Wine,Wine Ed,Wine Education,Wine tasting,Winemaking

Excuse me, just wondering, how long has this bottle been open?

I’ve found myself asking that question many times, and I’m not afraid to do it when I’ve ordered a wine and it’s just lost that loving’ feelin.’

Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines had this info on Facebook a few years ago. I asked permission to reprint here, because he’s raised such great points.

On Facebook, Larry wrote:

tercero wines tenet for the day

When in a tasting room or restaurant, ALWAYS ask how long the bottle that you’re trying has been open.

I’ve visited many a tasting room and had many a ‘by the glass’ wine at a restaurant that just did not ‘taste right’. In most cases at the restaurant, they were pouring a wine that had been open for awhile and had not been protected from oxidation. And oftentimes the same thing happens in tasting rooms.

You do have rights as a taster, you know. You can always ask about opening a new bottle and comparing/contrasting the two glasses to see for yourself the differences that may exist. Some places will not do this for you – in that case, my advice is to return the glass you do not like and order something different.

Likewise in a tasting room. A good place will explain the situation to you. For instance, in my tercero tasting room, I oftentimes pour the same wine on the second day after opening, especially my reds (if I have any left over from the previous day, of course). In this case, the wine, to me, is actually better – the aeration has ‘opened the wine up’ and allowed the aromatics to be more expressive. My wines are usually opened, decanted, and then put back to bottle to pour. At the end of the day, they are capped back up and put in the fridge to rest overnight before being brought back out the next day. In some cases, I have poured wines that have been ‘opened’ for up to 4 or 5 days that are still drinking beautifully . . . . seriously.

It’s just as important to know how long a wine has been open if you like it as if you don’t. If you try a wine that was just opened and you really dig it, you now know that you can usually ‘pop and pour’ at home and you’ll have a similar experience. Or, if the wine has been open for awhile, you may need to decant at home to have the same experience, or lay it down for awhile.

So how many of you have turned back ‘by the glass’ purchases at restaurants because the wine was ‘old’ or oxidized and what did the server do? And how many of you have questioned tasting room staff as to how long a wine has been opened – and if the wine was ‘not right’, asked them to open another?

Curious to hear your responses . . .

To answer Larry’s question of what I do, I wrote the following back to him.

By the way, whenever I’ve asked the question, I have always just had the glass taken away and a new one brought to me that was drastically different, with a new bottle having been opened.

On the other hand, when the wine is corked, I take that as a teaching tool. I know that my server is not a sommelier, so I politely (in a friendly way) say, “This wine is corked.” I always have seen their eyes glaze over, because now I’m a wine snob, but I continue. “I’m a wine educator and I’d like to have you learn about this one. Just sniff this wine, and then you’ll know what I’m talking about… and think a damp, New England basement.”

I always see their light bulbs go on. They learn and I get a wine I can enjoy.

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Italy,Pinot Grigio,Pinot Gris,Veneto,Wine,Winery

Wine of the Week ~ Astoria 2014 Alìsia Pinot Grigio

Want to stand out above the madding crowd? Well, Astoria‘s 2014 Alìsia Pinot Grigio surely does. So much so that I see it as a great picnic decoration, after you’ve enjoyed the wine. Gather some asters, daisies, Queen Ann’s Lace, whatever; put them into the bottle, after everyone’s enjoyed the wine, and place it on table with a linen and lace table cloth. Ecco qua! (Italian for French violà). An instant added touch of a Monet garden, romance illusory aura for your date.

The Alìsia bottle is the one in the middle. These bottles are only 10 inches tall and more round than their typical 750 ml counter part neighbors. I love their marketing, as evidenced by this striped image below.

And the wine? Simply delicious. Once I finished loving the short, round bottle and tried the wine, I saw what a crowd pleaser this one is. Easy to enjoy, a bit more complex that you’d suspect with a 12.5 percent alcohol… Not usually complex at this alcohol level; however, some really delicious flavors burst through.

  • Day one ~ Delicious grapefruit harvested in March to April, versus when it’s ready to enjoy in January and February… a bit more sugar in the grapefruit in its presentation of tart citrus.
  • Day two ~ Apricot dominated.
  • Day three ~ Gone, simply gone.
  • This is one really delicious Pinot Grigio


Point of interest: Astoria is the largest private producer of Prosecco DOCG in Italy. Their wines are made in the heart of one of Italy’s most beautiful wine-growing regions, the Veneto. Takes my breath away just thinking about this region.

