Heringer Estates Family Vineyard & Winery ~ Harvest 2017 ~ Looking for Grapes?

This is not a paid advertisement. It’s the result of an incoming Email from Heringer Estates. I find this particularly useful, for seeing brix’s rising levels in only one week, and what brix levels go with which varieties.

Ready or not here they go! Whites, rosés, and reds are all briskly moving along. With last week’s heat, they did apply some water to varieties that were particularly thirsty, so they saw some things move forward, while others remained the same. They’re expecting moderate and warm temperatures for the next week.

Harvest in Clarksburg… Tuesday, 9/5

This is a bird’s eye view of stats that cause a vineyard to begin harvesting of grapes.

They’re asking for a minimum of two business days of lead time, to schedule a machine harvest; and four days, to schedule a hand harvest. “Any additional lead time is most appreciated, so we can best fit you into the calendar.”

Review last week’s numbers as a comparison

If you’re interested in bulk wines email or call Lucy at grapes@heringerestates.com or call (916)744-1094 opt 202.



Atlas Peak,Event,Leslie Caccamese,Terroir,Vineyards,VIT 101,Viticulture,Wine,Wine Country

Golf Ball Terroir ~ Welcome to Karibu

Karibu in Swahili means welcome; so Welcome to Welcome…

This is part of my current learning curve, as I prepare stories for Karibu Vineyard’s new Web site. It’s in the process of being developed:

  • Lyla Moore has created the logo.
  • Jose’s creating the website, coding it, adding pictures, you know… You’ve all either built sites or had them built for you.
  • I’m in the background, on the other side of Jose’s construction, proving the story content.


This website is very unique, as compared to others we’ve worked. It’s a grower’s site, not a winery one. Most growers can’t be bothered to create a website, as only their grapes are for sale, and they’re probably already under contracts with long-standing partners.

Location, location, location ~ Atlas Peak Area

Karibu is across the street from the Silverado Resort Golf Club’s driving range. If you look at the image above, you’ll see the huge net in the upper left of this photo.

The net is supposed to catch incoming slices that have gone awry, in some 90 degree hook to the left. How they make it over that net really leaves me wondering if I could hit a ball better, and I don’t even play golf. How high must the balls must go, and what on earth had them taking that unusual angle is more of my wondering.

In PR and in writing, we’re always looking for a “hook,” and in this case it’s literally a golf ball hook.

But wait, there’s more

I just interviewed Doug Hill Vineyard Management’s colleague, Leslie Caccamese. We were in Karibu Vineyard together. She’s been working this vineyard since it began and I wanted to know everything I could about its terroir. Unfortunately… used very loosely as you’ll see… it’s got this golf ball terroir thing going on. The club is willing to pay for any damages that might happen, as a result of someone’s unusual hook; BUT, it also offers an unusual hook for Karibu…

Leslie told me that she will see golf balls in other vineyards, but it’s always a rogue one. She said, “You have to wonder if someone was just out taking a shot, and there it went… all by itself.” In Karibu’s case, it can happen at any time. Leslie said she’s never seen one coming in, but I have.

SIDEBAR: I’ve always wanted to photograph a woman viticulturist’s hands. Thanks, Leslie for being my model! Girls seem to clean up better than men, but she did tell me that the night before would have been more rough and tumble.

Nana Gramp Camp

We had Jonathan and Nate (our grandsons) visiting for their annual #NanaGrampCamp visit, early in August. (I’m Nana, Jose’s Gramp, and our home is Camp.) As we were driving them back to the airport, we segued to the Atlas Peak area, where David and Vasi Thathiah’s vineyard is located. I had asked permission to go to their vineyard for the 2017 Inaugural Golf Ball Harvest. (It sounded like a fun plan, huh? Who else has ever done that?)

At one point in gathering, I heard a swishing in the air, stood up and watched a golf ball land 18 inches from my feet.

Ah, the former Androscoggin Day Camp for Girl Scouts’ director kicked in… “This needs a solution, beyond the golf course’s netting.” Since David’s day job is operating a construction company, hard hats are an easy to get and easy to fix solution. If you drive by Atlas Peak Road and see hard hats in a vineyard, yeah… you’ve arrived.

So, the inaugural harvest went well, as you can see. But… Jose and I returned to have this meeting with Leslie Caccamese. While waiting for her, I had a second harvest by myself, getting as many balls, in only a 20 day period. Leslie said that the vineyard team also has removed golf balls, because they’re annoying while working. Imagine having them underfoot… They do go into the soil, but they’re not ideal.

If they had small kids, they could sell them roadside, the way kids sell lemonade. Just a little soaking and they’re almost like new.

