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General Interest

Introducing the Coombsville AVA in Napa Valley

Yesterday, December 14, 2011, the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) approved the Coombsville AVA (American Viticultural Area). Located in eastern Napa, Coombsville becomes the 16th AVA in Napa Valley. The new AVA goes into effect on January 13, 2012.

The petition for granting an AVA had been made by Tom Farella and Bradford Kitson. It was a redrafting of an earlier petition for an AVA called Tulocay which the TTB had denied. The proposed Tulocay AVA had been slightly larger and crossed into Solano County. The TTB also felt that the name Tulocay did not have sufficiently broad acceptance.

The Coombsville AVA is named for an area of the city of Napa called Coombsville. It's namesake was Nathan Coombs, one of the founders of the city of Napa and a large landholder there. At one time, he held 2,525 acres east of the Napa River. The area has been referred to on official maps as Coombsville since at least 1876. Wine grapes have been grown there since 1870, if not earlier. It was then that the Carbone family started a vineyard. About ten years later, the Carbones built what was probably Coombsville's first winery.

The Coombsville AVA totals 11,075 acres, 1,360 of which are within commercial vineyards. It is roughly bordered by the Napa River on the west, the ridge of the Vaca Range on the east, Monticello Rd. on the north and Imola Ave. on the south. Much of the AVA is at sea level, but it rises to 1,900 feet on Mt. George in the northeast corner. The soils of Coombsville are substantially alluvial on top of volcanic ash. The alluvium includes large stones and gravel, formed by erosion of volcanic rhyolitic tuff from the Vaca Range. It drains well. The volcanic ash, which settled after eruptions of Mt. George, holds water that can be tapped by deep-diving vines.

ackermanvineyardsThe Coombsville AVA has a cooler growing season than many in Napa Valley. The nearby San Pablo Bay and Napa River moderate temperatures. Morning fog is common. During Spring and early Fall, the waters also keep Coombsville warmer and make frosts less frequent. These factors combine to create a long, moderate growing season. It average about 19 inches of rain per year, two more than Los Carneros but two-and-a-half less than Oak Knoll District. Likewise, it averages 2,550 heat summation units, 100 more than Los Carneros but 338 less than Oak Knoll District. This puts Coombsville very close to the coolest end of region II in the Winkler climate classification system.

Cabernet Sauvignon is by far the most-grown varietal in the Coombsville AVA. Other red Bordeaux varietals, especially Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are also popular. Syrah can also be found and some areas are cool enough to do well with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

The Coombsville Vintners and Growers association includes 25 wineries and 13 additional growers. They are all characterized by the association as small and family-owned. Visits are by appointment only. However, while case-production levels are small, there is a big range in the level of investment put into the wineries and their facilities. There are modest wineries, but others that are truly amazing. Ackerman Family Vineyards was featured in the book Spectacular Wineries of Napa Valley. Palmaz Vineyard has built one of the most impressive winery facilities I’ve ever seen. Their’s is a huge gravity-flow operation, tall as an 18-story building, but all set into the side of Mt. George.

Four wineries currently feature the name Coombsville on some or all of their labels: Bighorn Cellars, Laird Family Estate, Farella-Park Vineyards and Monticello Cellars. These wineries have notified the TTB that they are all in compliance with TTB regulations for the new AVA as the wines in question are made from at least 85% Coombsville fruit.

The Wineries of the Coombsville AVA

Ackerman Family Vineyards
Ancien Wines
Black Cat Vineyard
Blue Oak Vineyard
Burly Wine
Caldwell Vineyards
Coho
Daviana Winery
Farella Vineyard
Frazier Winery
Inherit the Sheep
Le Chanceux
Marita’s Vineyard
Meteor Vineyard
Palmaz Vineyard
Porter Family Vineyards
Prime Cellars
Sciandri Family Vineyards
Silverado Vineyards
Sodaro Estate Winery
Thomas Michael
Tournesol
Tulocay Winery
Verismo

The Growers of the Coombsville AVA

Angel Acres
Bennett Vineyards
Christian Vineyards
Coutese Vineyard
D’Ambrosio Vineyards
Darrin Family Vineyards
Dead Fred Vineyard
Francis Vineyards
McCrorie Family Vineyard
Sciandri Estate
Simpkins Family Vineyard
Toivola Family Vineyard

 

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. Ackerman Vineyard photo courtesy of Ackerman Vineyards. All rights reserved.

Wine Events for Valentine's Day through President's Day

If you haven't been checking the calendar at NorCalWine.com for tasty and romantic wine experiences for this weekend — Valentine's Day Weekend — then you may be without a plan. That could be trouble. Never fear though, below is a virtual See's Sampler of chocolate and wine adventures. Don't stop at the sweets though. There are excellent events throughout the week and on into President's Day Weekend.

Of the latter, here are a couple I'd like to highlight. First up is a concert and winemaker dinner at Miner Family Winery featuring world-class jazz pianist Bob James on Saturday, February 18. If you're not familiar with James, click through to the calendar entry for a link to his website and a sample track. Another great event is the February 20 Vintners Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner. There won't be a better chance to meet up with true legends of the California wine industry this year.

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There are some many events happening in the next eight days or so, that this article is a bit long. It's easy to scroll through and look for headers. But, if you prefer, just click on the following links to go directly to a particular region.
East Bay - Fresno - Lake County - Lodi - Marin County - Mendocino - Monterey County - Napa Valley - Paso Robles - San Francisco - Sierra Foothills - Sonoma County - South Bay - Upcoming Highlights

All events listed below are in chronological order within each region. I also recommend checking the increasingly jam-packed events calendar at NorCalWine.com for future events. Some require advance reservations or ticketing.

Event organizers and publicists get your events published here by posting your events in the calendar at NorCalWine.com. Posting events there requires a one-time registration (easy, peasy), but is totally free of charge. And it only takes a couple of minutes. I’ll soon post a guide here with tips on how to make event posts as effective as possible.

East Bay

Friday, February 10

Viva Amore! Viva Wine! at Rockwall Wine Company — Alameda: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Enjoy delicious Rock Wall Wines, scrumptious appetizers, sweet treats, chocolate delights, smokin’ hot music, titillating tours, scandalously spectacular views and special event day only discounts!