Digress: I once was having a dream. Three people, sitting in a t-shape. The the left was an old man, a translator was in the middle, and a child was to the right. The child was telling his story to the old man, the translator was doing his job. I woke right out of that dream and was freaked out. I understood every part of the dream, including the Italian. I DON’T speak Italian, or understand it. I’ve had deep feelings about having a past life in Venice. I can see myself calling across the water to a neighbor, with whom I shared a clothes line. Then the dream… When I asked Jose, “What do you think this means?” he said, “In a past life, you were Italian. Go back to sleep.”

So, knowing that Astoria Wines is only 50 miles north of Venice, I get a pit in my stomach… A really good pit in my stomach. I can feel it.

All Astoria Wines are produced and bottled at the Polegato family’s 250-acre, Val De Brun estate in Refrontolo. This is pivotal center of the DOCG zone of Conegliano – Valdobbiadene.

[All images (except the agritourism one) have been borrowed from the Astoria Website. This one, in particular, tells me that this is one place to visit that says, “You have arrived..”]

History of the first Polegato family winery to now

~ from their materials ~ 

Vinicola Polegato was established in the 1950s, followed by the founding of their current location, a few decades later. An eighteenth century family house is now Astoria’s headquarters and welcomes visitors from around the world. The fourth generation of Polegatos, led by Filippo, Carlotta, and Giorgia, add their own unique stamp to the luxurious style of Astoria.

Filippo Polegato, who began working with Astoria four years ago, is the brand’s current Sales Director. As a youth, he spent summers working the grounds of Astoria Vini, observing the vinification and production processes. This, in turn, inspired his post-high school travels to Australia and the United States, where he learned more about the wine business in foreign markets.

Astoria Wines prides itself on producing high-quality wines that bridge time-tested winemaking traditions with contemporary style and sophistication. Derived from the Greek word for “best,” Astoria Wines brings wine lovers in 95 countries, the best of the Veneto.

Suggested retail: A range of $10 to $12; and for the Prosecco, its $13 to $15. (Remember, with imported wines, you get a lot of wine for your money. Think Super Values.)


Cabernet Sauvignon,Chardonnay,Merlot,Wine,Wine & Food

Joe Woerly with Vineyard Chocolatiers ~ Chocolate Kickstarter program

Vineyard Chocolatiers ~ A tasting ~ My Notes

  • Chardonnay Flavored White Chocolate ~ Creamy smooth with Chardonnay taking white chocolate to a new place, slightly floral and sweet, lingering cream.
  • Merlot Flavored Dark Chocolate ~ Ripe plums with a very smooth finish… delicate, yet full bodied.
  • Cabernet Flavored Dark Chocolate ~ Creamy ripe cherries and blackberries, dripping with that Bing flavor that lingers long after the slide to a satisfying swallow.

I was approached by Joe Woerly

Hi, I’m Joe, and I’m the owner and creator of a new gourmet chocolate bar product line. My chocolate bar product line features wine flavored chocolates, and my brand is called “Vineyard Chocolates.” I started this project a year and a half ago and I am selling them in a couple store in my area. I would like to have my wine flavored chocolates professionally produced so I can sell them to retail stores.

I have started a Kickstarter campaign so I can pre-sell my chocolates, and if I can pre-sell enough wine chocolates I can then have my chocolates made professionally by a manufacturer. I would be absolutely  thrilled if I could have an article written about my wine flavored chocolates on you blog to help promote my Kickstarter! If you would like samples of my wine flavored chocolate bars I would be delighted to send you some!

Please visit my website at www.vineyardchocolatiers.com to learn more about me and my wine flavored chocolates!

Yeah, like this chocoholic could ever refuse that query! Bring it on!

About Joe’s Project ~ Vineyard Chocolatiers

This is a product that I have been working on for a year and a half. I spent 6 months seeking out chocolates from all over the world to be the base of my recipe. I have sampled chocolates from many countries such as Italy, Belgium, and as far as Madagascar. The chocolate that I use is an organic chocolate from Venezuela. During my 6 months of searching for the right chocolate I had over 40 pounds of chocolate samples in my house from many chocolate suppliers.