Golf Ball Terroir… Now you know how and why…



Celebrating Cabernet Sauvignon with Concannon Vineyard’s Major Cab Contributions

During this month of September, Concannon Vineyard will be celebrating for the entire month, due to their important Cabernet Sauvignon contributions, as it relates to California’s wine history.

It all began in the Livermore Valley, ladies and gentlemen. Cabernet Sauvignon Clones #7 and #8 originated in the United States at Concannon Vineyard…

From the Concannon Vineyard Website:

Over 130 years ago, our founder, James Concannon, began importing extraordinary Cabernet Sauvignon vines directly from the renowned Château Margaux in Bordeaux. Years later, in 1965, his grandson, Jim, collaborated with UC Davis in selecting cuttings from one of those vines for heat treatment. These dynamic, virus-resistant vines later became known as Concannon Cabernet Clones #7, #8 and #11 and played a key role in helping California Cabernet achieve international recognition. Today, we are proud that an estimated 80% of California’s Cabernet Sauvignon is planted with our Concannon Clones.

[This image from Châteaux Margaux comes from their Website ~ Title: 07/17/2016 Magnificent vines]

Pour yourself a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon from Concannon, your favorite winery in the Napa Valley, or any other valley in California, and it’s likely you’ll be sipping wine born from Concannon’s Clones #7 and/or #8. It was Concannon Vineyard that offered the wine industry their famous Cabernet Sauvignon #7 and #8 Clones, during the California wine industry’s twentieth-century renaissance, which all began in the 1970s.

Clones #7 and #8 are widely recognized as prolific planting material within the U.S. wine industry. Dr. Harold Olmo, celebrated viticulturist from the University of California, worked with Joseph Concannon to catalogue what would become the most favored Cabernet Sauvignon plant material for viticulturist and winemakers from the early 1970s, Clone #7 and #8.

Dr. Harold Olmo’s efforts to improve California’s grape planting materials began in 1931. He was hired by Albert Winkler to succeed F.T. Bioletti’s ampelographic expertise. Dr. Olmo began his grape breeding program at the University of California at Davis. Most famous worldwide for his grape breeding program and his ampelographic proficiency, he also worked tirelessly to improve several rootstocks, until his retirement in 1979. Many grape species were acquired from not only worldwide sources, but Olmo also collected many species from the United States, including Concannon’s famous Clones #7 and #8.

According M. Andrew Walker “He began his clonal work by selecting variants in vineyards across the State emphasizing good cluster formation, high yields, fruit quality, and disease-free status with varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir, Burger, Semillon, and Riesling…”[i]

Noted California Wine Historian Tim Patterson had conducted extensive research on the widely regarded impact of Concannon’s Clones #7 and #8 saying,

“People in the industry are well aware that the ‘Concannon clones’ — Cabernet Sauvignon clones #7 and #8–have been the backbone of the great California Cabernet vineyards for decades. For wine drinkers who assume that Napa was Napa since the beginning of time, this probably comes as a great surprise. For me, it’s a perfect example of the important, often behind-the-scenes role Concannon played in the growth of the industry for more than a century.”

To better determine the performance of California’s most significant clones, UC Davis’s Foundation Plant Materials Service conducted three clonal trials in 1981 in order to understand their performance[ii]. Started in Napa Valley at Beaulieu Vineyards, it included the following:

  • Concannon Clones #7-#8
  • Concannon Clone #11
  • Oakville 11V
  • Jackson, CA G8V10
  • Californian Vineyard 22-23
  • Mendoza, Argentina 04
  • Mendoza, Argentina 05
  • Neustadt, W. Germany 10
  • Chile 12
  • Chile 13-14-15
  • Chile 16-17-18
  • Chile 19
  • Chile 21

From three trials, the rating of FPMS clones was established, and it was concluded that Concannon’s Clones #7, #8, and #11 were the highest producing.

In a search for more information about the use of Concannon’s clones, Jim Concannon personally wrote the following to Dr. James Wolpert, UC Davis’s Department Chair for Viticulture & Enology. “Dear Dr. Wolpert: Many years ago my late brother Joe worked very closely with the viticulture department at Davis. Unfortunately most records on the background of the Cabernet Sauvignon Clones #7 and #8 were not kept at the winery. Since these clones are so widely used and were developed with the help of my brother Joe, I would be interested in obtaining information on them.”

