PinotFile: 8.29 January 10, 2011
- American Pinot Noir Awards for 2010
- A Pinotphile’s New Year’s Resolutions
- Chardonnays I Swooned Over in 2010
- Newsworthy Headlines & Trends in 2010
- Pinot Briefs
American Pinot Noir Awards for 2010
“I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis and
I don’t deserve that either”
Heidi Montag Award (Biggest transformation): Carneros (Buena Vista Carneros, Donum Estate, Mahoney
Vineyards and others); Foppiano Vineyards; Thomas George Estate (formerly Davis Bynum); J Vineyards &
Paris Hilton Award (Most in news): E.& J. Gallo (Red Bicyclette); William Foley
Lindsay Lohan Award (Highest alcohol levels; not de-alcoholized): Brewer-Clifton, Aubert
Taylor Swift Award (Most hits): Cobb Wines
Rodney Dangerfield Award (Can’t get no respect): Santa Cruz Mountains, perhaps California’s least
celebrated but great region for Pinot Noir (Mount Eden, Rhys Vineyards, Varner, Windy Oaks and more).
Fred Rodgers Award (Most admired): Richard Sanford
Bling Award (Most expensive): Domaine Serene Monogram ($225)
Justin Bieber Award (Relatively young, making a splash): Alexana Winery, Alysian, Big Table Farm, Bjornstad
Cellars, C. Donatiello, Carabella Vineyard, Ceritas, Cherry Pie, Cornerstone Cellars, de Coelo, Evening Land
Vineyards, Foursight Wines, Furthermore, Harrington Wines, Heart O’ The Mountain, Kelley Fox Wines,
Kokoma, Lucienne, Signaterra (Benziger) SPELL Winery, Three Sticks Wines.
Lada Gaga Award (Personality): Lane Tanner
Angelina Jolie Award (Best Package): Belle Glos
Chip Off the Old Block Award (William Selyem spin offs carry on the tradition): Anthill Farms, Brogan Cellars,
George Wines, Olson Ogden Wines, Papapietro Perry, WesMar, Woodenhead
Jimmy Wales Award (Great, obscure producers): Castalia, Clos Saron, Saxon Brown
John Steinbeck Award (Best winery blog): Anne Amie, Bruliam Wines, Pinotblogger (Capozzi Winery)
Jack LaLanne Award (Legends that are still in top shape): Calera, Dehlinger, Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery,
Hanzell, J. Rochioli, Joseph Swan Vineyards, Ponzi Vineyards, The Eyrie Vineyards, Williams Selyem
Black Friday Award (Best deals): Balletto Vineyards, La Crema Winery, Sean Minor Wines, Westrey Wine Co.
Steve Jobs Award (Most Innovative): LIOCO
Mark Zuckerberg Award (Best winery website): Big Table Farm, Clos Pepe Vineyards, Thomas George Estates (live web cams).
Vincent Van Gogh Award (Best labels): Big Table Farm, Cherry Pie, Eric Kent Wine Cellars, Red Car, Windy
Anna Paquin Award (Winery goes gracefully both ways - great Pinot and Chardonnay): Benovia Winery,
Calera, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, duMOL, Freestone Vineyards, Hanzell, Littorai, Mount Eden, Walter Hansel
Robert Parker, Jr. Award (Highest scoring Pinot Noir): 2007 Williams Selyem Litton Estate Russian River
Valley Pinot Noir (100 pts by Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast, $100).
Oscar Wilde Award (Best winery newsletter): Navarro Vineyards, Pisoni Vineyards, Red Car
Orson Welles Award (No wine before its time): Kalin Cellars
Play Hard to Get Award (Most allocated): Aubert, J. Rochioli, Kistler Vineyards, Kosta-Browne, Marcassin, Privé Vineyard, Rhys
Vineyards, Rivers-Marie, Sea Smoke Vineyards
Tiger Woods Award (Surprise!): Briceland Vineyards (Humboldt County), Heart & Hands Wine Company (Finger Lakes),
Heron Lake Winery (Wild Horse Valley)
A Pinotphile’s New Year’s Resolutions
“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other”
1. Do not chase a high scoring wine: chase a producer with a broad work of excellence.
2. Drink Pinot Noir with food; Pinot Noir is a food groupie.
3. Ignore vintage hype, winemaker hype, retailer hype, wine press hype. Forget about scores. Trust your own
4. Support small family owned boutique Pinot Noir producers. Visit them and give them some love. Volunteer
to work crush.
