AVA,Cabernet Sauvignon,Event,Napa,Stags Leap District,Wine

Stags Leap District Vineyard to Vintner 2017

This is an unparalleled Stags Leap District wine experience. Stags Leap is an iconic American appellation, with legendary history, a vibrant future, distinctive Cabernets as Napa’s neighborhood for world class wines.

[Pine Ridge Vineyards]

Last year, we attended this event and were stuck by the quality and attentiveness of each vintner and winemaker. Pictures from last year are included in this story, so you have a feeling for its flavor…

  • Vineyard to Vintner ~ Celebrating Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District ~ Part 1
  • Magic Cellar Rendezvous ~ Celebrating Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District ~ Part 2

Their annual Vineyard to Vintner weekend shares the best that they have for an unparalleled experience, with owner and winemaker participation in private homes and historic wineries, glorious vineyards and billowing mountain ranges. Experience barrel and bottle tastings, inspired cuisine, and lively conversation… Backstage and personal. Join the fun!

The Stags Leap District (from their Website)

The iconic American Stags Leap District Viticultural Area (AVA) is located on the eastern edge of Napa Valley, among the foothills of the Vaca Mountain Range. Barely one mile wide and three miles long, this tiny region – the smallest AVA in Napa Valley – is critically acclaimed for its distinctive, powerful and elegant Cabernet Sauvignon. With a unique growing climate, the rocky palisades to the east capture and focus daytime heat while funneling Pacific breezes down the hillsides to cool the vines at night. This climatic condition along with the region’s volcanic soils of bale loam overlay uniquely proved the area was qualified for AVA designation which was approved in 1989.

[Doug Shafer, Shafer Vineyards]

Stags Leap History

Stags Leap District has been a grape-growing region since the mid-1800s, though the first Cabernet Sauvignon vines
were not planted until 1961 by Nathan Fay. His fruit was in high demand and sourced by winemakers throughout the
early 1970s. In 1976, the famed Tasting of Paris catapulted the region into the global spotlight when French judges
awarded a 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars first place over legendary Bordeaux producers.
Ten years later when the same wines were tasted blind a second time top honors again went to a Stags Leap wine –
the 1972 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, approximately 90% of the 1,200 acres currently planted to
grapevines are Cabernet Sauvignon or other Bordeaux varietals.

Stags Leap District Vineyard to Vintner 2017 Details

  • Exclusive Vintner-Hosted Library Wine Dinners: Friday, April 28, 2017 ~ 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (For Consumers)
  • Back-Stage Open Houses: Saturday, April 29, 2017 ~ 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (For Consumers and Media)
  • Vintner-Hosted Lunch and Appellation Collection Tasting: Sunday, April 30, 2017 ~  11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (For Consumers and Media)

[Left: Winemaker Elizabeth Vianna of Chimney Rock ~ Right: Jo Diaz]

Tickets and Additional Information

Tickets went on sale, February 14, 2017.  You can find more information and purchase tickets, at StagsLeapDistrict.com/V2V. Price ranges:

  • Signature Wine Weekend for Two packages are available for $339 which includes
    • two passes for all three days of the event
    • the limited 2014 Appellation Collection of 17 handcrafted 2014 SLD designated Cabernet Sauvignons each signed exclusively by the vintners
    • one Solle two-bottle jacquard and leather embossed wine tote.
  • $690 for a three-day pass
  • $545 for a two-day pass (Friday/Saturday)
  • $340 for a two-day pass (Saturday/Sunday)
  • $195 for a Saturday single-day pass.

More information can be found at StagsLeapDistrict.com/V2V.



Books,Petite Sirah,Russian River Valley,Wine

White with Fish, Red with Murder ~ a novel by Harley Mazuk

White with Fish, Red with Murder, by Harvey Mazuk, is a murder mystery set in San Francisco and Russian River Valley in 1948. Harley Mazuk’s novel is one where you imagine Art Deco influences, with Humphrey Bogart (playing P.I. Frank Swiver) and Lauren Becall (Cicillia “Cici” O’Callaghan, as a brunette) getting it on in more ways than one. He calls her “doll,” she a vixen who’s sassy as all get out, and the intrigue, suspense, and sensuality draw you in… in this who done it, and why it’s been done to whom novel.

Does it help that it’s set in my neighborhoods? Yes, completely for me, while it will educate others to wine country, California Bay Area style.

SAN FRANCISCO: We who live here are familiar with all of the neighborhoods and can visualize every step. Those who don’t live here can gain a few insights into neighborhoods; but, one must also go back in time.

WINE COUNTY: Russian River Valley ~ I drive down all of these roads every day I’m out and about. Wohler Road? Com’mon, the Russian River just majorly flooded this past February, and we had to go around to get to River Road to make appointments. I used to work on Westside Road, so it’s easy to visualize, as I still travel on it. Healdsburg, many of you who come to Sonoma County know it well. Forestville, Bodega Bay ~ he’ll take you there, I’ll see you there.

Even though Harley Mazuk was born in Cleveland and now lives in Maryland; he knows these neighborhoods well, though, while he shares his love for California wines (and the business life-style side of it, shaped into this well-crafted novel).

[Picture taken on Patrick Henry’s Creative Charter train, while traveling with Petite Sirah producers, on the Blue Tooth Tour. Left to right: Patrick Henry, Bob Swain – Parducci Cellars, Richard Paul Hinkle – wine writer, Louis Foppiano – Foppiano Vineyards.]

Classic Noir Detective Story

Does it help that part of the story is set on a train (today they’re all vintage cars), with a sleeper seven cabins, six of  which each have an adjoining room to a neighbor, with one master suite in the middle of all the rooms on that car for a principle character? That it’s all about wine, vineyards, and sales people? Yes, because I’ve been there and done it all. Harley does a great job of describing all of these aspects in his story. I’ve lived all of it, except the who-done-it-part. (I escaped that one – literally, and it just all came flooding back.)