There are 3 flavors to my chocolate bar product line: Cabernet Dark Chocolate, Merlot Dark Chocolate, Chardonnay White Chocolate. Much like how wine is paired with entrees, the wine flavors are paired according the to the cocoa intensity. For example the Cabernet flavor is paired with the darkest chocolate which is 73.5% cocoa, the Merlot flavor is paired with the mildest dark chocolate being 61% cocoa, and the Chardonnay flavor is paired with the lightest chocolate, a white chocolate with 14% cocoa.

I need to raise $5,200 so that I can have my wine chocolates professionally made by a manufacturer. I plan to sell my chocolates on Amazon, to Vineyards, and to retail stores such as Neiman Marcus.

Kickstarter Link (click here), if you’d “like in”

I loved the tasting. I’m so impressed by the smoothness and the flavors of these chocolates that I’m willing to support his Kickstarter program. They’ll be a great gift through the upcoming holidays, impressing your wine friends. I also love – as someone who began her own business – to help others begin and succeed. Artisan chocolates for the holidays? I’m in!

Joe’s YouTube says it all…



Cesari Vineyards is celebrating 80 years of crafting Valpolicella’s finest vintages ~ #IAMarone

80 Years of Glorious Wines ~ Cesari Vineyards

In 1936, the Cesari family created a winery naming it Cesari Vineyards. Located in Veneto, Italy, the family went on to become very famous Amarone pioneers. That was 80 years ago, and they’re now celebrating their worldwide success.

They also created a great publicity program, inviting 80 wine bloggers to participate. This gave each of us a chance to take on the assignment of learning about Amarone wine, and use the hashtag #IAMarone. I’m giggling to myself, because I immediately started using the hashtag. I love adventures and this was one I couldn’t resist. One lucky person will be brought to Cesari Vineyards to celebrate. I would love to be that person. My feet have wings. I was born for travel, because I was born to learn as much as I can in this lifetime, and I’ve wasted no time. I dream in the Italian language, understanding it. Although, I’ve not had the opportunity to study it in this lifetime, I have a friend of Mexican descent who had told me that I speak Spanish with an Italian accent. (It’s in there somewhere.)

I was alerted that I’d be receiving an invitation to their festivities. Sigh… All in New York. It’s impossible for me to jettison work right now and jet to the East Coast. I’d really love to, but it’s just not possible. So, I have to celebrate from afar and live vicariously through people’s hashtag of #IAMarone. I’ve been writing about his one since hearing of it. So, I’ve taken this time as a teachable moment. Knowing absolutely nothing about Amarone wines, I had some catching up to do. I’ve already done some of it. I still have a long way to go, but I’ve taken the first few steps. Here’s my journey to date, turning it into education for us all, since I have a background in education from years ago.

The Invitation Arrived

Cesari Vineyards is celebrating 80 years of crafting Valpolicella’s finest vintages and we’d like you to be our guest for an exceptional dining series, where we’ll be showcasing the unexpected versatility of the wine. Please RSVP as soon as possible, with your ranked preferences and we’ll try to accommodate everyone’s first choice.

Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse Midtown ~ Wednesday, September 14, 6:00 p.m. Hosted by one of the best steakhouses in Manhattan, experience amarone paired in its purest form, with a juicy steak.

Plaza Food Hall ~ Wednesday, September 21, 6:00 p.m. – Celebrity Chef Todd English’s Food Hall offers a true dine-around the world experience, but the focus of this particular meal, designed by Todd himself, is Valpolicella’s rich culinary history.

La Maison du Chocolat ~ Wednesday, September 28, 5:30 p.m.  – The world’s most renowned chocolatier will be hosting a wine and chocolate party at their Madison Avenue Boutique. Enjoy delicious passed chocolates with the rich flavors of Cesari Amarone.

Petrossian ~ Wednesday, October 5, 5:30 p.m.- Executive Chef Richard Farnabe was more than happy to create a unique pairing menu for his favorite variety. Savor caviar and wine in new and interesting ways as only the world’s Purveyor of Caviar can show you.

Learning from the invite ~ Foods to pair with Amarone

  • Amarone pairs well in its purest form, with a juicy steak.
  • Amarone paired with Valpolicella’s rich culinary history must be experienced at some point in time
  • Amarone pairs well with delicious chocolates with the rich flavors of Cesari Amarone
  • Amarone paired well with caviar.