Saturday, February 11

Be Mine at Les Chenes Vineyards — Livermore: 12:00pm - 04:30pm
Enjoy their annual Jacqueline Kennedy's Chocolate paired with 2008 Les Chenes Estate Syrah.

Cedar Mountain Winery Valentines Day Port and Chocolate Tasting — Livermore: 12:00pm - 04:00pm
Late Bottled Vintage Port, Tortuga Royale, Luana Inu, and Chardonnay del Sol plus the locally-made Live-For-More-Fudge.

Sunday, February 12

Be Mine at Les Chenes Vineyards — Livermore: 12:00pm - 04:30pm
Enjoy their annual Jacqueline Kennedy's Chocolate paired with 2008 Les Chenes Estate Syrah.

Tuesday, February 14

Valentine's Couples Vineyard Bus Tour at Ruby Hill Winery — Livermore: 2:30pm - 5:00pm
Enjoy a Champagne Toast at the summit with beautiful views of the Valley then a full tour and tasting.

Thursday, February 16

Dutcher Crossing Winery presented by Diablo Tasters Guild at Faz — Danville: 6:45pm - 9:30pm
An evening with winemaker Kerry Damskey and Dutcher Crossing wines paired with fine cuisine.

Friday, February 17

Dark & Delicious 2012 at Rock Wall Wine Co. — Alameda: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
55 preeminent Petite Sirah wine producers and 30 fabulous Napa and Bay Area restaurants and/or food caterers.

Saturday, Februrary 18

Cedar Mountain Winery, Presidents' Day Weekend Barrel Tasting — Livermore: noon - 4:00pm
Sample 2009 Syrah and 2005 Souzao Port.

Thomas Coyne Winery Winter Open House — Livermore: noon - 5:00pm
Bring a picnic and enjoy sweeping views of the Livermore Valley.

Sunday, Februrary 19

Cedar Mountain Winery, Presidents' Day Weekend Barrel Tasting — Livermore: noon - 4:00pm
Sample 2009 Syrah and 2005 Souzao Port.

Thomas Coyne Winery Winter Open House — Livermore: noon - 5:00pm
Bring a picnic and enjoy sweeping views of the Livermore Valley.

Taste with the Winemaker of Carica Wines at Rock Wall Wine Company — Alameda: 2:00pm - 6:00pm
Enjoy complimentary samples of Carica's newest releases, including Petite Sirah and Sauvignon Blanc with Winemaker Charlie Dollbaum.

Monday, Februrary 20

Cedar Mountain Winery, Presidents' Day Weekend Barrel Tasting — Livermore: noon - 4:00pm
Sample 2009 Syrah and 2005 Souzao Port.

 

Thomas Coyne Winery Winter Open House — Livermore: noon - 5:00pm
Bring a picnic and enjoy sweeping views of the Livermore Valley.

Taste with the Winemaker of Carica Wines at Rock Wall Wine Company — Alameda: 2:00pm - 6:00pm
Enjoy complimentary samples of Carica's newest releases, including Petite Sirah and Sauvignon Blanc with Winemaker Charlie Dollbaum.

Fresno

Saturday & Sunday, February 11 - 12

Wine & Chocolate Lovers Weekend at Fresno Wineries — Fresno: noon - 6:00pm
The family-owned and -operated wineries of Fresno County open their doors, offering wine and chocolate.


Lake County

Saturday, February 11

Wine & Chocolate . . . and More! at Mt. Konocti Winery — Lakeport: 12:00 - 4:00
There will be more than 30 wineries pouring premium Lake County wines paired with gourmet chocolates and savories by Master Sommelier Candidate and Masters of Wine Candidate Sommelier Stephanie Green.

Saturday, February 18

Ceago Winemaker Dinner at the Tallman Hotel — Upper Lake: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Owner Jim Fetzer, winemaker Barney Fetzer and family members will be there to introduce the wines and pairings.

Lodi

Saturday, February 11

Lodi Wine and Chocolate Weekend at Lodi Wineries — Lodi: 11:00am - 4:00pm
Sip delicious, handcrafted Lodi wines paired with decadent chocolate delights at over 45 Lodi appellation wineries.

Sunday, February 12

Lodi Wine and Chocolate Weekend at Lodi Wineries — Lodi: 11:00am - 4:00pm
Sip delicious, handcrafted Lodi wines paired with decadent chocolate delights at over 45 Lodi appellation wineries.

Tuesday, February 14

Winemaker Dinner at Oak Ridge Winery — Lodi: 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Wine Paring, Dinner & Dessert featuring Chef Bryon Zumstein (formerly of Le Bistro).

Sunday, February 18

Sip and Savor a Monthly Wine Appreciation Class at Oak Ridge Winery — Lodi: 10:00am - noon
Conducted by G.M. "Pooch" Pucilowski, Chief Judge for the California State Fair Wine Competition

Marin County

Tuesday, February 7

Happy Hour with Tudal Family Winery at Bacchus Venus — Sausalito: 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Taste through a flight of Tudal Wine's for $10.


Mendocino County

Saturday, February 11

Valentine's Wine & Chocolate Sampling at Milano Family Winery — Hopland: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Bring your Valentine and tickle your taste buds with heavenly creations by the ladies of Milano Family Winery.

McFadden's Second Saturday — Hopland: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Enjoy McFadden's wines made from 100% organically-grown grapes and paired with a delicious food treat.

Parducci's Valentines Day 'Death by Chocolate' Event — Ukiah: 11:00am - 4:00pm
Parducci Wine Cellars presents a romantic day of music, sensuous wines, and exquisite chocolates to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Wine & Chocolate Extravaganza at RWV Wineries — Redwood Valley: 11:00am - 5:00pm
One ticket gets you a glass for Wine Tasting and Chocolates at all 9 locations.

Cupid in the Caves at Saracina Vineyards, Hopland: 12:30pm - 4:00pm
Stop by the Saracina Tasting Bar for the romance-inducing foods of the gods: wine, oysters and chocolate!

