Label

In the background I have been working to create my own small brand, focusing on Rhone blends, producing 7 barrels of Rhone varietals (175 cases) and am going through all the fun paperwork. (Especially daunting has been the name creation.) I have had help and coaching from many people, ranging from Rhone icon Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon (whom I feel guilty to even contact) to the guidance of local winemakers Darek Trowbridge (and Steven Washuta) (Old World Winery), Alan Baker (Cartograph), Dylan & Tobe Sheldon (Sheldon Wines) & Kevin Hamel, veteran Sonoma wine maker and consultant. Busy with their own small artisan wine brands (all personal favorites) , these people have been kind enough to mentor me.

The ultimate size of this label? Remains to be seen… I think this is my long term future…but is that five years out? Ten? It's still TBD as I let it happen somewhat organically. Joining with a life partner, investment partner who is also a passionate wine aficionado could accelerate this. My experience with Venture Capitalists makes me reluctant to  create a business plan and raise outside investors who aren't hands on involved, and like minded.

  • Wine Writing, Press Tours, and Wine Judging

At the same time, my following and reputation as a wine writer seems to have really accelerated. Readership is high, for a niche wine website. Requests for media coverage and event press passes flow in. I am having to decline some wine samples, based on backlog, capacity,  and really wish I again had active wine writers again for events and reviews.

A new twist  has emerged that I am excited about – wine judging. In early August I will be a judge in the Mendocino County Wine Competition. In September I am judging the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, our biggest competition. And in November I am judging in a brand new competition called the Garagiste Festival.

Additional requests for press and media tours continue. I recently have been spending time exploring Mendocino County with a press tour and Paul Dolan biodynamic writers camp. In July I am one of six writers selected on a all expense paid week media tour in Spain, sponsored by Freixnet, and visiting properties and wineries

of the 22 brands, including Ribera and Rioja. Wine writing doesn't pay, but it has its perks!

  • Stepping into the Rhone Rangers Board of Directors, and Starting the North Coast Chapter

Life has been so busy, I haven't even had time to craft a press release about our record Rhone Rangers San Francisco Grand event, nor my appointment to the Board of Directors last month.

Additionally, I am also spearheading the new North Coast Rhone Rangers chapter, in the footsteps of the successful Paso Robles chapter. Our initial goal is a map of Rhone producers with an electronic map for Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, and Lake Counties. More on this in a separate article, but if you are a winery that fits this or can recommend one, please contact me ASAP. I love working with wineries, but if you have ever done any cross winery work, you know its cat herding at its finest!

Where Does It All Lead?

The above items are by far a complete list; add in the monthly social events  host for 100+ people, the live tastings I do, and much more, life is very full! But where does this lead? I often get asked where is my 'master plan'?

Atypical for me, I don't have one. I see multiple possible paths in front of me, and I am letting them play out, somewhat organically, or naturally. Water follows its own path, and in this case, I think my life will as well.

I can't wait to see what the 2012 Third year anniversary summary brings! Cheers!

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3 Days Exploring Mendocino – Redwood Valley, Ukiah, Hopland: Day One

Recently I have written several articles on my new explorations and fascination with Mendocino County. While many are familiar with the great Pinot Noir and Alsatian varietals of Anderson Valley, there are  other great wines and wineries on the 'other' side of the County in Hopland, Ukiah and Redwood Valley, something not all county members even seem to have explored.

While there is some Pinot grown here, you will find a broader range of warmer climate reds including Sangiovese, Carignane, Grenache, Charbono, and Zinfandel, to name a few. White varieties also range from Rhone whites to others.  I took a few days to explore and tour at a leisurely pace. (Unfortunately, last week I lost my notebook with my last 8 weeks of touring and tasting notes, so am going by memory.)

Day One Parducci, Paul Dolan & Saracina

Thanks to Jan Mettler of Boss Dog Marketing, I have been growing my relationship with Parducci and Paul Dolan Vineyards. I was extended an offer to come visit and tour, and happily did so, making this the debut of my 3 day adventure.

Parducci is one of the oldest wineries in the County, and Paul Dolan's history is iconic, the original winemaker of Fetzer in its infancy, through President after its acquisition by Brown-Forman (now acquired by Concha y Toro in March of 2011) – Paul played a leading role in making Fetzer, Mendocino, and California leaders in organic farming, moving away from chemical industrial farming. (I highly recommend his book 'True to Our Roots'. )

Stop One: Parducci Wetlands Tour

My first stop was to ride with Tom Thornhill, a partner in Parducci with brother Tim, and Paul Dolan. Each of the three partners brings a unique focus to the team; Tom is the finance guy and a Stanford MBA. Tom's history as a steward of the land runs deep and includes being a Board Member of the California Land Stewardship Institute (CLSI). Tom and his wife Melissa own La Ribera Vineyards, a 250-acre ranch overlooking the Russian River just north of Hopland in Mendocino County.

