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Tasting Room

The Wine Guide

The Rocky fire and a potential minor casualty — grapes from smoke taint

As the Rocky fire rages, vintner Ryan Zepaltas is tracking its every move; he wants to make sure the Lake County vineyard he sources fruit from is not in its path. So far the 20-acre vineyard of sauvignon blanc grapes hasn’t gone up in flames. But the vines could still be affected by the smoky skies overhead. “We’ll pull cluster samples and send them to the lab to see if we detect smoke taint,” Zepaltas said. “It’s way worse on… Read More »

Not a Trust Fund Baby? Make wine anyway

If there were really a God, wouldn’t the Almighty tell us to chase our dreams and then cut a check to cover the costs? Well that divine check hasn’t come yet for many of us, including some vintners. With Wine Country’s recent flurry of buyouts from the cash strapped, it begs the question: How does one make a go of it if you’re not a TRUST FUND BABY? Vintner Brian Callahan — unabashedly TRUST FUND-LESS — has the answer. “You’ve… Read More »

The Bohemian Grove’s appetite for eats and drinks

The cadre of America’s wealthiest men gathered at the Bohemian Grove are fans of local. “Typically if it’s not local, they don’t want it,” said John Haggard, the owner and wine buyer of Sophie’s Cellars in Duncan Mills. Haggard knows the whims of these highbrow campers because this year he has been helping them with menu pairings. Aside from Sophie’s Cellars, local purveyors have included Raymond’s Bakery in Cazadero, as well as Mom’s Apple Pies from Sebastopol. Haggard is tight-lipped… Read More »

Can you bottle the wind?

The inaugural Wind to Wine Festival Grand Tasting is Aug. 8, and it will give people a chance to sniff and sip the wind, if they’re so inclined. Before we delve into the particulars about how wind can shape a terroir, here are the details about the upcoming event: The Grand Tasting, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., will showcase wines produced from grapes grown in the Petaluma Gap area vineyards. More than 20 wineries are expected to pour nearly… Read More »

Hot new rosé event not-to-be missed

Do you have rosé-colored glasses? It appears Americans – across the board – do. Rosé is one of the hottest bottlings, experiencing unprecedented growth. According to Nielsen, rosé increased sales nationally by 40.5% in the last 4 weeks, and 34.7% over this time last year. With this rosé mania in mind, enthusiasts won’t want to miss the hot new event called the Rosé Rendezvous. It’s on Aug. 1st at Simi Winery in Healdsburg. Before we delve into a Q & A with chief organizer Bob… Read More »

Auction Napa Valley, the Best of the Best

Surprise was the hot commodity at this year’s Auction Napa Valley, with John Legend taking the stage and performing “All of Me.” Expressions on people’s faces shifted from shock to delight. To capture the color of the auction weekend – the hijinks, the humor, the bidding mentality – here’s this year’s list of “bests,” from best quote, to best lot, to best dish. For those who went to the auction events and for the curious who didn’t, here are some… Read More »

Casting Call for a ROCK STAR Winemaker

Word just in … the new Real Reality T.V. Show “Best Bottle” is looking for winemakers – established and aspiring — who can show their mettle and make the tastiest wine. First season is California vs. Oregon where two teams compete against each other to find America’s new Rock-Star Winemaker. Crazy as it sounds Julia Child, the woman who had high hopes for a cultivated society in her country, would find this delightful; she would be proud that in America… Read More »

Let the Bidding Begin. Auction Napa Valley’s E Auction opens Sunday

If you didn’t snag a ticket to Auction Napa Valley, there’s still a way to experience it from the comfort of your own home. The E-Auction is open for bidding at auctionnapavalley.org for good deed wine-lovers across the globe. Bidding will last nearly a week, with the E-Auction closing in waves starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 6, 2015. E-Auction lots are currently available for preview at auctionnapavalley.org Monies spent will benefit community health and children’s education. Here are some of the categories of the E-Auction… Read More »

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 »