5. Pay attention to alcohol percentage and adjust your intake accordingly to stay within the guidelines of
6. Buy in 3s - 1 to drink now, 1 to drink in 1 year, and 1 to drink in 3 to 5 years.
7. Don’t be a label kisser, score chaser or cult worshiper.
8. If you get a corked wine, demand a replacement.
9. Never, ever be intimated by a winemaker; they welcome your criticism.
10. Don’t be afraid to decant young wines. Let your Pinot Noir breath; Pinot Noir needs time to open in the
glass and no other wine changes so constantly in the glass.
11. Don’t equate price with quality or quality with price.
12. Attend at least one Pinot Noir festival a year.
13. Read the PinotFile religiously.
14. Embrace Pinot Noir in all of its styles, variations and origins.
15. Drink Pinot Noir at 58 to 65 degrees, especially if alcohol is above 14.5%.
16. Look to Oregon if you want lower alcohol.
17. Buy more magnums. The wine ages better, tastes better and the impressive bottle is more celebratory.
18. Promise not to spend more money on wine futures than on your child's futures.
19. Avoid swirling and sniffing your water glass at dinner parties.
Chardonnays I Swooned Over in 2010
2008 Alysian Cresta Ridge Vineyard Taurin Block Russian River Chardonnay 14.1% alc., 378 cases, $38.
Light straw clear color in the glass. Fresh aromas of white stone fruits, butterscotch and buttered toast.
Delicious and persistent moderately rich mix of flavors including pear, white peach, green apple, biscuit and
maple syrup framed by lively acidity with a subtle note of oak in the background. Uncommon tenacity of flavor
for a Chardonnay. Everything is singing in harmony and this wine is just my style.
2007 Brewer-Clifton Sweeney Canyon Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 15.2% alc., 120 cases, $70. Light straw
color in the glass. Distinctive aromatic profile of dried herbs, candle wax and cut flowers. Lovely flavors of
peaches and nectarines with a faint note of oak in the background. Slightly creamy and more demure than the
Mount Carmel and Rancho Santa Rosa bottlings with a better fruit and acid balance. No sign of alcohol.
2007 Buena Vista Carneros Ramal Vineyard Estate Vineyard Series Carneros Pinot Noir 14.2% alc.,,
3,807 cases, $32, screw cap. Aromas of lemons pears, buttered toast and roasted nuts. Very tasty essence of
lemon curd, white peach, pear and a touch of allspice. Beautifully composed with a welcoming snap of acidity
on the finish. A “go to” California Chardonnay that has all the spunk you can ask for.
2008 Fess Parker Ashley’s Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 14.3% alc., $22. Straw color in the glass.
Nicely appointed nose featuring scents of green apple, cinnamon spice, and a hint of toasty oak. Very tasty
essence of white stone fruits in a seamless style with a well-proportioned acid backbone. Very clean on the
finish, drawing the drinker to take another sip. California Chardonnay at its finest. Because of the name, wine
geeks may not take the winery seriously, but I am here to tell you that this is a label worth exploring for all its
2008 Freestone Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 13.5% alc., 800 cases, $55. Light straw color and
clear in the glass. Demure scents of spiced apples and white peaches. The apple, peach, citrus and pear
flavors flood with mouth with flavor, but the wine has an appealing modesty. Slightly viscous in texture, there is
no oak intrusion, and bright acidity brings the fruit into focus. A very classy Chardonnay with modest alcohol
that adds to the appeal.