As both a steward of the land as well as making sure the winery is run both economically sound and environmentally friendly , Tom was concerned about their dependance on water. Wineries use an immense amount of water and Parducci has a pretty sizable operation. To be less dependent, as well as more green, a water reclamation wetlands project was established. Natural plants are passively used to help restore the water to usable form. In addition to reducing costs and being more environmentally friendly, the amount of wildlife, especially birds, that has come near devoid before, is amazing.

Best of all – the return on investment (ROI) on this project to break even….a scant two years. I had to ask myself…why aren't the majority of wineries, at least the larger ones, investing like this…..even if you are capital restrained, what bank wouldn't give you a loan for an ROI like that? Why isn't the State of California, given our water concerns, or the Federal Government making low cost loan money available?

We also visited the original Parducci tasting room, checked out massive Redwood tanks, from 1890 years still in operation, and then tasted through the Parducci and Paul Dolan line up. Unfortunately, I don't have my tasting notes, but I have already reviewed a number of their wines, and am impressed at how wines of this quality are made at these price points. All wines express the vintage and fruit, and were pleasing to my more Old World like palate.

I was supposed to meet and tour with Paul Dolan in the morning, but due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to cancel . My disappointment was consoled knowing in a few weeks I was going to be with him (and a team of writers) for a special two day Bio-dynamic camp. (More later.)

Stop

Two – Saracina

I had time to fit in one more, and was excited to visit Saracina, so I headed to Hopland. I have had a few of their wines before, and we also run into some of the crew on occasion at the Thursday night wine geek tastings at the Wine

Annex in Healdsburg. (Which under new ownership, has turned into quite the wine shop.)

As I read and explore Mendocino, more of the puzzle pieces come together, and how much history stems from this part of the county and Fetzer, where Paul Dolan was head winemaker, and then President. The Fetzer family have now almost all gone back into the wine industry, with their own labels, continuing their heritage of high quality wine making. John Fetzer is the eldest of the clan of eleven, born to Kathleen & Barney Fetzer, and was the CEO of Fetzer in 1981, overseeing its growth from 200,000 cases to 2.5 million, and lead the way in organic, sustainable wine growing practices.

Saracina is a 600-acre bio-diverse property encompassing three ranches located in Hopland, with 300 acres in vineyards. John was busy working in his office, but was nice enough to come down to the wine cave (the first in the area, which serves as their tasting room, until the official one opens, shortly. ) I had just started tasting through the wines – there was a steady flow of traffic, given it was the end of the day.

First up, was the Saracina Sauvignon Blanc 2009, which John says is the reason he returned to the wine industry. I am fatigued with most CA and NZ Sauv Blancs these days, but this was a joy. Fresh, bright, with good acidity and minerality, and wonderful texture, from extended lees contact. A keeper. Another of my top faves was Atrea The Choir 2010, a white Rhone blend. I went home with these as well as one of the last four bottles of their Rose'.

Tasting through the reds I liked their Pinot, and really loved their Saracina Syrah Rodgers Creek Vineyard 2007 , which the Rhone Ranger in me was very sad to hear the Syrah program will likely be discontinued.  John sells much of his wine through distribution, not a surprise given his history and relationships, and unfortunately resale partners often seek a path of least resistance, so Syrah often get's overlooked for something easier in the portfolio to push.

I also got to meet and spend some time with his lovely wife, Patty Rock. John and Patty took time to engage with everyone who came through the tasting room – these young wine discoveries having no idea the history and legacy talking to them. But then John doesn't appear to have a pretentious bone in his body. You immediately like and respect him.

Impulsively John said, “lets grab a glass, and go outside” so we did. He pointed out parts of the property, and the many ongoing developments, and how much transformation had occurred, as we sat, and sipped. He shared his interest in helping Ukiah and Hopland maintain it's laid back approach as a wine destination, although the region needs more restaurants and lodging, and he is involved in some projects to that affect. We chatted about various nuances of wine and the wine industry, and I thought to myself how wonderful the wine industry, and it's passionate people are. I also am bless to be making friends with icons like John, Randall Grahm, and others who future generations will read about, and whom I have got to know.

