Finding great gifts for wine collectors can be a challenge. Giving wine is dicey since collectors are often very particular. Instead, choose something which shows you support their love of wine and went the extra mile to learn what serious collectors can really use but may not have. Durand - The...
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Recent Blog Articles
- 4 Great Gifts for Wine Collectors
- Recapping an Epic Tasting of 1968 Cabernet Sauvignon
- A Blow to the Stomach - SF Chronicle to End Standalone Food Section?
- New Pinot Noir and Cabernet Releases from Sojourn Cellars
- Fervor versus Flavors
- Update: Missing Articles on NorCalWine
- Thoughts on the Inaugural Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak AVA Tasting
- Body Count - On Describing the Body of Wine
- Lateral Moves North
- Enjoy an Epic Tasting of 1968 Napa Valley Cabernets and Other Upcoming Events
- Charles Banks Acquires Historic Qupé Winery In the Santa Maria Valley Appellation
- Spotlight on the Moon Mountain District Sonoma County AVA
- Tasting the Wines of Andrew Murray Vineyards
- Mendocino Sparkles
- Discovering Mendocino
- Review: New California Wine by Jon Bonné
- 12 Things You Should Know about Sake
- Tasting Report: 14th Annual Mt. Veeder Appellation Tasting
- New Research: How Our Brains Categorize Aromas
- Upcoming Wine Events for September 20 - 23
Why taste of a bunch of wines from all the way back in 1968? Is it a stunt or for bragging rights? No, it’s for the love of wine and the history of wine. My friend, Rich Meinecke, who organized the... Read more...
Update: According to a KQED report, SF Chronicle Managing Editor Audrey Cooper is vehemently, semi-denying the NY Times' story. In essence, she says changes are coming but that details in... Read more...
Sojourn Cellars consistently produces top-quality Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from North Coast sites. Most of the releases are vineyard-designates, but there are some fine appellation blends... Read more...
Many people don’t like wine writing which includes detailed descriptors, particularly long lists of flavors and aromas. I get that. Casual wine drinkers may be alienated because they’re not able... Read more...
Update: There's no clear progress on resolving the issue, but I'm going to start posting new material regardless. Due to back-end database issues caused by hacker/spammers, NorCalWine.com was down for... Read more...
The Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak AVA was officially established less than two years ago. The Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak Winegrowers association held their first group trade tasting Monday at AQ restaurant... Read more...
Despite being odorless and tasteless, body is an important character in wine. It adds to, or detracts from, our pleasure in drinking. In blind tastings body provides a clue as to varietal and regional... Read more...
Lateral, an established brand, is making a new start in Napa Valley. Lateral began as a label of the Kathryn Kennedy Winery in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. The line was created in 2003 by... Read more...
Taste Multiple 1968 Napa Valley Cabernet in Livermore—October 27 You probably take claims such as “once in a lifetime opportunity!” with a grain of salt. Yeah, me too. But then there’s this...... Read more...
Lodi is well-known for old vine Zinfandel with many vines planted more than a century ago. Some of Lodi’s grape-growing families have participated in as many vintages themselves. The Schnaidt-Mettler... Read more...
Mumm Napa has been making sparkling wines in concert with Carlos Santana for several years now. 100% of Santana’s proceeds from the sales go to agencies helping to prevent and/or remedy youth substance... Read more...
Riesling is one of the wine world’s best values. Whether the bottle comes from Germany, Australia, Alsace, Washington State, New York or a cool region in California, you can consistently get more flavor... Read more...
My first experience with Matthiasson wines was six or seven years ago. Jill and Steve Matthiasson hosted a crowd of wine bloggers/writers/tweeters to an al fresco buffet and tasting at their home/orchard/vineyard... Read more...
News that majority interest in Qupé has been sold sent me to my cellar for a bottle of their wine to enjoy with dinner. First to hand was this 2010 Qupé Mourvedre which I purchased at their tasting room... Read more...
Last week I took a wine tour group to Tres Sabores in Rutherford. The weather was very warm but with a refreshing breeze. The sky was blue, the vista clear and gorgeous. First in our glasses was a wine... Read more...
