Posts Tagged ‘wine events’

Rosé the Rhone Way – A Post in Pictures

A few weeks ago, William and the North Coast Rhone Rangers organized a beautiful Rosé tasting in the garden at Quivira Winery. Between the wonderful weather and the gorgeous bottles of Rosé, I ended up with a lot of really great pictures. I decided to just put them all up here and let the wine do most of the talking (with my own notes interspersed of course).

The pictures below represent just a few highlights from the tasting. The whole event was lovely and I look forward to adding some of these wonderful wines to my personal collection.


2012 Broc Cellars Santa Ynez Rosé $20

We started the day with the Broc Cellars Rosé. The blend is 50% Counoise and 50% Cinsault. It was a great refreshing way for us to start off the tasting. With clean, fresh, watermelon flavors it felt like a perfect start of summer wine. I personally am really excited about Broc Cellars – with a tasting room located in Berkeley, I know I will be stopping by before at least one Cal Football game this year.


2012 Campovida Rose di Grenache $34, 134 case production

The next Rosé was from Campovida. I had met the winemakers a few weeks earlier at the 7% Solution Tasting and was excited to get a chance to try their wine. Grenache Rosé is definitely something I've been enjoying a lot lately and this was no exception. To go from loving Grenache to discovering Grenache Blanc, it is only fitting that I've now progressed to Rosé and am growing quite passionate for it as well.  The Campovida was also selected by attendees as their favorite wine of the day, in a poll completed by attendees, by quite a margin, congrats!

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2012 Front Porch Rosé $25, 90 case production

My personal favorite of the day was the Front Porch Rosé being poured at the Idlewild table. As a blend of 70% Grenach and 30% Syrah, it has a lovely juicy flavor that was reminiscent of guava.

Of course, there were also some amazing Idlewild wines (which for some reason I didn't manage to get a picture of). The 2012 Vin Gris ($22, 70 case production) was an exceptionally light Syrah Rosé. With only 1.5 hours on the skins, it had delicate strawberry and crisp citrus tones.

The third wine at the table was another favorite – the Idlewild Grenache Gris ($28, 122 case production). With 3 days on skins and stems, it was darker in color than the Vin Gris. The wine had a beautiful nose and lovely cranberry flavors. I had tasted it a few weeks earlier and was happy to try it a second time and see that it was still as wonderful as I remembered.


Mounts Family Winery 2012 Grenche generic viagra Rosé $16, 82 case production

The Mounts 100% Grenache Rosé caught my eye initially just with how light and peachy the color was (I told you the pictures did a lot of the talking here). With only 4 hours of skin contact and low sugar content, it had such a light and crisp grapefruit flavor. It was absolutely perfect on the sweltering Sonoma day.


Quivira 2012 Rosé $19, 602 case production

It wouldn't be a complete review without mentioning the host winery's Rosé as well. This Rosé is a blend of 51% Grenache, 32% Syrah, and 17% Mourvedre. There was a lovely strawberry flavor that I very much enjoyed along with the bright pink color. The wine is also organic which I always support. In addition to the Rosé, I also picked up the Quivira 2011 Grenache. I had to contain myself from buying anymore and I'm sure next time I visit I will also be grabbing a few of their blends.


Drink Pink, Dress Pink

It wouldn't be a day of wine tasting without me hamming it up for a few photos as well. I was very enthusiastic that my dress matched many of the wines. I would love to say this was a happy accident but I noticed that most of my dresses had some wine spots on them and I figured in this case, no one would see if I spilled wine on myself. Ironically, since I took the precaution, I managed to refrain from my usual clumsy nature and keep all of my wine in the glass.


I can't take her anywhere…

The commentary on the event would not be complete without mentioning the beautiful sustainable garden at Quivira. It was fun to explore and see just how many different types of produce were flourishing. I can hardly keep my key lime plant alive so I was definitely impressed. My friend, Natalie, really enjoyed exploring the gardens as well. I hear the raspberries are delicious…


A wonderful end to a beautiful day of wine tasting!

After tasting a lot of lovely Rosé, we all went back to William's house for a wine filled homemade dinner that went way past sunset. It was a wonderful day and I'm looking forward to more of these smaller Rhone Ranger tasting events. At $15/ person, the Rosé tasting was a fun and inexpensive way to explore a very specific wine topic. Quivira was a perfect location for it and intimacy of the event really let me talk to the winemakers a little bit more. Thanks William for putting together such a beautiful tasting!

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Experience 6 Micro-Wineries You Normally Can't Taste, Feb 4th, In A Unique Try& Buy Tasting, Santa Rosa

My mantra that Wine Tasting events must evolve remains steadfast, as I have written numerous times. (See buy cheap cialis online

href=”″ rel=”bookmark”>Wine Tasting Events Must Evolve, Taste of Mendocino June 13th, A Fresh Unique Format.)

