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The 30th Anniversary of the Russian River Valley Appellation

The 30th Anniversary of the Russian River Valley Appellation

Raise a glass to the 18th Annual Grape to Glass: Back to Our Roots Pre-Harvest Party

This year’s event marks the 30th Anniversary of the Russian River Valley as an American Viticultural Area (AVA), with the theme “Back to Our Roots.”

The annual summertime soiree showcasing regional wines and chefs in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County will take place on Saturday, August 17 on the grounds of Richard’s Grove & Saralee’s Vineyard at 3575 Slusser Road in Windsor. The immensely popular Grape to Glass event kicks off at 4 pm and brings together wine enthusiasts, winemakers, grape growers, chefs, hoteliers and artists for a celebration of all things wine.

This year’s event marks the 30th Anniversary of the Russian River Valley as an American Viticultural Area (AVA), with the theme “Back to Our Roots.” Guests will taste boutique wines grown in the Russian River Valley appellation as well as some of the latest releases before they are made available to the public while munching on fabulous food pairings. Grape to Glass features more than 50 wineries, local restaurants, caterers and vendors. The night of fun will also include a barbecue feast, a giant apple pie, live and silent auctions, a Farmer’s Market and live music.

Tickets range from $85 for an individual ticket to $1,000 for a party of 10, the latter including two bottles of Russian River Valley wine and two VIP parking passes and can be purchased at or by calling 707-521-2534.

The party starts with a walk-around tasting reception offering small bites that complement the region’s world class wines. While wining and dining on fresh local delicacies, guests can stroll through the beautiful park-like setting of Richard’s Grove and Saralee’s Vineyard and view the work of local artists as well as the silent auction items of oversized and special bottlings, restaurant dinners, gift baskets and much more.

Click here to find out who will be at the 30th anniversary fete, and what to do while you're in the Russian River Valley.

John Tilson, Underground Wine Letter

Beautiful Memories

Born on Black Tuesday October 25, 1929, Barry had a momentous and exciting life. He was a prominent attorney, though he was a vintner longer than he had practiced law, world traveler, politically active, collector of art and antiquities, philanthropist, handsome and charming raconteur, master gardener, loving husband, and great father. He cut a dashing figure living in Paris in the 1960s with his young family and was always very debonair.

A Los Angeles native and Stanford alumnus ’50, JD’52, he graduated law school in the same class with William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O’Connor, passed the bar, was inducted into the army and married Audrey Shapiro Sterling all in one weekend. Chief Justice Rehnquist was first in the class, Justice O’Connor third and Barry, eleventh out of 114.

August 30 would have been Audrey and Barry’s 68 th wedding anniversary.

He served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in Washington, D.C., and assisted the Department of Defense‘s legal staff during the McCarthy Senate hearings. Their daughter Joy was born in Washington.

The Sterlings returned to Los Angeles, where Barry opened a corporate law firm and soon their son Laurence was born. The couple became engaged in Democratic politics. Both were founding members of the Los Angeles Music Center and the Los Angeles Art Museum. In 1963, Audrey was appointed by Gov. “Pat” Brown to serve on the California Fair Employment Practice Commission. She spent almost four years fighting discrimination in employment and housing.

For Barry’s 30 th birthday, Audrey gave him his first trip to Europe. He fell in love with France and vowed to live there. It took him eight years.

The family moved to France in 1967, where they led a glamorous life, splitting time between a belle epoch apartment on Avenue Foch in Paris and a villa in the hills above Cannes. Their years in France, traveling to the various wine regions, sparked the idea of living on a vineyard, growing grapes, and making wine. The vision was always a “chateau model”, dedicated to producing estate bottled wine.

A decisive moment came when Barry was written up in the International Paris Tribune for besting his fellow Chevaliers du Tastevin in a blind tasting at the restaurant Taillevent. He was the only one to identify the mystery wine – an obscure Cahors that he distinctly remembered from tasting it with Alexander Calder in the artist’s studio in the Loire at 9 o’clock in the morning. He said the burning feeling of that wine as it went down the throat was unforgettable. But winning the tasting, as an American, no less, made him feel, “Hey, we can do this.”

After years of hunting for the perfect site in France, the Sterlings returned home to California, where the quest continued.

Farming was in Barry’s DNA, going back to his grandparents, who were walnut growers in Capistrano. His parents had a grapefruit and date farm in the Coachella Valley.

The Sterlings first saw Iron Horse in a driving rainstorm in 1976 with the vineyard development only partially completed. There was no winery and the 19th century carpenter gothic house was dramatically listing to one side. Nevertheless, after a taste of wines made from Iron Horse grapes, they knew their search had ended and a dream begun.

The winery opened in 1979, on Barry’s 50th birthday the first vintage of Sparkling Wines arrived the next year. Iron Horse vintage Blanc de Blancs was served at the Reagan-Gorbachev Summit Meetings, ending the cold war, a White House tradition that has continued for 35 years. The winery produces a special cuvée with National Geographic called Ocean Reserve, that supports ocean conservation as well as a limited production, vintage Brut called Gratitude that benefits the Redwood Empire Food Bank.