2008 Freestone Vineyards Pastorale Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 13.5% alc., 50 cases, $100.
Light golden straw color in the glass. Needs some coaxing to open in the glass, but over time offers an alluring
perfume of apple pan dowdy, Asian pear and buttered toast. Similar in flavor profile to the Sonoma Coast
bottling, but with added notes of roasted nuts, minerals and lemon zest. A sneaky wine that picks up intensity
and interest with swirling in the glass and provides a full-on explosion of flavor after 30 minutes. A subtle
creaminess and hi-tone acidity add to the appeal. Worth the tab for serious Chardonnay aficionados and in the
same class as other top producers of California Chardonnay such as Peter Michael, Littorai, Kistler, Hanzell
2007 Hanzell Sonoma Valley Chardonnay 14.3% alc., 2,777 cases $70. One-third fermented in French oak
and two-thirds in stainless steel. Pale straw color in the glass. Delicate, yet complex aromatic profile that picks
up intensity with time in the glass to reveal scents of white peaches, crushed stones, toasted brioche and
lemon tart. This high-collared wine strikes a perfect balance between welcoming finesse and impressive
finishing strength and persistence. Smoothly textured with a well proportioned grip of acidity and a very
appealing underlying minerality. Flavors of golden apple, white stone fruits and subtle toast develop strength
and brilliance with air time. If you must open a bottle now, decant. A very classy wine that will hold its own
against many Grand Crus white Burgundies.
2007 LIOCO Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley Chardonnay 13.8% alc., 225 cases, $35. Fermented in
stainless steel (no oak). Terrific aromatics flashing ripe pears, green apples, warm cookies and graham. The
flavors are reminiscent of a warm apple tart, with hints of apricot and toast. Smooth and creamy with a lively
citric acid lift on the back end. Fresh and very bright. I drank at least a case of this last year.
2007 Morlet Family Vineyards “Ma Douce” Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 360 cases, $70. Moderately deep
straw yellow color in the glass. Piercing aromas of lemon curd, yeast, roasted nuts and smoky oak. Plush and
luxurious on the palate, yet vibrant with acidity and minerality. Enticing flavors of white peach and buttered
brioche linger on the refreshing finish. A very impressive wine that will still pumping out bright flavor three days
later from an opened and re-corked bottle. Decant this wine if you pop the cork now. One of the greatest
California Chardonnays to cross my lips.
2007 Peirson-Meyer Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 14.4% alc., 450 cases, $55.
Moderately deep straw color in the glass. The aromas really come at you over time in the glass showing lemon
curd, creme brulee, vanilla wafer and wet stones. Flat-out delicious flavors of golden apple, pear, melon and
freshly buttered brioche that are palate staining and hang around on the finish for what seems like a minute.
Very smoothly textured with perfect integration of oak. This wine would make any Frenchman green with envy.
One of my favorite California Chardonnays, and the one I buy by the case and magnum when my wife isn’t
looking over my shoulder.
2007 Pfendler Vineyards Estate Grown Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 14.1% alc., $38. A marvelous wine
style perfectly to my preferences. Complex nose of buttered popcorn, honey, lemon zest, honeydew and
spiced apple. Delicious flavors of pear tart and baking spices. A demure wine that is beautifully proportioned
with a lasting and aromatic finish.
Additional excellent California Chardonnay priced right:
2007 Bjørnstad Sonoma County Chardonnay ($25)
2007 Bonterra Vineyards Mendocino County Chardonnay ($28)
2009 Calera Mt. Harlan Chardonnay ($28)
2008 Fogdog (by Freestone Vineyards) Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($35)
2008 J Vineyards Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($28)
2007 Lucas & Lewellen Santa Barbara County Chardonnay ($16)
2007 LIOCO Sonoma County Chardonnay ($19)
2007 Melville Estate Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay ($20)
2007 Sebella (by Hanzell) Sonoma Valley Chardonnay ($36)
Other California producers of Chardonnay worth pursuing: Benovia Winery, Clos Pepe Vineyard, The Ojai
Vineyard, Sea Smoke, Au Bon Climat, Ambullneo, Paul Lato, Rhys Vineyards, Windy Oaks, Mount Eden,
Rivers-Marie, Aubert, Ramey, Peter Michael, Kongsgaard, Marcassin, Kistler, duMOL, Littorai,
LaFollette, Hirsch, Williams Selyem.