Italy,Sicily,Wine,Wine of the Week

Wine of the Week ~ 2015 Cusumano Shamaris Grillo, Sicilia DOC

Cusumano Cantina

I recently received a sample of the 2015 Cusumano Shamaris Grillo, Sicilia DOC. There are a lot of things about this wine that are unique to me. I’ve only had two other Sicilian wines, and that was on March 27 of this year (2016). They, too, were a Wine of the Week. Both were red wines.

  • Stemmari Nero D’Avola
  • Tenuta Rapitala

This Cusumano Shamaris Grillo is a white wine, so this is a first for me, to have any white wine from Sicily. (Wine Century Club #165)

“Grillo” is Italian for “cricket,” just for a simple point of interest that it’s translatable to an insect. The association? Who knows. There are crickets on the island (I checked), and perhaps it was someone’s pet name for the variety? We can’t translate Merlot, Zinfandel, etc., for instance. Somewhere in history there’s a connection.

The images in this post have been borrowed from the Cusumano Website. I recommend that when you have the time, explorer this section of their site. Notice the small circles on the page and enter those circles. They take you everywhere. It’s really nicely done.

All of this led me to yearning to learn more about Grillo. Let’s explore together. Odds are that very few of us know very much, if anything, about this variety. Thanks, Cusumano for sharing!

Grillo from Sicily

Grillo, a white Italian grape variety, has synonyms: Riddu and Rossese bianco. It withstands high temperatures, being on the 37° parallel. This parallel is also located in Santa Cruz, California, just for viticultural potential and perspective. The palm trees in these pictures are also a give-away about its warm climate.

The Grillo is a popular variety in Sicilian wine-making. Although it’s most famous for its role in making fortified Marsala wines; it’s a beautiful stand-alone white wine variety, I just learned.

It’s grown on head-trained vines, and it produces a full-bodied wine. It’s also used as a blending component. According to Kobrand, “Grillo grapes are only planted by three percent in Sicily, as compared to other varieties.” Now we’re honing in on its rarity.

I explored Cusumano’s Website and found their videos fun to watch, besides being very educational:

Its Lineage According to Wine Searcher

Grillo is a Sicilian white grape variety most famous for its role in the island’s fortified Marsala wines. It is still widely planted on Sicily despite Marsala’s fall from fashion, and is now used most commonly in a variety of still white wines, both varietal and blended. Grillo, when vinified to a high standard, makes a fresh, light white wine with nutty, fruit-driven flavors that include lemon and apple.

There is some debate as to the origins of Grillo, as its earliest mention comes as recently as the mid-19th Century. Some believe that the variety is native to Sicily, suggesting it is the progeny of Catarratto and Muscat of Alexandria. Others have hypothesized that it was brought to the island from the southern Italian region of Puglia. There is even some evidence to suggest that this was the variety in the Roman wine Mamertino, a particular favorite of Julius Caesar.

How the 2015 Cusumano Shamaris Grillo tasted

One sip and that equaled an “Oh, wow,” from me. It’s definitely a beautiful wine, very Old World in style, and very much worthy of your attention. Light alcohol of 13 percent, this is definitely a walk on the wild side wine, one that’s deliciously memorable… A taste of Sicily’s Mediterranean bounty. And it’s rare folks, very rare. Only three percent growth on the island. I feel very privileged that Cusumano winery shared with me.

The flavors were so new and intriguing that I had to really think about this Grillo. A bit complex; knowing its 37th parallel location and the island is located in the Mediterranean, I wasn’t completely surprised. But, still this was the first time ever enjoyed this wine’s flavors. With very thoughtful moments of sniffing and swirling, I got star fruit, pineapple, and a viscosity that reminded me of a very light olive oil. Then I got delicate lychee nut and Meyer lemon flavors…

This is a very delightful wine. I went back for more, while writing the notes I wanted to share.




Godello,Spain,Wine,Wine Century Club

From the Chill to the Thrill ~ 2015 Senda\Verde Godello Bierzo

This is how it works for me, today… Wine Century Club #167 Senda\Verde 2015 Godello, Bierzo, (082016).

La Senda Bodegas y Viñedos

Samples arrive from all over the world, and I’m thrilled. My scope of wine is expanding exponentially steeper daily about the world of wine, every time my door bell rings and a delivery truck person wants my signature.

If I weren’t in the business of wine, my process would be much slower. I’m on an assignment given to me by the gods, and the task is unique nectar. How did I get so lucky? I really don’t know. I just keep at it. I’ve now tasted 165 different wine grape varieties and I’m about to open #167.