It is hard to remember how pioneering it was to put down roots in western Sonoma County in the mid-70s. Even the UC Davis Agricultural Extension Agents advised against investing in the area as too prone to frost. But the Sterlings knew the value of a cool climate for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from their years in France and Audrey was familiar with the area from childhood summers on the Russian River.

They were the creators of the Green Valley appellation. In 1983, the name of the applicant for federal recognition of Green Valley as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) was Audrey M Sterling with her attorney of record, Barry H. Sterling, simultaneously with the Russian River gaining AVA status.

Barry served on the board of the San Francisco Symphony and was a Lifetime Trustee of the Leakey Foundation.

Profiled in the local Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Barry said: “We have no regrets,” he said. “Our life is great. We’ve had a very good run. Frankly, on our passing, no one is going to say, ‘Oh, they never got to enjoy life.’ Everyone who knows us knows we’ve had a hell of a good time.”

He is survived by his wife Audrey, children Joy, Laurence and Terry grandchildren Justine, Mike, Barrie and Joseph great grandson Calvin, born on June 4 nephews and nieces Rand, Pamela, Scott, Susan and Judy Sterling brother- and sister-in-law Bert and Joan Shapiro.

There will be no funeral services. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you contribute to the charity of your choice, or Hospice of Santa Rosa.

Appellation Update: Government Approves Six New AVAs Around the Country

The U.S. government has been cranking out new wine appellations this fall, approving six more American Viticultural Areas—two in California and one each in New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington—for use on wine labels. In addition, the government also officially expanded the long-debated boundaries of California's Russian River Valley appellation, best known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Three AVAs were approved last week and take effect on Jan. 6, 2006: the Ramona Valley AVA in Southern California, the Texoma AVA in Texas, and the Wahluke Slope AVA in eastern Washington. Another three were approved earlier in the fall, along with the resizing of the Russian River Valley, and have already taken effect: the Dos Rios AVA in Northern California, the Niagara Escarpment AVA in New York and the Red Hill Douglas County AVA in Oregon. That brings the country's total to 169 AVAs, with more than 30 additional AVAs still in the approval process.

Since 1999, the Russian River Valley Winegrowers association has been trying to revise the borders of the appellation, both by adding land and taking it away. On Oct. 11, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau granted one part of the organization's request, adding 30,200 acres to the appellation, for a total of 126,600 acres.

The Russian River Valley now includes a portion of Green Valley not originally part of the AVA, the remainder of the Santa Rosa Plain (an area bordered by the Sonoma Mountains and Alexander and Dry Creek valleys) and the Sebastopol Hills (a large, rural region to the west, south and east of the town of Sebastopol). Among the wineries that now fall within the Russian River borders are Copain, D'Argenzio, DuMol, DuNah, Paradise Ridge, Roessler and Siduri.

"The important part about all this is that the new boundary follows the fog line," said winemaker Merry Edwards, chairman of the RRVW's boundary revision committee. Fog brings cooler temperatures, ideal conditions for growing Pinot Noir.

Edwards said the more difficult removal phase still lies ahead. The organization has targeted a large area that lies above 900 feet on the western side of the appellation. "This area would never remotely be planted to vineyards," she said. The winegrowers also want to remove an area on the appellation's east side that lies above Chalk Hill Winery and the fog line.

• In addition to having the boundaries redrawn for an existing appellation, California has also gained two new AVAs. The Dos Rios AVA, in northern Mendocino County, took effect on Nov. 14. It lies in a long canyon at the confluence of the Eel River and its Middle Fork, 40 miles north of Ukiah and 25 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. Dos Rios contains a total of 15,500 acres of land, but only 6 acres of vines, which were planted in 1993 for the area's one winery, Vin De Tevis. "The river and the canyon have a great deal to do with how well we can grow grapes," said vintner Steve De Tevis, who produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Charbono, Merlot and Zinfandel. "The canyon acts as a conduit for the marine winds in the evening and winds coming from inland in the morning, while the river reflects light onto the hillsides."

• The even newer 89,000-acre Ramona Valley AVA surrounds the small town of Ramona, 28 miles northeast of San Diego and 35 miles south of the Temecula wine appellation. The area, which has an average vineyard elevation of 1,400 feet, covers a variety of soil types and land formations, and its climate is influenced both by the Pacific Ocean 25 miles to the west and the Anza-Borrego Desert 25 miles to the east. The Ramona Valley and its surrounding small valleys are currently home to 20 vineyards, with an estimated total of 62 acres planted to a wide range of red and white grape varieties. Only two wineries, Schwaesdall Winery and Ramona Vintners Cellars, are open to the public, although the AVA contains seven other wine-production facilities.

• In southwestern Oregon, the Red Hill Douglas County AVA joined a growing list of similarly named appellations. The Nov. 14 birth of the 5,500-acre AVA has been in the works since 2002, as the proposal ran into several snags over the number of other AVAs—including Red Hills of Lake County in California and Red Mountain in Washington—with which it could possibly be confused. Ultimately, the TTB settled on the name Red Hill Douglas County, which was chosen, like the names of its counterparts, because of the area's red volcanic soils and a local geographical landmark, in this case Red Hill.