In response, Dr. Wolpert wrote back to Jim, “It is good to hear from someone with the last name of Concannon. That selection of Cabernet Sauvignon is not only one of the most widely planted, but one of the most highly regarded. It comprises most of our plantings at our department’s (UC Davis) Oakville vineyard, where it makes exceptional wines.”[iii]

According to former Senior Writer Lynn Alley, and Deborah A. Golino (Director of the FPMS at Davis), many of the clonal selections Dr. Harold Olmo developed enriched the FPMS collection and are the industry standards today, such as FPMS Chardonnay Selection 04 (Wente Vineyards) and Cabernet Sauvignon Selection 08 (Concannon Vineyard).[iv]

Michael Silacci and his staff conducted most of the research, studying the vines for six years. Beginning in 1991, at Gristina Vineyards in Cuthogue, NY, another six years of data was collected in which all but a few of the Chile clones were again used. The final research was performed by J. Wolpert, A.N. Kasimatis, and P.S. Verdegaal. From these three trials, the rating of FPMS clones was established, and it was concluded that Concannon’s Clones 7, 8, and 11 were the highest producing.

It is with great pride that Concannon Vineyard Clones #7 and #8 have been widely recognized, by these industry leaders, for having set the standard of excellence for Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Power of [Concannon] Clone 7 in Napa Valley Hands

Robert Keenan Winery (Spring Mountain, Napa Valley) – The 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is composed primarily of fruit grown on Keenan’s Spring Mountain District Estate. Ninety-five percent of this wine is composed of estate grown [Concannon] Clone 7 Cabernet Sauvignon. Of the five different estate clones to choose from, we chose [Concannon] Clone 7, feeling it best showcased the “soul” of the 2002 vintage. The [Concannon] Clone 7 shows the most dynamic expression; beautifully described red berry fruit coupled with elegant, understated mountain power.

Excerpt from Robert M. Parker, Jr.’s,
The Wine Advocate,
Issue 157, February 28, 2005
93+ Points

Literature cited:

[i]  Walker, M. Andrew, UC Davis’ Role in Improving California’s Grape Planting Materials, © 2000 by the American Society of Enology and Viticulture
[ii]  Caldwell, John, A Concise Guide to Wine Grape Clones for Professionals, John Caldwell Viticultural Services, Second Edition
[iii] Used with the permission of Dr. James Wolpert and Jim Concannon, August 19, 2004
[iv] Alley, Lynn and Golino, Deborah A., The Originals of the Grape Program at Foundation Plant Materials Service, © 2000 by the American Society of Enology and Viticulture


Argentina,Importer,Imports,Malbec,Mendoza,Wine,Wine Making,Winemaker,Winemaking

Wine of the Week ~ 2016 Santa Julia Tintillo, Mendoza Argentina

What a delicious wine blend of Malbec and Bonarda is this 2016 Santa Julia Tintillo. But then you might ask, “Isn’t a lot of Malbec wine coming from Argentina?” To which I’d say, “Sure, but how many of them are also blended with Bonarda?” For the most part, gotcha, because you hear “Malbec” and not think very much about the Bonarda, after you heard (or read) “Malbec.”

For me, it’s the Bonarda that makes this wine so special; this unusual twist to a usual Malbec is what’s so intriguing. Bonarda in Argentina, much like Petite Sirah in the US, is an underdog variety, so we haven’t heard very much about it, unless you’re a SOMM. That said, I know extremely well what a joy Petite is, and I’ve now tasted a Bonarda, blended with Malbec. The 2016 Santa Julia Tintillo is a very opulent red wine, just right for any foods calling for a red wine. Its fun, contemporary label will draw you in; the wine’s flavors will keep you in-volved.

Santa Julia has called this blend Tintillo. Its dark violet color, with rich, blackberry flavors, and soft, supple tannins have created a wine that’s solid for many more years to come, but who is storing much wine these days? I’d go with a scrumptious beef dish, and call it a day.

Imported by Winesellers, Ltd., they’ve recommend that this wine is ideally served chilled between 46 – 56 degrees. This something that I like to do with reds, when I take the time to think about it. I like my wines served as if we’ve pulled them from a wine barrel, being aged in wine caves. Most wine caves are naturally 55 degrees. That’s a perfect storage condition yielding perfect tasting wines.

There seems to be a difference of opinion out there about where Bonarda originated. (Is it France, is it Italy?) Bottom line is that  it’s doing really well in Argentina, so that’s enough for me right now. Both grapes varieties have beautifully adapted to their South American plantings. Winemaker Sebastian Zuccardi struggles to tend to them. Simply put, Bonarda’s a bit more high maintenance than its happy-go-lucky counterpart.