Join Me

#167, Godello, Bierzo: Old world aromas. When I opened the bottle, I thought, from the Chill to the Thrill… Godello Bierzo ~ So poetical.

Strolling through a citrus and floral garden… Then the Meyer lemon hits hard. (I scratch lemons, just for that refreshing moment.) These are just the aromas. On the palate, it’s similar to a Sauvignon Blanc and then sneaks around the corner to become butter flavors with lingering violets and grapefruit. It has a long, long finish and is much more complex on the back end than I would have guessed from its light straw color. I associate this color with a wine that’s not going to be complex. Wrong! It’s got a lot going on. This is a very refreshing wine that you can enjoy with your cream dishes… Jamie Oliver’s creamy pumpkin and ginger soup, let’s say.

Let’s talk about Godello from La Senda Bodegas y Viñedos, Spain

A Delicious Story

Godello is a white wine grape that’s grown in northwestern Spain, mostly in the Galicia region. In Portugal, the Gouveio grape found in northern region of Portugal is thought to be the same grape variety. Quoting Jancis Robinson:

“I think it was Rafael Palacios, As Sortes Godello Valdeorras that first drew to my attention the obvious nobility of this grape variety that combines the structure of white burgundy with the finesse of a juicily mineral grape. I made sure to include this pioneering wine when, a few years ago, I had to present an array of wines to demonstrate modern Spanish wine prowess.”

Godello is a dry, white wine, that produces lovely flavors, as I noted above. It seems to have the best results in the Valdeorras, because this is a cooler climate, which has plenty of rain… Like all cool climate regions, like Green Valley of Russian River Valley and Germany, for instance, cooler climates are best suited to white wine varieties. Wines from these cool climates produce wines that are crisp, fresh, and have a long life span for being fresh and complex.

If you find this wine on a wine list or on a store shelf, give it a try. If you’re beyond a Chardonnay and wanting something exciting in a white, go Godello. The double “ll” has a “y” sound. Dello, de-e-e-o, Daylight come and me want to go home… Go Godello.



Holiday,Jo's World,Opinion,Wine

Labor Day, a Sobering Holiday

What labor Day Means to Me… is not what you might expect.

It’s not a day to go boating for the last time of the season; or, heading off to the beach one more time, before I settle into apple picking.

No BBQ’s for me today. Nay… It’s pretty sobering for me.

It’s time to remember my grandfather Peter J. Bernier. He was my first hero in life. He’s the one who told me, as I walked from high school to his office, like I did everyday after school to say hello to him, that President John F. Kennedy had been shot and we didn’t know yet if he would survive. My walk home, for the next mile was long and lonely. Pipi was a man of honor and circumstance. His young academic life was ripped away from him when his family put him into servitude at the Bates Mill, in Lewiston, Maine, at the age of eight years old.

My grandfather was one of those “Boys” in the ad below. He left school after the third grade, my grandmother told me, walking from Lane Road in Greene, Maine to the Bates Mill! That’s a 6.3 mile walk.

Imagine… I mapped it out with a Google walking map. It takes two hours to go in one direction, presumably by an adult, not an eight year old child.

Then Pipi worked hard for nine hours. How did he do that? Did they keep him in that brick housing, across the street from the factory, during the week? [Note the image above. The housing is in the lower left hand corner of this picture.]

He became a very successful businessman, even though he couldn’t read or write. He was a a car sales man, whom people trusted for generations of their families, in the early years of my life. Then he invested in property and became a landlord and realtor. My grandmother did all of his bookkeeping for him. He was so kind and loving to me. My heart is still breaking after all of these years. His own death came when he was only in his 60s (he was 40 years older than I was), on December 3, 1963… only 11 days after JFK had been killed. A double whammy for me…

I grew up on Lisbon Street, where this mill was a little more than a half mile away from my home. I walked past the Bates Mill on Mill Street every day to and from school (St. Patrick’s, Jordan JH, and then Lewiston High School). The building on the front side of the mill was housing. In my day, it was apartments for families, but as generations grew up, with more members of their families working in these mills, they could collect their income and move to an apartment… putting a bit of distance between them and their close proximity to these walls that kept them in impoverished conditions. (I even remember when the housing was torn down.) Perhaps it was originally built to house the children put into servitude, this I don’t yet know. I can’t imagine, however, an 8-year old taking that walk every single day.