Yesterday I highlighted a Lucia Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir from 2009, a fairly ripe year. Today I’m offering a look at the same venue from a much cooler year. 2011 challenged grape growers up and down... Read more...
2009 was a good year for Santa Lucia Highlands AVA Pinot Noir. Achieving ripeness was not a challenge. At the same time, the area’s generally moderate temperatures allowed producers to offer balancing... Read more...
Buccella is a small-production, luxury wine label founded by Bill and Alicia Deem in 2002. They offer two Cabernet Sauvignon varietal wines and one Merlot, all from vineyards in Napa Valley. “Buccella”... Read more...
Vin Roc winery sits on, and is tunneled into, Atlas Peak at an altitude of 1,600 feet. The vineyard slopes toward the Foss Valley floor below. The surroundings are almost startlingly rocky, all volcanic.... Read more...
Members of the North Coast Chapter of the Rhone Rangers are joining together to offer wine afficiandos a chance to taste Rhone wines from 15 wineries. The event is from 3-7 p.m. on Tuesday,... Read more...
Resonance Vineyard is in Oregon's Willamette Valley, not northern California. But it's a vineyard of significance and it's sale to Maison Louis Jadot is a stunner as Jadot has no other properties outside... Read more...
Araujo Estate, one of Napa Valley’s most lauded wineries was just purchased by the owner of Bordeaux’ Chateau Latour. The move came as a surprise to many—the offer was even a surprise to Bart and... Read more...
3rd Annual West of West Wine Festival 2013 showcases acclaimed West Sonoma Coast wines in weekend long event at The Barlow facility in Sebastapol. 40 top producers and growers will host the trade... Read more...
New study will provide members with valuable wine club data St. Helena, CA, July 29, 2013—Wine Market Council, the non-profit association of grape growers, wine producers, importers, wholesalers,... Read more...
Local Bands To Play at La Follette Tasting Room at The Barlow in Sebastopol Sebastopol, CA (July 29, 2013) – La Follette Wines is adding to the attraction of its new tasting room at The... Read more...
In what I suspect is the first such tie-in ever, Mendocino County's Parducci Wine Cellars has opened a tasting room within the Real Goods Solar store at the Solar Living Institute in Hopland. This co-location... Read more...
Small-lot Pinot Noir specialist James MacPhail has been producing high-end wines under the MacPhail Family Wines label since 2002. The wines, predominantly vineyard-designates from Sonoma Coast and... Read more...
I don't normally push winery promos. And, actually, I'm not pushing this one. But I do think it's fun. And it gives me an excuse to use the video clip above, for which I'm totally sure you'll thank me.... Read more...
A study by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology indicates that consumption of resveratrol can slow the effects that lack of exercise has on the human body. Resveratrol is found... Read more...
E & J Gallo has signed an agreement to purchase Edna Valley Vineyards and Winery. The winery is currently owned by Diageo and Paragon Vineyard Company in a joint venture. Edna Valley Vineyards sources... Read more...
An American is stirring up trouble in the UK. It’s not some out-of-control tourist though, or even an ex-pat one-word-named musician. It’s a drink. In a can. Read more...
French wine consumption has dropped by 42% in just two generations. France is arguably the most famous country in the world for producing wine and for drinking it. But now, only 16.5% of the French... Read more...
The musical group Train has announced that it will be offering "Drops of Jupiter" Petite Sirah. Read more...