In this story, Frank Swiver accepts an invitation by a wealthy wine connoisseur to attend a tasting in this rail road car, and the intrigue begins.

Pages Marked ~ Do you also make note of quotes?

Petite Sirah

Right away, page 17, Petite Sirah is brought up in the following way: “No one knows what year it [blackbird] first appeared. But the grapes it watches over are the best in California, year after year. Zinfandel, petite sirah, Alicante, carignane – that’s nero misto, you know? The fruit ripens slowly and late, and it is so rich and concentrated, so dark, and so good. The room was quiet.”

And, Petite Sirah comes up again in the end.

“The sparkling wine was gone. I had bought a couple of dozen bistro glasses for the guest, and I circulate among the guests, pouring the first two wines. One was a petite sirah from the Spring Mountain area of Napa and the other pure Alicante Bouschet, from a low-rent district.” p. 320

Philosophical Moments

Oscar Wilde quote, a reminder of a bio I was assigned to write, so many years ago: “All of us are lying in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars.”  p.286 (That’s the dark Oscar I remember.)

Nietzsche: “The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it.” p.335 (A condition of today, to help me stay on an even keel.)

Final thought… for the record

White with Fist, Red with Murder heralds the beginning of a stimulating new series… Thank the good lord for that, because as you realize you’ve just read the final words, you’re already hankering for more.

Publisher: Driven Press



2017 Rutherford Dust Society ~ Save the Date, and Their Leaders

Save the Date

Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20 ~ “Rutherford Wine Experience” Consumer Event ~ Tickets will be on sale soon!

The Wine Experience is RDS’s major consumer-focused event for Rutherford. This year’s Experience will include a Friday night VIP reception, multiple educational sessions on Saturday morning, and a new addition to the event called the Rutherford Round-Up, which will take place on Saturday afternoon. The Round-Up is a multi-winery tasting opportunity for customers that will be held at a central location, rather than at individual wineries.

Come experience the real Rutherford. Meet Rutherford winemakers and winery owners at the VIP welcome reception, choose 2 experiential education seminars for Saturday morning, and kick up the Rutherford Dust with us on Saturday at the Round-Up! Starting at 1pm on Saturday, we’ll have a live band, barrel demonstration, local artists, and our favorite food trucks with food available for purchase. You won’t find this many wine and food experiences in one place anywhere else!

Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June ~ Auction Napa Valley

“Rutherford Dust Society is preparing yet another exciting package live auction lot for Auction Napa Valley (ANV) in June. Over the past two years, the Rutherford Dust Society’s ANV live lots raised a combined $190,000 for Napa Valley charities. We would like to extend our gratitude to Auction Napa Valley 2017 Chair, Inglenook and The Coppola family, and each of our wonderful members who generously donated their Rutherford magnums and experiences to make this year’s auction lot so special. And a special thank you to our Auction Napa Valley 2017 Lot Co-Chairs, board member Michelle Baggett and RDS Member Emma Swain and also to their RDS Committee for pulling these amazing lots together. We hope that you will check out our lot display and bid if you are attending in June”

Wednesday, July 12th ~ Rutherford Dust Society (RDS) “Day in the Dust” Trade & Media Event

“Day in the Dust is RDS’ premier tasting for distinguished members of the wine trade and media. This year’s event will be held at the historic Inglenook on Wednesday, July 12th.”

Sunday, August 6th ~ “Rutherford Chili Ball” Community and Consumer Event

Meet The 2017 RDS Board 

The Rutherford Dust Society is a dedicated and diverse mix of Rutherford vintners, growers, and winemakers. The 2017 Board of Directors was seated at the annual meeting and dinner in early February. The diverse and dedicated group of Rutherford vintners, growers, and winemakers are supporting the mission of RDS, many of whom have served on the board for multiple years.

The Society’s mission is to encourage and promote the highest quality standards in grape growing and winemaking in the Rutherford Viticultural Area, and to help wine lovers and the wine trade discover Rutherford’s expression of its unique terroir.

It is with much gratitude and appreciation that RDS honorS Michelle Baggett, Proprietor of Alpha Omega, who served for two years as their Board President. Michelle has passed the torch to Davie Piña, and will remain on the board to focus on a project that she was instrumental in launching: RDS’ participation in Auction Napa Valley live auction.

The 2017 Rutherford Dust Society Board is comprised of the following individuals:

Board Officers

President Davie Piña, Piña Vineyard Management
Vice-President Steve Tonella, S.R. Tonella Cellars
Secretary Regina Weinstein, Honig Vineyard & Winery
Treasurer Joel Aiken, Aiken Wines

Board Members

Michelle Baggett, Alpha Omega Winery
Andy Beckstoffer, Beckstoffer Vineyards
Kathy Chaix, Chaix Wines
David DesForges, Beaulieu Vineyard
Trevor Durling, Provenance/Hewitt
Maria Haug, Talahalusi Vineyards
Gemma Kochis, Inglenook
Julie Johnson, Tres Sabores Winery


Baja Wines,Importer,Imports,Tom Bracamontes,Wine

The Passion of Tom Bracamontes ~ Baja Wines, and you’d better believe it

Tom Bracamontes, of La Competencia Imports, approached Diaz Communications, almost a year ago. We met in the town of Sonoma, and I was really jazzed to help him. He’s gathered a group of wine companies from the Baja region of Mexico. If anyone understands the process of herding gatos, it is I.

As the matriarch of PS I Love You, having given birth to the group and then seeing it though these past 15 years, I can share that it’s really difficult to keep it on an even keel, most especially now, though these teenage years… P.S. I Love You is now 15; we’ll be cresting on sweet 16 this coming October. I hope it’s easier than it was with one of my children’s growing pains. (Please, God, not that again, huh?)

