California,Marketing,Wine,Wine Business,Wine Business Innovation,Winery

Q&A ~ Do you wanna come out and play?

Remember those fun days, when you had more friends than you had chores? Hide and go seek, kick the can, dancing in your friend’s living room, and playing a good game of Monopoly were your greatest joys… Then we all grew up.

Today’s games surrounding wine have such solitary and serious goals… “Should I go for my Master Sommelier or a Master of Wine certification? Maybe I should get certified as a member of the Society of Wine Educators, or what about International Wine and Spirits courses?” These are all well and good, if you want to get down and dirty with it…

But what if… you just wanna have fun?

Well, you have something that takes you right back to, “Hey, wanna come out and play?” With your family and friends, you only need a desire to have a great time, one bottle of wine (per five people), and as many glasses as you have family and/or friends, who are playing. Any number over five and you’ll want one bottle per five people. (There are five glasses of wine in each bottle.)

CF Napa designed Q&A for The Rubin Family of Wines. I was in on the process, and it began slowly as one of Ron Rubin’s marketing concepts. (I’m betting that he’s one of those guys who keeps a notepad by his bedside, as epiphanies seem to burst from him in a rapid fire way.) So, we began and it segued from something local, to regional, to worldwide. At that point, Sonoma State University Wine Business School’s faculty was brought in to help with content.

A Series of Bottles 12 Bottles

It had become larger than life. The plan evolved into 12 bottles, each bottle has five different Questions & Answers. Each bottle in a case of wine is numbered from one to 12: No 1 of 12, No 2 of 12, No 3 of 12, etc.  This means that there are a total of 60 different questions and answers in a full case of wine. It’s intended to let players collect all 12 bottles, over time. CF Napa calls it The Trivial Pursuit of Wine, proudly displaying their label on their home page; because it’s so unique.

  • The label wraps around the bottle, the front of it is the Q&A part.
  • The right side has the Questions.
  • The left side has the Answers.

It’s a great concept for a non vintage, red wine coming from California. It’s easy to enjoy as a wine, and doesn’t get in the way of trying to nail down all aspects of… You know… “Guess the vintage, the county of origin, the varietal breakdown, how much alcohol does it have, what’s its AVA… (Although, you might have to answer what an AVA is.)

That’s all well and good for someone wanting that certificate, so he or she can become a wine business pro. Most of us – I have to exclude myself at this point, given my career – just want to enjoy life, have a glass of wine, and hang out with family and friends; maybe even play a game or two over time. This is one of those games.

It’s an exclusive brand to Total Wine & More. If you’re 21 years or older, here’s the link: Total Wine & More. If you don’t have a location near you, you can order on-line ahead of your friends coming over to play. (Make sure you authorize yourself on the site as being 21 or older.)

As a side note, we just received a notice that the Q&A label just earned a DOUBLE GOLD medal in the 2016 San Francisco International Wine Competition’s Label Division. Everyone at the winery is delighted. We knew that we had something very special going on…

Q&A ~ Do you want to come out and play? 


Art in Wine,Bordeaux,Millesima,Wine

Bordeaux ~ Impressionist Alfred Smith ~ partie onze

[PHOTO CREDIT:  Portrait of Alfred Smith; painted by Alfred Roll in 1898, from the Cadogan Guides]

When I think of the Impressionists, Monet, Manet, Renoir, and Gauguin immediately come to mind. I wanted to quickly connect an Impressionist to Bordeaux, and this is when I discovered Alfred Smith. With a name like Alfred Smith, one might not think of him as a notable Impressionist… So English sounding, unlike our above Francophiles.

I searched through my art book collection. Nothing. Everyone else named above, plenty. Alfred Smith is without any fanfare in my library.

So, who is Alfred Smith, the Impressionist from Bordeaux; and what did he create?  Quickiwiki… was an instant source and guide.

In 1854, Alfred Smith was born in Bordeaux, to an English family.

In the circle of the time’s who’s who, he followed Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet (June 10, 1819 – December 31, 1877) and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (July 16, 1796 – February 22, 1875). Smith studied with Hippolyte Pradelles (1876), Léonce Chabry (1880), and Amadeus Baudit (1884). Alfred Philippe Roll, a distinguished artist of the time, noticed Smith and helped him by promoting his work.

As it turns out, Alfred Smith is a lesser known Bordelais Impressionist.

