Support Small Wineries

Jul 282014
 

Denver and Colorado Wineauxs…. Here’s a great chance to drink some great boutique California Wines while supporting two great causes…Don’t miss it!

Blanchard Family Wines and Distant Cellars Wine Release PartyBlanchard Family Wines and Distant Cellars, two of my favorite California wineries with Colorado ties, are hosting their first ever joint wine release party here in Denver. These two family-owned wineries, both located in Northern California, have owners that live and serve here in Colorado.

James Blanchard, from Blanchard Family Wines, serves as an Air Force helicopter pilot while running half of his family winery, while Drew Gaiser from Distant Cellars serves as a local Colorado Firefighter while running the Colorado arm of his family winery.

Blanchard Family Wines and Distant Cellars Wine Release PartyJames and Drew will be hosting a wine release event at the University of Denver’s Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality on August 21st from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Both wineries have significant charitable arms and in addition to pouring several of their top selections, will be pouring wines that support great causes and new release wines never before shared..

Blanchard Family Wines will be pouring Jessi’s Red to benefit the Jessica Redfield Scholarship Foundation, in memory of Jessica Redfield, who was killed in the Aurora theater shootings. Distant Cellars will be pouring their Tribute Red Blend, a wine dedicated to raising funds for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

The wine tasting will be accompanied with amazing small bites from Executive Chef Michel Wahaltere of Dorchester Social Eatery and delectable tastes from Izzybelle Chocolates. Grab a glass of wine and visit exhibits from local artists Christopher Owen Nelson and Todd Perkins.

Tickets are only $15 and include a commemorative logo glass. Registration can be completed at the following link: https://boutiquewinetasting.eventbrite.com/. Wine Club members from either winery can get two free tickets by contacting their respective winery for a discount code.

Apr 022014
 

Last October we attended a wonderful event, Pinot on the River, on the town square in Healdsburg. It is a Pinot Noir lover’s dream, featuring over 100 of Sonoma’s best Pinot producers. As you’d expect, we tasted some amazing wine and met some outstanding winemakers.

Bucher Vineyard

John and Diane Bucher

As the afternoon crowd dwindles towards the end of the event, the buzz begins from those in the know. Some of the loudest buzz was around Bucher Vineyard, a 38 acre vineyard in the Russian River Valley, not far from Healdsburg. Single vineyard designated Bucher Vineyard Pinot Noirs have been created by some of the most renown Sonoma vintners, including Williams Selyem, Siduri Wines, Papapietro Perry, Arista, HoldredgeC. Donatiello Winery, and Thralls Family Cellars.

While I was familiar with the vineyard name and the wines made by other producers, the buzz was actually about the wines under the new Bucher Vineyard label. So we had to check them out. I must say they were indeed buzz-worthy. Just a day later we spent a few relaxing hours with John and Diane Bucher at their home on their 360 acre ranch which includes the vineyard and a 700 head organic dairy farm. Continue reading »

Mar 142013
 

Winemaker Trione VineyardsIn the fall of 2012, as the bounty of harvest was coming to an end, we had the opportunity to meet winemaker Scot Covington at the beautiful Trione Winery. Trione Vineyards and Winery sits in the heart of Alexander Valley, just north of Healdsburg in Sonoma County. For over 35 years the Trione family has been involved in Sonoma vineyards and winemaking . We were lucky enough to be on site during the Trione staff harvest party, complete with grilled wild duck, compliments of Mark Trione’s hunting skills. Scot’s excitement over the 2012 wines was contageous. The barrel and tank tastings showed exceptional promise.

In 2005, when the Trione family decided  to venture back into winemaking, it was Scot they tapped to design and build the winemaking facility. He is a warm and friendly person dedicated to the winemaking arts. As you will read, Scot was well traveled before Trione, though now he seems to have, paraphrasing Jimmy Buffett, “found a life that suits his style.”

B&B: who do you see when you look in the mirror?

SC: Well, that is a good question. Some days it’s Brad Pitt, some days George Clooney some days Archie Bunker…more often than not I see my Father. I see his eyes, ears; laugh lines. I wish my Father was still around to taste the wines that I am making now. He was a big fan of mine as I was of him and I see him often in the mirror especially now that I am a father. The mirror gives perspective. Continue reading »

Jan 312013
 
rockandvinebookjacketYou Can Win a Free Copy of Rock and Vine …Read on….

CONTEST CLOSED…CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THREE WINNERS

Many California wine lovers have heard the stories of Napa and Sonoma pioneers from the 1960’s, 70’s and earlier. Even the movie Bottle Shock celebrated their early successes. But what about now? Who are the rising wine stars that wine lovers need to know? Many of the up and comers have it in their genes…they are the children, grandchildren and even in some cases the great-grandchildren of the early wine country pioneers.

Due out early February 2013 is the beautifully written and photographed book, Rock and Vine which “reveals the lives and innovations of next generation changemakers in California’s wine country. Continue reading »

Dec 062012
 
wine blogWinestyr and Amazon Wine Marketplace – A Comparative Review

So what is a “Wine Marketplace?” Think of the Marketplace like a Farmer’s Market for wine lovers and craft winemakers…with one simple checkout experience. This is the term being applied to a few websites where smaller boutique wineries can go to sell their craft wines directly to the public, bypassing the outdated and monopolistic three-tier distributor system. The Marketplace serves as a go-between by conveniently taking the orders, even for multiple wineries, in one easily navigated spot.