So there we were: Tom needing help and my unique position to know what to do. (I also started the Association of African American Vintners, so PSILY isn’t my only rodeo in this regard.) Because he’s a one man band, Tom would love some PR help, but he’s constantly in the middle of the following:

  • On the road constantly
  • Organizing events
  • Taking on new brands
  • Merging with any company that can help his processes

I just got another E-Mail from Tom. I recently told him that since he isn’t ready for PR prime time, I’ll turn this into a blog story, begin to get his word out… In the words of Nike, I’ll “Just do it.”

SIDEBAR: Baja Uncorked 2017 (think Oregon Pinot Camp meets Baja) is June 25-27th

​​As the buzz continues to build around Valle de Guadalupe’s emergence as a world class wine region, a vast group of vintners, in association with La Mision Wines & La Competencia Imports, have come together to create a one of a kind wine experience BAJA UNCORKED!

Specifically designed for U.S. based wine buyers, retailers, sommeliers and media, BAJA UNCORKED will introduce lucky attendees to the region’s unique features and provide an opportunity to taste a wide variety of local wines.

So, here you go. Perhaps your first inkling that Baja Wines are a force to be recognized.

From Tom Bracamontes

Buenas Tardes a Todos:

La Competencia Imports and La Mision Associates are proud to announce several new additions to our ever expanding U.S. Distribution Network.  In the first two months of 2017, distribution agreements have been reached for Las Vegas (Johnson Brothers of Nevada), North Carolina (Epiphany Wines), and New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania (VOS Selections).

These well respected companies join the likes of Serendipity Wines (Texas), Fiasco Fine Wines (New Mexico), Bodin Street Wines (Chicago), Encore Beverage (Reno, NV), TBK Beverage Co. & Creo Commercial (Arizona) and La Competencia Imports/La Mision Associates. (CA: Self-Distribute). We hope to announce a couple of additional markets within the next 60 days.

Redux: Jo’s bullet points for visual effect:

New Distributors

  • Las Vegas – Johnson Brothers of Nevada
  • North Carolina – Epiphany Wines
  • New York – VOS Selections
  • New Jersey – VOS Selections
  • Pennsylvania: VOS Selections

Current Distributors

  • Texas – Serendipity Wines
  • New Mexico – Fiasco Fine Wines
  • Chicago – Bodin Street Wines
  • Reno, NV – Encore Beverage
  • Arizona – TBK Beverage Co. & Creo Commercium
  • California – La Competencia Imports / La Mision Wines (self distribute)

Wines from Baja are coming on strong, people… Got a Mexican restaurant connection? Yeah, I’m thinking that, too.


Holiday,Wine,Wine Business,Winemaker,Winemaking,Winery

Concannon Vineyard ~ where St. Patrick’s Day means so much

While James Concannon may have not been the first Irish vintner to work in a vineyard or winery in the United States, he was clearly the first Irish vintner to create his own winery.

This is why, for me, celebrating St. Patty’s Day has a lot of significance. So much credence is given to the French and Italians for their American viticultural accomplishments… There’s another unpolished facet in the America diamond of winemaking, and it belongs to Irish vintners. From my own personal experiences, my hat’s off to today’s James Concannon’s family.

[Image of my friend Jim Concannon.]

Here’s why…

Shortly after the 1849 Gold Rush, family patriarch James Concannon emigrated from Aran Island in the Bay of Galway to Boston. In 1875, James moved to San Francisco. He acquired the West Coast franchise for rubber stamps, and did very well with this business. By 1883, James Concannon had also begun to grow grapes in Livermore Valley, and this is where his family has been ever since.

Following his death in 1911, his sons Joseph, Thomas, and Robert continued the family business. Tom graduated from Santa Clara College with a degree in chemistry, and became Concannon’s winemaker. Eventually, James’s son Joseph and Joseph’s wife Nina purchased all interests in the winery from his brothers and sisters; and, as sole proprietors continued the business until Joseph’s death in 1965.

In 1953, Jim Concannon graduated from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. After graduating, Jim returned to the winery, and began to work with winemaker Katherine Vajda, the first technically trained woman winemaker. According to Jim, “I was always deeply inspired by my Uncle Tom. Then, working with Katherine was an exceptional opportunity to learn from one of the most talented people in the business. Between Katherine and my uncle, I was so inspired that I decided to become a winemaker, and took classes at U.C. Davis to sharpen those skills.” Jim Concannon also spent two years serving his country in the Korean War after college.

Inheriting the winery in 1965, Grandsons Joseph S. Concannon, Jr. and James J. Concannon continued managing all aspects of the winery. Joe was to oversee all vineyard and sales operations. Jim headed up Concannon’s wine production. As a side note, the Concannon brothers released the industry’s first variety labeled with the name Petite Sirah, from their 1961 vintage in 1964.

A few years ago, the torch was handed from Jim Concannon to his next in line… John Concannon. It was a gratifying moment for everyone in the family, and for, me, too. As I had worked with the winery for about 11 years… Very good years.

Today, Concannon Vineyard is managed from offices in James Concannon’s original home, just steps from the cellar doors. Grandson Jim Concannon has stayed on at the winery, continuing the family’s legacy, working from his office just steps away from the historical landmark built by his grandfather. Jim is surrounded by a century of wine and family memorabilia, and travels extensively to represent Concannon Vineyard. Jim has given the winery over 50 years of dedicated service. This is the strong Irish ethic that I’ve come to respect.

Happy St. Patty’s Day to all, and hopefully you’ve all made it beyond green beer!


Law,Wine,Wine Business

How to Get Your License Bond When Opening a Winery


I get an Email, asking if I would want a story by Vic Lance, founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates, a surety bond expert who helps small businesses get licensed and bonded. Vic graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. He was offering information for getting a license bond when opening a winery.