Red Hill Douglas County is located entirely within the existing Umpqua Valley AVA and lies 50 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. It is distinguished from surrounding areas by its higher average rainfall of 51 inches and its lower growing-season temperatures, which average about 75° F, compared with 105° F in the lower elevations. Currently, there are 194 acres of vineyards planted in the area, mostly to Pinot Noir. Red Hill Vineyard is the sole vineyard in the AVA, while the soon-to-open Sienna Ridge Winery will be the first winery.

• In New York, the Niagara Escarpment AVA took effect on Oct. 11. This 18,000-acre appellation is at the tail end of a 650-mile-long limestone ridge that runs through the Great Lakes region. The Niagara River, which is the boundary between the United States and Canada, also forms the western boundary of the new AVA. The area is about 30 miles long and half a mile wide, and the soils are clay over limestone, according to Michael VonHeckler of Warm Lake Estate, one of the area's four wineries. Currently, 400 acres are planted to vineyards, but only 50 of them are vinifera (mostly Pinot Noir), while the remaining 350 are planted to Concord grapes, destined for juice.

• In north-central Texas, the Texoma AVA covers 3,650 square miles (2.3 million acres) on the south side of manmade Lake Texoma and the Red River, which both lie along the Texas-Oklahoma state line. The area is of historical significance because renowned 19th-century viticulturist T. V. Munson, who found a solution to France's phylloxera epidemic by grafting vinifera vines onto native American rootstock, chose Texoma for his experimental vineyards. Today, the AVA contains four wineries and a number of small vineyards with a total of about 55 acres planted to both native Texas varieties and vinifera. The intense heat during the day is cooled by breezes from the bluffs and hillsides, and numerous small creeks, lakes and ponds provide ample irrigation for vineyards. In addition, the area's sandy, loamy soils are a natural deterrent to the phylloxera louse.

• In eastern Washington, the 81,000-acre Wahluke Slope AVA lies entirely within the existing Columbia Valley AVA, although it is separated from the region's other wine-producing areas by government-owned land. Its boundaries are determined by the alluvial fan known as the Wahluke Slope, and its elevations range from 425 feet along the Columbia River to 1,480 feet on the south slope of the Saddle Mountains. With an average annual rainfall of just 5.9 inches, the AVA is the driest area of eastern Washington. About 5,205 acres of vineyards are planted to varieties such as Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. In addition to the area's two wineries, Fox Estate and Coventry Vale, the grapes are used by well-known Washington producers such as L'Ecole No. 41 and Columbia Crest.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bottle Shock!

OK. So if you’re reading this blog (and I know you are), odds are you are in an area that was hit today by the East Coast Earthquake of 2011. First off, I hope all of you and your loved ones are safe, sound, and sharing a nice bit of food and drink to celebrate the fact that you are safe and sound. If you decided to play it cool this evening to let the (after)shock of the day wear off, no need to worry. We’ve got you covered!

It's Kind of Hard to Beat Brinner

Runny Yolk Brinner Goodness on a Roll!!

Awesome Jersey Tomato Caprese Salad!

BRINNER! That delectable combination of breakfast for dinner. You’d have to be a robot not to love it. As Turk from Scrubs notes, it’s kind of hard to beat brinner. This past weekend, Susan, Rich, and Connor were kind enough to send us home with some fresh Jersey tomatoes (none better in the world!), some nice Jersey sweet peppers, and some fresh jalapeños that they had left over from their CSA share. They don’t call it the Garden State for nothing, folks!

Flush with Jersey produce, Sarah and I thought we’d do a new spin on a Jersey classic: Taylor ham, egg, and tomato sandwiches last night. It’s like a brinner BLT, except without the yucky lettuce and with the yumminess of the egg! The egg and pork roll together with the cheese really highlight the sweetness of the Jersey tomatoes.

This time, to twist things up a bit, we swapped out the Taylor ham (aka pork roll) for some thick cut ham slices from Whole Foods. (Shocker: they don’t sell Taylor ham pork roll at Whole Foods! I know, right. ) Sarah also picked up some avocado to add into the mix. And, though we usually use a Kaiser roll to house the Taylor ham version of the sandwich, Sarah picked up some challah rolls, as those were the only soft rolls available at Whole Foods.

I was really excited to get my hands on the ingredients and get cooking! The sandwich couldn’t be easier. Put the ham in the pan and heat. Then, you cook your eggs the way you like them. Sarah wanted her egg fried over-medium, while I wanted mine lightly over-easy, so I could get that nice runny yolk. Other than those two items, all you need to do is chop the tomatoes and avocado, slice the bread, and you’re done-zo. As an added flourish (and to get more of those delicious Jersey tomatoes in our bellies), Sarah made a nice Caprese salad to accompany our sandwiches (it was DELICIOUS!).

The ingredients Sarah picked out were phenomenal. The thick cut ham (we each had two slices on the sandwich) was perfectly sized to fit the roll, and ALMOST made me forget about Taylor ham altogether. The Jersey tomato provided a simultaneous sweet and crisp element that married very well with the umami notes from the ham. On top of this, we piled 6 slices of avocado, which provided a blanket of a cool creamy softness. Next up is the egg. For me, a runny egg is what brinner sandwiches (and breakfast) is all about. Just looking at the warm yolk oozing out of the tower of meat and veg encased in sweet challah bread made my mouth water. A runny egg never disappoints, in my opinion. It didn’t here either.