John invited me back to spend a few days during harvest – I love harvest and am very hands on, and said I looked forward to it. My stash and a smile in tow, I headed back to Ukiah, where Parducci was graciously housing me for the night, in part making this media weekend trip possible. (Given the new 'sabbatical from my non wine job that funds the lifestyle.

I had two more great days of tasting and meeting great people, ahead of me. Time for an early night and some rest. (Or so I thought…yet another life impacting event was to occur….a story for another time.)

Cheers and thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms!

'

Related Articles:

Highlights and Top Picks of the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival

Monday June 13 – Another Evolution in Wine Events – The Taste of Mendocino

Mendocino Wine Region – My Growing Love Affair & Weekend Tour; Taste of Mendocino June 13th, A Fresh Unique Format

Wine Review – 2009 Paul Dolan Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino County

Wine of The Week – Parducci 2009 Pinot Noir (Or Pinot Lovers Rejoice, True Pinot Under $15)

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Highlights and Top Picks of the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival

May 20-22nd was the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival. It was a busy wine weekend, with overlapping events including Taste Alexander Valley. I had missed the last few years Anderson Valley Pinot Festival due to similar conflicts, and decided to prioritize the event this year. I headed first to Scharffenberger Cellars , who hosted a media tasting, then over to Goldeneye for the walk around tasting. The day prior was a series of technical seminars and tastings, I unfortunately missed, a mistake I will not repeat in 2012.

I will gush in more detail about both, but this is not to be missed event for Pinot-philes.

My Picks from the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Tasting

Kudos to Kristy Charles, President of the Anderson Valley Wine Growers Association – the morning Media tasting one was one of the best organized I have attended. I had expected a walk-around tasting, but instead it was a self pour tasting of 30 current releases.

It was very well organized – at the door I received a clipboard with a 3 page spreadsheet that listed the winery, vintage, vineyards, retail price, release date, and case production. This made note taking so much easier and efficient.  Each bottle was on the table with detailed vinification notes in front.  (And on the clipboard to take home for reference.) While I enjoy winemaker interaction and questions I really like this format. It's very productive, allows focus and your own pace.

Overall, I was highly  impressed with the tasting. Of the 30 only two were given a low score, poor impression. I am vocal that my palate and personal philosophy is focused on wines that are balanced, with good acidity and restraint. You get no points for a Pinot the color of a Bordeaux varietal, with tannins to match. If anything, I am more drawn to a wine that was left to it's own, to express that years vintage.

Pinot Noir is one of the most expressive wine varieties of terroir and vintage, and should be different each year. Anderson Valley vintners show well in this regard, and I almost feel guilty picking out favorites. (I will confess I got to the tasting late, and had to accelerate a bit through the last 1/3, so notes not as lengthy as normal. )

Some of these will be pouring at tomorrow's Taste of Mendocino event – look for them.

My Personal Top Recommendations

  • Baxter Winery 2009 Run Dog Vineyard Native yeast. 18 months neutral French oak. 10% whole cluster. 100% Pommard 5 clone. Unfined/unfiltered. Lighter red color. Earthy nose, bright red fruit, cranberry, excellent acidity, finish. 14.3% alcohol.  110 cases. $45
  • Breggo Cellars 2009 Anderson Valley Ten months in 44% new French oak. Blend of many clones. Nose of earth, spice, red fruit, Bolder and plush on the palate. 14.8% alcohol.  2183 cases. $38
  • Couloir Wines 2009 Monument Tree 30% whole cluster. Native yeast. 30% new French oak. Unfined/unfiltered. Bright nose of red fruit and spice. Strawberry, red fruit and pomegranate. Great acidity, long finish. 14.1% alcohol, 143 cases. $38
  • Elke Vineyards 2009 Donnelly Creek Vineyard 100% de-stemmed. Burgundy yeast, nati

    ve ML. Blend of five clones. Unfiltered. Burgundian nose of earth, forest floor, mushroom. Strawberry, raspberry, silky finish. 14.3% alcohol.  840 cases. $34