Crab Feast in the Barrel Room at Jaxon Keys Winery — Hopland: 6:00pm - 10:00pm
A Valentines Weekend Crab Feast in the Jaxon Keys Barrel Room. They'll start things off with Oysters three ways: Rockefeller, Florentine, and raw and then it's all about the crab!

Sunday, February 12

Valentine's Wine & Chocolate Sampling at Milano Family Winery — Hopland: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Bring your Valentine and tickle your taste buds with heavenly creations by the ladies of Milano Family Winery.

Saturday, February 18

Int'l Alsace Varietals Festival Technical Conference — Boonville: 9:00am - 11:30am
Winemakers from around the globe discuss winemaking and grape growing specifically for Alsace varietals.

7th annual Int'l Alsace Varietals Grand Tasting — Boonville: 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Meet the winemakers and taste Alsace-style white wines from around the world, including Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Muscat.

Alsace Festival Winemakers Dinner at Shaffenberger Cellars — Philo: 6:30pm
Enjoy a sumptuous dinner with the winemakers and learn more about their wines in the elegant private dining room at Sharffenberger Cellars.

Monterey County

Saturday, February 11

Monterey's River Road Wine Trail Valentine's Passport — Greenfield: 11:00am - 4:00pm
The fourteen vintners along Monterey’s River Road Wine Trail offer a special day of rare vintages, fun, food, and celebration.

Valen-Tasting at Skov Winery — Scott's Valley: 12:00pm - 4:30pm
Join Skov Winery for a bit of wine tasting and an assortment of handmade chocolates, caramels and other sweets from the Generous Danes Kitchen.

Sunday, February 12

A Wine Lover's Weekend at The Summit Wineries — Los Gatos: noon - 5:00pm
Open house at the three Summit Wineries.

Saturday, February 18

Swirl, Sip & Celebrate National Drink Wine Day at Holman Ranch - Carmel Valley: 11:00am - 6:00pm
Stop by and celebrate National Drink Wine Day!


Napa Valley

Ongoing Events

Saturday February 11 - Tuesday, February 14
Chocolate and Wine at Cornerstone Cellars — Yountville: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Bring your sweetie to Cornerstone Cellars and indulge them in a wine flight paired with 3 chocolates hand crafted by Brent and Anette at Anette’s Chocolates, Napa Valley.

Saturday February 11 - Monday, February 20
The Ultimate Decadent Tasting at Trefethen Family Vineyards — Napa
:
10:00am - 4:30pm
Enjoy special selections of Trefethen wines paired with handmade confections produced by one of Napa’s finest chocolatiers.

Friday, February 10

Cupid's Kitchen at Girard Winery — Yountville: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Bubbles, the Oyster Girls from Tomales Bay, a sensuous chocolate fountain and exquisite cheeses.

Saturday, February 11

Valentine’s Oyster and Wine Pairing at Black Stallion Winery — Napa: 12:00pm - 4:00pm or until the oysters run out
Oysters by the pair, six-pack or dozen. And wine!

Trilogy Blending Seminar — Flora Springs Winery — St. Helena: 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Use the components of Flora Springs' Trilogy, to blend your own Bordeaux varietal wine.

Goosecross Valentine’s Day Party at TopFlight — Napa: 2:00pm - 6:00pm
Enjoy an afternoon of wine, chocolate and romance.

San Valentino Dinner at Andretti Winery — Napa: 6:00pm - 10:30pm
Put on your best Upscale Wine Country attire and come celebrate amore and Valentine’s Day with Andretti Winery.

Sunday, February 12

Cooking up Sweet Passion: Amy Reiley & Romancing the Stove at Peju — Rutherford: 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Learn to make hand rolled chocolate truffles from Amy Reiley's new cookbook Romancing the Stove while sipping Peju wines.

Friday, February 17

Cornerstone Cellars Winemaker Dinner at Bardessono — Yountville: 5:30pm - 8:30pm
Enjoy a  special 5-course tasting menu drawn from Lucy’s Garden by Chef Victor Scargle, inspired by the wines of Jeff Keene.

Saturday, February 18

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Release at Nichelini Family Winery — St. Helena: 11:00am - 5:00pm
Leona Marini, 4th generation, will be on hand to offer food pairings and stories.

Winemaker's Dinner & Bob James Concert at Miner Family Winery — Oakville: 6:00pm - 10:00pm
An intimate concert in the caves followed by a a four-course dinner prepared by La Saison chefs Natalie & Jonathan Niksa paired with new release 2009 Miner Cabernets.

Sunday, February 19

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Release at Nichelini Family Winery — St. Helena: 11:00am - 5:00pm
Leona Marini, 4th generation, will be on hand to offer food pairings and stories.

Monday, February 20

6th Annual Vintners Hall of Fame Induction Celebration at CIA Greystone — St. Helena: 4:00pm - 8:00pm
A rare opportunity to mingle with noted winemakers, famous chefs, and wine-loving celebrities.


Paso Robles

Saturday, February 11

Hearts and Wine Tour — Paso Robles: 10:30am - 4:30pm
A romantic day in scenic wine country led by Grapeline Wine Country Tours.

Valentine's Dinner at Croad Vineyard — Paso Robles: 6:00pm - 11:00pm
An elegant 5 course plated dinner paired with their best award winning wines in the grand tasting room.

Winemaker's Dinner in the Vineyard at Mitchella Vineyard — Paso Robles: 6:00pm - 10:00pm
A splendid Winemaker Dinner in the Vineyard with a Spanish inspired theme. Starting with hand passed appetizers and Champagne.

Valentine's Day Winemaker's Dinner at Opolo — Paso Robles: 6:30 pm - 9:00pm
Live music, dancing and a delicious multiple course meal paired with Opolo wines.

Sunday, February 12

Hearts and Wine Tour — Paso Robles: 10:30am - 4:30pm
A romantic day in scenic wine country led by Grapeline Wine Country Tours.

Valentine's Port & Truffle Pairing at PasoPort — Paso Robles: 1:00pm - 4:00pm
A taste of red or white wine followed by pairings of Port and Jessica Foster Confections truffles.