My answer: “Just send what he’d write, I’ll do the rest, okay?” The rest was sent. As I read it, I realized that it was a really well written advertisement, which was the ulterior motive. But, this one was so well written and completely out of my purview.


Print it as it exists. It is a good public service announcement. My labor for this blog came from changing the code, behind the scenes, so that when you click on links, you also don’t have to leave the page.

I declare that this is not an endorsement. I don’t know Vic Lance, but his biography is formidable, and all pdf. files are good links for you.

Vic Lance of Lance Security Bond Associates

If you’re in the wine business, chances are you could be described as “detail-oriented.” Anyone who’s opened his or her own winery knows the importance getting every last detail right. But, while you might be more worried about varietals and cultivars, have you studied up on getting your liquor bond?

The liquor bond, also called an alcohol bond or a liquor tax bond, is required by the federal government for any legally-operating winery. Whatever you call it, it serves as a guarantee to the government that your business will pay all its required taxes. In many cases, your state or county authority will require a separate liquor or wine bond for your winery, in addition to the federal requirement.

While the process of getting bonded isn’t complicated, there’s a little more to it than simply filling out a form and paying a fee. We’ve created this handy guide to getting your liquor bond, so you can get the best value and protect your business.

Getting licensed with the TTB

The first step is to get licensed with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Officially, if you’re producing your own wine for commercial sale, the TTB considers your business a “bonded winery.” As such, you’ll need a basic alcohol permit from the Federal Alcohol Administration, and a permit to establish and operate wine premises

Why is the liquor bond required?

Along with the permit applications, you’ll have to submit proof of your wine bond. Should you fail to pay your taxes, the government can file a claim against your bond, which the surety will pay, up to the full amount of the bond. You’ll be required to pay the surety back in full, however, and a claim against your bond can have otherwise grave consequences for your business. If you avoid claims and stay on top of your taxes, the liquor bond requirement should be a relatively minor, and hassle-free, part of doing business.

Estimating the cost of your wine bond

The amount of your federally-required bond can vary widely, based on the size of your winery and how much tax liability you will have at a given time. Generally, wineries with stock valued below $50,000 follow slightly different rules than larger wineries. The cost of your bond will only be a percentage of your total bond amount, depending primarily on your credit score. Applicants with good credit, and a sound history of money-management, usually pay between 1% and 4% of the total amount.

You may have heard a rumor that anyone with bad credit can kiss their dreams of winemaking goodbye. In fact, with a reputable surety provider and a solid plan for your financial future, you can still get bonded with less-than-perfect credit. Premiums are generally higher, between 5% and 15% of the total bond cost, to mitigate the risk to the surety. Nonetheless, you will still be able to open your winery, and improve your financials over time.

In addition, remember that your state or county may have additional bonding and licensing requirements.

Getting the right bond for your money

Not all liquor bonds are created equal, and you want to be sure that the TTB recognizes yours as legitimate. Since surety companies don’t deal directly with the public, look for a surety bond agency that works only with A-rated, Treasury-listed surety companies. A reputable surety bond agency will shop around to get you the best rate on your bond, and can offer more personalized service for each applicant.

Giving your winery room to grow
Since your wine bond will be calculated based on your tax liability, an honest, accurate assessment of your business is a must. Plan carefully when it comes to where your product will be stored, and if you can hire a CPA with some winery expertise, then so much the better.

Remember, it’s better for your business to be bonded above your actual tax liability than below. The wine business can fluctuate drastically, and your tax rate can change from one year to the next, based on how much wine you make, or even a wine’s alcohol percentage per volume. You don’t want to be caught with a bumper crop, or a sudden surge in production, without adequate bond coverage. If you’re unsure about the year’s business forecast, give your winery a little room to grow.


The process of getting your winery licensed and bonded might seem intimidating at first. If you have any questions about how to get bonded, you can always leave a comment below.

Vic Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates. He is a surety bond expert who helps small businesses get licensed and bonded. Vic graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.


Sonoma County,Wine,Wine & Food,Wine Country,Wine Hospitality

Haydon Street Inn ~ Healdsburg, CA

Healdsburg, California has turned into quite the “wine country living” town. It’s always had the flavor, but it’s more sophisticated today than ever. With the addition of Hotel Healdsburg, along came many retail shops that have created a more stylish town to visit. The charm is evident everywhere you go.

For those of us who love to travel and still want to enjoy the comforts of a home environment, Haydon Street Inn in Healdsburg offers that reassuring warmth. It’s placed in a quiet residential neighborhood, yet it’s very close to the hub of Healdsburg’s Plaza. This allows visitors the luxury of walking from your accommodations into the charm of a town with heavy Spanish influences. Typical of these quaint, Spanish-influenced California locales is a park. They’re always placed right in the heart of the city, where all gather and are welcomed. Healdsburg’s plaza is used to the max. Jazz concerts are typical on many summer late afternoons. Art, crafts, and antique fairs delight visitors on a consistent basis. And, late afternoon reading is often enjoyed by those locals who have the luxury of that pastime.

Haydon Street Inn’s rooms are a perfect complement to the town. The inn has all the elements of a home-away-from home. Rooms are bright, cheery, and each one is unique in true Victorian style. Their Website shows each room, so take a look at their Website. I’m including the image of where my husband and I stayed, because I really fell in love with this room. It was an immediate “connect.”

As with all B&B’s, each of the “Bs” is very important. With Haydon Street Inn, they’ve paid close attention to their “Bs.” Innkeepers John Harasty and Keren Colsten are proud new owners, and have provided luxurious comfort with the first B – the beds. Who doesn’t go to a B&B with high expectations of a luxurious bed! Slipping into deluxe slumber is what we all crave, in our homes and in our homes away from home. We’re drawn to great B&Bs like moths to a flame, because they offer what we’ve left behind and won’t compromise in our travels. It’s always fun to enjoy how someone else’s hospitable and decorative flair puts a room together, and Keren has outdone herself. My only regret was there wasn’t more time to really enjoy Haydon Street Inn. (I’ll explain at the end of this blog, about what brought us there.)