Still it’s worth studying him and connecting him to Bordeaux.

Smith’s earlier work seems to have been inspired by Claude Monet’s. In 1880, Smith exhibited at the Paris Salon, earning an honorable mention. Three years later, his painting called Le quai de Bacalan le soir was exhibited at the Salon. (Translates into The Wharf of Bacalan at night.) It’s pictured below.

It took a while to find this painting; when I did I audibly said, “Ahhh.” How alluring and mysterious. I want to be on the Wharf of the Bacalan at night in this hour of diminishing light.

In the 1880s, Smith became the new leader of the Bordeaux school, displacing Louis Auguin. It’s said that Smith had no need to earn a living, so he seemed to dabble and didn’t fully devote himself to painting until 1886.

In 1888, he was given a third class medal at the Salon des Artistes français; and in 1889, he won a bronze medal.

By 1894, Alfred Smith was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. Smith won a bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900.


He exhibited regularly at French salons into the 1920s, and many of his works are held in French and Italian museums. Smith was distinguished for the atmospheric evocation of the woods, gardens and cityscapes, with a subtle and nuanced palette. He painted scenes from Bordeaux, Paris and Venice before discovering the Creuse valley. As Smith’s style matured he adapted a brighter palette, displayed in his landscapes of the Creuse valley. He has been called a member of the Crozant School, a broad collection of artists who painted nature around this village of the Creuse valley.

This painting is call le Père Boyreau au printemps [Translation: Father Boyreau in Spring]

In this blog story, we have two great examples of Bordeaux art, which can quickly be related to Bordeaux wines.

The fist one above (Le quai de Bacalan le soir ) is a full bodied image calling for a full bodied wine. Let’s say a Left Bank Bordeaux, because it’s quite substantive and a bit mysterious, just as the wharves at Bacalan are so described in texts.

And the le Père Boyreau au printemps is light and breezy, like being in a spring garden… It’s definitely not a description of the Left (Cabernets) or Right (Merlot) bank wines (perhaps a Sauvignon Blanc?). But, for the sake of adventure, let’s think of it being situated on the southern part of the Left Bank by the Garonne River) in hte  region of Graves. The wines’ attributes from here are comprised of villages including Sauternes, Pessac, Talence, Léognan, Martillac, Saint-Morillon, and Portets. Just imagine sweet and delicate Sauternes, for instance… while sipping in le Père Boyreau’s garden.

Okay, I’m thirsty… for more knowledge and some wine. It’s Wine Time…

With a life devoted to art, Alfred Smith died in Bordeaux, in 1932 at the age of 78. And, today, he is still celebrated at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, which has three of his works: Sous-Bois (1891), Harmonie d’été (1911), and Portrait de la mère de l’artiste (undated).

Credit to Millesima for inspiring me to learn about Bordeaux. this has been a joy to discover.



Ecology,Education,Environment,PR 101,Public Relations,Vineyards,Viticulture,Wine,Wine Country

Thinking About the Mountaintop ~ Justin Style ~ While My Guitar Gently Weeps

There’s not very much to say. It’s all been said by so many.

Still, I just had to briefly weigh in, because this is now a giant PR nightmare for the current owners of Justin Vineyards. What a giant mistake… Sigh…

What anyone in agriculture should consider, in the future

  • Common Sense is good.
    • If you don’t have any, call in a PR expert… Any PR expert.
  • Concern for the environment is even better.
    • Bring in someone like Jim Pratt, of Cornerstone Certified Vineyards, who thinks about what is sustainable and what isn’t.
  • Not stripping land is really the best...
    • What’s going to happen, when the rains come and there’s nothing with roots to hold back the land from slipping away?
    • All I have is common sense, so it might have been easy to see… Might have been.


I learned this from Miss Dumas, Sophomore English Teacher

  • Good, better, best: never let it rest, until the good is better and the better is best…

NEWS HEADLINE: Justin Vineyards owners to donate 380-acre site where oaks were cut down.

Great. Now whomever inherits the land will have to deal with the runoff.

  • The family will also repair grading work and stop construction of a large reservoir
  • The county won’t pursue code enforcement action due to the donation and land remediation

Okay, great; however, I wouldn’t accept the land for AT LEAST a couple of years, while it settles back in, as the soils erode… Just a personal thought. All I can think of is the song, “While my guitar gently weeps,” because I’m a tree hugger.