In the ongoing competition of events, organizations need to evolve what they offer consumers. Likewise, for small wineries to survive, they can not simply continue to pour dozens of bottles of wine at events, without some level of ROI, beyond brand recognition.

Thanks to the concept of custom crush, where winemaking facilities can be shared, the advent of virtual, microwineries continues to grow. Yet if these wineries don’t have normal hours, how does one get to taste, and purchase these handmade (often hand bottled, labelled) true artisan, very small lot wines?

The state of California does not make premise wine sales very easy, but the industry and technology continues to evolve to facilitate wine tasting combined with sales.

One of these events is occurring Feb 4th in Santa Rosa.

Micro-Winery Collective Open House at Inspiration Custom Crush

Many wineries now share their facilities with other small winemakers. This win win arrangement allows them to faster recoup their large capital investment, and simultaneously allows new, small wineries to get started without the capital investment up front, albeit at a higher production cost per bottle.

Inspiration Vineyards, itself a micro-winery producing ~1000 cases a year, is one of these facilities. Under its roof, Jon Philips has other wineries making wine. These small vintners have no tasting room, and sell by appointment only, and to restaurants.


Taste Small Lot Wines You Can’t Normally Try or Buy

Feb 4th, from 11 am to 5 pm, you will be able to try and buy these wineries.

Ticket Price Includes Wine Purchase Credits

The event features small bites to go along with the

wines, and Ultra Crepes, one of my favorite food trucks will be on hand.

Tickets in advance are $20, but come with $10 credit towards wine purchase, and $5 towards food, reducing your cost for the event to a mere $5.

You may purchase tickets online at:

Don’t miss the great opportunity to taste wines you can’t normally!

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

I have been writing and vocalizing regularly these last few months that Wine Tasting events are going through an evolution. With more and more wineries and associations holding events, organizers are seeking ways to stand out and be unique. This is especially true for the 'walk around' tasting format where many producers are under one roof pouring for consumers walking around, such as the many Fort Mason events.

The Evolution of Wine Tasting Events

As someone who attends and covers a wide range of events, both as media and consumer, and who organizes many as well, I feel there are two themes that must emerge:

Smaller, more focused tastings:

The lines of people 4 deep waving their glasses like baby birds demanding food begats little in my opinion. As a consumer (or worse, Media) it means that there is no chance for meaningful dialog with the producer. (Unless you are one of the mannerless that hog the table irregardless.)

As a producer, you may think its great to pour for this many people, but you aren't leaving an impression with many, but simply doling out 'juice'.  More is not always better, there needs to be a balance. Being able to successfully target enthusiastic, interested consumers, eager to learn and experience,  instead of just party goers, is a key part of success as well.

A chance to buy, right away, a wine the consumer likes:

Evolutions in handheld and mobile Point of Sale systems (POS) are enabling this, and doing well at events like the San Francisco Vintners Market, the upcoming Taste of Mendocino and more. Many wineries are very small, have limited production and sales distribution. Paying for shipping is a proven barrier to consumer sales. If I loved a taste of something I tried, especially from a remote winery, why NOT buy it then and there. Its only logical.

As a new Board member of the Rhone Rangers, I keenly set my sights on this enabler. The usual challenge and expense of ABC licenses add expense & paperwork, but this evolution is coming, and is beneficial to the local artisan and the economy.

Many consumers are not aware, but these events are expensive, especially for a small winery. They carry the cost of table fees, travel, lodging, and the many bottles of wine they pour. If a winery can sell enough wine to cover their costs, that makes the ROI much

more palatable, instead of tryi

ng to justify only the 'soft' benefits of pouring my wine to new consumers. If they can actually make some money – bingo! After all, winemaking isn't a non profit venture, although it can sometime feels like it!

Voila – The Vinify Wine Collective Tasting

This Saturday, Vinify Wine Services, a custom crush facility located in Santa Rosa that houses boutique winemakers  from Sonoma County is offering a unique event. Their member wineries, who produce wines from highly acclaimed vineyards all over the North Coast , representing over 12 varietals and 40+ finished wines, will be holding a special tasting, that exemplifies what I just discussed.

These are small, artisan producers, many of whom have no tasting room and limited distribution. At this event, not only can you taste their wines, but you can walk out the door (after you pay) with your favorites.  Some of these are culty producers with waiting lists, others are new emerging stars.

$25 lets you experience these wines, and take home a Riedel Burgundy glass. A variety of cheese & other nibbles will also be available. I attended this event last year, and was impressed, look forward this tasting with great anticipation. Click here for more information, and tickets. Space is limited.  See you there!

Producers Include:

  • Baker Lane
  • Bjornstad Cellars
  • Lattanzio Winery
  • Sojourn Cellars
  • Westerhold Family Vineyards
  • Calluna Vineyard
  • Jemrose Vineyard
  • Barbed Oak Vineyards
  • Argot Wines
  • Desmond Wines
  • Frostwatch Vineyard and Winery
  • Olson Ogden Wines
  • Gracianna Winery
  • Vaughn Duffy Wines
  • Audelssa Estate Winery
  • Wren Hop Vineyards & Winery
  • Super Sonoman Wines
  • Kanzler Vineyards

Related articles:

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


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A Myriad of Events in Sonoma Wine Country June 5-6th

Ever have one of those weeks you wanted to clone yourself to get more done? As a lover of Wine Country Events, its a weekend like that, starting tomorrow. Just North Sonoma alone is a hotbed of activity.  Featured below are some of the highlights.