Cindy Hodgdon, one of my Facebook friends, just posted this image of the advertisement, adding the text from the photo, taken from Lewiston Memories, a Bicentennial Pictorial, written by Douglas I. Hodgkin:

1861: “Owing to the inability of the Mills to supply the Government with TENT CLOTH. (So much needed by our Soldiers now in the field,) as fast as wanted, the Managers of THE BATES MILLS, Have been induced to run their Machinery Extra Time in order to supply in part, the wants of the Government, therefore the above number of hands can obtain employment at the Bates Mills, to do the following work, viz. Twisting, Spooling, Spinning, Dolling and Quilling. They will be required to work 9 hours per day.”

[Image also taken from Lewiston Memories, a Bicentennial Pictorial, written by Douglas I. Hodgkin]

Cindy Hodgdon: In this book it doesn’t state where they slept (most likely boarding somewhere close), but it does state that the youngest were “required to wear short pants to enable overseers to be sure that in the case of scuffles the older were not picking on the younger.”

I’m crying as I write this. I can’t help myself, from the emotionalism that these images represent for me. After my generation is gone, this will all be forgotten by the descendants of those directly impacted by the Industrial Revolution. This kind of sacrifice is now going on in other parts of the world, where labor unions have yet to find a way to enter. Perhaps it will have to come from their own people, who organize against abhorrent working conditions. History will repeat itself, no doubt. And, their future generations will celebrate being released from slave labor working conditions.

Coming from a mill/factory community, I remember the plumes of smoke coming from those tall chimneys every day… And then the 60s brought environmental issues to our attention. Rather than the factories doing something about it, they closed their doors and headed to countries where they could continue to pollute and take advantage of cheap labor… minus labor union dictates, no rules and no regulations… This was the beginning of globalization. I understood it as soon as they closed the mills and factories, putting everyone out of work… generations that knew nothing else and expected to have a job for life. What was going to happen to them all, as big business decisions were being made with no regard for human life in the process? Now, everyone can see what I saw, the day the first factory closed its doors. It’s taken 50 years to see, what my eyes saw with the very first closing.

What labor Day Means to Me is tears… tears for those who made our lives more bearable on this three-day weekend. Hard labor is what our immigrants give to us. Why people are so thoughtless, when it comes to those willing to sacrifice so much, is beyond me.

I’m seeing it again in California, and all over the US, as immigrant hopes and dreams to live in a country, based on our supposed democracy, are being dashed by the very same people whose forefather came here… Now they they’ve got theirs, they’re shamefully and selfishly guarding the same land that their forefathers took away from First Nation People. It breaks my heart that humanity is this way for some of us.

When you raise your glasses this weekend, won’t you join me in thinking about those who made our lives more bearable; our immigrant elders… Without their sacrifices, this would not be a three-day weekend. It would just be business as usual on this Monday, working for the man…



Wine of the Week ~ 2015 Rainstorm Silver Linings Oregon Pinot Noir Rosé

Silver Linings 2015 Oregon Pinot Noir Rosé… I drool just thinking about this one, as I look at the empty bottle. So easy to enjoy and we certainly did.

You might ask, “Why would anyone want to take Oregon Pinot Noir and convert it to a rosé?” I certainly did… Then I tasted Rainstorm and thought, “Oh, I see!”

Pretty in Pink: Succulent strawberries at the height of the season, with slightly sweet watermelon for both bouquet and flavors. This wine is simply sterling, superb, and sumptuous. Alliteration has a lot of great “s” words, and came easily to describe this very delicious Oregon Pinot Noir Rosé.

From Rainstorm

Here in the Northwest, we have a deep seeded love for Pinots so we jumped at the chance to craft a Pinot Noir Rose. Sure it rains a lot in Oregon, but we’re the type of people to see the silver lining with each rainy day. That cool rain is what makes Oregon Pinots shine, and inspired the name of our newest addition to our Pinot family.

To craft our wonderfully balanced Rainstorm Silver Linings Pinot Noir Rosé, we select the finest grapes from the Willamette Valley. With its cool, mild climate, the Willamette Valley of northern Oregon produces Pinot Noir with an earthy, elegant style and complex yet subtle flavors. 65% of the grapes were direct press for this Rosé providing acidity and elegance. 35% came from the saignée Pinot Noir tank providing more fruit and some structure. The wine was fermented with native yeast to dryness at cold temperature (50°F) and on fine lees for 3 months. We designed our winemaking to craft a light, pale and refreshing Rosé.