Newsworthy Headlines & Trends in 2010
Vintage 2010 In Northern California, low spring temperatures and an April frost in some regions delayed bud
break, damaged vines and fostered mildew. The summer remained very cool delaying vines’ growth and
spawning bunch rot (the second lowest temperatures in Napa and Sonoma counties in 50 years). A late August to mid-
September heat wave (temperatures soaring over 100º F) scorched grapes and damaged vines, and rain at
harvest created mold that severely damaged some vineyards, especially those planted to Chardonnay. The
result was a very late and shortened harvest with reduced yields. Additional bad news was that grape prices
were markedly reduced (grapes selling at close to 70 percent less than a few years ago). Sugars will generally
be down resulting in lower alcohol levels and the wines may be spotty in quality. This will be a year, like 2008,
to carefully choose your wine purchases from Northern California. The Central Coast had an extended growing
season as well and yields were also down. The marine influence tempered the August heat spike in the Sta.
Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley, but the October rains created challenges. For Oregon, a wet spring and cool
summer delayed ripening by two to three weeks. The later days of the growing season saw slightly cooler than
normal temperatures with few heat spikes. Harvest was late, and many vineyards were devastated by feasting
birds, but the quality of harvested fruit was excellent. The finished wines should have finesse yet good
substance with lower alcohols and acids on the higher side for age ability. In New Zealand, the 2010 vintage
was reduced in quantity, helping to relieve some of the problems created by the very large crops in the
previous two vintages, but predictions for 2011 are for another large crop. Prices for New Zealand wines have
been down due to reduced global demand, many wineries are holding a large inventory of previous vintages,
and New Zealand Winegrowers, the marketing arm of New Zealand, is urging growers to reduce yields in 2011.
Furor over Direct Shipping America’s 6,700 wineries and media
have been focused on House Resolution H.R. 5032, the Comprehensive
Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness (CARE) Act. The supporters of the
resolution have been alcohol wholesalers who want to maintain tight control
of sales, while opponents of the resolution, including wineries, distillers and
breweries, argue that the bill would prevent consumers from buying labels
that are not sold within state. A study by the Ship Compliant and Wines &
Vines Industry Database reported that 2.6 million cases were shipped
direct-to-consumer for the year ending in March 2010, or about 1% of the
total annual United States wine sales of 251 million 9-liter cases. This
number represents a tiny portion of wine sales, but accounts for a
significant percentage of small winery revenues. Two or three large
wholesalers control what wines are available in their state, and the ten largest wholesalers control more than
half of the United States market. Small wineries continue to push for the Model Direct Shipping Bill as outlined
on the www.freethegrapes.org website. 53,000+ letters were sent to Congress by consumers in 2010 opposing
H.R. 5034. The bill was not voted on by Congress during its lame-duck session at the end of 2010, but
opponents are concerned that the bill will be introduced under a new bill number in 2011.
“Natural” Wine Movement Outspoken advocate Alice Feiring defines
natural wines on her website (www.alicefeiring.com) as follows: “Nothing gets
added to the wine and nothing gets extracted. Grapes, maybe a splash of sulfur
dioxide. (1) Assume minimal chemical to no chemical farming. No Round Up. (2)
Wine with grapes and nothing else added. No yeast additions. (3) No forceful
machinery to alter taste, texture or alcohol level of the wine. (4) A little sulfur
dioxide at bottling, (5) No new oak.” In other words absolutely no detractive
interventions in the vineyard and in the winery. The controversy about natural
wines centers on the issue of whether these wines are superior in that they more
truly reflect their terroir. In Sonoma County, winemaker Kevin Kelley (Salinia,
LIOCO) and spouse Jennifer have founded the Natural Process Alliance (NPA).
His winemaking crew employs absolutely no winemaking additions or subtractions.
No watering back, acid adjustment, enzymes, chaptalization, de-alcoholization, or
fining and filtering. The wines have no sulfur or preservatives and are for
immediate drinking, and offered in refillable stainless-steel canteens, not glass
bottles, and filled at the winery from a tap. The wines are only available within 100
miles of Santa Rosa.Tasting of the wines is offered from 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM Friday and Saturday or by
appointment (707-527-7063) at 3350 D Coffey Lane, Santa Rosa.