Taste Alexander Valley – Saturday & Sunday 11-4

The folks in Alexander Valley, a wine region in North Sonoma, have outdone themselves with a stunning array of food and  wine pairings, and entertainment to boot at many. 35 wineries, some open only for this event, are pouring great wines, pairing savory wine country food.  Check out previous articles for details. Tickets are no longer available online here, are $75 at door. That’s a bargain for ten hours of Sonoma entertainment.

The event kicked off last night with the Opening Night Gala at Rodney Strong’s rarely open Crown Vineyard. It’s sold out, sorry, I did say to buy early!

Plan your day using  Tips & Suggestions for June 5&6 Taste Alexander Valley.

Russian River Single Night (Single Wines, not people) – Saturday 630-10pm

C. Donatiello Winery
4035 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA  95448

The Russian River Wine Growers are hosting a new event, this Saturday night, Singles Night. No,  its not a meat market, its for everyone, the ‘Single’ being single varietal (grape ) wines. This fun filled, unique is at C. Donietello Winery. Get there on time for the special tasting in the cellar room that starts at  630. Bring friends to bid on the very cool auction lots, specially designed to win/share with friends. Details here and here. The list of Single Night participating Wineries is pretty spetacular. As of now, some tickets are still available, but have been selling briskly.

8 at the Gate – Sunday, June 6th  11am to 4pm.

8 at The Gate is a special treat if you are a club member of one of these 8 wineries: Balletto Vineyards, Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Dutton Estate Winery, Hanna Winery, Iron Horse Vineyards, Marimar Estate and Taft Street Winery. I am a little miffed about short notice for this event, (I am a member) and overlap to the Taste Alexander Valley event. I know overlap is sometimes inevitable, but it would be nice to see the North Sonoma Wine Road appellations try and co-ordinate; I’d have liked to attend, and spend money at both events.

The event is a traveling farmer’s market with each winery pouring their best wines, offering irresistible wine club discounts and showcasing a local food purveyor and fresh produce from their own winery gardens. For this one special day, you can visit the 8 neighboring wineries, and receive all the privileges of being a member for the day. The wineries are within three miles of each other at the gateway to the Russian River Valley, so it’s a perfect fit for a one-day excursion. Each membership 4 accompanying guests to share in the fun.

Windsor Oaks: Chillin by the Pinot Pond – Saturday & Sunday  11 to 4

Windsor Oaks Vineyards, 10810 Hillview Road, Windsor, CA

Another great venue, only open 18 days a year. Chill Out by the Pinot Pond at Windsor Oaks Vineyards and Winery on Friday June 4th, Saturday June 5th and Sunday June 6th from 11 to 4!  If you have a passion for Pinot, you will love tasting and comparing several their artisan Pinot Noir’s.  Other award winning wines will also be poured.  Order a gourmet box lunch to enjoy pond-side or bring goodies from home.  $10 tasting fee waived with purchase.

Kendall Jackson Farm Stand – Saturday 10-2

The Kendall Jackson Wine Center culinary gardens are home to hundreds of fruit, vegetable and herb varietals from around the globe. It’s the source of fresh produce for our own culinary team and many exclusive restaurants in the Bay Area, and now  sharing their bounty  at the Kendall-Jackson Farm Stand!

  • Purchase Heirloom Vegetables from the Gardens
  • Chef’s Cooking Demonstrations
  • Garden Seminars with Master Gardeners
  • Wine Tasting and Education

The first Saturday of each month May through October, starting on Saturday, May 1.

Kickoff of 20th Annual Summer Concert Series at Rodney Strong Vineyards  – Kenny Loggins, Saturday 4 pm

This year’s Rodney Strong Concert Series includes returning greats and winery first-timers that make a stellar lineup for the winery’s 20th annual concert series.

The season will kick off on June 5th with Kenny Loggins. As a solo artist Kenny went on to stardom with such top hits as “Whenever I Call You Friend”, “I’m Alright”, “Footloose” and “Danger Zone.” I ran into the head of PR last night at the TAV Gala Event, and was told a few tickets ere still left.

Season passes and individual concert tickets are available here or by calling (707) 869-1595 ext. 4.  Tickets can be purchased in person at the Rodney Strong Vineyards Tasting Room. Doors: 4 p.m./Show: 5 p.m. Tickets VIP: $110/GA: $75. For more information click here.

For additional events, check out the Wine Road and Inside Sonoma websites.

Have a GREAT Weekend enjoying the Simple Hedonisms of Wine Country, cheers!

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