Our Pinot Noir Rosé portrays aromas of strawberry, rose petals and pomegranate seeds. It is completely dry with refreshing acidity. Silver Linings pairs beautifully with a wide range of foods such as a spring salad, goat cheese tart or grilled chicken with fresh herbs.

If I were going to pair this one with a piece of art, because it truly is one, I’d run with Claude Monet’s Springtime. Just imagine the deliciousness!


Jo's World,Marketing,Opinion,Wine

A Boomer Writer Watching Millennial Writers

In the words of Peter M. F. Sichel (The Secrets of My Life: Vintner, Prisoner, Soldier, Spy):

Tastes differ. In addition tastes tend to change with time. This is due both to increased sophistication, which comes from experience and to age: as we get older, our taste preferences often change. In my old age [Peter is a nonagenarian], I increasingly prefer wines lower in alcohol, with less forward fruit and more style and elegance.

This statement represents two that I want to make:

  1. No two age generation groups have the same focus, because every generation has its own preferences, based on the condition of the times.
  2. It’s impossible for one advertisement to appeal to all age groups. Nike’s “just do it?” I was “just doing it,” before Nike decided to coin it, for instance.

In Peter’s Bordeaux Chapter: “I started to spend more time in Bordeaux, to get a feel for the wines and the culture of Bordeaux. Knowing the wines was not the same thing as getting to know  complex society.” The wine industry is a very complex society… That is for certain. Once an age demographic gets that, and I believe it will come after about a decade of trying to reestablish an old order, life begins to settle into who is really whom and making it as a future leader.

It’s like been there, done that, and welcome to the wine world.

We all watch each other’s generations speaking to each other on our devices, and to us. I watch info on my devices and husband has plenty of info on his, too. He’s got way more hours on his ahead of me. And, he points to all sorts of in-coming stories that are new to me. We share. This one was about a millennial writer, who was just furious that the paradigm shift he was trying to create a few years ago hadn’t caught on yet. It just hadn’t, in his estimation, guided the world of wine away from itself, and moved into a new time zone… It just hadn’t… Not one iota…

Segue ~ Hippie

Husband says he’s never been one. I overhead someone in Bar Harbor say, “Look, Maud, there’s a real hippie,” when they exited a tour bus, as I walked by. I’ll go with Donald Trump on this one, “People say she’s ‘a real hippie,’ so she must be one,” right? In those hippie days, all we wanted was peace, love, and flowers; what we got was war, civil unrest, and assassinations.”


…as I watch Millennials struggling, because time isn’t moving fast enough for them, I remind myself that life is like an LP. The quicker one gets to the center, the faster the revolutions. I’m not sure the shift that’s wanted could or would be the be all to end all, but it might be a start. Nothing ever completely is… nothing.

Then, there’s that other thing…

Like it or not, the world of wine has been a world of romance since… forever. Hey, if you don’t like it, I’m just saying that the odds are pretty, pretty good that the first person to be printed with the quote “Wine, Women, and Song” was mostly likely a guy thinking about a gal. So, as I saw this posting from someone who’d like to completely change a promotional video about wine. He would have taken it away from what he saw as over produced schmaltzy romance. I understood his struggle. I, too, had a struggle of wanting to change the business of wine about 25 years ago, and that didn’t work to my liking fast enough either. I was way ahead of the curve.

Now, it’s happening all of the time at wineries, and it’s called “live music.” I put on a jazz concert at a winery I worked at through the marketing department, and the tasting room manager locked the attendees out of the tasting room. Funny now, but not then.

I saw his struggle and understood his frustration for wanting to see some visual evolution from his point of view. And, there isn’t a quick solution, time doesn’t work that way. Each generation has a lot of repetitive learning curves, for that time.

Old World versus New World

I’d like to show you the video in question. It’s been taken down. There was an debate going back and forth about live and let live. I don’t know what the final outcome was; as of right now, it’s gone. I can’t reference it. I can however, come up with the ad’s image of it’s essence’s representation.

In both images, the one above and this one below, people are happy, excited, involved, exuberant, and enjoying wine.

As my Mimi used to say, “Age before beauty” as this Boomer writer is watching Millennial writers.


Books,Peter Sichel,Wine,Wine Business,Wine Education,Wine Exports,Wine HIstory,Wine Writer

Where Does One Begin with Vintner Peter M. F. Sichel?