Monday, February 13

Ranchero Cellars Supper at Artisan — Paso Robles: 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Three course prix fixe menu served “family style”

Sharp's Hill Vineyard / Enoteca Winemaker Dinner at La Bellasera — Paso Robles: 6:30 - 10:00pm
An expertly paired four course dinner featuring Sharp’s Hill wines

Sunday, February 19

Paso Robles Rhone Rangers Experience: Seminar & Luncheon — Paso Robles: 10:30am - 1:00pm
Hear from winemakers and principals who have chosen the Rhone Ranger route in Paso Robles, and who are forging the area's reputation as California's "Rhone Zone".

Paso Robles Rhone Rangers Experience - Grand Tasting: 1:30pm - 4:00
Taste nearly 150 wines from the complete membership of the Paso Robles Rhone Rangers, including top single Rhone varietals and the best in Rhone blends.

Monday, February 20

RN Estate Supper at Artisan — Paso Robles: 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Three course prix fixe menu served “family style”

San Francisco

Friday, February 16

Schramsberg Vineyards w/Keith Hock at KL Wines — San Francisco:52:00pm - 6:30pm
The oldest sparkling wine house in California will be here to feature their delicious sparkling wines, including the J. Schram.

Saturday, February 18

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Public Tasting at Fort Mason — SF: 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Your chance to taste the award winners. Now you get to be the judge.

Monday, February 20

Peter Franus Winemaker Dinner at Cafe des Amis — San Francisco: 6:00pm -
Peter Franus has one simple philosophy: Wine should be delicious!


Sierra Foothills

Saturday, February 11

Wine & Chocolate Weekend — Madera Wine Trail: 10:00am - 5:00pm
On this special weekend, guests will enjoy wine tasting at 10 wineries, live music, local art, chocolates and delicious food!

Sweets for Your Sweetie at Boeger Winery — Placerville: 11:00am - 4:00pm
Enjoy scrumptious sweets and chocolates paired with Boeger wines in a one of a kind Boeger logo glass.

Barbera Fermentation Tours at Vino Noceto — Plymouth: 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Understand the fermentation and aging processes through the 20009 Linsteadt Barbera.

Passion for Ports at Deaver Vineyards — Plymouth: 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Deaver Vineyards semi-annual Port tasting and pairing event.

Acoustical Music at Casque Wines — Loomis: 5:00pm - 8:00pm
The guitar/sax duo of Casey Fairchild and Mike Wells offers romantic fireside sets.

Friday, February 17

Presidents' Wine Weekend Wine Tour in Calaveras — Murphys: 11:30am - 5:30pm
A customized Calaveras wine tasting tour

Saturday, February 18

Presidents' Wine Weekend Wine Tour in Calaveras — Murphys: 11:30am - 5:30pm
A customized Calaveras wine tasting tour

Acoustical Music at Casque Wines — Loomis: 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Matt Cooksey plays.

Sunday, February 19

Barbera for President! at Vino Noceto — Plymouth: 11:00 am - 5:00pm
We think our Linsteadt Barbera is king (well, President), and we want to celebrate its election as Shenandoah Valley’s next great varietal bycelebrating  a President’s Day Weekend release.

Presidents' Wine Weekend Wine Tour in Calaveras — Murphys: 11:30am - 5:30pm
A customized Calaveras wine tasting tour

Monday, February 20

Barbera for President! at Vino Noceto — Plymouth: 11:00 am - 5:00pm
We think our Linsteadt Barbera is king (well, President), and we want to celebrate its election as Shenandoah Valley’s next great varietal bycelebrating  a President’s Day Weekend release.


Sonoma County

Friday, February 10

Roche Winemaker Dinner at Sheraton Sonoma County — Petaluma: 6:30pm - 09:00pm
This "Pre-Spring Fling" Winemaker Dinner is open to the public, however, advanced reservations and RSVP are required.

An Evening with Merry Edwards at Paradise Ridge Winery — Santa Rosa: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Come spend a great evening celebrating Merry Edwards stellar career at a benefit for the Sonoma County Wine Library.

Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: 7pm
Music by Michael Hantman plus belly dancing by Kimberly Andora.

Saturday, February 11

Reds & Romance Weekend at Dutton Goldfield — Sebastopol: 10:00am - 04:30pm
Featuring Dutton Goldfield Winery's luscious red wines, including single-vineyard Pinots from the amazing 2009 vintage. A special sweet treat awaits you as well.

Bring Your Sweetheart! at Deerfield Ranch Winery — Kenwood: 10:30am - 4:30pm
Deerfield Ranch Wines paired with Robert's handcrafted chocolate truffles.

Culinary Romance: Valentine’s Weekend at Bella Vineyards — Healdsburg: 11:00am - 4:30pm
Bring your special valentine and bask in the elegant ambiance of our wine cave as you explore the culinary side of romance.

Special Valentines Day Vertical Tasting at John Tyler Wines — Healdsburg: 11:ooam - 5:00pm
2004-2006 Pinot Noir and Zinfandel wines in a mini vertical tasting paired with Brix Chocolates.

Sweet 116 at the Wineries of 116 — Sebastopol: 11:00am - 4:00pm
Enjoy decadent treats and delicious wines at six wineries along Highway 116 near Sebastopol.

Valentine Library Wine Flight at Skewis Wines — Healdsburg: 11:00am - 4:00pm
We have a special tasting planned for Valentine's weekend; a single vineyard, vertical tasting from our private wine library.

Miette Pastries at J Vineyards — Healdsburg: 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Head over to J Vineyards and Winery and enjoy tasty treats prepared by Executive Chef Mark E. Caldwell from the Miette, San Francisco's most charming pastry shop.

Tasting Room Grand Opening at Karah Estate/Windy Hill — Cotati: 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Come to the grand opening of the new Karah Estate tasting room and enjoy a free tasting, plus its panoramic view of the Petaluma Gap!

Wine & Chocolate at Amista Vineyards — Healdsburg: noon - 3pm
Join us at Amista Vineyards for award-winning wines paired with specialty chocolates from Sebastopol chocolatier Peters Chocolates.

A Zin Affair to Remember at DeLoach Vineyards — Santa Rosa: 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Vertical Zinfandel tastings, gourmet chocolate, local artisan cheeses, live music and more!

