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How You Can Contribute to Earthquake Relief in Napa

How You Can Contribute to Earthquake Relief in Napa

It’s been easy for some people from outside the immediate area to make jokes about “free run juice” and “air-lifts of water crackers,” but last week’s earthquake in southern Napa devastated... Read more...

On a Vertical Tasting of Grgich-Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville Selection

On a Vertical Tasting of Grgich-Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville Selection

Grgich-Hills hosted a vertical tasting of their Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon this week. The fruit comes from a vineyard near Hopper Creek that was planted in 1959, coincidentally just one... Read more...

A Tale of Two Conferences

In my last article, Cats and Dogs Blogging Together, I said there are two species of blogger: career bloggers and hobbyist bloggers. The North American Wine Bloggers’ Conferences could serve each... Read more...

Cats and Dogs Blogging Together

There are two species of wine bloggers. Within each species, there are many breeds—reporter, diarist, taster, storyteller, etc.—which have analogs in the other. But the two species are very different... Read more...

Getting the Wine Bloggers Conference We Deserve

I attended this year’s North American Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Santa Barbara last week. This was the fifth WBC I’ve attended. Some parts of the conference were truly excellent, many were interesting... Read more...

New White Wines and Rosés from Rutherford's Day in the Dust

Last Wednesday afternoon, the Rutherford Dust Society held their annual tasting for trade and media at Inglenook. Roughly 40 wineries were represented. I tasted 54+ wines (in addition to those from the... Read more...

Examining 2011 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

On Wednesday, July 16, Inglenook hosted “A Day in the Dust,” the Rutherford AVA’s annual media and trade tasting of new releases. This year’s focus was 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. The event included:... Read more...

6 More California Rhone Wines to Try at Rhone Rangers

It’s time for one more brief list of wines for you to seek out at the Rhone Rangers tasting this Sunday. Get your Grand Tasting tickets here and don’t forget to use the discount code: GT–20... Read more...

Lodi Zinfandel Goes Native

Lodi is well-known for Zinfandel. Of particular note are its many acres of old vines. Thick-trunked and twisted after all these years, they look more like short trees than grape vines. The fruit... Read more...

Study: Researchers Discover New Taste

Researchers in Australia claim to have discovered a new taste category. The human tongue's sensitivity to sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami flavors has been well-known for decades. Umami was the last... Read more...

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2010 Moone-Tsai Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2010 Moone-Tsai Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

The exotic-sounding Moone-Tsai is a collaboration of Napa Valley business veterans (Mike Moone, Mary Ann Tsai and Larry Tsai) and star winemaker Philippe Melka. The flagship wine is Cor-Leonis, a luxurious... Read more...

2009 Hawk and Horse Cabernet Sauvignon

2009 Hawk and Horse Cabernet Sauvignon

The Hawk and Horse wines come from a sloping, 18-acre estate vineyard that reaches up to 2,200 feet in Lake County's Red Hills AVA. The deep red, volcanic soil is peppered with silicon-based crystals known... Read more...

Four from Falcone Family Vineyards

After many years of making wine together and separately at prominent wineries, Helen and John Falcone launched their own project, Falcone Family Vineyards, in 2002. Their eight-acre vineyard, about seven... Read more...

2010 Skinner Vineyards Estate Mourvedre, El Dorado

The potential for great wine growing in the Sierra Foothills is massive, particularly for Rhone varieties. In recent years, quality in the bottle has started delivering on that. Skinner Vineyards and Winery... Read more...

2012 Masut Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir, Mendocino County

Bobby Fetzer managed the vineyards and bought grapes for his family’s Fetzer Vineyards,[1] founded in 1968, until the business was sold to Brown-Forman in 1992. Four years later, he bought 1,500 acres... Read more...

2010 Gallica Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Holy cow, this a gorgeous wine. I tasted—no, I drank—it last night at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. [The restaurant is offering 50% off all bottles on their wine list this month, so now’s the... Read more...

2011 Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel Lizzy James Vineyard Lodi

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...

2006 Santana Supernatural Rosé by Mumm Napa

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...

2011 Jekel Riesling Monterey and 2011 Jekel Pinot Noir Santa Barbara

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...

