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Pinot Briefs —Newsletter 8.1

Kosta Browne Sold to Vincraft for $40 Million Vincraft has bought a controlling interest in Kosta Browne, a popular producer of Pinot Noir located in Sebastopol, CA. Reportedly, principals Michael Browne, Dan Kosta and Chris Costello wanted to pay off some of the original investors and acquire a new partner. Michael Browne will continue as winemaker, with Dan Kosta and Chris Costello remaining to manage the operation. The purchase price includes no vineyards or winery (Kosta Browne leases space in the Vacu-Dry plant on Highway 116 in Sebastopol). The price is astonishing but not unwarranted considering the success of Kosta Browne. The entire annual production of about 10,500 cases of Pinot Noir is quickly sold directly to eager mailing list members. Visit www.kostabrowne.com.

New Organic Wine Labeling Law If a bottle of wine is labeled “Made with Organically Grown Grapes,” it must contain 100% organically grown grapes. If there are non-organically grown grapes in the wine, this must be stated on the label including percentages of organic and non-organic grapes.

Japanese to Release Own Version of Sideways In October 2009, a new variation of the popular movie Sideways will be released in Japan. The movie was filmed in California and takes place in Napa Valley as the two male principals in the movie (Daisuke - Jack in the original movie) and Michio (Miles) celebrate the upcoming wedding of Daisuke to an American girl. The film relates the pair’s road trip from Los Angeles to the Napa Valley and is centered in Calistoga, which replaces Solvang in the original movie. Wineries included in the film are Darioush, Domaine Chandon, Frog’s Leap, Newton, and Lynmar. Some of the scenes from the original movie are reenacted such as the drinking from a tasting room spit bucket. Actor Paul Giamatti, who played Miles in the original movie, was asked to play a cameo role but declined. A website has been launched at www.movies.foxjapan.com/sideways_jpn/. Watch the trailer, its a hoot!

Wine Preservation Systems May Not Be All They Claim Sunset magazine reported this year about an experiment conducted by the magazine to compare several wine preservation systems. They tested 54 bottles using three systems: Private Reserve (oxygen is removed and replaced by inert gas), VacuVin Wine Saver (oxygen is pumped out of the bottle), and a third system that involved simply pouring the wine into a smaller bottle and re-corking it. Bottles were also re-corked as controls. No difference was found among all the systems tested and some of the wines that had been simply left open were preferred over ones that had been subjected to one of the three preservation systems.

Wine Tasting Room Openings Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Dry Creek Vineyards have renovated and reopened the Seasons of the Vineyard Bar & Boutique tasting room located on the Healdsburg Plaza at 113 Plaza Street. The Seasons of the Vineyard is open daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Pey-Marin Vineyards opened a tasting room at the Olema Inn and Restaurant in rural Olema, near Point Reyes National Seashore. Housed in a historic Victorian building, the tasting room is open from 12:00 to 4:00 daily.

Bloggers Planting Own Vines Hahn Family Wines created a 1.6 acre “The Bloggers Block” in their Smith Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Bloggers attending the Hahn Tasting and Planting Forum in May planted their own vine in the Bloggers Block under the direction of vineyard manager Andy Mitchell and Hahn Estates winemaker Paul Clifton. Other wineries are sure to follow, hosting bloggers for educational and planting events to enhance their outreach. For more information, visit www.winedivergirl.com.

Twomey Launches Appellation-Focused Pinot Noir Program While many Pinot Noir producers focus on vineyard-designated wines, Twomey has began a program to feature outstanding growing regions within California. La Crema has followed this model successfully for years. Twomey Cellars began modestly years ago with the lease of the West Pin Vineyard in the Russian River Valley and released the first Twomey Pinot Noir in 2002. The former Roshambo Winery in the Russian River Valley was acquired and retrofitted for Pinot Noir production. Under the direction of the Duncan family, owners of Silver Oak Cellars, Twomey has released four Pinot Noirs in 2007 from the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley and Santa Barbara County, all priced at $50. The winemaker since 2007 is Ben Crane, who has prior experience in Santa Barbara, Sonoma and Burgundy. In 2008, he will work with 34 separate lots of Pinot Noir from 14 vineyards in 4 appellations. For more information, visit www.twomeycellars.com.
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