[Photo taken by David Middlecamp is on The Tribune Website, along with a longer version of the story by Lindsey Holden.]




Verona ~ The Cesari Vineyard of Verona ~ prima parte #IAMarone

As I’ve written about Portugal, To Understand a Wine, Once Must First Understand its People.

Now, it’s my time to learn about Verona, Italy: The customs of its people, its foods and wines, art and music, its landscapes, and its history. This is all for the purpose of understanding Cesari wines and what makes the Cesari family such prominent historical figures. This is a story about a family that has created a wine brand of world wide distinction.

[#1 PHOTO ~ TITLE: Interesting example of Romanesque architecture in Valpolicella – Verona Italy]

Similar to my own thoughts, Gerardo Cesari believed that “Links between history and the land, culture, tradition and quality… do not belong just to one winery or brand, but to the whole community: everyone from the Verona area identifies with the local wines.”

In 1936, Cesari Vineyard was founded by Gerardo Cesari. It was Cesari’s dream to produce an Amarone wine capable of competing with the greatest red wines of the world. At the time, Gerardo believed that a wine area should be defined by its viticultural region, not by its methods of production. And so began the process of making a wine that would truly represent a superior Amarone from Verona, on the world wine stage.

[Photo of Cesari Vineyard is borrowed from their Website, to demonstrate the dramatic commitment to their region.]

From a translation on the Bluarte Website:

Franco Cesari, reflections of life and Amarone

The Caesars were [one of] the first companies to arrive in the United States. We are now present in 56 countries. Passion, hard work, [and] commitment are not abstract words. [They] are the levers of a business system that looks at the result.

In the 1960s, Gerardo was joined by his son Franco Cesari [above], in order to expand into exports. It was Franco, who through hard work and enthusiasm, helped his father to reach his original goal of international respect and worldwide distribution. The Cesari name quickly became synonymous with Amarone around the globe.

[Photo of Deborah Cesari]

According to its exporter OPICI Wines:

The winery continues to evolve while staying true to its regional roots. Franco’s children, Gerardo and Deborah, have joined their father in upholding the pillars of traditional winemaking while introducing innovative technology at their two state-of-the-art cellars.

Their estate holdings include more than 100 hectares [nearly 250 acres] of hillside vineyards located in premier sites in the Valpolicella appellation, including 3 single vineyards, primarily in the historic Classico area.  An additional 10 hectares [25 acres] of 100% estate-managed vineyards under long-term lease are located throughout the Veneto region.  All are primarily planted to indigenous varietals, with a small percentage of international grapes, carefully harvested by hand ensuring that only the best grapes are selected. In recent years, Cesari has adopted environmentally sustainable growing practices. Focused on quality, Cesari extensively ages their wines beyond the DOCG regulations.

The Cesari portfolio is comprised of unique, elegant, and balanced appellation wines renowned for authenticity, respected for regional character, and distinguished for superior quality.

#1 PHOTO: Copyright: catalby / 123RF Stock Photo>

Photos of Franco and Deborah are on the Internet without photo credit.




Wine of the Week ~ 2015 biokult Zweigelt Rosé of the Niederösterreich

Einstein’s brain, upon examination, revealed that he had an extra-ordinary connection network. For each memory, his patterns were like looking at the interconnections of a busy railroad yard. To really begin to gain info about wines, reading their unique stories, where they’re from, who made them and why, tasting them… These are the interconnections of being able to later identify a past wine enjoyed. The following is a journey for this wine of the week. And… This is great for visual learners, like I am.

I really enjoyed tasting a 2015 biokult Zweigelt Rosé of the Niederösterreich, from Austria. I wrote the following, as I went along: A unique, organic rosé wine from Austria that’s sure to make a splash this spring… 2015 biokult Zweigelt Rosé of the Niederösterreich. Then, I got into the particulars, which are below the dividing line. First, we’re going on a journey of interconnectedness.

Last evening, while Jose was watching a Golden State Warrior game,  I searched for a movie I’d enjoy… I fell upon this story and thought… “Helen Mirren in Woman in Gold, it’s got to be worth seeing.”