The second “B” – breakfast – is where John shines. A former executive chef at Churchill Downs (for 12 years), John now creates a morning feast that must certainly be an easier gig than his last one… Consequently, having a smaller group to prepare for has allowed his creative side to flourish, and benefits all of us who are lucky enough to enjoy the fruits of his labor. This is NOT a continental breakfast in any way, shape, or form. It’s an absolute culinary delight. For anyone who’s come to wine country to “rise and shine and go drink wine”… this is the pace to start… with a hearty “from the heart for the best start breakfast.”

Here’s the menu… They feature a delicious three-course meal every morning, accompanied by French pressed Wolf Coffee (you can also choose from a large selection of gourmet tea), fresh OJ, entrees may include Eggs Benedict, Stuffed French Toast, Citrus Blueberry Pancakes, Croissant Egg Strata, or one of many styles of quiche or omelet. We had a mushroom quiche that was amazing. We also had tasty potatoes, a side of bacon, fresh-baked breads, homemade scones (that were perfect), muffins, fresh fruit and yogurt… It seemed like it would never end (only because I eat so little, or I end up wearing it… you know how that goes).

The bottom line is no one will go hungry at Haydon Street Inn, and it’s an amazing delight. According to their site: “With 48 hour notice, a special diet can be prepared for you, and continental breakfasts are available for early departures.”

Another advanatage of a B&B are the new people that you’ll meet while traveling. Robert Hanf and Kathy Dutney (left) shared our breakfast table, and were wonderful to visit with. We all shared early morning camaraderie, as if we had known each other for a long time, before setting off on our separate wine tours.



Wine and Other Natural Medicinals

The health benefits of wine are now well documented. I’ll never forget the day when I was working in a tasting room and had just read the The French Paradox. I was discussing it with some visitors; and when they left, the tasting room manager – who was listening in the next room – reamed me. “Don’t you EVER talk abut wine and health, EVER again.” Okay, I haven’t. She scared the bejesus out of me, I guess. So, I haven’t written about it on my wine blog, nor talked about it publicly. By now, though, we all know there’s plenty to support The French Paradox.

Then, there’s marijuana… the one very few of us dare talk about. It was perfectly okay, until Prohibition was repealed. Then, there was talk about how some still needed slaves, so they made marijuana illegal and filled the prison system and put everyone to work making items that the jails could sell for retail process, pay a day’s wage of a few cents – so they were paid, right – and that created a revenue stream. Check out this report in US NEWS.

Today, marijuana has now also been recognized as one of the most natural of all medicinals. Again, there’s building proof to support this, most especially in the essential oils department. My hat is off to Meridith May’s publication The Clever Root.

And… In Days Gone by, These Were the Medicinals of Choice

And, I’m pretty happy they’re gone

I didn’t realize that at the turn of the twentieth century, wine had the following medicinal uses. This stuff makes medical marijuana look like pablum by comparison. I do believe in medical maryjane, BTW. It comes from nature, and could be managed by the FDA, but I imagine that pharmaceutical companies have a major invested interest in their chemical concoctions continuing to be produced to the exclusion of marijuana. Who knows the havoc chemicals causes our bodies? Can we process that stuff without doing eventual damage to our liver and kidneys? These are the questions I take to heart. Meanwhile, this flash from the past is like walking through a snake oil museum. Enjoy!

Bayer’s Heroin:

A bottle of Bayer’s heroin existed between 1890 and 1910. Heroin was sold as a non-addictive substitute for morphine. It was also used to treat children with a strong cough. What’s that non-addictive stuff about? Just goes to prove how the marketing arm turns, and what jest it spit out for us to swallow… literally.

Coca Wine, anyone?

Mariani Wine (1875): This was the most famous Coca wine of it’s time. Pope Leo XIII used to carry one bottle with him all the time. He awarded Angelo Mariani (the producer) with a Vatican gold medal. I honestly think that if priests were allowed to marry, all these issues of not being able to face a day as a human being – but trapped in that kind of a body – would just go away. I can say this, as I recover from my youth being spent in a Catholic School.

Maltine Coca Wine: Produced by Maltine Manufacturing Company of New York, it was suggested that you should take a full glass with or after every meal… Children should take half a glass. I like the philosophy (for adults, only), just remove the cocaine, please. That’s a bit over the top for functioning after a meal.

Metcalf Coca Wine was one of a huge variety of wines with cocaine that was commercially on the market. Everybody used to say that it would make you happy and it would also work as a medicinal treatment. We’ve got a few examples of this one. Totally kookie. I’ve not yet heard about this one. I wonder if all of this gave birth to the FDA. Feel free to jump in and educate me on this one. At some point it would be fun to do some research on it. For today’s purposes, I just spent a boatload of time just copying these images, so they didn’t distort.

C.F. Boehringer & Soehne’s Quinine and Cocaine: The paper weight image is promoting C.F. Boehringer & Soehne from Mannheim, Germany. The company was promoting the fact that they were the biggest producers in the world of products containing quinine and cocaine.

Opium for Asthma, National Vaporizer Company: Vapor Oil Treatment No. 6 contained 40 percent alcohol and three grams of opium per ounce. Sure to cure “the vapors,” it was recommended for asthma and other spasmodic affections, the price was 50 cents, and was produced in Kalamazoo, Michigan. June 30, 1908 date is on the side of the bottle.

Dragees Antiseptiques Au Menthol: A product of Anvers, France, at the time it was recommended that this snake oil was to be used by all stage actors, singers, teachers, and preachers, in order to have a maximum performance. It was “Great to ‘smooth’ the voice.” This was a cocaine product.