How does this differ from online wine sellers? The Wine Marketplace does not sell the wine. The wine actually comes to the buyer from the winery. The Wine Marketplace simply serves as a portal to bring wine lovers and winemakers together. Many of the wines found in the Marketplace are smaller production, unique and artistic craft wines you may not find in your local retailer.

To date, there are two main Wine Marketplaces Amazon Wine and Winestyr. They both have similar business models. The winery pays a subscription price to the site and a percentage of the online sales. In both cases the wines are priced very close to, if not exactly the same as they are at the winery website. The sites may offer promotions on certain wines when the opportunity arises. Both offer better shipping prices than you will often get from the winery itself. Wine shipping can get quite expensive. The few wines found on both Amazon Wine and Winestyr appear to have similar if not identical pricing. Continue reading »

Feb 202012
 
vml tasting room

Wine BlogOn our recent trip to northern Sonoma we were graciously hosted by VML Winery . We arrived on a sunny 65 degree Saturday to a winery boasting beautiful gardens, decks that begged you to take a seat and enjoy a glass of wine, live music in the tasting room and barbeque. This Texas girl was already happy.  I understand that there is barbeque and live music every Saturday creating a relaxed almost party atmosphere. Continue reading »

Aug 062011
 

Earlier this summer Donna and I had the opportunity to spend a morning with winemaker Cathy Corison of Corison Winery. Cathy’s looks can be deceiving. She’s tiny, barley five feet tall, but exudes a modest confidence that raises her stature another foot.

Wine Blog

Our tasting view overlooking the Kronos Vineyard

We met Cathy a couple of months earlier at the CIA in St. Helena during her seminar for a bunch of wine writers on the attributes of great Cabernets. There is no question she knows her stuff in spades and is an excellent educator, in addition to being a superb winemaker.

Cathy Corison is a pioneer, entering the realm of winemaking at a time when few women were seen in the cellar. Obviously the 1970’s were a different time for women in male dominated workplaces but this petite powerhouse made it work. As you will see, even after a winemaker hired Cathy for her first crush/harvest she was fired by the winery owner before the job even started. She was too small and not tough enough for the physical rigors of the cellar, he believed. Persistent, that same winery hired Cathy back the next year.

Corison Winery is truly a family winery located on Hwy 29 near St. Helena. It is old Napa Valley, small and quaint. The tasting room, located in the winery’s barrel room, is open daily. Corison offers a personal experience that stands in striking contrast to the glitz and glamour, hustle and bustle of so many Napa wineries.

The Cabernet Sauvignon created by Corison Winery is aptly described as “power and elegance.” The same holds true for Cathy Corison herself. Please join us at our tasting in the top floor of the barn at Corison Winery overlooking the 40 year old Kronos cabernet vineyard. Continue reading »

Jul 232011
 
best wine blogger

Paso Robles Town Square

Over the past year, this wine blog has made numerous trips to Napa Valley and Sonoma. My son finished his winery internship at Rombauer Vineyards (Napa Valley) and needed to drive his pickup to Austin, TX so he could work crush and harvest with his friends at Solaro Estate Winery (Dripping Springs, TX). What could be better than winemaking in 100+ heat?

The 24 hour drive across the desert southwest is long and boring, so I generously offered (note sarcasm) to fly out to CA and drive back with him. The catch, you ask. Well, we just had to spend a couple of days exploring and of course drinking wine, in Paso Robles wine country. Neither of us had been to Paso so we weren’t sure what to expect. In the end we met some great people and innovative winemakers, had creative and delectable meals and best of all, drank some excellent wines. We will definitely be back for another visit.

Continue reading »
Jul 122011
 

Wine Blog“Follow the money,” a quote from  All the President’s Men where Deep Throat advised Bob Woodward that the key to understanding the Watergate mystery was the money. In the case of HR 1161 “The Care Bill” or what should be called the “Wholesaler Protection Act” which seeks to limit or stop direct sales of wine to you from wineries and wine clubs, one only needs to “follow the money.” X

Direct shipment is a critical part of the business plan for many small, family and artisanal wineries.  Small wineries can not compete with large wineries for shelf space in your local wine shop. Direct shipments to happy customers and wine clubs are their best avenue for survival. Continue reading »

Jun 292011
 

Wine BlogThe drive from Calistoga to Volker Eisele Family Estate in Chiles Valley (a sub-ava of Napa Valley ava) is a 30 minute climb along a scenic winding two-lane road. As I drove I wondered why anyone would choose to grow grapes in this upper valley. I later learned that Francis Sievers founded Lomita Vineyards in 1870 on the same plot where Volker Eisele planted his predominately Cabernet vineyards a hundred years later. I was greeted at the old Lomita winery building, which now serves as the offices and a museum of sorts, by Volker Eisele himself. His German accent is still pronounced, giving the whole experience an old world feel. Being something of a Napa history buff, I was excited to meet this iconic pioneer vintner. Volker Eisele is featured prominently in the historical book, Napa: The Story of an American Eden by James Conaway. Continue reading »