Value is the New Bling Although Americans are drinking wine at a consistent pace, they are reaching
for cheaper wines that offer a favorable quality-to-price ratio. The newly tight-fisted wine drinker has reluctantly
forced some Pinot Noir producers to discount their prices, while many others offered significant discounts for
multiple bottle purchases and frequently threw in free shipping. The market has been flooded with second
upscale value-priced labels from premium producers, providing revenue while protect their main brand. The
explosion of negotiants has led to a marketplace filled with solid inexpensive wine. The problem of consumers
trading down has been compounded by states raising wine taxes. Excise tax increases were enacted in six
states, ranging from 11.5 cents a gallon in New York to 63 cents a gallon in Illinois. Expect more states to follow
suit as they attempt to balance budgets in this struggling economy. At this year’s 19th Annual Wine Industry
Financial Symposium, a majority of respondents to a survey indicated that it would take three to five years for
the wine industry to return to its pre-recession level of profitability. 7-Eleven plans to offer a new line of wine,
Cherrywood Cellars, aimed at Millenials that will sell for $8 to $9 a bottle. Their inexpensive wines under the
Yosemite Road label have sold well and the pricier Sonoma Crest and Thousand Oaks wines are also big
sellers. Starbucks plans to get into the retail wine business as well.
Glass Tops Receiving a Following I happen to really like Vino-Seal (Vino-Lok in Europe) glass
closures for wine bottles. The closure first appeared at Alcoa’s plant in Germany in 2004 and German and
Austrian wineries have been the biggest users. The biggest drawback is the high cost which rivals the best
corks ($0.50 to $1.00), although Encore! Glass of California reportedly reduced the price of Vino-Seal to $0.41
each in 2010. Additional disadvantages include a limited number of bottle styles and the potential for reduction
as in screw caps because of very low or nonexistent oxygen exchange. Pinot Noir producers who use them
include Robert Sinskey Vineyards and Calera in California, and R. Stuart & Co. and Sineann Winery in
European Grapevine Moth The European grapevine moth
(EGVM, Lobesia botrana) was first discovered in the United States in
Napa Valley in October of 2009 and presents a serious threat to
California’s grape industries. According to University of California
Davis, the pest is found throughout Europe, Northern and West
Africa, the Middle East, eastern Russia, Japan, and Chile. Vitis
vinifera is a preferred host. First-generation larvae feed on flower
clusters, second-generation larvae feed on green berries, and third generation
larvae feed inside berries and within bunches, resulting in
contamination with frass (excrement). Damaged berries attract
Botrytis, other fungi, fruit flies and ants. Cultivars with tight clusters
such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel suffer the most
damage. Treatment includes reduced-risk insecticides and predators
and parasitoids. A quarantine was imposed earlier this year in several counties including Mendocino, Napa
and Sonoma, having an impact on both intrastate and interstate movement of grapes.
HOT: white Pinot Noir, vin gris of Pinot Noir, whole cluster, heritage clones, second labels, wood tank
fermentation, indigenous yeast fermentation, less or no new oak, “natural” winemaking movement, glass
closures, negotiant labels, wine on tap, $100 Pinots, discounts, free shipping, better-quality QPR Pinot, urban
tasting rooms, winery social networking, QR label marking, organic farming, exporting wine, Hong Kong wine
auctions, California’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program, no-corkage nights at restaurants, burgers, food
trucks, unusual ice cream flavors.
NOT: heavy bottles, high alcohol, overpriced Pinot, allocations, wax closures, alcohol percentages can’t read
without a magnifying glass, interstate shipping restrictions, overblown unfined and unfiltered claims, smoke
taint, emerging vineyard pests, birds, collectors unloading overpriced wines, vintage hype or lack of hype, label
kissers, binge drinking, exorbitant Burgundy prices, value of vineyards, state wine taxes, winery websites that
are poorly laid out and give little or no information and don’t offer labels for download.