About Santa Julie Winery ~ From Winesellers, Ltd

Julia exists; she is real. Julia is the only daughter of José Zuccardi, current director of Familia Zuccardi winery. Created in her honor, Santa Julia represents the Zuccardi Family’s commitment to achieve the highest quality levels through sustainable practices, contributing to protect the environment and to develop the community.

Founded in the early 1990s, Santa Julia is one of the emblematic Argentine wine brands, both in Argentina and around the world. Santa Julia is a combination of the quality and diversity of the Mendoza land, which produces modern wines. Santa Julia produces a diverse range of grape varieties : the classics include Malbec, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but also other rather unique varieties such as such as Viognier, Pinot Grigio and Tempranillo.



John Caldwell Viticultural Services presents ~ The Guide to Wine Grape Clones

This book has been in my library ever since I was working with Concannon Vineyard. I was hired, because of my expertise with Petite Sirah. At that time, Concannon wanted the world to know that Concannon Vineyard was the first – ever – to varietally label Petite Sirah. I expanded my services to include everything that makes Concannon a US winery treasure. One of the items listed by Lynn Kirimli, my marketing contact, was their involvement with Cabernet Sauvignon, in the US’s viticultural history. They brought over clones from France, and I wanted to know as much as I could about their Cab Clones. I had already purchased John Caldwell’s book, A concise Guide to Wine Grape Clones for Professionals, because of my work with Petite Sriah and my “need to know” drive. So, I then opened it to Cab clones, and I hit pay-dirt, literally and figuratively.

If you’re a serious and curious wine pro, at any level in your development, I highly recommend this book.

It will both excite and delight you. I just had it on a table, while waiting for our client Ron Rubin (Ron Rubin Winery) to arrive. I’m doing some research on Pinot Noir for Ron. Winemaker Joe Freeman walked into the room, saw the book, and immediately took an image of it with his phone. He wants it, like yesterday.  He got the “excite.” And, as he reads it, he’ll get the “delight.” I asked him what clones are in the Ron Rubin Vineyard. It turns out that the best of the best Pinot Noir clones are in his vineyard, which were first planted to France’s Clones #115, #667, and #777, as well as California’s #04. Talk about excellence, with a slight caveat warning, from John Caldwell, as it regards terroir credentials.

According to John Caldwell:

“Because complexity is such an important component of wine quality, growers should plant their fields with a number of different clones and their own clonal selections. Furthermore, the use of clonal material in no way obscures the importance of ‘terroir’ which is the basis of wine style diversity within every region.”

While we can add clones to discussions of terroir, it isn’t “the” major, defining factor; but, it certainly holds hints of a strong or weak thread in the overall tapestry.

When Used John Caldwell’s Quintessential Wine Clone Book for Concannon

Which now greatly benefits Concannon’s storylines, as regards Cabernet Sauvignon

[Image borrowed from the Concannon site, as it is so timely to this story.]

Some of what my press release for Concannon contained that surprised more than a few people:

Livermore: It all Began in the Livermore Valley… Cabernet Sauvignon Clones 07 and 08 Originated at Concannon Vineyard:

“Pour yourself a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon from Concannon, or your favorite winery in the Napa Valley, and it’s likely you’ll be sipping wine born from Concannon’s Clones 07 and/or 08. It was Concannon Vineyard that offered the wine industry their famous Cabernet Sauvignon 07 and 08 Clones, during the California wine industry’s twentieth-century renaissance, which all began in the 1970s.

“Clones 07 and 08 are widely recognized as prolific planting material within the U.S. wine industry. Dr. Harold Olmo, celebrated viticulturist from the University of California, worked with Joseph Concannon to catalogue what would become the most favored Cabernet Sauvignon plant material for viticulturist and winemakers from the early 1970s, Clone 07 and 08.

“Noted California Wine Historian Tim Patterson has conducted extensive research on the widely regarded impact of Concannon’s Clones 07 and 08 saying, ‘People in the industry are well aware that the ‘Concannon clones’ — Cabernet Sauvignon clones 07 and 08–have been the backbone of the great California Cabernet vineyards for decades. For wine drinkers who assume that Napa was Napa since the beginning of time, this probably comes as a great surprise. For me, it’s a perfect example of the important, often behind-the-scenes role Concannon played in the growth of the industry for more than a century.'”

I got much deeper into it, with additional research from UC Davis’ Foundation Plant Management Services, by working with Dr. James “Jim” Wolpert. Now, I’m off on a similar mission with Pinot Noir, and loving what I initially found, but I’m not surprised. Ron Rubin is gifted, exacting, and surrounds himself with the best quality resources. It’s no surprise to me that what he has is what I would have only imagined, but now I know for sure. It makes for great stories.