  • Foursight Wines 2007 All-In, Charles Vineyard Native yeast. 20% whole cluster. Blend of 777, 114, 115, Pommard 05 clones. Unfined/unfiltered. No racking, 44% neutral barrels. Gorgeous Medium red color, gorgeous nose, cherry and pomegranate, excellent acidity. 407 cases, $46
  • Harrington Wines 2009 Wiley Vineyard Partial native yeast, 10 months French oak 25% new. Blend of 90% Pommard, 10% 777 clones. Light red color, modest nose, bright cherry, great acidity. 14.1% alcohol, 261 cases, $40
  • Londer Vineyards 2009 Paraboll (Ferrington & Valley Foothills vineyards) 40% new French oak. Blend of Pommard and Roederer 23 clones. Bright red, berry and spice on the nose, red and dark fruit, good structure and acidity, pleasing finish. 14.8% alcohol, 379 cases
  • Macphail 2009 Toulouse Vineyard Partial native yeast. Native ML. 3 months lees stirring. 11 months 60% new French oak. Unfined/unfiltered. Blend of 115, 667, 777 and Wadenswil 2A clones. Light, delicate, earthy, sensuous. Lingering finish. 14.3% alcohol. 267 cases. $49

Onto The Walk Around Tasting

The day was gorgeous – sunny and modest temperature. The reception upon arrival and general disposition of the staff and attendees mirrored that – the friendly attitude was warm and genuine – a phenomenon repeated every time I visit Mendocino County it seems.

Inside was yet more Pinot Noir. Seeking a bit of a palate break, I sought out bubbles and rose' – only a few were to be had….surprising, especially for the Rose'.

A band played, people lingered and relaxed in the grass, or sat on benches nibbling on treasures from the various food stations. I was solo – no friends or partners in crime could attend, and I was due back for a BBQ by five, or else I may

have lingered all day myself. I did finally meet my Twitter friend Chenoa, who works for Zina Hyde Cunningham Winery. It's always a pleasure to finally meet virtual wine friends in person, and Chenoa was as fun and bubbly in person as she is on Twitter.

After a few hours of tasting, chatting, a few bids on the silent auction, I reluctantly tore myself away to head back to North Sonoma, vowing next year to book a place to stay early (although with my growing cadre of Mendocino friends and wineries, perhaps not needed) and stay all 3 days. On Sundays, the wineries have open houses, but alas I had a 12 hour day of vineyard prep work ahead of me, so there was no wine playtime ahead for Simple Hedonisms.

Until next year….

My affinity for this wine region continues to grow. In 2 weeks I have the honor to attend a small writers work shop with icon Paul Dolan, and then in August, have been invited to be one of the judges in the Mendocino Count wine competition. Between trips there, and coming home to my loved Sonoma county and new farm/vineyard in Russian River Valley – my life seems full, and blessed indeed.

Thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms – cheers!

Related Articles:

Monday June 13 – Another Evolution in Wine Events – The Taste of Mendocino.

Mendocino Wine Region – My Growing Love Affair & Weekend Tour; Taste of Mendocino June 13th, A Fresh Unique Format

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Monday June 13 – Another Evolution in Wine Events – The Taste of Mendocino.

Earlier I wrote about the need for Wine Events and Walk Around Tastings to Evolve. Next Monday June 13th Industry and Consumers can experience, what I personally feel is one of those evolutions in progress.

I stated there are two key elements I feel coming to change walk around tastings: (1) Smaller, more focused events and (2) Mobile Point of Sale allowing you to buy wine you like as you try it.

Taste, Try & Buy – And Not Just Wine

Suzanne and Jason McConnell of RIVINO

A few weeks ago I shared my growing passion for this county, still undiscovered by many. Mendocino Wine Region – My Growing Love Affair & Weekend Tour; Since that weekend (which I will be writing about this weekend and beyond) I have been back once already, and going regularly. (Recent circumstances haven given me more time to focus on wine projects and writing.) In a few weeks I will also be one of a very lucky, select handful of writers doing a biodynamic workshop with Mendocino icon Paul Dolan.

The county artisans, it feels to me, are tired of being skipped over for other wine regions, when they offer so much. They are also fiercely proud of being the Greenest Wine Region in the U.S. Biodynamics, Organic, Sustainability – these aren't buzzwords here, they are a way of life.

Although Mendocino County really isn't that far from Bay area residents, most head to Napa and Sonoma, missing these gems also worthy of a weekend visit.

The Frey Family - Largest Organic Winery in US

Bringing Mendocino To You

So, the county is bringing the culture and wares to the city. Attendees of Taste of Mendocino can taste not only wine, but microbrew, organic meat and produce. And, best of all, most items are for sale; its a giant farmers market for all products. They are even bringing in the local Flynn Creek Circus a 'rurally based circus theatre company pushing traditional arts to an innovative edge.

There will be information and booths about lodging, events, activities like kayaking, and more. Click here for the full list of winery, food, artisan and other participants, all under one roof at Fort Mason in San Francisco.