2012 Matthiasson Chardonnay Linda Vista Vineyard Napa Valley

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...

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Art & Wine: Tasting With the North Coast Rhone Rangers

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 Sold to Maison Louis Jadot

Resonance Vineyard Sold to Maison Louis Jadot

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 Wine Dinner

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...

Tickets remain for Sunday's West of West Wine Tasting

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...

Wine Market Council Initiates U.S. Wine Club Study

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...

La Follette Wines Launches Friday Night Music Series

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...

Green Winery Opens Tasting Room at Solar Living Institute

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...

Hess Collection Acquires MacPhail Family Wines

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...

Calling Everyone Called Raymond

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...

Now Astronauts have an Excuse to Drink Red Wine on the Job

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...

Gallo Buys Edna Valley Vineyard and Winery

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...

Crunk and Disorderly

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 Dropped 42% in the Past 60 Years

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...

Train to Produce Wine

The musical group Train has announced that it will be offering "Drops of Jupiter" Petite Sirah. Read more...

What's Worse than Bad Counterfeit Wine

Photo: David Haberthür You've heard about scams in which fake bottles of 1945 Lafite or the like are sold at auction to rich people for massive sums. But wine counterfeiters aren't proud. They'll rip... Read more...

Wine Business

Winemaker Joel Aiken Launches Wine Consulting Company

St. Helena, CA – Internationally known winemaker, Joel Aiken, has left the position of Vice President of Winemaking at the world-renowned Beaulieu Vineyard (BV) in Napa Valley to begin working as a consulting winemaker. Aiken is well known for producing award winning Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Aiken developed an interest in winemaking as an undergraduate at UC Davis, the prestigious school where he earned his Masters of Science degree in Enology. Upon finishing his studies at Davis in 1982, he was named BV’s Assistant Winemaker, and progressed steadily up through the organization as Winemaker, Director of Winemaking and finally as VP of Winemaking, a position he held from 1999-2009.  Throughout his career Aiken has earned the reputation as an innovator as well as an expert on barrel production and Cabernet Sauvignon clonal selection and use.

Aiken says, “BV has been a wonderful place to work, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to learn from both André Tchelistcheff and Michel Rolland. My desire now is to take my experience and use it to help clients create wines utilizing the best of traditional winemaking techniques as well as the latest innovations.”

Aiken will continue to consult with BV on the Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon label, a wine that he has handcrafted for over 25 years. His most recent accomplishment at BV was overseeing the design and construction of the new Georges de Latour Reserve Winery in 2008. This is a state-of-the-art facility located at the historic Rutherford estate.  “Throughout the history of Beaulieu there has been a great tradition of innovation. To have been able to create this new winery, incorporating innovative techniques such as barrel fermenting of Cabernet was one of the highlights of my career at BV,” Aiken explains.

Aiken also served on several prestigious wine industry boards of directors throughout his career: the Napa Valley Vintners from 2000 – 2005 with terms as President, Vice President and CFO; the Rutherford Dust Society from 1994 to the present with a term as President; and the Carneros Wine Alliance throughout the 1990’s.

For more information, call (707) 337-0584 or go online to www.aikenwineconsulting.com.

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Press release provided by Vintelligent Marketing.

California Wine Exports Up

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Sales of California wine to overseas buyers improved every month this year (through May) and increased 17 percent overall by revenue, 25% by volume during that period. Part of the increase is due to an uptick in demand from Hong Kong & China which, taken together, are now the 3rd largest imporrting region for California wine.

All this is according to the California Farm Bureau Federation and they attribute the data to wine industry analyst Gomberg Fredrikson and Associates. GF&A don't make their data available to journalists, so I can't substantiate the CFBF report or provide further detail.

Constellation Wines US to Increase Focus on Luxury Brands

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Constellation Wines U.S. has created new positions, include a VP slot, in order to better leverage their high-end California wines. The new vice president, Pierre Noique, comes to Constellation after nine years at Niebaum-Coppola/Rubicon Estate where he had most recently served as the National Sales and Marketing VP. He will be based in the company's San Francisco office and will lead a newly-formed sales group focused only on the luxury brands.

Constellation brands that fall into the luxury category include Robert Mondavi Winery, Franciscan Estate, Mount Veeder Winery and Simi.