News: December 26, 2009
- Winery News
- Written by Fred Swan
- Created on Saturday, 26 December 2009 19:45
Phelps leads winemaking effort at Swanson - David Stoneberg, St. Helena Star
News: January 20, 2010
- Winery News
- Written by Fred Swan
- Created on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 22:58
Weyrich living high while employees and brides-to-be suffer - Karen Velie, Cal Coast News
Bonny Doon founder on common wine mistakes consumers make - Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune
Tasting notes from the Chronicle Wine Competition in Sonoma - Laurie Daniel, Bay Area News Group
Mike Dunne's Wine of the Week pick - sacbee.com
Michael Bauer: How much does a food critic drink? - SF Chronicle
Amateurs sought for Lodi wine contest - Reed Fujii - Recordnet.com
Citizen Cake moving to Pacific Heights and other SF Bay restaurant news - Stacy Finz, SF Chronicle
Marko Karakasevic of Charbay Winery & Distillery becomes Master Distiller (press release)
- Winery News
- Written by Administrator
- Created on Thursday, 04 March 2010 19:10
St. Helena, CA - Spring, 2010 - Marko Karakasevic has earned the title ‘Master Distiller’ following a colorful 26 year apprenticeship under his father, Miles Karakasevic, who is a 12th generation European Grand Master Distiller. The family owns Charbay Winery & Distillery, an independent artisan winery and distillery based in the Napa Valley. Miles held the standards high and it was up to Marko to prove himself.
To become a Master Distiller, Marko was to source, distill and bring to market a spirit equal to or better than spirits he’d distilled under his Master. Marko’s thesis is a whiskey called Doubled & Twisted, which is an old distilling term referring to a critical point in the second distillation. When he told his father he had sold his first case, Miles, beamed with pride, shook his hand and said: “Congratulations, Marko. You are now a Master Distiller. Let’s drink some whiskey and smoke cigars.”
Marko’s apprenticeship included 26 years around the family Copper Alambic pot stills. Together, Miles & Marko fermented wines, distilled brandy, made ports (fortified with their own brandies), liqueurs and distilled grappa, pastis, vodkas, rums, Pachanga, whiskey and their latest release: Charbay Tequila which they personally distill in Mexico. They are hands on distillers.
It was Marko’s idea to produce Charbay fresh fruit vodkas back in 1998 when he was just 25 years old. The 100% whole fruit vodkas went national. The Food & Wine article by Pete Wells fueled the buzz that these vodkas truly captured the fresh fruit flavors. They woke up the world to a new category of artisan vodkas. Marko was honored with the Vodka Visionary award by Food & Wine magazine. Gourmet Magazine said they “…tasted better than the real fruit…”
Charbay is family owned and operated. They work with restaurateurs across the country including Employees Only, NYC; Michael Mina, S.F.; Rock House, Bahamas to the International Aman Resorts.
Marko’s thesis is called Doubled & Twisted Light Whiskey. He bottled his first release in 1 liter jugs. It retails California for $58.
CHARBAY WINERY & DISTILLERY was started in 1983 by Miles & Susan Karakasevic. Miles is a 12th generation winemaker & Grand Master Distiller from Europe. His family carries on a lifetime of artisan skills combined with the ‘can do’ spirit of California and the wonderful fruits available. Son Marko, who grew up in St. Helena, is the 13th generation winemaker/distiller in the family. Come taste the wines & ports of Charbay, an independently owned and operated winery & distillery.
Contact: Susan Karakasevic
Phone: 707-963-9327, ext. 16
Quivira Vineyards Names Hugh Chappelle Winemaker
- Winery News
- Written by Fred Swan
- Created on Monday, 28 June 2010 18:50
Quivira Vineyards & Winery, a Dry Creek Valley winery with a strong committment to biodynamic viticulture, announced today that they've hired Hugh Chappelle to serve as winemaker. Chappelle replaces Stephen Canter who is leaving to take a winemaking position in Oregon. Canter had joined Quivira in 2006 when the winery was purchased by Peter Kight.
Hugh Chappelle's most recent position was at Lynmar Estate in the Russian River Valley. He had served as their director of winemaking for roughly four years. Prior to that, he was winemaker at Flowers Vineyard & Winery for four years. Before his time at Flowers, he served as winemaker at Madrona Vineyards in the Sierra Foothills.
Quivira Vineyards' best known wines are Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc. Their Mourvedre, Grenache and Petite Sirah have also been receiving acclaim recently.