The only drawback to these sandwiches is that they are so good, you’ll be done in far less time than it took you to make it. It’s a disappointment. I wished our sandwiches were 3 feet wide around, that’s how good they were.

As the summer comes to an end, so too does the dream of nights of brinner meals focused around the egg, ham, and Jersey tomatoes. Though, technically, we could have these sandwiches any time of year, there’s something about the summer and limited availability of Jersey tomatoes that makes them so much more special between the months of May and September. With just a bit more time to go, I highly recommend you run out to the store, get yourselves some ham (Taylor or otherwise), egg, soft sweet rolls and some Jersey tomatoes, and make yourself one of these delectably easy-to-make brinner wonders. If this is the last one we have this summer (and I hope it isn’t), I will be happy to know that we ended on a VERY high note.

Pizza, Homemade

I thought this was one of the best pizzas we've made at the house. Adding sliced tomatoes instead of just sauce added a nice sweetness and you just can't beat fresh basil. But probably the biggest difference is this time we let the pizza stone heat up in the oven for a good thirty minutes or more which gave the crust a deeper tan and more of a crunch.

Oh, additional note! Once we decided on pizza and after the struggles of the last few times we've attempted this at home, Alan went out to Sur La Table and got us a pizza peel. It's one of those paddle looking things you use to get the pizza from the assembly surface onto the molten hot pizza stone in the oven. I have to say - Oh, Thank God!! Worked like a charm.

The next pizza up was a sausage pie with sauteed onions and peppers. This one was also loaded with cheese. We used a sweet Italian sausage browned and crumbled ahead of time.

This one was good but for some reason not quite as awesome as the last S&P pie we made. I'm thinking it had to do with the brand of sausage used this time around. As you can see from the picture, it was cooked evenly. all bubbly and happy. And the peppers and onions were well sauteed in EVOO ahead of time. It just lacked a bit of tang that I liked so much previously.

Finally, a pie made with arugula and prosciutto. There's no picture of this one thanks in part to the lateness of the evening and the bottles of wine consumed (per Alan's previous post). This was my least favorite. We cooked the pie and when it came out added the arugula and ham. The arugula was okay (looked and smelled like arugula should) but my beef here is with Wegmans. I think the quality of prosciutto was lacking. First off, it was cut way too thickly (the teenager behind the deli counter probably didn't realize the importance of paper thin strips) and without the age, salt, brine I look forward too in great prosciutto. I say all of this because I took out the leftover prosciutto the next afternoon and tried it solo realizing it wasn't up to snuff. I think I'll stick to getting all my deli meats, prosciutto included, from Delicious Orchards.

The only accompaniment to the pizza was a Caesar salad. overall a nice, relaxed meal. Good, not great food but fabulous company and awesome wines.

Paul, Sarah, and Amelia (with Susan & Rich) - Saturday Night Wines

On Saturday, Susan, Rich, and Connor joined us for a sunny day outside. Susan and Rich brought over some vegetables from their CSA, some peach cobbler from Charity, a few awesome cigars, and the following white Burgundy.

2004 Domaine des Lambrays Puligny Montrachet Clos de Cailleret Premier Cru White Burgundy – I could not have asked for a better bottle to start off our afternoon festivities. This wine provided everything you would want from a white Burgundy…lovely lemon citrusy fruit, a bit of spice, minerality, good acid, a maybe a touch of oak. Some white burgundies have been getting a bad reputation lately for prematurely oxidizing, but there were no issues here. Additionally, 2004 was seen as a bit of an unripe vintage, but the wine did not show any “green-ness”. I don’t know how much Susan & Rich paid for this bottle, but would have expected it to be around $115 Retail or more. Thanks for sharing!

After the white Burgundy, we took a bit of a side track from wine to pitchers of a Jenever/Genievre based drink we called “Flying Dutchman”, amongst other names. This was a mixture of tangerine juice, lime juice, orange juice, Jenever/Gerievre (the precursor to Gin), and bitters. Very refreshing and a nice change of pace for in/by the pool. Once finished and as we moved on to our regular games of Corn-hole, the Champagne came out.

NV H. Goutorbe Brut Rose Champagne – Slightly more expensive than the Dethune, this wine was also bought from Hi-Time for $50. Overall, I thought this provided just enough more of everything to support the higher pricing. This was a bit more rounded and balanced, with excellent red fruit flavors and a nice minerality to the finish. Also had enough acid to cleanse your palate and get you ready for the next sip. If this were the same price as the Dethune, I would look to purchase more of this. However, given the price difference, I would suggest trying both and seeing which one you prefer relative to the value. Personally, I’ll look to buy both again.