You'd be crazy to miss this event….seriously. Only $35 for an evening of food, wine, entertainment, brought to you by the good people of Mendo

cino County. Support them, and their amazing wares with your hearts, minds, and a purchase or three. Lets keep it in NorCal, shall we?! Tickets are here. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Almost Forgot  – A Ticket Contest -  24 Hours, Don't Snooze

Almost forgot. Ok, two pairs of tickets, TWO different ways to win:

(1) In comments below; tell us

If you have been to Mendocino before, share your favorite winery you visited and why. If you haven't, share with us which variety/type of wine, you are most interested to try, from the many grapes grown there, listed here.

OR (and you can enter BOTH WAYS)

Patti Fetzer of Patianna Organic Vineyards

(2) Signup for Simple Hedonisms email updates. (Top right.) Your information is secure and never shared, you simple receive new articles once a day maximum, in email. You will have to click a link sent to your email to verify, your must complete that step to be eligible.

Contest ends Saturday June 11th at 4 pm!

Follow the Fun Before, During And After on Facebook & Twitter

Watch for updates, pictures and more on their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TasteOfMendocino. I would also recommend adding the Mendocino Wine Commission (source of these pictures) as well:

http://www.facebook.com/mendowine.

Follow along on Twitter – you can follow @TasteofMendo as well as the Twitter Hashtag (sorting mechanism) #TOM11 for live updates from attendees. No Twitter account needed just click your web browser here.

Like this article – help spread the word of Simple Hedonisms on Facebook, Twitter etc.

See you Monday at Fort Mason!

Related articles:

Wine Tasting Events Must Evolve – An Example at the Saturday June 11th Vinify Winery Collective Event in Santa Rosa

Mendocino Wine Region – My Growing Love Affair & Weekend Tour; Taste of Mendocino June 13th, A Fresh Unique Format

Wine Review – 2009 Paul Dolan Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino County

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Mendocino Wine Region – My Growing Love Affair & Weekend Tour; Taste of Mendocino June 13th, A Fresh Unique Format

Mendocino County – so close for Bay area wine aficionados but so often overlooked. In the past this may have been in part to the quiet, laid back marketing efforts, consistent with the personality of the region. Over the last few months, I have observed many subtle but growing changes in that approach, and some new players helping put the county on people's radar. People in Mendocino are fiercely proud of what they do and stand for, and there is a growing level of noise and desire to share that with the rest of the world.

Personally as a wine lover, writer, and consumer, there is much to love. I am not a fan of Disneyland like wine culture, and the laid back, hard working, passionate atmosphere, deeply connected to the earth and environment, appeals to me. It's a region full of hard working, family wineries, very much like what I love in my own Sonoma County. It also offers a wide array of interesting wine varieties and wine making styles. This is not a region that has typically chased Parker palate, scores, or embraced New World styles, but rather has held true to their individual philosophies and beliefs.

The region is home to a wide range of grape varieties, Rhone (Grenache, Marsanne), Alsatian (,Burgundy (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay) and more, with many vineyards with very old vines, producing some incredible high quality fruit. Vintners know this and many North Coast winemakers explore the many off the beaten track nooks and crannies for the gems there.

Mendocino Comes to You June 13th

This years Taste of Mendocino is in a very innovative, exciting format. Formerly a Industry/Trade focused event, it has now moved to Ft Mason (San Francisco), and added a consumer portion, with several key highlights. Wine of course will be showcased, but attendees will also experience many of the other artisan food, art, and entertainment experiences the county has to offer.

This vibrant and fun event will offer an array of opportunities to meet new people, stimulate your senses, explore the region and buy wine, produce, grass-fed beef, beer, and artisan products. sip, sample, taste and buy it all at this exclusive marketplace meets showcase. The Mendo vibe will be kicking at the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason Center. The marketp

lace will include over 60 wineries, organic beer, artisan olive oil, preserves, eggs, cheese and grassfed beef and lamb producers as well as favorite dishes from local restaurants. A large contingency of local artists, including the popular Flynn Flying Circus and other diversions and attractions will be there to remind you that Mendocino County is an amazing destination only 1.5 hours from the Bay.

What I really like about this event is they are hopping on the emerging trend, which I strongly support, of selling wine at the event, similar to the SF Vintners Markets. Mobile POS systems and onsite sales at tastings, is the future of wine events. Why shouldn't it be…how frustrating to find a wine you love at a tasting and not be able to buy it. Many of these wineries are very small, limited distribution. Instead of dealing with shipping costs etc, just grab, pay, and go. Brilliant. Ticket sales information is here. At $35 this is a ridiculous steal.