BRIEFLY: Sixty years after fleeing Vienna, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), an elderly Jewish woman, attempts to reclaim family possessions that were seized by the Nazis. Among them is a famous portrait of Maria’s beloved Aunt Adele: Gustave Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I.” With the help of young lawyer Randy Schoeberg (Ryan Reynolds), Maria embarks upon a lengthy legal battle to recover this painting and several others, but it will not be easy, for Austria considers them national treasures.(TRUE STORY)

I’ve loved Gustav Klimt’s work since first setting eyes on it. My favorite ~ The Kiss. My art book is the backdrop, for the very last drop of this biokult Rosé.

Woman of Gold

As I as watching this incredible story unfold between LA and Austria, I was fascinated. Austria being the country of origin for Mirren’s character, was repeated over and over again. “Austria,” I thought? Waiting a minute. I just tasted a wine from Austria!” I ran for the bottle. Indeed… Austria.

The wine was still fresh in my mind and on my palate. With very little prior interaction between my brain and Austrian wines, this one just clicked. I’ve always felt that I have a past life in Vienna. Then “Vienna” popped up as another connection. Forever more, until my thoughts leave me, biokult is now going to be associated with poignancy. Poignancy not in a negative sense at all; rather, one of the sadness that happened in world history, and the positive rebuilding. Especially for all of the art that was lost during World War II, and is now being recovered and returned to the families of those, whose art seemed to be lost forever.

My father was a WW II vet. I was born nine months after his return. It’s a part of history that needs to be remembered, so it never happens again. The new wines of Austria are shining examples of how a country rises again, as a phoenix. This Zweigelt Rosé is a shining example of the rebuilding and the rise…

It’s been carefully crafted in a non intrusive, organic way. There are so many rich connections, as well as so many rich flavors. with this wine I celebrated the joy of Maria Altmann having a positive solution for world art recovered and returned to the original family’s ownership.

This is how one remembers a wine tasted… In layers upon layers.


The Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2015 biokult Zweigelt Rosé of the Niederösterreich – Qualitätswein appellation is very appealing as a light and easy to understand rosé. Made of Austria’s most widely grown red grape Zweigelt (pronounced TSVYE-gelt). Zweigelt is a red wine grape originating from a 19th century Austrian crossing of two older varietals, Blaufränkisch and St Laurent. Low residual sugar gives it a very pleasant appeal, and the rose color with slight violet hues is visually alluring. The taste is of light red fruit, strawberry & raspberry, with soft tannins. This is a good food wine, pairing well with pasta, light meals, risottos & cheese…. And a great movie!

About the Winemaker

The Michlits family is one of the most creative and influential organic wine growing families in Austria. Headed by Werner and Angela Michlits, their products and production methods are revolutionary for the region. Not only have they been able to understand and implement the use of non-trimmed vines in the region, but the use of biodynamic methods and the translation of these into new production standards are awe inspiring.

Suggested retail is $13.99 per bottle. Natural Merchants is the importer.



Wine,Wine tasting

Consider Hyposmia ~ the aging palate

Probably not too many people in this lifetime want to admit that their palates are on the wane. No awards are given for fessing up, and it will definitely work in one’s disfavor, but I’ve always been one for telling it like it is, not like it isn’t…

I’ve got to thank Dan Berger for bringing it up years ago in his Vintage Experiences Commentary. I’ve been thinking about this. I even talked to a colleague about it, and he told me to just let it go because I have wisdom to offer… Yeah, right… but it’s just not the same.

I’m always ready to reinvent myself. As one part of me is left behind, I discover another. It’s in the not letting go of the old room that doesn’t allow for one to discover what’s in the new one.

So, let’s discuss… What’s Hyposmia, anyway?

hy·pos·mi·a (n.) A diminished or deficient sense of smell.

The good news for me is that I was born with a hypersensitive sense of smell, so I probably still have a better than “average” ability now. None-the-less, having my sense of smell diminish a bit causes me to wonder what happens to people who are born with an average sense of smell.

Like Alice, I’m off into a new room, exploring new things, and not letting one thing that slips ever-so-slowly away become a negative…

It’s just an opportunity for new things to come my way. For instance, I can go photograph a wine competition and bring back wonderful images, versus having to be the one where after a flight of wine, I’ve just lost it but must trudge on. (This image was taken at the Riverside Wine Competition years ago, thanks to the generosity of Dan Berger and Juliann Savage.)

I have something for my eyes (glasses), and even if someone invests something for my nose, I’m happy to smell a bit less… versus extending the length of my nose and its capabilities. Enough already!

It’s not the changes that happen in our lives that matter. It’s how we handle the changes that counts!