NV Andre Clouet Silver Brut Nature – Andre Clouet is one of my new favorite producers and I have been trying to taste through their entire lineup. I’ve previously mentioned their excellent Grand Reserve, which provides an awesome value at under $40, as well as their high end Cuvee 1911 offering, also fantastic and well worth the $75 price point. This bottle is a bit out of the ordinary for me as it is a Brut Nature, meaning it has no dosage added. My thought was that a non-dosaged wine would be a good pool accompaniment as any sweetness in a wine when outside in the hot tends to be exaggerated. Thus, a completely dry wine might work well. Honestly, not my best choice of matches. However, saving half the bottle later to go with the Peach Cobbler worked brilliantly. The bouquet of the wine was wonderful, and provided no hint at the tartness on the finish. However, that tart and clean ending was exactly what the cobbler needed. I was able to find this wine at Premier Cru for $40. I can’t say that I would rush out to buy a lot of this particular bottling, but it is a well made wine that has its place.

2005 Williams-Selyem 25th Anniversary Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – While preparing for dinner, I pulled out this wine for the group. This Russian River Valley winery has a relatively long history (for California Pinot) of producing high quality wines. Some say it has lost a step or two in the recent 10 years, but this bottle was very enjoyable. Not a cheap wine, this appellation bottling was $60 direct from the winery it does however deliver full flavored Pinot that is excellent with or without food. My only issue is the fact that you can get cheaper wines from other quality producers instead. However, if they are being served, make sure and get yourself a glass.

For dinner we were planning on having grilled Pork chops, with some grilled vegetables and mashed potatoes. I could not think of a better match than Chateauneuf du Pape. Also, given that Susan and Rich don’t have a lot of CdP, but wanted to try more of them, and Paul, Sarah, and Jenn love it, made it an easy choice. Thus, I went with two!

2001 Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape – Le Vieux Donjon is one of my favorite CdP producers. Primarily a Grenache, with some syrah, mourvedre, and cinsault thrown in, it tends to need a couple of years of bottle aging to “strut its stuff”. This bottle was bought from a wine forum member for $45, and I thought it was delicious. In comparison to the Charvin, I thought it showed a bit more of everything…grip/tannins, dark fruits, herbs, roasted meats, etc. I highly recommend buying a bottle of Donjon in just about any vintage, but give it some bottle age prior to opening. Point in case, my first bottle of Le Vieux Donjon was a gift from my brother Scott, via a walk around within a retail store with none other than Robert Parker. It was a 1995 vintage that I opened in March 1999. My notes…”a light wine with heavy barnyard bouquet and taste, not really my style.” Oh, how wrong I was!

2001 Gerard Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape – This wine is a highly rated wine (Parker 95 points) that is in the middle of its drinking window. I expected a good showing, and got one. Knowing Charvin primarily by reputation instead of by tasting, I didn’t expect such an elegant wine. That may have been what surprised me, and somewhat disappointed me, a bit. Looking over my notes, I did have this vintage once before, with an overall good impression, I just don’t remember it being this subtle. In any case, this was a $60 bottle, probably bought from a wine forum member instead of at retail. It’s definitely a good to great wine, I just found it to be overshadowed by the Donjon.

2004 Foley Petite Syrah – The last wine of the night, served while having cigars out on the patio, was this Foley Petite Syrah. I’ve had this wine three times now, all bought direct from the winery for $55 each, and all three times I’ve been impressed. I like, but do not love, Petite Syrah. However, I love this wine and really should find a way to stock more of it. Not only is it approachable young, some Petite Syrahs need 10 years or more in my opinion, but I’m sure it also had a long life ahead (if I could have kept my hands off of them). Foley makes a deep brooding style of wine that is full of fruit…big is the word to think of here. However, always with balance. The wine matched the cigars well, but was also a good drink on its own (at the end of the night). If you haven’t tried many Petite Syrahs, treat yourself and find this one. You won’t be disappointed.

Lastly, I’d like to share a quick non-wine related note. The last two times Rich has come to my house he has brought over one of the most impressive cigars I’ve ever had…the Liga Privada #9 by Drew Estates. Easily one of the easiest, full flavored cigars to smoke, and not a touch of bitterness at any point (even smoked down to the nub). The cigars provided a nice rich smoke, excellent array of flavors including chocolate, coffee, and spice, and were a treat to have both times. Thanks Rich!

The 30th Anniversary of the Russian River Valley Appellation - Recipes

February 17, 2021 (Santa Barbara, Calif.) &ndash The annual World of Pinot Noir (WOPN) is pleased to announce it will be taking over the month of March in a global celebration of the planet&rsquos greatest wine grape. March 2021 is officially WOPN Wine Month.

Normally held on the first weekend of March at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara in sunny Santa Barbara, the 2021 event will be entirely virtual. While we all wish we could gather at the seaside resort, this year&rsquos challenges have presented an exciting positive: the opportunity to expand WOPN programming beyond the normal three-day get-together.

This year, the largest annual gathering of Pinot Noir producers and fans is not simply going virtual, it&rsquos going bigger and longer.

During WOPN Wine Month, every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will feature a series of virtual tasting seminars, events, auctions and winemaker Happy Hours via Zoom, Instagram Live and Facebook Live.