Join wineries, organic breweries (Ukiah Brewing Company), craft distillers (Germain-Robin), artisan producers (like Shamrock Artisan Goat Cheese and Oliveto del Vecchio), famous grassfed beef ranchers (McGruder Ranch’s biggest client is Chez Panisse) and many creative artists and entrepreneurs. You'd be crazy to miss. My only regret is that its only 3 hours long.

(Trade & Media can register here.)

Touring Mendocino This Weekend

As soon as I hit the 'Publish' button, I am literally out the door to visit Ukiah and Redwood Valley for the next 3 days, to taste, visit, and hang out with some of the community. This by no means is a slight on Anderson Valley, I love the area, but have visited multiple times, and just came back from the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir festival. Which is an AMAZING event, I will be camped at for all 3 days next year. I will be publishing my highlights shortly. I will also share the highlights of this tour and discoveries in several articles. Stay tuned!

Enjoy Your 'Simple Hedonisms' This Long Weekend

This site embraces life's simple pleasures – quality of life from good food, good wine, friends, family and artisans. The Bay area and Wine Country  has these in abundance. I hope you will take the time to slow down, relax, and enjoy some of them this holiday weekend.

Cheers, and thanks to all you for reading and supporting.

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Wine Review – 2009 Paul Dolan Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino County

Paul Dolan is a renowned leader in sustainable, biodynamic, and organic agriculture. Paul is the author of True to Our Roots: Fermenting a Business Revolution the story of how he led the sixth largest winery in the nation to industry and market leadership while successfully pioneering the path of sustainability.

“After tasting the real difference between organic and conventionally farmed grapes, side by side in a sun-drenched vineyard in 1987, my entire way of thinking about grape growing changed.  The organic grapes were expressive, interesting and balanced while the conventionally farmed grapes were bland and insipid.”

Whether or not you can 'taste' the difference of biodynamic and organic grapes is something of a controversy in the industry, although some producers swear by it, as Paul does. Regardless,  it's the right thing to do as stewards of the land, our environment, and for future generations.  Indeed if a wine grower needs a selfish reason, most do admit the long term benefits in the health of a vineyard and soil profile compared to the results of years of chemical farming. This isn't a fad or a marketing ploy, it's part of sharing this planet with others.

Parducci, Paul Dolan, Mendocino Press Tour End of this Month

I have been enjoying a number of Paul Dolan & Parducci wines these last few months, and look forward to a scheduled visit, and personal tour at the end of the month. Anything you would like me to ask him, on the behalf or readers? What other wineries would you like me to visit and write about? (No revisits this trip to places have tasted before.)

2009 Paul Dolan Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino County

100% Organically grown grapes, from a high elevation, affording hot days, and cold nights. Temperature swings like these allow grapes to ripen with full flavor, but retain acidity, key to balance in a wine.

Color: Medium Yellow straw, clear and vibrant

On the Nose: Green apple, kiwi, cialis 100mg Crisp asian pear.

In the Mouth: The published tasting notes say “The wine has a distinctive kiwi fruit character, complemented by bright citrus zest and lemon grass notes.” The latter may make you think of New Zealand sauvignon blanc, but it does not have the herbaceous, grassy like quality many of the New Zealand sauvignon blancs, and their counterparts too. (Not there is anything wrong with that style, but this is a pleasant change.)

It is not the overripe version we can see from warm climates, but instead nicely balanced. I taste kiwi and apple, nice mouthfeel, texture, good acidity, but not searing.

This wine is best drunk at proper cellar, not refrigerator temperatures – overchilling mutes much of the more delicate flavors in the mouth. Some budget priced SB's serve better chilled, even with a ice cube as a porch pounder – don't do that to this one, its more refined and nuanced.

Recommendations: Recommended buy. Well made, subtly, pleasantly slightly unique from many other North Coast sauvignon blancs.

Where to Buy: Online -  click here. $17.99. Media Sample

Wine Geek Info:

  • VINEYARDS 100% MENDOCINO COUNTY
  • COOPERAGE: 100% STAINLESS STEEL FERMENTED & AGED
  • ALCOHOL: 13.5% BY VOLUME
  • TA: 0.58 G/100ML
  • PH: 3.28
  • RS: 0.03G/100ML
  • CASES: 4,050 CASES
  • CERTIFICATION: 100% ORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES, C.C.O.F. CERTIFIED
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