Lloyd Manufacturing Company: It was advertised as being very popular for children in 1885. “Not only did they relieve the pain, they made the children happy!” Instantaneous cure. Price was $0.15. Produced in Albany, New York.

Stickney and Poor’s Paregoric: It was used to treat diarrhea, but moms also learned that it would quickly help a fussy child fall asleep. This old image shows that it contained 1 1/16th gram of opium and was 46 percent alcohol. Today? Paregoric Oral is still used to treat diarrhea, and Paregoric Oral may also be used to treat Codeine/Morphine-Like drug dependence of a newborn.

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Germany,Riesling,Wine,Wine of the Week

Wine of the Week ~ 2015 Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof Riesling

What a beautiful wine the 2015 St. Urbans-Hof Wiltinger “Alte Reben” Kabinett Feinherb Riesling is… This estate bottled Riesling is only 10.5 percent alcohol. That lower alcohol level allows for such a delicious food and wine experience. With its bright, crisp, and very clean flavors, this wine is a delight. There’s only a hint of petrol, which gently rounds out its characteristic complexity. I loved the lemon grass and minerality flavors, above all else. From the Sar Valley, this 2015 Nik Weis is a unique example of a delicious Riesling; and not to be missed, if you’re looking for a superb and very affordable Riesling.

The paperwork that arrived with this wine stated: It’s an interesting wine, from an interesting place, made by an interesting man, so let’s explore, shall we? Information from the source…

Interesting Wine ~ St. Urbans-Hof Riesling

The wine is bottled as a “Kabinett Feinherb,”which means with about 22 grams per liter of residual sugar. It’s a bit drier than most Kabinetts, and has a thirst-quenching freshness typical of Saar wines. The wine, thanks to its iron-soil roots, finishes with a savory, smoky, rather than sweet note. And speaking of finishing, with alcohol levels often below 12 percent, a guilt-free second glass, or bottle even, is possible. That would suit Nik Weis just fine, who, when not painstakingly and precisely making his wines, is known for his exuberant, extroverted personality, a generous dash of which seems to go into the well-received St.-Urbans Hof Wiltinger “Alte Reben” Kabinett Feinherb Riesling.


Interesting Place ~ Sar Valley

The “Snake Pit” Wine from the Oh-So-Cool Saar

If the Rhine region has traditionally been considered as lying on the outer limits of cool-climate winegrowing, then its Saar Valley sub-region occupies the outer-outer limits. Here, in an under-the-radar area, not as well-known as the Mosel, lovers of classic, minerally, light-framed wines with notable depth of flavor have found their favorites, but often only in great vintages, when conditions are just right.

  • SUH Wiltinger “Alte Reben” is not from a “grand cru” site, but is a “village” wine.
  • It originates in the coolest area of the Saar. The Saar River is narrower than the Rhine, providing less warming. In addition, chilly nighttime winds from the Hunsrück Hills act as a refrigerant. This is especially true in Wiltingen, which, though in the southernmost part of the Saar, is actually the coolest.

Interesting Vineyard ~ The Schlangengraben

The Schlangengraben vineyard sits on Devonian slate. Its slopes shimmer with a hint of rust-red, an indicator of its rich iron content. As in Pouilly-Fumé, the iron-rich soil fosters wines with a minerally smokiness. St. Urbans-Hof’s Wiltinger “Alte Reben” offers a spicy, herbaceous aroma, suggesting notes of sweet woodruff, mint, gooseberry, apple, grapefruit, sometimes peach, and lemongrass on the palate, all wrapped in a salty, smokiness throughout.

SUH Wiltinger “Alte Reben” comes from a special 22-acre parcel of very old vines (“Alte Reben” in German), part of the Schlangengraben vineyard. The vineyard was established in the early 1900s, and some of its vines date back to that era. “Schlangengraben” means “snake pit” in German, but there are no snakes, or pits here, just a small canyon abutting the vineyard, where numerous little lizards scurry over hot slate stones during the summer months. Small veins of water course through the hill, ensuring that the south-facing vines never go thirsty, even during more prolonged heat spells.

The caned, arch-trained vines attached to individual stakes look for all the world like serried rows of Valentines dotting the hillside. While quality here is not necessarily synonymous with age, extra, individual, loving attention is devoted to the health of those senior vines – with some as old as 110 years.

Interesting Man ~ Nik Weis

These days, however, advances in viticulture, plus a dash of global warming, mean that palate-pleasing wines are more common here. Still, it takes the hand of a masterful winemaker such as Nik Weis, owner of St. Urbans-Hof, to achieve consistently rave reviews. And occasionally — surprisingly even — his St. Urbans-Hof Wiltinger “Alte Reben” Kabinett Feinherb Riesling (Wiltinger “Alte Reben” for short, with an approximate retail price of $18) has been described as “decadent,” “ripe” and “lush.” Times they are indeed a-changin’!

Imported by HB Wine Merchants.




Alentejo,Portugal,Wine,Wine 101,Wine Education,Wines of Portugal

Wine Grape Varieties in Portugal

To say that this list is extensive is an understatement. All images are from my visits, while in Portugal at Bodega Borba and Bodega Redondo. I’m giving you some authenticity from the Evora region, to go along with the facts.

It is said that there are possibly over 500 Portuguese wine grape varieties. So, I set out to find them. After extensive research, sources are cited at the bottom. Here you go, researchers.

