Monthly Archives: May 2010

Remembering the Real Reason for Memorial Day

     For many people – the Johnson family included – the Memorial weekend marks the official beginning of the grilling season.

     And that means bottles of Zinfandel and various roses will be brought out of the cellar (a.k.a. the closet) so they’re readily at hand when a juicy steak or chicken quarter or some other grillable edible takes its place over those red-hot oak chips.

     We’re fortunate that grilling is an option…

Posted in Editor's Journal

25 Minutes from Napa, a Wine Area Less Traveled

     It’s located just minutes off one of northern California’s busiest thoroughfares, yet it has managed to hang on to its agricultural roots and emerge as a hidden gem of North Coast wine country.

     The Suisun Valley is just north of Interstate 80, the road that connects the Bay Area with Reno and beyond, basically between the towns of Cordelia and Fairfield. It is bounded on three sides by roads that lead to the Napa Valley, 25 minutes away, and offers its own style of wine-tasting adventure.

     With its country roads and low traffic volume…

Posted in Our Wine Travel Log

The Secrets of Snowden's Success

     If you’d like to try a bottle of the highly acclaimed Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Snowden Vineyards, be prepared to pay the price.

     The winery already was rated among Napa Valley’s elite by Wine Spectator magazine, but when “Wine Advocate” Robert Parker tasted a barrel sample of the 2007 vintage and gave it a rating in the 94-96 range, the wine suddenly went from popular to highly allocated.

     The Snowden Ranch has been growing winegrapes since at least the 1870s. There is no known record of the original extent of the vineyards…

Posted in Wineries of Distinction

'Memorial Weekend in Wine Country' Is Here

     File this one under the heading, “Where did THOSE twenty years go?”

     It was back in 1991 that a group of wineries in Oregon’s Willamette Valley banded together to host their first Memorial weekend “open house.”

     Virtually all of the valley’s wine estates opened their doors to visitors, including several that…

Posted in Our Wine Travel Log

51 Research Projects Receive Funding

     The American Vineyard Foundation and several other organizations have joined together to fund more than $2.5 million in viticulture and enology research projects in 2010.

     The AVF alone contributed more than $1 million in funds, with the balance coming from other agencies.
     A total of 79 research proposals, including such diverse topics as mealybug control and microbiomics, were meticulously reviewed by a panel…

Posted in The Wine Business

In Search of 'Less Harsh' Wines

     QUESTION: We are new to wine, and find some of the red wines to be quite bitter. But we want to learn more, and were wondering what types of wine aren’t so harsh.

     ANSWER: The bitterness you’re experiencing comes from the tannin (or tannic acid) found in grape skins and oak barrels.

     When making red wines, it’s traditional to leave the grape juice in contact with the skins, and most red wines…

Posted in Wine FAQ

Getting Married? Head to Wine Country!

     Two long-time Sonoma County wine country destinations have been selected to receive 2010 Bride’s Choice Awards by WeddingWire and Martha Stewart Weddings.

     The awards recognize the top 5 percent of all-inclusive wedding venues, defined as demonstrating excellence in quality, service and professionalism. And making this year’s list are the Vintners Inn and John Ash & Co. Restaurant in the Sonoma County town of Healdsburg.

     Surrounded by the scenic northern California landscape, lush vineyards and beautifully landscaped grounds…

Posted in Vinesse Style

Destructive Grapevine Moth Targeted by Ag Officials

     When a group of moths destroys an entire vineyard’s crop – as happened last fall in the Napa Valley – you take it seriously.

     The insect in question is the European grapevine moth, and its introduction in California has growers and winery owners throughout the North Coast region nervous.

     According to a report by Robert Digitale in the Press Democrat newspaper of Santa Rosa, Calif., it’s possible that…

Posted in Editor's Journal

A World-Class Winery Gets a World-Class Winemaker

***image2***     Sonoma-Cutrer Winery has announced the appointment of Michael “Mick” Schroeter as Winemaking Director.

     Schroeter, 50, is a native Australian and will become only the third Winemaking Director in the company’s history. He replaces Terry Adams, Sonoma-Cutrer’s long-time winemaker who announced his retirement last October.

     Adams has provided nearly three decades of service to Sonoma-Cutrer and will continue this dedication by…

Posted in Wineries of Distinction

3 Tips for Aspiring Wine Collectors

     People collect wine for one of two reasons: as an investment, or to have some truly memorable drinking experiences.

     Given how the recession has changed the marketplace, investing is an iffy proposition today. There’s no guarantee that big-ticket wines will appreciate in value to the degree that they’re worth the investment in storage space, temperature-control cooling, etc.

     But if your goal is to have an array of top-quality wines on hand for special occasions, the following tips should help…

Posted in Wine Cellar Notes
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