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A Press Democrat Blog

Tasting Room

The Wine Guide

Hey wine geeks, looking for some weekend fun?

Check out the Historic Tool Museum at Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma. It’s open this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here’s a Q&A with vintner Jean-Charles Boisset for a deeper look at this unusual museum. Q: What’s the most significant aspect of this tool museum? A: The inspiration for this museum developed at Louis Bouillot, in Burgundy, where we have over 3-4,000 historical winemaking tools that have been collected by our family and also purchased from… Read More »

The clever vintner behind Sidebar

David Ramey is the vintner behind our wine-of-the-week winner – Sidebar, 2014 High Valley Sauvignon Blanc at $25. In this Q&A Ramey gives us a closer look at Ramey Wine Cellars’ new brand that kicked off with the 2014 vintage. Aside from the sauvignon blanc, there’s also a 2014 Kerner, a crisp white grape grown in Lodi’s Mokelumne River area, and a 2014 rosé made from syrah grapes grown in the Russian River Valley. Q: What role do you play… Read More »

“Tasting in the Dark” Tips

Hoby Wedler, blind since birth, leads the popular “Tasting in the Dark” at Geyserville’s Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and he has plenty of tips for the sighted. The first tip?  Wedler tells his blindfolded group of tasters to become fully aware of the “distraction” of sight. He encourages them to rely on their other senses while tasting. What follows is Wedler’s five-point strategy for getting the most out of wine. 1)                Swirl the glass. 2)                Smell the glass. 3)                Taste… Read More »

Rock Climber Shares Photos

Rock climber Kevin Jorgeson is now a household name in Wine Country, the local hero.   The man who free climbed the 3,000 foot Dawn Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park will be sharing his photos in an exhibition this Sunday at Iron Horse Vineyards’ Earth Day celebration this Sunday.   Joy Sterling of Iron Horse said she approached Jorgeson to be the guest speaker about a week after he finished his climb in mid-January.   “I’m very… Read More »

Heading into the Sweepstakes Round

In Day 2 of the Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge we will ferret out the best of the best, the sweepstakes winners, a selection from an initial pool of 1000-plus wines submitted to the contest. A perk for those of us judging was dinner last night at the Kosta Browne Winery at The Barlow in Sebastopol. Who says dinner in a warehouse can’t be classy? The cellar, done up in lights, makes a great backdrop for an elegant evening.… Read More »

The latest player to get serious about wine

For those looking for deals at $1.99 and up, the Grocery Outlet in Santa Rosa offers plenty to peruse. It has expanded its wine department and now has more than 500 labels. The Grocery Outlet is the latest to join the ranks of other area grocery stores who take wine seriously. They include G&G, Oliver’s, Pacific Market, Sonoma Market, and Big John’s in Healdsburg. Melissa Porter at the Emeryville headquarters of Grocery Outlet, said of its 220 stores, the one… Read More »

The Story Behind Syrah du Soleil

Vintner Barry Collier lost his wife Sue in 2007, but he’s bottled her memory in Syrah du Soleil. This Thursday Collier will give a check for $10,000 to the Forbes Norris ALS Research Center in San Francisco. He’ll also pour the wine named after Sue which was responsible for raising that amount. In 2004 Sue was diagnosed with ALS — Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, best known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. With this disease, the muscles become smaller and weaker, and gradually… Read More »

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? James Beard Award-winning Chefs

Hamel Family Wines is hosting a dinner April 25 that will feature the caloric magic of five James Beard Award-winning chefs. If you’re wondering how to get a ticket to this decadent, six-course dinner at this sleek Sonoma winery, forget it. It was an auction lot and, I might add, one of the most popular offerings at the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction in August. The single lot, which raised a record-breaking $260,000 that afternoon, was snapped up because of its… Read More »

How Many Rabbis Does It Take To Make A Kosher Wine?

One. But that rabbi comes with a whole lot of rules. A rabbi oversees the production of kosher wine to make sure they uphold Jewish dietary law. Most kosher wines require kosher ingredients, the use of rabbinically-certified equipment, and to be handled from vine to glass by Sabbath-observant Jews. For those on the lookout for tasty kosher wine and recipes for Passover, there’s a terrific new cookbook on the market. Jeff and Jodie Morgan, owners of Berkeley, Calif.-based winery Covenant,… Read More »

Boost Your Wine IQ in 60 Seconds: Gruner Veltliner

We know you’re living life on the run, but this Austrian grape varietal is definitely worth a minute of your time. While 30-plus grape varieties are grown in Austria, gruner veltliner is the one to keep your eye on. It’s the highest quality and Austrians devote the most vineyard acreage to it. I recently tasted a gruner veltliner produced by Carlisle and was unduly impressed. Vintner Mike Officer is revered for making old vine zin, but it turns out he’s… Read More »