Portuguese White Grape Varieties (Name ~ DOC Region)


Alicante Branco
Algarve ~ Bucelas, Carcavelos
Alvaraca ~ Douro
Alvarelhão Branco
Alvarinho ~ Monção, used for Vinho Verde (syn.. Cainho Branco)
Antoã Vaz ~ Alentejo, Douro, Vidigueira
Arinto ~ Bucelas (still and sparkling wines), Alentejo, Bairrada, Setúbal, Tejo, Carcavelos, Dão, Douro, Portalegre, Setúbal, Vinho Verde (syn. Paderná)
Arinto de Dão
Arinto do Interior Arinto Gordo
Arinto Pedernã
Arns Burguer
Assario Branco ~ Dão, Alentejo
Avesso ~ Vinho Verde (syn. Jaén Blanco)
Azal Branco~ Vinho Verde, Douro


Barcelo ~ Dão
Bastardo Branco
Batoca ~ Vinho Verde
Boal ~ Carcavelos, Lagos, Madeira, Douro (five strains of this grape; most famous ~ Boal in Madeira)
Boal Barreiro
Boal Espinho
Branca de Anadia
Branco Desconhecido

Branco Gouvães
Branco Guimarães
Branco João
Bical ~ Dão, Bairrada
Boais ~ Setúbal
Boal Branco
Borrado das Moscas
Brancelho (syn. Alvarlho)
Branco Especial ~ Douro
Branco sem Nome ~ Douro
Branco Valente ~ Douro


Caínho B
Caracol B
Carão de Moça
Cascal ~ Minho
Castelão Branco
Castelo Branco
Cerceal Branco
Chasselas Sabor
Chasselas Salsa
Côdega de Larinho
Crato Espanhol
Caramela ~ Douro
Carao de Moca ~ Madeira
Carrega Branco ~ Douro
Cercial ~ Porto, Douro, Dão, Bairrada
Códega ~ (syn. Roupeiro)
Crato Branco ~ Lagoa, Portimão, Tavira


Dedo de Dama
Diagalves: Setúbal
Dona Branca
Dona Joaquina
Donzelinho Branco ~ Porto, Douro
Douradinha ~ Minho
Dourado ~ Minho


Encruzado ~ Dão
Esgana Cão ~ Used as blender all over Portugal (syn. Sercial in Madeira)
Estreito Macio


Fernão Pires ~ Douro, Setúbal, Alentejo, and other regions. (syn. “Maria Gomez” in Bairrada)
Folgosão ~ Porto, Douro, Madeira
Folha de Figueira
Fonte Cal
Formosa ~ Douro


Galego Dourado ~ Carcavelos, Colares, Portalegre
Gouveio ~ (syn. Verdelho)
Gouveio Estimado
Gouveio Real


Jampal ~ Colares, Douro


Lameiro ~ Minho
Listrao ~ Douro, Madeira
LuLoureiro ~ Vinho


Malvasia ~ Colares
Malvasia Cândida ~ Madeira
Malvasia Corada ~ Douro
Malvasia Fina Boal ~ Used throughout Portugal, including for white ports
Malvasia Parda
Malvasia Bianca ~ (syn. Malmsey)
Malvasia Branca
Malvasia Branca de S. Jorge
Malvasia Real
Malvasia Rei ~ Douro
Malvasia Romana
Manteúdo ~ Algarve, Portalegre, Redondo, Reguengos, Vidigueira, Alentejo
Moscatel Galego Branco ~ Porto, Douro
Moscatel Graúdo ~ Algarve (syn. Moscatel de Setúbal, Muscat d’Alexdrandrie, Moscatel Nunes)
Mourisco Branco




Pé Comprido
Pederna ~ Douro
Perrum ~ Alentejo, Algarve, Borba, Reguengos, Vidigueira (syn. Palomino)
Pinheira Branca
Pinheira Roxa
Pinot Blanc
Pintosa ~ Minho
Praça ~ Douro


Rabigato Franco
Rabigato Moreno
Rabo de Ovelha ~ Bairrada, Borba, Bucelas, Redondo, Reguengos, Setúbal, Vidigueira
Ratinho ~ Carcavelos
Rio Grande
Rabigato ~ Grown all over Portugal, Bairrada, Bucelas, Alentejo, Algarve (syn. Rabo d´Ovelha)
Roupeiro ~ Douro, Algarve, Borba, Portalegre, Redondo, Reguengos, Setúbal, Vidigueira (syn. Codéga)


Samarrinho ~ Porto, Douro
São Mamede
Sao Saul ~ Douro
Sarigo ~ Douro
Seara Nova
Sémillon ~ Porto, Douro

[Winemakers Óscar Gato of Adega Coop de Borba is based in the town of Borba, and and Jose Fonesca, in the Borba municipality of the Évora District, in Portugal.]


Tália ~ Setúbal (syn. Ugni blanc)
Tamarêz ~ Borba, Redondo, Setúbal
Terrantez da Terceira
Terrantez do Pico
Touriga Branca ~ Douro
Trajadura ~ Vinhos Verde
Trincadeira das Pratas (syn. Tmarez d’Azeitao)
Trincadeira Branca


Uva Cão ~ Dão
Uva Cavaco
Uva Salsa


Verdelho ~ Madeira (syn. Gouveio), all of Portugal
Verdial Branco
Vital ~ Douro, Porto
Viosinho ~ Douro, used in white ports




Zé do Telheiro

Portuguese Red Grapes Varieties (Name ~ Region)


Abundante ~ Alentejo
Água Santa
Alfrocheiro Preto ~ Dão main grape, Bairrada, Vidigueira
Alicante Bouschet ~ Alentejo, Algarve
Alvar Roxo
Alvarelhão ~ Douro, Setúbal
Alvarelhão Ceitão
Aramont ~ Douro
Arinto Roxo
Azal Tinto ~ Vinho Verde, Minho


Baga ~ (syn. Poelrinha, Ribatejo)
Baga Trincadeira ~ Bairrada main grape; also used in Alentejo and Ribatejo.
Barrete de Padre ~ Madeira
Bastardo ~ Douro, Madeira, Setúbal
Bastardo Roxo
Bastardo Tinto
Borrado das Moscas: Dão
Brancelho Borraçal ~ Minho


Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon
Callabriga ~ Dão, Duro, Alentejo
Camarate ~ Bairrada
Canica ~ Madeira
Carinhana ~ Douro
Carrega Burros
Carrega Tinto ~ Douro
Casculho ~ Douro
Castelão Nacional
Chasselas Roxo
Complexa ~ Madeira
Concieira ~ Douro
Coração de Galo
Cornifesto ~ Douro


Donzelinho Roxo
Donzelinho Tinto ~ Douro
Duas Quintas ~ Douro


Encruzado ~ Dão
Espadeiro ~ Minho, Vinho Verde, Bairrada, CarcavelosEsgana Cão Tinto
Espadeiro Mole


Fernão Pires Rosado
Ferral ~ Madeira Folgasão Roxo


Galego Rosado
Gonçalo Pires ~ Douro
Gouveio Preto
Gouveio Roxo
Grand Noir
Grangeal ~ Douro


Jacquet ~ Madeira
Jaén ~ Bairrada, Dão
Jaén e Rufete ~ Dão


Labrusco ~ Minho


Malvasia Cabral
Malvasia Cândida Roxa ~ Madeira
Malvasia Fina Roxa
Malvasia Preta ~ Porto, Douro
Manteúdo Preto
Maria Gomes ~ Bairrada, Ribatejo (syn. Fernão Pires, Fernaopires)
Mário Feld
Marufo ~ Douro (syn. Mourisco Tinto)
Messias Reserva ~ Dão
Moreto ~ Widely grown in Portugal, not used as single varietal wine
Moscatel Galego Tinto
Moscatel Roxo ~ Setúbal ( syn. Moscatel Galego Roxo )
Mourisco ~ Douro, Setúbal
Mourisco de Semente
Mourisco de Trevões
Mourisco Roxo


Negra Mole ~ Algarve, Carcavelos, Colares, Lagoa, Lagos, Madeira, Portimão, Tavira
Nevoeira ~ Douro




Parreira Matias
Pau Ferro
Pero Pinhão
Petit Bouschet
Petit Verdot
Pinheira Roxa
Pinot Gris
Pinot Noir
Português Azul
Preto Cardana
Padeiro ~ Vinho Verde
Patorra ~ Douro
Pedral ~ Vinho Verde
Periquitá ~ Alentejo, Algarve (syn.Mortágua), Borba, Lagoa, Lagos, Portalegre,
Portimão, Redondo, Reguengos, Tavira, Vidigueira, Douro
Preto Martinho ~ Carcavelos, Douro
Preto Mortagua ~ Dão


Rabo de Anho ~ Vinho Verde
Rabo de Lobo
Rabo de Ovelha Tinto
Ramisco ~ Colares region
Ramisco Tinto
Roxo Flor
Roxo Rei
Rufete ~ Dão, Douro


Samarim ~ Minho
São Saul
Seara Nova
Sevilhão ~ Douro
Sousão ~ Douro


Terrantez ~ Madeira (syn. Folgasã)
Tinta Aguiar ~ Douro
Tinta Aurélio
Tinta Barroca ~ Douro, one of the blenders for most ports
Tinta Bastardinha
Tinta Caiada ~ Alentejo
Tinta Cão ~ Douro
Tinta Carvalha ~ Douro
Tinta da Barca ~ Douro
Tinta Fontes
Tinta Francisca ~ Douro
Tinta Lameira ~ Douro
Tinta Lisboa
Tinta Martins
Tinta Mesquita ~ Douro
Tinta Miúda ~ Lisboa, Tejo (syn. Graciano)
Tinta Negra Mole ~ Madeira
Tinta Penajóia
Tinta Pereora ~ Douro
Tinta Pinheira ~ Bairrada, Dão
Tinta Pomar ~ Douro
Tinta Porto Santo
Tinta Roriz ~ (Tempranillo in Spain) Port making and Alentejo (syn. ” Aragonês); Dão and Douro for table wines, Algarve, Dão, Douro, Setúbal
Tinta Roseira ~ Douro
Tinta Tabuaço
Tinta Varejoa ~ Douro
Tinto Cão
Tinto Martins ~ Douro
Tinto Pegões
Tinto Sem Nome
Touriga Fêmea ~ Douro
Touriga Franca ~ Douro
Touriga Francesa ~ Douro, Dão (over 20% of all plantings) (syn. Touriga Franca, Perionto)
Touriga Nacional ~ Douro Valley and Dão for port wines, Alentejo, Bairrada
Trincadeira ~ Carcavelos, Colares, Portalegre, Alentejo, Vidigueira, Douro, Vinho Verde (syn. Tinta Amarela, Trincadeira Preta, Castelão Frances)
Trincadeira Toreiro
Triunfo ~ Madeira, Algarve


Vale do Meaon ~ Douro
Verdelho Roxo
Verdelho Tinto
Verdial Tinto
Vinhão ~ Vinho Verde, Douro




Zé do Telheiro

Sources to Date

  1. Catavino.net
  2. Instituto da Vinha e do Vinho, I.P.
  3. Parker’s Wine Buying Guide, 6th Edition ~ ISBN 00-7432-2932-0
  4. The Oxford Companion to Wine, edited by Jancis Robinson, Second Edition ~ ISBN 0-19-866236-X
  5. The Global Encyclopedia of Wine, 378-399 ~ ISBN 1-74048-031-7
  6. The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia by Tom Stevenson, pg 373-376 ~ ISBN 0-7894-8039-5
  7. *Wine, Andre Domine, 5th Edition ~ ISBN 3-8331-1032-5
  8. Wine Appreciation by Richard P. Vine ~ ISBN 0-8160-1148-6
  9. Wine Bible, Karen MacNeil ~ ISBN 1-56305-434-5
  10. Wapedia.mobi
  11. Wikipedia

You won’t believe how many more Portuguese grape varieties I’ve found! (Part 2) (wine-blog.org)

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