For Dan’s issue, please contact him thorough his Web site for his full story. It’s very enlightening, and he’s brave enough to put it out there. I’m just following his lead. I can’t call it an “opinion” because it’s got a medical name: Hyposmia.

This perhaps might explain to me, however, how Robert Parker can give (for instance) a 2004 Black Coyote Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon a score of 91, and write the following:

  • This deep ruby/purple-colored wine, made at the Judd’s Hill Winery and bottled by Robert Pecota winery, is outstanding. A beautiful, rich wine, it exhibits notes of black currant, licorice, underbrush, and subtle background oak. Medium to full-bodied, still very young and primary but very promising as well, this wine should age nicely for 12-15 years.

Then, another wine critic writes the following, with a score of 84:

  • Wholly absent of the polish and finesse that we associate with Stags Leap Cabernets, this brawny but soft-centered wine is singularly defined by ripeness, and its ongoing toughness and undisguised heat stand out for lack of buffering fruit.

Same bottle, two opinions.

And, thanks to Lewis Carroll for these wonderful images. Where would we all be in life without a little Alice in Wonderland!


Imports,Italy,Wine,Wine Ed,Wine Travel

One of 80 and darned happy to be #IAMarone

Do I love adventure? I have wings on my feet, if you don’t know. And I’m a storyteller, which you may also not know… So, this Email arrived.

Hi Jo,

Cesari Vineyard of Verona, one of the finest Vineyards of the Valpolicella region is celebrating 80 years of producing some of Italy’s greatest wines this year. To mark this occasion, Cesari is inviting you to be part of an elite group of 80 influencers selected to represent Cesari Amarone! Cesari will be taking over Manhattan with events and giveaways all summer that you will have exclusive access to.

Upon acceptance, we’ll be sending you a bottle of their famous Amarone with a signature special label for you to taste and share with your friends and followers however you’d like. We ask that you post regularly on your social media about Cesari Amarone using the hashtag #IAMarone in whichever creative way you see fit. In addition, one out of the 80 selected will be chosen to travel to Verona, Italy in October for harvest season to see the Vineyard and tour the beautiful city! Keeping in mind each time you post using #IAMarone will be push you further to that all-inclusive trip. Let me know if this is of interest!


What we need to know about #1 ~ Cesari Vineyard of Verona (And, everything with a *link* is in our future learnings.)

Founded in 1936, Gerardo Cesari soon became synonymous worldwide with wines from the Verona area.

Back in the early Seventies, Cesari Amarone was one of the first to reach all five continents thanks to the enthusiasm and initiative of Franco Cesari, son of the founder Gerardo, whose original vision was to produce a great Amarone, capable of competing with the best Italian and international red wines. And so began the success story of Cesari wines all over the world.

Today, Gerardo Cesari sets itself further targets: to respond to the market by producing unique, elegant, fine, balanced wines, drawing on tradition but using the latest knowledge in vineyard cultivation, using environmentally sustainable growing techniques and offering consumers the guarantees of a certified wine-making process. A constantly evolving firm that still keeps faith with its land and its origins.

Copyright: anshar / 123RF Stock Photo Image ID: 15820097 (M) The Famous Balcony of Juliet Capulet Home in Verona, Veneto, Italy – PURCHASED IMAGE

Copyright: meinzahn / 123RF Stock Photo Image ID: 9500973 (M)
VERONA, ITALY – August 5: people are watching the opera from Verdi by night in the arena of Verona, August 05,2009, Verona, Italy.


Petite Sirah,PS I Love You,Wine

In the morphing of time, what once was, becomes what is new again

[Artwork by John Tewey, Portland Maine Rotary Club]

People in Maine sent me off with the tribute to the right. By December 29, 1992, I was on a plane with husband, kids, pets, and all of my earthly belongings… With thoughts of, “Would I ever have such appreciation and understanding again?” Now, when the grape variety Petite Sirah comes up, many people do an immediate word associate with it, and send messages to me.  So, John Tewey, I think some of them know what you were predicting; even, now, including me.

I had just left the first part of my life behind, to become a California transplant. It’s a tale very similar to Petite Sirah’s life story. Nothing could have been more kismet, as I reflect back on that fateful move.

From Clark Smith, in an email to me, as I was explaining to Clark the present state of PS I Love You, Inc.:

“Now these kittens, they do not get trained

As they did in the days that Victoria reigned

And they don’t get brought up in a regular troop

And they think they are smart Just to jump through a hoop.”

                Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

Quick History

It’s almost 15 years later, from that fateful day when Petite Sirah grape growers and producers first gathered and stated, “We need publicity for this variety. It’s completely fallen off the charts.” This statement was made at Louis Foppiano‘s first Petite Sirah Symposium. I organized the symposium for Foppiano Vineyards. I had just begun my present career as an independent consultant. Being asked to put on something educational was completely in my tool box, but no one in California knew it yet. And, just beginning as a consultant, I was subconsciously looking for opportunities. This one just fell into my lap, perhaps as always intended. Mission statement:

o To promote, educate, and legitimize Petite Sirah as a heritage variety, with a special emphasis on its terroir uniqueness.

Back to Our Mission Statement

The current climate for specific wine grape advocacy groups is not so much to host wine events, any more. The public is still asking for them, but not at large venues, not at sit-down wine education programs, either… at least not at wineries. They’ll attend in San Francisco, but the wine advocacy group still has to work really hard for them to happen.

The reason is simple: Wineries now have their own events, and those are the most popular. The constant objection I’ve always heard for public events is that they get too big, they have too many people attending; and, those who go for the simple pleasure of overindulgence turn off the other attendees. As an organizer, I too worry about those who don’t have enough self-control. On a college campus, at least people are on foot (with its own set of problems). At a venue where they’re driving to it, it’s really worrisome for the hosts.

Our original purpose was to get publicity for the variety, not notoriety.

So, we’re rethinking it all. We’ll continue to find opportunities for publicity, and it may include events, but they will have a specific purpose to educate. What those venues are has yet to be fully realized.

We’re back to square one. Wine companies that have a more educational focus will continue to support the efforts. We do ask ourselves a lot of questions, as we ponder Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

“Now these kittens, they do not get trained

As they did in the days that Victoria reigned

And they don’t get brought up in a regular troop

And they think they are smart Just to jump through a hoop.”

We’ve got to do more than jump through hoops… And time will reveal what this all means. Morphing has never been more critical. An appreciation for Petite Sirah’s history is the most important ingredient. Until people stop writing that “Petite Sirah is a bastard child” – horrors of all  horrors; or, that it’s “a distant cousin of Syrah” (give me a break). My job is not yet complete, I can tell you that much, for sure.

[Image of Clark Smith is borrowed from his Website.]

Clark Smith’s Thoughts

Very interesting.  Perhaps you have accomplished the generic goal you set out to achieve…

This by way of Thank You.

In wine technology, a long time ago, we invented the following awareness cascade:

PR = Creating a need where none previously existed.

Concept Marketing  = Proposing a Solution

Image Marketing = Brand differentiation

Sales = Answering the phone.

Perhaps we are now in the brand differentiation phase, or maybe even the Sales phase.  You have not failed.  The world is the change you set out to wright.

PURCHASED IMAGE of cat: Copyright: haywiremedia / 123RF Stock Photo


Petite Sirah,PS I Love You,Wine

PS I Love You Report Card, 14 years later

Reviewing the Mission Statement

“To promote, educate, and legitimize Petite Sirah as a heritage variety, with a special emphasis on its terroir uniqueness.”

Since 98 percent of its terroir being California, we’ve got that covered.

This mission statement was created after the first Petite Sirah Symposium.

Since 2002, when winemakers had stated that publicity had fallen off the charts for Petite Sirah until right now…

  • Legally
    • Petite Sirah and Durif are now synonyms, instead of two separate varieties
    • A petite Petite Sirah Vineyard was created at U.C. Davis. Donations by:
  •  Multimedia
    • There have been at least five different Websites created for Petite Sirah, over time
    • A Facebook account was set up and actively maintained
    • A twitter account has been set up and maintained
  • Nine Symposiums
  • Nine Dark & Delicious events
  • A solid volunteer base has been created of 50 dedicated consumers
    • Five Groupie and volunteer picnics at Lone Oak Vineyard
    • Hosted by Kent Rosenblum and his pizza brick oven and PSILY at Lone Oak Vineyard
  • A Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah wine made for the group, for fund raising purposes
  • At least seven wine consumer tastings and panels around the country, that I can put my memory onto quickly. I know there are more:
  • Blue Tooth Tour Trade Tastings, hosted by Concannon Vineyards
    • West Coast
      • Seattle
      • Portland
      • San Francisco
      • Los Angeles
    • East Coast
      • Boston
      • New York
      • Baltimore
      • Atlanta
      • Charlotte
      • Orlando
      • Miami
    • Southern Run
      • Los Angeles
      • Phoenix
      • Santa Fe
      • Dallas
      • Houston
    • Heartland
      • Fort Worth
      • Dallas
      • Chicago

And publicity?