&ldquoEach year, our 3,000-plus attendees often say they&rsquod love even more content and more opportunities for intimate experiences with winemakers,&rdquo says Laura Booras, president of the World of Pinot Noir Board of Directors. &ldquoThis year, we actually have an opportunity to grow those opportunities.&rdquo

New this year is the WOPN Wine Case Experience. Each guest will receive a carefully selected case of hard-to-find Pinot Noirs handpicked by our esteemed World of Pinot Sommelier Team. Then, each Wednesday (beginning March 3), David Glancy, Master Sommelier and Founder of the San Francisco Wine School, will host an exclusive winemaker seminar and discussion featuring three of the 12 wines.

Every Thursday (beginning March 4), WOPN will present a different deep-dive tasting seminar. These winemaker panel discussions will feature esteemed personalities in the winemaking community and delve into sites such as Bien Nacido, the terroirs of the Santa Lucia Highlands and explore the rugged elegance of the Sonoma Coast. Each tasting seminar will feature a collection of wines for purchase.

In addition to the eight tasting seminars, WOPN will host a series of free live Facebook and Instagram winemaker discussions and Happy Hours every Wednesday at noon (PST) and Friday at 5pm (PST), respectively.

WOPN&rsquos popular annual Silent Auction goes virtual. Bid throughout the month on large-format bottles, exclusive library wines and one-of-a-kind experiences from scores of producers from around the world.

Here is a complete list of the WOPN Wine Month Virtual Seminars. To see the detailed month-long schedule, and for information on purchasing wines for the seminars, please visit the World of Pinot Noir.

The Burgundy &ndash West Coast Connection
Wednesday, March 3 | 5pm
Join this exploration of the deep connections between American West Coast Pinot Noir and Burgundy. Master Sommelier David Glancy, founder of the San Francisco Wine School, will lead a winemaker panel and tasting that dives deep into the climates, the styles and the winemaking philosophies that bind Burgundy and these New World regions.

New World Elegance
Wednesday, March 10 | 5pm
Join Master Sommelier David Glancy, founder of the San Francisco Wine School in this global tour and celebration of the expressiveness of Pinot Noir. This tasting seminar and discussion will feature three pioneering producers who are linked by their long tradition of crafting some of the most elegant wines of the New World.

The Rise of Central Coast Pinot Noir
Wednesday, March 17 | 5pm
Over the last two decades, the Pinot Noirs coming out of the cool-climate regions within the Central Coast have won global acclaim. Along with a panel of winemakers, Master Sommelier David Glancy, founder of the San Francisco Wine School, will taste through and discuss wines from three hallmark producers from three distinct terroirs and show why the Central Coast remains a region on the rise.

Celebrating Old Vines in the Old World
Wednesday, March 24 | 5pm
Highlighting some of the most famous cool climate regions in Europe, this fun and educational seminar led by Master Sommelier David Glancy, founder of the San Francisco Wine School, will explore the heritage, the diversity and the rich raciness that old Pinot Noir vines produce.

Pinot Noir Rock Stars
Thursday, March 4 | 4pm
Whether you call them icons, trailblazers or legends, these esteemed winemakers boast decades of experience crafting some of America&rsquos most noteworthy Pinot Noirs. Featuring Michael Browne of CIRQ/CHEV Wines, Josh Bergstrom of Bergström Wines, Gary Franscioni of Roar Wines and Garys&rsquo Vineyard, and Mark Pisoni of Pisoni Vineyards this lively and legendary crew will swap tales and provide insight into how they helped put West Coast Pinot Noir on the global stage.

Santa Lucia Highlands: East of Eden &ndash Pinot Noir Paradise
Thursday, March 11 | 4pm
Daily winds from the nearby Monterey Bay roar through the Santa Lucia Highlands adding unmistakable character to the region&rsquos Pinot Noir&mdashrichness, spice and all that seductive, mouthwatering fruit. On terraced highlands above the fertile row crops of the Salinas Valley, the Santa Lucia Highlands is home to some of California&rsquos most celebrated Pinot Noir vineyards and iconic, generational farming families. Join author and Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein and six vintners from the region for an exploration of the region&rsquos history, people and its climatic combination of sun, wind, fog and that make it a Pinot Noir paradise.

The Sonoma Coast Seminar
Thursday, March 18 |4pm
Hosted by Keith Beavers, Tasting Director at VinePair, this fun and informative seminar will take you on a delicious journey through the vast and rugged Sonoma Coast, whose rolling hills and valleys have long been producing some of the most celebrated Pinot Noir of the New World. Beavers and a panel of winemakers will explore the Sonoma Coast&rsquos diverse terroirs, its sub-regions, such as the Russian River Valley and the Petaluma Gap, and show via the wines why the often challenging growing conditions of this coastal region are well worth it.

The Crafted Experience with Kanzler Family Vineyards
Friday, March 19 | 4pm
Kanzler Family Vineyards offers WOPN fans an exclusive opportunity to acquire its sold out 2017 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir. The 2017 library wine celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Kanzler estate vineyard located southwest of Sebastapol in western Sonoma County. The 14.5-acre vineyard is part of the acclaimed Russian River Valley AVA. Included in this special one-time offering is the famed Big Bottom Market Biscuit Mix heralded as one of Oprah&rsquos Favorite Things and a specialty mustard by Hurley Farms in the Napa Valley. Bake your biscuits and join Alex and Breauna Kanzler for this fun and unique experience.