The Secrets of My Life: Vintner, Prisoner, Soldier, Spy by Peter M. F. Sichel… One cannot take the life of a such a fascinating man as Peter Sichel, and condense it into 1,000 words or less in a complete book report, and so I’ve just begun writing about Peter Sichel.

BOOK’S BACK PAGE: Peter M. F. Sichel was educated in Germany and England and fled France in 1941. He spent seventeen years with the U.S. Office of Strategic Services and the Central Intelligence Agency in some of the top hot spots of the Cold War before joining his family’s wine business.

I also don’t treat the books that I receive as book reviews. That’s writing 50 of the most thoughtful words or less that one is able, hitting the essence and inspiring others with the “need” to read the book. That, my friends, is a very difficult job. It’s easy to write a lot. The tough part comes when one condenses all of the paragraphs down into 50 of the most powerful words possible.

Let me just quote Marvin Shanken’s review as an example. My wine colleagues know that Mr. Shanken is the editor and publisher of Wine Spectator. My non-related wine friends may not know this, so I want to clarify that Marvin Shanken is as powerful as it gets in the wine business. For him to have written the following is the only endorsement that Peter Sichel would have needed, yet a book did come to me for review and I’m honored.

Peter Sichel is an iconic figure in the history of wine. With his European upbringing and early years in the CIA, his story is both fascinating and compelling. His success with Blue Nun is nothing short of classic marketing.” — Marvin R. Shanken, Editor & Publisher, Wine Spectator

My own thoughts about this book, very briefly on a personal level:

Reading Peter Sichel’s memoir is like taking an advanced course in not only wine history, but also wine in wine marketing. Sichel touches upon the American market. But, more important to those of us who already know a bit about the United States’ wine history, his adventures as they relate to Europe, including what happened to the business of wine during World War II, connect some very important missing dots in wine history’s chronology. At least it did for me. This is an advanced course for anyone who’s serious about understanding the business of wine.

It’s also a real eye opener for someone just learning about wine. It will equally move you into a fast forward mode.

It went even deeper for me. There is so much that I don’t know about my parent’s generation regarding WW II. After that war, no one talked about it. No one helped my father with his post traumatic stress disorder. It hadn’t even been defined as such yet. He had it, we lived with it, and that generation for years and years, never brought up their experiences. It wasn’t until just before he died in his early 60s that we were told he had landed on the Beaches of Normandy on D Day… A whole life of carrying that burden. Am I surprised that it took Mr. Sichel until he reached his 90s to finally write his thoughts? No, not at all. My father returned home to a wife and a new daughter, my older sister. And… couldn’t even bear to tell his story. It’s very brave for Peter to take this time in his life to put it all into perspective as a merry old soul

Peter’s life took many interesting twists and turns, then finally doubled back into his family’s business. Every segment left me wanting to read more, with so much to take in with every single word going forward.

I wanted to know all about his life as a prisoner and spy… So will you.

Map of Cold-War era Europe and the Near East s...

Map of Cold-War era Europe and the Near East showing countries that received Marshall Plan aid. The red columns show the relative amount of total aid per nation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you lived through the Cold War, as I did as a child, thinking that
the Cold War had no bearing on you… Oh, boy, were we wrong.

If you want to know anything about WW II, from a soldier’s perspective, so will you want to read his book.

If professionally you need to know about European wines, but your point of reference is not concerned with Europe, so will you want to read this fascinating book.

If you’re new to wine and living in Europe, you need to know his historical perspective. It will broaden who you are with arrow-like speed.

Closing the book for the last time, with it being completed, was sad… Sad to not be absorbing more each night and picking more of Peter’s brain.

Final thought for today

I’ll be repeatedly returning to this book for more blog stories, while referencing Peter Sichel. Bordeaux and German wines, for instance, there are so many stories that can wrap around his history as it relates to when he was active and today’s on-going activities as I’m learning them. He’s a category unto himself, while he fleshes out so many other categories.

Reading Peter Sichel’s intriguing memoir has given an important segment of the wine world’s history to us all. Born in Germany in 1922, Peter’s family already had much history as a wine négociant company, prior to World War II. He began his careers in life as a vintner, the prisoner, soldier, and spy segment finally had him doubling back to vintner. It is what he learned in his second segment as a vintner that connected me to some really important history, for which I will be ever grateful.

Published by: Archway Publishing