Tony Rynders’ Projects in Oregon Tony Rynders was the winemaker
at Domaine Serene for ten vintages. He left under much controversy in 2009, and
now is a consulting winemaker to some of Oregon’s newest wineries. His personal
project is Tendril, and his consultancies include Sitar, Swiftwater and Cornerstone.
Under the Tendril label, Rynders is crafting small lots of Pinot Noir and reds from
Washington. 500 cases of a 2008 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir were produced
($48). Sitar is part of Dr. Madaiah Revana’s Oregon label lineup that include
Revana Pinot Noir crafted by Lynn Penner-Ash. For more information and
availability, visit www.avalonwine.com/Tendril-Pinot-noir-Tony-Rynders.php.
Brittan Vineyards Robert Brittan was the winemaker at Stag’s Leap Winery in
Napa Valley for sixteen years and now has his own label as well as consulting for
Winderlea and others. He acquired a 128-acre property southwest of McMinnville in
2004 from which he produces wines under his own label. His top bottling is the Gestalt
Block, now in its third vintage.
World of Pinot Noir The annual WOPN, slated for March 4-6, 2011, will
feature two Seminars of interest. Seminar Combination “A” will include an
International Roundtable with Pinot Noir producers from Germany, Austria, Italy,
New Zealand, France, Chile and Switzerland. After a gourmet lunch, the Alcohol
& Balance segment will provide much debate for panelists Jim Clendenen, Josh
Jensen, Adam Tolmach, Michael Browne, Adam Lee and Raj Parr, moderated by
Eric Asimov of the New York Times. Seminar Combination “B” features a tasting
of wines from the Hirsch Vineyard and includes panelists David Hirsch, Ross
Cobb, Ehren Jordan and Ted Lemon, moderated by wine writer Jon Bonne of the
San Francisco Chronicle. After a gourmet lunch there will be a Oregon vs
California smackdown with Oregon wineries Anne Amie, Dobbes Family Estate, Bergstrom Wines and Evening
Land Vineyards facing off with California wineries Adelaida Cellars, Peay Vineyards, Saintsbury and Evening
Land Vineyards/California, moderated by Patrick Comiskey. Tickets are now available ($195 per person
including lunch and transportation from The Cliffs Resort) at www.wopn.com.
Pinot Noir Summit The final showdown of the 9th Annual Pinot Noir Shootout will be held on Saturday,
February 26, 2011, at the Hilton San Francisco Financial District. Highlights include an opportunity for
attendees to blind judge the top 40 Pinot Noirs and compare the results with the judging panel. Pinot Noir
workshops, a Sparkling Wine Reception, and the Grand Awards Tasting & Ceremony at the conclusion of the
blind tasting round out the program ($100 per person). A winemaker hosted Pinot Noir Dinner will follow ($125
per person). A special rate is being offered to attendees by the Hilton San Francisco Financial District.
Attendance is limited to 300. For tickets and information, visit www.affairsofthevine.com.
Monogamy and Alcohol American Association of Wine Economists Working Paper No. 75 by Mara
Squicciarini and Jo Swinnen titled, “Women or Wine? Monogamy and Alcohol,” published December 2010.
The authors of this study investigated whether there is a correlation between alcohol consumption and
polygynous/monogamous arrangements, both over time and across cultures. Historically, a correlation was
found between the shift from polygny to monogamy and the growth of alcohol consumption. Cross-culturally, it
was found monogamous societies consume more alcohol than polygynous societies in the pre-industrial world.
The industrial revolution caused the major and definitive change towards effective monogamy and
popularization of alcohol consumption. Changes in alcohol consumption were induced by changes in social
structures, economic developments and technological innovations associated with the industrial revolution.
Read this fascinating study at www.wine-economics.org.