Santa Maria Valley: Bien Nacido Vineyard
Thursday, March 25 | 4pm
Recently named one of the &ldquo10 Vineyards Behind the World&rsquos Most Famous Wines,&rdquo the World of Pinot Noir is excited to feature a seminar on this iconic and seminal Santa Maria Valley site. Join Matt Kettmann, Contributing Editor at Wine Enthusiast, and author of the acclaimed new book, Vines & Visions: The Winemakers of Santa Barbara County, as he and a panel of distinguished vintners discuss why and how this renowned vineyard produces such remarkable and delicious Pinot Noir.

Ultimate California Wine & Cheese Collection

Please enjoy this curated collection of exceptional wine and cheese selected by the team of Jackson Family Wines Master Sommeliers and Chef/Cheesemonger Tracey Shepos-Cenami to be perfectly paired with the array of cheeses from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company.

Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc

2018 was larger than life. Characterized by a long and cooler growing season, the vineyards matured to perfection. Diligent vineyard practices, such as leaving more leaves to protect the clusters on warmer days, creates a huge difference in the finished wines. Overall, temperatures were mild and facilitated slower, longer ripening resulting in high density of flavors and aromas while maintaining outstanding natural acidity.

Cambria Estate Cambria Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay

Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay is an ocean influenced, single vineyard expression of “refrigerated sunshine” in a glass – layered, elegant, distinct. Fresh granny smith apples, floral and spice aromas dominate the nose pink grapefruit, tangerine, citrus blossom, and apple pie flavors are balanced by a bit of wet stone. The oak influence creates a nice mid-palate, yet the wine still shows a balanced acidity that carries through the long finish. Chardonnay is one of the most celebrated white wines in Santa Barbara County, California.

Hartford Court Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

The 2017 Hartford Court Russian River Valley Pinot Noir comes from a collection of small vineyards located throughout the Russian River Valley AVA. These vineyards are a combination of our Estate properties such as Barbieri, Bellflower, Fog Dance, Hailey’s Block, Jennifer’s, MacLean’s Block and Arrendell as well as a handful of our neighbors’ vineyards located in the heart of the Russian River Valley. The sites express the essence of the Russian River Valley by showcasing the best of the neighborhoods within our AVA: Green Valley – Keen acidity, spice, red fruits, blood orange Laguna Ridge – Dark berry and cherry aromas and flavors, subtle loamy character Sebastopol Hills – Dark color, purple flowers, Indian spices and precise mouth feel and Santa Rosa Plains – Deep red and black cherry, fruit focused with supple tannins. Each neighborhood contributes complexity and character to the final blend.

Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

We hand-harvested grapes into lug boxes during cool morning hours, at an average Brix of 25°. The wine was fermented in stainless steel and then underwent native malolactic fermentation in barrels to round acidity and softly integrate the vanillin character of French oak (91% new). After barrel aging for 19 months, the wine was bottled without fining or filtration.

• 2018 Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County, 91 points, Robert Parker Wine Advocate, EB (Dec 19)
• 2016 Cambria Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay, 91 points, Vinous, AG (Sep 18)
• 2017 Hartford Court Pinot Noir Russian River Valley, 90 points, Robert Parker Wine Advocate, LPB (Feb 20)
• 2014 Mt Brave, 95 Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker Wine Advocate, October 2018

Aged 90 days. Semi-hard cheese, creamy texture with a waxed rind. Buttery notes of classic Toma accentuated by savory and rich Herbs de Provence.

Aged 90 days. Semi-hard cheese, creamy in texture with a waxed rind. Creamy, butter notes of classic Toma together with a blend of gentle heat, umami and nutty flavors.

Bay Blue:
Aged 90 days. Fudge-like texture with a beautiful natural rind, Mild blue mold pungency. Earthy with notes of malty toasted grain and sweet, salted caramel finish.

Aged 16 months. Creamy in texture but slightly crystalized, delivering pops of complex flavor. Deep flavors of toasted hazelnuts, caramel, butterscotch and cooked cream.

Includes: One (375ml) bottle of Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc, one (375ml) bottle of Cambria Estate Cambria Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay, one (375ml) bottle of Hartford Court Pinot Noir Russian River Valley, one (375ml) bottle of Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon, and (4) Cheeses - TomaProvence, TomaRashi, Bay Blue, Gouda.

This product is only available for delivery in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming .

Wine Berserkers - international wine social media, online community, and discussion

for instance, Lot 149 was sent to VIP list as I purchased it immediately as well as others. I have no idea if I'm still on Top 100 though- a Cameron secret we'll never know.

Lot 59 and 60 were VIP offerings.

Re: de Negoce offer

#9355 Post by <hr!s.L » April 21st, 2021, 2:41 pm

A good friend of mine loves N.54 and recommended it to me before the 2nd tranche was offered, but I can only buy so many $240 cases and I regretfully refrained. Certainly the ethereal, elegant pinot / old world profile sounds intriguing for a Cab - no new oak, IIRC. As it stands, I really can't handle those bottle shop prices so there's no going back now. I guess that leaves me in the not-too-sad position of looking forward to a wine that meets Cam's idea of "Fantabulous."