5th Annual Amphoradisiac Winemaker's Dinner at Amphora — Healdsburg: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
A multi-course gourmet dinner with fabulous wine pairings, white tablecloths, candlelight and roses.

Sunday, February 12

Reds & Romance Weekend at Dutton Goldfield — Sebastopol: 10:00am - 04:30pm
Featuring Dutton Goldfield Winery's luscious red wines, including single-vineyard Pinots from the amazing 2009 vintage. A special sweet treat awaits you as well.

Bring Your Sweetheart! at Deerfield Ranch Winery — Kenwood: 10:30am - 4:30pm
Deerfield Ranch Wines paired with Robert's handcrafted chocolate truffles.

Culinary Romance: Valentine’s Weekend at Bella Vineyards — Healdsburg: 11:00am - 4:30pm
Bring your special valentine and bask in the elegant ambiance of our wine cave as you explore the culinary side of romance.

Valentine Library Wine Flight at Skewis Wines — Healdsburg: 11:00am - 4:00pm
We have a special tasting planned for Valentine's weekend; a single vineyard, vertical tasting from our private wine library.

Love and Meritage Blending Party at Topel Tasting Room — Healdsburg: 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Topel winemaker Marcus Topel will pair up with KRSH Radio’s Ziggy Eschliman, best known as Ziggy - The Wine Gal, to guide friends (with or without benefits) and lovers through the wine blending process.

Wine Lover's Event at Mounts Family Winery — Healdsburg: 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Indulge yourself with a wine, cheese & chocolate Pairing and try pre-release Petite Sirah, Malbec and Zinfandel. RSVP required.

Tuesday, February 14

Sheldon Wines at Willi's Wine Bar — Santa Rosa: 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Tobe & Dylan Sheldon of Sheldon Wines lead a tasting of three wines paired with small bites.

Friday, February 17

VinOlivo Grand Tasting at The Lodge at Sonoma — Sonoma: 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Sip Sonoma Valley's best wines as you get to know the personalities behind the wine. Sample food from more than 25 of Sonoma's purveyors.

Music at Vino di Amore Tasting Lounge — Cloverdale: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Guitar ballads with Brian Ward

Saturday, February 18

Mardi Gras Celebration at Meadowcroft Wines — Sonoma: noon - 4:00pm
The St. Gabriel's Celestial Brass Band, down home Louisiana cookin', a Second Line-Parade, award winning wines and of course BEADS!

Sunday, February 19

Amphora’s Zinvitational: Zinfandel and Cioppino at Amphora — Healdsburg: 11:00am - 4:30pm
Current, library and barrel-sample Zinfandel plus Cioppino, sourdough and green salad.

President's Day Celebration at Old Roma Station — Healdsburg: 11:00am - 4:00pm
Limited production wines from Bluenose, Hart’s Desire, J. Keverson, Kelley & Young, Sadler-Wells, Sapphire Hill, Skewis, Shippey and Willowbrook.

Sundays on the "Terraza" at Santa Rosa Vintners Square — Santa Rosa: 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Bring a picnic. They'll will provide the wine, bocce ball court and live music.

South Bay

Saturday, February 11

Winter Wine Festival and Chocolate at Domenico Winery — San Carlos: noon - 5:00pm
Participating wineries will be Pinder, Traveiso, Naumann, Muccigrosso, Jazz Cellars, and Domenico.

Chocolate & Wine for Valentine at The Granary — Morgan Hill: 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Sample premium local wines, fine chocolates, tasty finger foods, and enjoy exquisite local artwork for sale.

Sunday, February 12

Hearts, Wine & Chocolate at Solis Winery — Gilroy: noon - 4:30pm
A decadent pairing of chocolate and wine in a romantic setting overlooking the vineyard and mountainous backdrop.

Tuesday, February 14

Elixirs of Love Wine & Chocolate Pairing at Big Basin Vineyards — Saratoga: 1:00pm - 7:00pm
A decadent wine and chocolate pairing, featuring divine chocolates from Dolce Bella Café and beguiling wines from Big Basin Vineyards.

Friday, February 17

Wine 101: Lecture & Tasting with Sommelier Ronaldo Goularte at New Leaf — Santa Cruz: 6:00pm - 8:00pm
An exciting two-hour session to learn the fundamentals of wine, viticulture and viniculture, in a casual and relaxed atmosphere.


Looking Forward

On Tuesday, February 21 Spruce SF hosts a Shafer Vineyards winemaker dinner. You don't see those too often! If you're interested, make reservations soon. The same is true for a March 7 tasting at Gather in Arroyo Grande with the elusive, philosophically effusive and vinificatively-skilled Stillman Brown of Red Zeppelin Wines.

 

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook. Also check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. Photo by Thomas Vogel. All rights reserved. Event details are subject to change without notice.

Spotlight on the Rutherford AVA

Rutherford AVA, established in 1993
Napa County

The Rutherford AVA in Napa Valley is sandwiched between the Oakville AVA to the south and the St. Helena AVA to the north. It stretches from the foothills of the Mayacamas mountains on the west to the foothills of the Vaca range on the east. Both of Napa Valley’s primary north-south roads, Hwy. 29 and Silverado Trail, pass through Rutherford and many excellent wineries are located on each. Don’t overlook the cross roads and spurs though, as there are some great places tucked away.

While Rutherford is home to many distinguished wines, especially those based on Cabernet Sauvignon, even experts sometimes find it hard to distinguish them from those of Oakville. Matt Kramer1 has said, “Collectively, is there a difference between Oakville and Rutherford? Not that I can tell.”

This is because, in part, both AVAs include benchland vineyards and valley floor vineyards. The corresponding differences in soil, temperature and sun exposure change the character of the wines and make it hard to pinpoint very specific characteristics for either AVA as a whole. In fact, the valley floor wines of each may be more similar to each other than to the benchland wines of their own AVA. One can make generalizations about slight temperature differences between the two appellations — Rutherford being slightly warmer — but, in reality, the boundary between them is simply a two-lane road. Those vineyards closest to the road are likely to be very similar. Fortunately, having one’s wine thought to be from Oakville is like being mistaken for George Clooney or Charlize Theron — most people would take it as a compliment.