Siduri named “Sonoma County’s Best Winery” The San Francisco Chronicle On Line Poll,
fueled by a record number of visitors to Siduri’s warehouse winery, were awarded this distinction. Siduri is
open daily for tours and tasting by appointment from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM (707-578-3882) at the winery at 981
Airway CT, Suites E&F, Santa Rosa. Siduri has made a push into affordable quality wines and is now offering
the 2008 Siduri Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir for $30, the 2008 Siduri Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir for
$30, the 2008 Siduri Sonatera Vineyard Pinot Noir for $29, and the 2009 Siduri Sonoma County Pinot Noir (a
blend of multiple clones from several well-known vineyards) for $20. Sign up for the mailing list at
Interested in New Zealand Pinot? Join the mailing list of New Zealand Winegrowers at
www.nzwine.com. The new official New Zealand Wine website offers extensive information on New Zealand
wine including all events offered throughout the year.
Ventura County Wine Trail The Ventura County Wine Trail is a collection of 15 family owned wineries
scattered throughout Ventura County. Ventura County Wine Trail Tours are available by reservation Saturday
and Sunday from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Tours depart from the Ventura Visitors Center. $85 per person
includes a visit to four wineries and a gourmet lunch. Custom wine tours can be arranged by calling Dottie at
805-765-5324. Less than a two hour drive from Los Angeles. Pinot Noir producers include Casa Barranca,
Herzog Wine Cellars and The Ojai Vineyard. Visit www.venturacountywinetrail.com.
Pigs & Pinot Weekend. I hate to publicize this event as it is so popular tickets sell out within minutes
after they are offered. Chef Charlie Palmer brings together culinary and wine elites from around the country to
Hotel Healdsburg where wine and food enthusiasts get to experience the creations of over 60 wineries and 10
chefs each year. This year’s participating pork authorities include Nancy Oakes (Boulevard), Bryan Voltaggio
(Volt restaurant and Top Chef finalist), Michael Voltaggio (Top Chef Winner) and Gala Dinner winemakers Nick
and Zina Bower (Woodenhead), Merry Edwards, Tom Rochioli and Anne Parent (Domaine Parent). I was a
judge at this event last year and can tell you it is one of the premier Pinot Noir events of the year. For details
and tickets visit www.pigsandpinot.com. Good luck!
Free Santa Cruz Mountains Wineries App Released A free iPhone App focused on the
wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains is being offered by 1776 productions (www.1776productions.com). More
than 50 Santa Cruz Mountains wineries are featured as well as shops and restaurants. The wineries in the
Santa Cruz Mountains are not that easy to find, and this App provides geo-locating sorted by distance, allowing
the user to efficiently plan their winery trip. The App is easily found on the iTunes App Store by searching for
Eric Johnson New Talley Vineyards Winemaker Johnson joined the winemaking team at
Talley Vineyards in 2007 and assumed the head winemaking duties in July 2010. Since its launch in 1986,
Talley Vineyards has consistently been one of California’s premier producers of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Vineyards on Catalina Island William Wrigley, Jr., bought Santa Catalina Island Co., which owns all
developable land on the island in 1919. Alison Wrigley Rusack, William’s great-granddaughter, along with
husband Geoffrey Rusack (who own Rusack Winery), plan to establish a winery on the island. The island’s
first vineyard has been planted and a tasting room will be added. Millions of dollars have been spent to
develop the vineyard which has yielded to date 3,600 cases of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. The
wines are crafted by winemaker John Falcone at Rusack Winery in Santa Ynez Valley. The 2009 and 2010
vintages of Rusack Santa Catalina Island wine have yet to be released.
Rene di Rosa Passed Away in 2010 Rene Di Rosa was a quirky art collector and winegrower who
passed away in October 2010. He was one of the first to plant Pinot Noir in Carneros at the Winery Lake
Vineyard in the 1960s. The grapes were sold to Robert Mondavi, Acacia and Saintsbury among others. The Di
Rosa property of 200 acres in Napa Carneros is part of the Di Rosa Preserve which includes a fascinating art
exhibit, the most significant holding of Northern California art in the world including approximately 2,000 works
by more than 800 artists. Visit www.dirosaart.org for information about visiting.
Winemaking and Viticulture Courses UC Davis Extension has announced the winter 2011
schedule of classes in both online and onsite formats. Visit www.extension.ucdavis.edu/wine.