Oct 082014
Read Part 5 of our Starting J. Cage Cellars – A Family Winery Series


IMG_2276It was the last few days of our harvest and crush for J. Cage Cellars. The Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier that Donna and I had watched over so closely during the last weeks of ripening were fully fermented and safely tucked into their barrels, resting until they are ready to share. Our Pinot Noir from Nunes Vineyard in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County was nearly finished and ready for press. I, for the first time during this experience, was feeling down and a bit sad. But it took a winemaker friend to describe the emotion accurately.

The last two weeks had been filled with work in the winery. Both Donna and I found we were missing our time in the vineyard. Early morning, in the solitude of vines, grapes and sunshine, sometimes hidden by a thin layer of coastal fog was a time we learned to cherish. We would walk amongst the rows taking grape samples, checking for quality, sugar levels and overall ripeness. Different areas of the vineyard and different clones of the same grape variety mature at different rates, making choices challenging. We strived to get our first picks as close to perfect as possible, in order to create the hand-crafted wines we had been imagining for our own, J. Cage Cellars. Continue reading »

Sep 212014
Read Part 4 of our Starting J. Cage Cellars –  A Family Winery Series

Much to my naive surprise, learning to be a winemaker (for our new J. Cage Cellars label) and seeking winemaking advice has turned out to be much like my first days of fatherhood and  seeking child rearing advice. Even the most artful winemakers hold deeply seeded conflicting opinions. As my friend Kurt Beitler of Bohème Wines told me, “Roger…What do you get when two winemakers are in a room together?…Four opinions.”

Learning to be a Winemaker I recall from my early days as a father asking different parents I respected about child rearing philosophies and techniques. As I found with winemaking, there was an inconsistency of heartfelt answers. Let the child bond by sleeping in bed with you. The child should learn independence by sleeping in another room. Let the child set their own schedule. If your child sets their own schedule, you’ll have an undisciplined child and you’ll get no rest…It’s all enough to leave your head spinning like the child, Regan, in the 1973 film The Exorcist.

Even though I had spent quite a bit of time reading about the art of winemaking, when the time came for decision making, I relied on a core group of respected winemaker friends who were happy to offer solid advice. I had assumed incorrectly, that since they produced wines in a similar style, their techniques would be nearly the same and I would have a simple plan to follow. I could not have been more wrong. Not only are many of their opinions deeply held, I was told that if I followed another’s advice…it could end badly. Like Regan…my head was and is still, though to a much lesser extent, spinning. Continue reading »

Dec 022013

Wine Blogger Roger Beery of Bacchus and Beery – Interview

I was excited to be interviewed by the premiere European Food and Fashion website, Webflakes. So if you wanted to know a bit more about the guy behind Bacchus and Beery…Here you go.

Roger Beery

Wine Blogger Roger Beery from Bacchus and Beery

This week we introduce you to Roger Beery who, along with his wife Donna, started the wine blog Bacchus and Beery, which is dedicated to tasting, enjoying, discovering, and of course, just drinking wine. 

They started their love affair with wine back in college and it is now a shared passion in their family, with both their son and daughter working in the industry. 

With years of experience, Roger is now a self-appointed Wine Evangelist spreading the Gospel of the Grape – from sharing an interest with lifelong friends to passing down his family’s passion to their children. Continue reading »

Winemaker Interview – Kurt Beitler of Bohème Wines (Sonoma Coast)

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Jan 302013

Kurt BeitlerDuring the 2012 Aspen Food and Wine Festival we had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with Sonoma Coast winemaker Kurt Beitler of Bohème Wines. I was excited to meet the energetic and passionate young winemaker; if for no other reason than he is a grandson of one of the winemakers most influential in my early wine development, Charlie Wagner, co-founder of Caymus Vineyards. We waited for Kurt outside an Aspen restaurant, to find him wheeling up through the festival crowd on his mountain bike with a great smile on his face and even better wines in hand.

While Kurt learned much of his craft working with his uncle Chuck Wagner (co-founder of Caymus) and cousins at Caymus Vineyards, he ventured out a few years ago to create hand-crafted Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Chardonnay under his own label Bohème Wines. Kurt’s five small-lot wines are exceptional examples of terrior-driven single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Bohème Wines are available from their website and tasting room in Occidental, CA. For those who support small, family and artisan wineries…Bohème is a wine find that will definitely excite your palate and enhance your cellar. Continue reading »

Jun 302012

wine blog, wine blogs, best wine blogWe had no plans to attend. We didn’t even expect to be in town so we made no effort to get press credentials for the Aspen Food and Wine Classic 2012 until it was far too late. But the best times, as we learned, can happen with a total lack of planning…but always include wine.

Since one of our sons was home from college working at his restaurant management internship, we decided to cut our travels short and return to Denver earlier than expected. Over the previous two weeks a number of kind wineries and winemakers had sent invitations to your humble bloggers for off-site Aspen parties. So after a little effort we booked a small condo in Snowmass, 8 miles away, and decided “who needs the fancy tents anyway…we have wine parties to attend!” In all honesty, next year I really want event tickets after seeing what I could from afar. Continue reading »