”Rutherford Dust” is often referred to as the defining characteristic of the Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines from that AVA. However, it is probably more closely associated with the benchland vineyards than those from the valley floor. And, as Stephen Brook2 has pointed out, “so varied are the descriptions of this fruit character that it is hard to know what is meant by most of them.” Indeed, some scholarly books say the term refers to minerality while others say it is the character of the tannins. In any case, the line between the Oakville and Rutherford benches is a thin one and the winemaking styles and oak regimes of individual wineries can also make identification of very specific indicators of the terroir, dusty or otherwise, difficult.

So how does one characterize the wines of the Rutherford AVA? More than 70% of the acreage under vine is dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon, so it must be the primary grape by which the area is judged. These wines tend to be both substantial and balanced. There is rich fruit but also a lot of tannic structure. These tannins help give the wines long lives but also encourage a person to let the wines mature in bottle for at least a few years rather than drinking them immediately upon release. The flavors tend to be dark: black cassis, black cherry, black olive and earth along with notes of mint, dry herbs and whatever the barrels bring. The typical Rutherford wine is neither thin nor gooey, neither sweet nor dominated by mineral or animal notes. It is nearly full-bodied and ripe-fruited with savory notes and a silky mouthfeel, punctuated by dusty to grainy tannins. The finish can be extremely long.

Among the white wines, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate. Some say that the area is too warm for Chardonnay. However, careful growers and producers are able to turn out very fine wines based on that grape. Forgoing malolactic fermentation is one way some keep the wines refreshing. The Sauvignon Blanc can be extremely good, balancing rich fruit with herbal notes and ample acidity. It is less easy, though, to see distinctions of Rutherford AVA terroir through the white wines than through the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Details
Latitude: 38.45 degrees
Altitude: 100 ft. to 500 ft.
Climate: Warm summer days (peaks in the mid-90’s) with cooling breezes from the San Pablo Bay and morning fog in the lowlands
Annual Rainfall: 38 in.
Soils: well draining and moderately fertile in the west with sedimentary gravelly sand and alluvial, greater fertility and volcanic content in the east
Vineyard Acres: 3,518
Pests & Viticultural Risks: Glassy-Winged Sharpshooters and Pierce’s Disease; Phylloxera; frost or hard rain in the late Spring and early Fall

Primary Grape Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc

A Selection of Significant Wineries
Alpha Omega
Beaulieu Vineyard
Caymus Vineyards
El Molino
Frog’s Leap Winery
Honig Vineyard & Winery
Lieff Wines
Martin Estate
Peju Province
Provenance Vineyards
Quintessa
Rubicon Estate
Staglin Family Vineyards
William Harrison Winery

Significant Vineyards
Beaulieu Vineyard
Beckstoffer Vineyards George III
Bella Oaks Vineyard
Bosché Vineyard
Rubicon, formerly Inglenook
Sycamore Vineyard

AVA organizations
Rutherford Appellation Wineries
Rutherford Dust Society

Restaurants
Auberge du Soleil
Rutherford Grill

Accommodations
Auberge du Soleil
Rancho Caymus

1 Kramer, Matt (2004). Matt Kramer's New California Wine. Philadelphia: Running Press Book Publishers
2 Brook, Stephen (1999) The Wines of California. London: Faber & Faber

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Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check outour comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved

An Exclusive, In-Depth Interview with Antonio Galloni of Wine Advocate

Antonio Galloni became a key contributor at Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate six years ago when he took over its coverage of Italian wine. In 2008, he assumed responsibility for Champagne. One year ago, Parker announced Galloni would both succeed him as the primary reviewer for California wines and  take on Burgundy. Galloni's first report on Napa Valley was published in December.

Antonio Galloni and I were both participants at last week’s Symposium for Professional Wine Writers in Napa Valley. Over the course of the week, I had many opportunities to chat with him and watch him interact with the other writers. He readily accepted my request for an exclusive interview.

Galloni-head-shotWith his permission, I recorded the interview so I could focus on our conversation rather than note-taking. Transcribed, the main interview runs more than 6,000 words. I also have supplemental material taken from our side conversations. We discussed many topics in-depth, including how he came to take over responsibility for California, his plans for improving the coverage, the relevance of terroir here, his views on blind vs. non-blind tasting, his tasting methodology and overall approach to wine writing.

For publication, I divided the interview into a few moderately-sized articles which will appear daily. Each will address an aspect of his background, his coverage of California and some aspect of the controversy with respect to The Wine Advocate or wine criticism in general. So that you can best understand not just Antonio Galloni’s views on wine, but his personality and manner, I include his answers in full, removing only the occasional “um” and “you know.”

Due to Robert Parker’s real and perceived influences on the California wine scene, Antonio Galloni became an overnight celebrity when the review of those wines fell to him. He does not carry himself that way. He keeps to himself, but is approachable. He is confident in his abilities and opinions, but in no way arrogant, He will firmly defend himself, Robert Parker and Wine Advocate, but is not argumentative. He has a passion for wine and he wants to share that passion with others.

For those interested in appearances, Galloni easily qualifies as tall, dark and handsome. His dark hair is cut short. He dresses neatly and conservatively, but not formally. A few ladies I know were disappointed to learn that he is married. His wife is very nice, a smiling lady with blonde hair and a charming Italian accent. The Gallonis have two children and live just outside of Manhattan.

Antonio Galloni Discusses His Approach to Wine Writing

Fred Swan: You mentioned at lunch the other day that you don’t have a lot of formal education in journalism or tasting. What is your background?

Antonio Galloni: Well, to me there’s various schools of wine writing. There’s a British school where people come out of the trade. And the kinds of writers that I’ve always gravitated to people who are really consumers first and buy and drink wine, then become writers and commentators because of their passion.