  • 2002 – nine stories (October through December)
  • 2003 – 20 stories
  • 2004 – 34 stories
  • 2005 – 66 stories
  • 2006 – 45 stories
  • 2007 – 36 stories
  • 2008 – 43 stories
  • 2009 – 41 stories
  • 2010 – 27 stories
  • 2011 – 84 stories
  • 2012 – 61 stories
  • 2013 – 56 stories
  • 2014 – 23 stories
    • We began to slow down our media outreach, as Dark & Delicious became too demanding of our time
    • Evidence of what happens when this function turns a bit non-productive
  • 2015 – 27 stories
    • Same scenario as 2014
    • Media outreach slows, so do the stories
  • 2016 – 21 stories
    • To date

A lot has happened for Petite Sirah, with a small staff and a lot of passion.

What’s next, though? Where do we go from here?

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…

Copyright for image above: bowie15 / 123RF Stock Photo PURCHASED IMAGE


Argentina,Cabernet Sauvignon,Imports,Malbec,Mendoza,Wine

Wine of the Week ~ 2014 Trivento Reserve Argentinean Blend of Cabernet-Malbec

Rich and ripe fruit, with a dusty, smokey character… The finesse is very much there, like a fine Stetson cocked to the right on a gentleman farmer, overlooking his vineyard… The 2014 Trivento Reserve Argentinean Blend of Cabernet-Malbec ~ Delicious…

Some day, I’ve got to get to South America… Specifically, Mendoza Argentina. In the 90s, I worked with my first Argentinian wine… a Malbec. The imported juice went into the Grove Street label, and we sold a ton of it. I loved the wine, and that began my fascination with Argentina and imports. I quickly learned what a great value imported wine is. Think of it this way… Our American cost of living is very expensive, versus other parts of the world. Labor, for one, is substantially less; ergo, the savings is part of the production, too.

I got to write tasting notes, and watch the sales, though Belvedere Winery… Both now long gone, but the memory is still very clear and it was a great start to my wine career.

2014 Trivento Reserve Argentinean Blend of Cabernet-Malbec…

Inspired by the Winds

Three winds leave their mark in TRIVENTO. Guided by

  1. The capricious god of wind EOLO
  2. The Polar Zonda
  3. Sudestada (south) winds

… all bestow exceptional qualities for winegrowing on the Mendozan terroir. TRIVENTO works to ensure their vineyards flourish, grow and mature with the rhythm of nature. This is the origin of the grapes that become TRIVENTO RESERVE.

Every single time I have a wine of Spanish origin, I’m connected back to my José’s roots. Spanish people migrated to South America as well as the Caribbean, as we all know. What you may not know is that Jose was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Because we’ve been together since 1976, I experienced Spanish culture in so many positive ways; I love the island of Puerto Rico, and I know I would also love Argentina… A Bucket List item.

As a piece of art, I’m drawn to the renowned Spanish artist Joan Miró. His “Portrait of Juanita Obrador” comes to mind. The portrait and wine are both feminine, with a strong backbone; both of original Spanish origin. Keeping it real here…

Trivento is a House Wine You Can Easily Share

So, when a South American Import arrives, I pay special attention, as I did with this 2014 Trivento Reserve Argentinean Blend of Cabernet-Malbec. It’s just very easy to enjoy. It’s a blend of 50 percent Cab and 50 percent Malbec, and it’s 100 percent delicious. Another important item for me is the alcohol at a well-balanced 13.5 percent. This makes for wine that is excellent for pairing well with your favorite food dishes.

The blending of Cab and Malbec has given this one a very deep, ruby slippers color. Aged in French oak for six months, the vanilla is very pleasant and old-world European in style. With rapturous body, the tannins linger and you just know that this wine will pair well with foods having a bit of fat in them to round out the wine’s acidity… It will be beef if you’re not vegan, and something like an Indian-Spiced Pumpkin and Jackfruit Chili if you are. I went searching in my Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen cookbook for this one for you, published by Fairwinds Press.