VALLEY GATE VINEYARDS ANNOUNCES OFFICIAL GRAND OPENING
- Winery News
- Written by Fred Swan
- Created on Thursday, 01 July 2010 20:15
Napa Valley’s Newest Tasting Room to Open Friday, July 16
NAPA, CALIF., July 1, 2010 – Valley Gate Vineyards (“Valley Gate”) of Napa Valley announced it will celebrate its official grand opening on Thursday, July 15, with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. Representatives of the Napa Chamber of Commerce, elected officials and members of Napa’s business community will welcome the winery to America’s celebrated wine country. Beginning on Friday, July 16, Valley Gate’s tasting room will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Located on the southern edge of Napa Valley in Jamieson Canyon, the sundrenched hills that make up Valley Gate were once part of a sprawling cattle and horse ranch that dominated the landscape for generations. Cattle and horses blanketed the ranch as it spanned from Rancho Petaluma on the west to Rancho Suisun on the east and down south to San Pablo Bay. More than 100 acres of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet grapevines now blanket the countryside that is now Valley Gate Vineyards.
“Located just 55 miles west of downtown Sacramento, we are one of the first wineries that visitors see as they enter the wine country,” said President Montgomery Paulsen. “Valley Gate is already one of the region’s premier custom crush facilities and we are anxious to open our own tasting room and begin hosting unique special events throughout the property.”
In May, Valley Gate renewed its relationship with local custom crush winery and winemaking firm Bin to Bottle. The Napa based firm provides management services to Valley Gate’s advanced custom crush winery and crush-to-consumer services. Continuing its relationship with Valley Gate allows Bin to Bottle to process significantly more lots of 20 tons or larger. Bin to Bottle, founded in 2006, has seen its custom crushing volume surge over 150% in the last three years due to the growing demand for high quality custom crush services in the region.
Valley Gate also announced the appointment of Lessly Van Houtan as the new winery’s tasting room manager. Van Houtan has more than ten years of experience in the wine hospitality industry including managing the daily operations of tasting rooms, overseeing retail sales, the hosting of special events and wine club management. She previously served as the customer service manager and partner of Folio Winemakers’ Studio in Napa and director of retail sales and hospitality at Mahoney Vineyards/Carneros Creek Winery.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of opening Napa Valley’s newest winery and tasting room,” said Van Houtan. “Surrounded by rolling hills and featuring unsurpassed views of Jamieson Canyon and San Pablo Bay, Valley Gate will offer picturesque wine tasting experiences as visitors first enter the Valley. Just minutes from downtown Napa, the winery also is ideal for wine tastings and food pairings presented during rehearsal dinners, cocktail parties and corporate events.”
Valley Gate announced in April that Top It Off Bottling of Sonoma, Calif., had entered into an agreement to utilize the advanced bottling line at the bonded winery and custom crush facility. Primarily a mobile on-site bottling firm, Top It Off is now able to increase its custom bottling capacities and expand its presence in Napa Valley. The firm had previously served the northern and central wine regions of the state and utilized mobile bottling trucks equipped to service wineries of various sizes. Featuring an experienced staff with more than 75 years of combined wine industry experience, the firm utilizes Valley Gate’s modern bottling facility for custom filtration, filling, corking, capping, labeling and packaging services for wineries throughout Napa Valley.
Valley Gate announced the appointment of wine industry veteran Montgomery Paulsen as president earlier this month. With over 20 years of California winery experience, Paulsen oversees the winemaking and general operations at Valley Gate, farming of grapevines, custom crush and crush-to-consumer operations, custom bottling services and general and administrative functions. In recent years, Paulsen had been active as an independent winemaking and wine business consultant with clients throughout California, Oregon and Washington, as a specialist in winemaking, brand development, financial analysis and integration, international business and operations.
About Valley Gate Vineyards
Located at 1 Kirkland Ranch Rd. in Napa, Calif., Valley Gate Vineyards features a 57,000-square foot three-story main building reminiscent of a California costal lodge, a 36,000-square foot cellar with a 3,000 barrel storage capacity and an expansive 3,000-square-foot tasting room with a wraparound terrace to enjoy unobstructed views of Napa Valley and San Pablo Bay. Valley Gate Vineyards’ advanced winery has the capacity of processing 3,300 tons of fruit and has 247,000 gallons of stainless cooperative.
Valley Gate Vineyards