That’s one of the things that always attracted me to Parker. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed Allen Meadows' work on Burgundy and later California. The genesis is really “we’re wine buyers.” Overtime, you aggregate a certain amount of experience which is maybe a value to other people and then you start to write. It really stems from “we buy wine, drink wine.” Really regular consumers. So, it’s true what I was saying the other day. It’s funny to be in a conference like this. It’s been very useful, because I’ve never had any formal writing background. My mom was a journalist when I was a kid, so maybe I have it in my genes, but I’m not a trained writer. English is my second language. I’ve never taken any tasting classes either. I’ve just learned by visiting wineries and spending time in winemaking areas, which I still think is a very valid way to acquire knowledge.

Antonio Galloni on his Tasting Process and Why He Doesn’t Taste Blind

FS: Explain your tasting process. People know you taste a lot of wine. They don’t know how you go about it.

AG: Usually what I like to do is taste three vintages of each wine. And this is a lot of the work that people don’t necessarily see, because there’s a lot of wines that are tasted that don’t make it into the reviews. So, for example, I always like to taste the preceding vintage. Now, just because of space, I don’t generally publish the scores of the preceding vintage unless, let’s say, there’s some massive anomaly, like I really blew it the year before or find that the wine has changed. But to start off I always want to taste the preceding vintage, just to kind of establish a benchmark.

Then I taste the current vintage. And then I want to taste the future year’s wine which is almost certainly going to be in barrel. So it’s three vintages of each wine. I generally prefer not to taste blind because over the years I’ve found that the questions readers ask of me require some context.

People want to know, how does a wine compare to the previous vintage? How does it compare to wines from the same vineyard? So here there’s, let’s say... To Kalon, or in France there might be Bonnes Mares in Burgundy. People want to know, Mondavi Reserve from To Kalon, how much does it capture the personality of that vineyard? A lot? A little? How does it compare with other To Kalons? How does it compare with other vintages of that same wine? Same thing with a Grand Cru like Bonnes Mares. And in Burgundy, it’s not enough to know which vineyard it is. People want to know what side of the village it’s on, minutiae. In Burgundy, all wines are tasted unblind because its the context that matters.

FS: And you want to know that while you’re tasting the wine?

AG: Yeah, because afterwards you can’t. You can’t go back to that. Because there’s a lot of blind tasting and then you go back and revisit the note? That’s really not authentic. You want to taste the wine in Bonnes Mares and understand. Is it the clay soils? Is it the limestone soils? Is it the slope? What side of the village? Just like here, you want to know where you are in the vineyard. You go to Schrader there’s all these different blocks in To Kalon. It’s all about context. The questions that people ask of us require you to know what wine it is so you can draw some comparison. How does this vintage compare to preceding vintages?

[Note: Tomorrow’s article will thoroughly cover concerns about bias in non-blind tasting.]

Antonio Galloni on Prioritizing His Time Between Global Regions, Within California and the Challenge of Succeeding Robert Parker

FS: How are you prioritizing between regions?

AG: At the highest level, I have two priorities. The first is keeping all of the California articles at the same schedule that they’ve always been. We’re all creatures of habit. People are used to seeing the Napa article in December and the Central Coast over the summer. So, the first priority is just to keep things kind of constant so people don’t get too freaked out. The first thing is that all of the articles are being printed on the same schedule that Bob always followed. So if you’re used to seeing your big Napa, our review, in December, the big Sonoma and other NorCal wines in February, you’re going to get that.

Beyond that, the only other region that’s a very hard constraint is Burgundy. You’re tasting the wines from the barrel and the window for tasting from the barrel is fairly narrow. And it also changes from year to year depending on when the malolactic fermentations are done. So, those are my two big constraints and everything else is more malleable. My trips to Italy are often focused. They’re shorter, I can move them around a little. My big priorities are really making sure that Burgundy is tasted when it needs to be tasted and that California reviews come out when people are expecting them.

FS: Which California regions are you putting most focus on, obviously Napa Valley but beyond that, which other ones. Sonoma you mentioned...

AG: You say obviously Napa Valley, but the only thing about Napa Valley that’s obvious to me is that there are a lot more wines that need to be written about.

FS: I say obviously, because I know you’ve spent time here already.

AG: In the last issue of Wine Advocate, we had many wineries that we’d never reviewed before. I’m just beginning to peel back the onion, right? And I’m sure as I peel it back, I’ll find more. So, I think I’ll start with Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast and even if I take it one next step, it’s still an enormous amount more than we’ve ever done before. I mean our our Sonoma article is going to be bigger than... Articles that I’ve written so far have been equal or larger in terms of the number of reviews to what Bob wrote.

It’s really hard to take over after Robert Parker. You know the guy is driving a Ferrari [Galloni is speaking metaphorically here] and I’ve got to match that. I’m not given the luxury of starting off... he built his pace over many years and the expectation is that you hand off the baton and it’s just continual. And that is a lot harder than even I expected.

Because I always said to people, well, we want to ramp up our coverage. We want to do this, that and the other. One thing I forgot to mention is that first you’ve got to maintain. But when you’re the new guy, just to maintain is pretty damn hard. I think even within the main regions of California, just discovering the new producers is a lot of work.

So, when I was here in January, I covered a lot of producers on the northern coast of Sonoma that we haven’t reviewed ever or not in many years. Littorai, Hirsch, those producers have been sporadically covered, maybe not ever. Anthill Farms, I don’t think ever. Even there, there’s a lot of stuff to do.

The Rest of the Interview

Part 2 is here. It covers how Antonio Galloni got started at The Wine Advocate, his thoughts on Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon in Sonoma County, and the issue of bias with respect to non-blind tasting. In the meantime, you may be interested in my recent article regarding Antonio Galloni’s December report on Napa Valley.

In Part 3, Galloni describes why he's taken over California reviews, what changes he plans to bring, where he sees value, what he looks for in a wine and more. And there's a moment of controversy in a room crowded with writers.

Antonio Galloni on the problem of NV Champagne without stated disgorgement dates in my blog for The San Francisco Wine School.

 

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. Photo by Fred Swan. All rights reserved.

Vintners Hall of Fame Announces New Inductees

On Monday, November 8, I attended a luncheon at which the five 2011 inductees to the Vintners Hall of Fame were announced. Attendees at the lunch included past inductees such as Darrell Corti, Mike Grgich and Carole Meredith, the new inductees or their representatives, Vintners Hall of Fame chair Congressman Mike Thompson, VHOF board members including Agustin Huneeus, and wine industry VIPs. The lunch was held at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone’s historic barrel room which houses the Vintners Hall of Fame.