Did we just get a glimpse of the AVA source of 146? Maybe, maybe not. The offer description says the wine was sourced from select vineyards in top appellations so it sounds like more than one AVA was involved.

The only other "top 100" offers I was aware of were for N.79 and N.121, both high-end Sauvignon Blancs. N.59 and N.60 were before my time. Still, none of the aforementioned lots came from Howell Mountain. Hmmm.

The Beauty of Online Wine Tastings

It had been 28 days since I had spoken to or seen anyone other than a family member, so I sprayed some dry shampoo in my hair, threw on a sweater over my tank top and yoga pants, and propped my laptop on a book for a better angle to prepare for my first virtual wine tasting. I clicked the Zoom link and began tussling my hair and checking my teeth in my screen’s self-reflection…unaware I wasn’t the first on the call.

“Good afternoon Kristy,” the voice on the other end started with a laugh, “don’t worry, you look just fine.”

It didn’t take long to realize social distancing had taken its obvious toll on my social skills, but thankfully my tasting guide—Scott Johnson from Clos du Val Winery in Napa, California, had been doing these virtual tastings for weeks, and was as gracious as he was personable. I sat there with four bottles, four glasses, and a Coravin on the table as he began explaining a bit more about the winery and the vineyards themselves.

Coravin Model 2 Wine Preservation System, $209.96 from Sur La Table

Pour a glass of wine without actually opening the bottle.

Pictures of vineyards and dreamy Napa Valley sunsets soon opened on my screen as Johnson walked me through what makes Clos Du Val’s winemaking history and process so special. We swirled and sipped the first wine of the Red Wine Virtual Tasting Pack I had ordered, and, as that Gran Val Pinot Noir danced on my tongue with bright bursts of black cherries and delicate spices, I began to feel my social skills slowly returning…just in time to move on to the next glass.

More Ways to Get Your Wine Fix Try One New Wine Every Month in 2020 Virtual wine tastings weren’t common prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but as recommendations went from limiting large gatherings to sheltering in place, they have quickly become the new normal. Wine has always been something to be experienced with others, whether at tastings, happy hours, or dinners, and virtual tastings are making it possible for people to stay social during social distancing. Virtual tastings range from public “sip-along” happy hours hosted by a winemaker via Facebook or Instagram LIVE to private tastings hosted by cellar masters via Zoom for customers who have ordered a tasting package from the winery.

“Right now, as consumers turn to Instagram, Zoom, and even Facebook, virtual experiences have proven invaluable,” says Dana Bruneau, founder of Cuvée & Co. “Consumers are making good use of their bar carts and wine fridges. It’s an amazing time to get involved and support the wonderful winemakers and properties who work so diligently to bring us joy in a glass. My hope is the trend continues post-pandemic. I’ve re-connected with friends, family, and winemakers from far reaches of the world. It’s incredible. And 99 percent of the time, we all have various drinks in hand.”

  • PRINT or SHOW your PDF Ticket at registration at each winery you visit.
  • Wineries with an (*) asterisk next to their name have requested no groups over 4. No winery can accept a group larger than 6.
  • Be prepared to show your photo I.D. – No I.D. = no admittance.
  • All Wine Road events are for adults only. NO ONE under the age of 21 is allowed to attend Wine Road events. –
  • The event takes place rain or shine.
  • Please taste responsibly.


Online Ticket Sales have Ended. Tickets will be Available at the door of any participating winery during the event weekend

At the Door prices are:
$75 Weekend
$60 Sunday Only
$10 Designated Driver (At the door DD tickets do not include a WR Mug)

2017 CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 2017Food Shows and Local Food, Beer and Wine Events events waiting for new dates

November 2, 2017 - Taste of Fremont - Fremont, California
The inaugural Taste of Fremont as several Livermore Valley Wineries showcase, present and offer tastings on their marvelous wines at Campo di Bocce Fremont. This is a very special event because each attendant will have the unique opportunity to buy their favorite Livermore Valley Wines at a special Taste of Fremont price. It’s a perfect opportunity to stock up for holiday parties and gifts. Food will be provided by Campo di Bocce of Fremont.

2016 CALIFORNIA NOVEMBER 2016FOOD & WINE FESTIVALS, SHOWS, EVENTS events still waiting for new dates

November 12-13, 2016 6th Annual Italian Festival
La Quinta, California
A community event to celebrate the Italian heritage and culture! With this event, Desert Arc is acknowledging the generous donation of land for our current campus from the Western Italian Golf Association in 1983…and the Italian heritage of Richard Balocco, Desert Arc President & CEO. This event will have different types of vendors, performers, and a Family Fun Zone.

November 19, 2016 Fried Crab Festival - Richmond, California

2015 CALIFORNIA NOVEMBER 2015FOOD & WINE FESTIVALS, SHOWS, EVENTS events still waiting for new dates

November 15, 2015 Menudo & Pozole Food Festival
Los Angeles, California

Watch the video: The Pinot Noir Harvest at Fog Crest Vineyard - Russian River Valley (December 2021).