The five new inductees are: Richard Graff, Joel Peterson, August Sebastiani, Vernon Singleton and Bob Trinchero. While most are best known for their work in relation to California wines, their impact has been much broader than that. They join 31 others inducted since the Vintners Hall of Fame was established in 2007. The induction ceremony will take place on February 21, 2011 at CIA Greystone.

Richard Graff brought significant changes to the winemaking practices of the United States. In 1965, having worked a year in Burgundy, he and his family purchased the Chalone Vineyard, which is high in the Gavilan Mountain Range within Monterey County. Graff was attracted to the vineyard after tasting a wine made by Windsor Vineyard from Chalone grapes. Further research into the site determined that the climate and soil, which is substantially limestone with some decomposed granite, would allow production of grapes that could result in wines reminiscent of Burgundy. He was the first person to apply certain Burgundian winemaking techniques in America. These included use of malolactic fermentation for white wine, resting of white wine on its lees and aging it in small oak barrels. Graff was also among the first in the United States to import and/or sell oak wine barrels from Burgundy.

The success of Chalone Vineyards at creating Chardonnay in Burgundian style was confirmed in 1976 when a Chalone Vineyards wine placed third in the Judgement of Paris competition. [Chateau Montelena came in first and no wineries other than Montelena or Chalone received first-place votes for white wine.] Chalone wasn’t just about Chardonnay however. Pinot Noir was a major focus for Graff and the winery had great success with those as well. Richard Graff died in a small plane crash in 1998, eleven days short of his sixty-first birthday. Chalone Vineyards is now owned by Diageo.

Joel Peterson co-founded Ravenswood Winery in 1976. The primary focus of the winery was single-vineyard Zinfandels created using traditional French winemaking techniques he learned while an apprentice with Joseph Swan. Lengthy wild-yeast fermentations at warm temperatures followed by French oak aging allowed him to create distinctive, terroir-reflective wines from old-vines cultivated for quality rather than volume. Yet Ravenswood was a part-time venture and a label without its own vineyards or fixed facilities for quite some time. It wasn’t until 1992 that Peterson left his job as a medical researcher to focus fully on the winery that had become both profitable and a critical success.

Though Ravenswood was purchased by Constellation in 2001, Peterson remains head winemaker and consults on management of the vineyards. He is a senior vice president at Constellation Wines, on the Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Vintners and a founding board member of Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP). It should also be pointed out that while Peterson and Ravenswood specialize in single-vineyard Zinfandel, they also do an excellent job with other varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah.

August Sebastiani purchased the Sebastiani family winery from his father’s estate in 1944 and led the company for more than thirty years. During that time, it continually expanded production and its product line, innovated in packaging and marketing, and helped make table wine broadly popular in the United States. At the time of his death in 1980, Sebastiani winery had increased its volume 100-fold since 1944. In doing so, the winery supported many grape growers throughout Northern California. August Sebastiani also played a major role in the development of the town of Sonoma and contributed philanthropically, including donating the land for the Sonoma Valley Hospital.

The vast majority of the high-volume business, which included eight brands (Vendange, Talus, etc.) and two wineries under the umbrella of Turner Road, was sold to Constellation in 2001 for $300 million by Don Sebastiani, one of August's sons who had succeeded his elder brother Sam as head of the winery. Don then started his own wine business, Don Sebastiani & Sons, after the sale. His sister, Mary Ann Sebastiani Cuneo, took over management of the remaining business at Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery. That was in turn sold to Foley Family Wines in 2008, ending the long reign of Sebastiani as the oldest, continually-operated, family-run winery in Sonoma County.

Vernon Singleton was a professor in the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology for more than 40 years. While at Davis, he published extensively, including four books and in excess of 200 papers. His best-known book is Wine: An Introduction for Americans, co-written with Maynard Amerine. He also co-authored a textbook, Principles and Practices of Winemaking, which is still used around the world. He was instrumental in isolating, identifying and detailing many of wine’s phenolics, including tannins, as well as researching the effects of oxygen and barrel aging on phenolics and wine maturation. Professor Singleton retired in 1991. He and his wife attended the luncheon.

Bob Trinchero took control of the very small winery owned by his family, Sutter Home Winery, in the 1960’s. He began making robust Amador County Zinfandel in 1968. His attempts to make that wine even richer by bleeding off some juice prior to fermentation led to the creation of a wine that became a national phenomenon and helped Sutter Home become the 6th largest winery in the United States — White Zinfandel. While White Zinfandel isn’t prized by those seeking complex, dry wines it has become the go-to drink for millions of casual wine consumers. It also serves as a “gateway wine” that has bridged the gap between sodas or fruit juice and dry wine for many people. Wine Spectator has said that Bob Trinchero “introduced more Americans to wine on the table than anyone in history."

From an industry standpoint, the production of White Zinfandel by Sutter Home Winery and others has supported Zinfandel growers throughout California and helped ensure the preservation of many old-vine Zinfandel plantings that might otherwise have been replanted to Chardonnay or grapes of ephemeral appeal. Bob Trinchero and his wineries have also led philanthropically and he has been an important supporter of Auction Napa Valley and many other charities.

Visit the Vintners Hall of Fame
The Historic Barrel Room and Vintners Hall of Fame, on the second floor of the CIA Greystone main building, is open to the public, free of charge, on a daily basis from 10am to 6pm, except when closed for special events. The room also holds a small educational exhibit called “A History of California Wine: The David and Judy Breitenstein Collection.” On the ground floor of the same building is one of the largest, most amusing collections of corkscrews I’ve ever seen. The Culinary Institute of America’s book, kitchenware and gift shop is also there, just off the lobby.

The Culinary Institute of America - Greystone is located at 2555 Main Street St. Helena, CA 94574. That's just past Beringer Winery, north of downtown St. Helena on Hwy. 29. The main number is 707-967-1100.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the right above and also below.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook. Also check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.