John Caldwell’s book is available for purchase here: www.caldwellvineyard.com/product/Clone-Book.



Movie,Sommelier,Wine,Wine Business,Wine Ed,Wine Education,Wine Etiquette,Wine Hospitality

SOMM: Into the Bottle ~ This one is a hit for wine lovers

In all fairness, I watched he original SOMM, and reviewed it as “navel gazing?” Here’s the deal, I’ve been in the wine business since 1993. Combine that with me reading the book Cork Dork Bianca Bosker’s,  A Wine-Fueled Adventure,” which hit a home run, IMHO. I wasn’t alone in my assessment, of a few guys sitting around, holier than thou in their recent wine knowledge, pontificating. I remember thinking, “Boy, are you guys narrow in your views.”

I felt like The Little Red Hen, who said to the other farm animals:

  • You have not worked in a winery tasting room, interfacing with the public that way.
  • Not segued into a marketing department.
  • Not made day to day decisions on what to create for a new wine, what to call it, how to price it, how to get it into the three tiered system, working in a car for days with sales reps.
  • Not worked wine events behind the table
  • Not rounded up all of the winemakers, while also filled a panel, coached them, made sure all of the wines arrived, made sure the paper work followed it all, checked that all of the glasses work.
  • Not interacted with wine media, written provocative press releases and sent samples with tech data – oh, yeah, you created the tech data sheets, too.
  • Not traveled about 70,000 miles a year, year after year, doing wine and trade events.
  • Not created a national food and wine event, including finding enough food vendors.
  • Not started a wine advocacy group, built it, sustained it, put on wine events, and managed the staff to help you make it all come together, setting up, tearing down, and putting it into storage for another year.

What you on this panel have done – here is where I’m giving credit to you – is learned about:

  • Who’s top of the line in each region
  • What varieties exist and their flavor profiles
  • When the regions were first started ~History
  • Where wine region are located
  • What foods pair well with which wines

You’re a walking text book, and no one can take that from you. So, the movie SOMM accomplished that in your area of expertise.

For me, I wanted – nay needed more.

So, I’ve now updated my first review to give you some credit, that states,

“From SOMM: Into the Bottle, an additional opinion ~ “This initial SOMM is a great introduction into the behaviors of Master Sommeliers. You’re a fly on the wall, and you might even be intimidated, but you now have the second movie as a follow-up. You’ll find a few more than one woman in the movie, and they’ll be more wine proficient than just that one server of wine for the guys. They’re important women in the wine business, with a cadre of wine careers; from a grower, to winemaker, to a wine writer, to a wine educator. Then, there are plenty of guys on the other side of it. But, it is a good progression.”

Fred Dame, MS – What a treasure, and now there is a range of ages, too. And, I found he was playing a character as a hard to please consumer. He’s charming in real life. (Missing in SOMM is that clarity.) This movie is much more complete, much more interesting, as well as entertaining. I was taking copious notes. I learned a lot. That’s what anyone coming away from a movie should have, n’est ce pas?

[PHOTO: Dr. Carole Meredith, as seen in the film]

There are 10 sections, covering wine aspects.

  1. The Winemaker
    1. Dr. Carole Meredith says it best: “Can there be any other business where there’s so much bullshit?
    2. She’s not only a grower and winemaker, but her credentials include wine education at UC Davis.
  2. The Vintage
    1. I have never seen mushrooms growing on a cork, and I have been to Europe, but not seen that.
  3. The History
    1. Said by Carole Meredith: The history of wine is the history of Europe.
    2. I was reminded of my travels there, and it’s so true
  4. The Wars
    1. As you travel around Europe, you’re constantly reminded by the artifacts that remain.
    2. The US has none of that history.
    3. Prohibition wiped away what little we had.
  5. The New World
    1. Madeline Puckett – today – represents the US’s spirit of telling it like it is.
    2. She’s very funny, and definitely is the other side of wine, know as a Millennial.
  6. The Cost
    1. Lower cost of grapes equals commodity, huge production wines that are mechanized.
    2. Higher cost takes in everything that is painstakingly managed by hand/people to craft the product.
  7. The Barrels
    1. The Etruscan people were the people to use barrels as a vessel for wine – 700 BC.
  8. The Point Scores
    1. For consumers, it gives them a guide.
    2. For wholesalers, points don’t matter anymore.
    3. SIDEBAR: I can tell you this, for wine shops where commodity brands exist, Scores are still paid attention to
  9. The Sommelier
    1. Wine goes with food.
    2. They guide those decisions in restaurants, where people aren’t confident – or want to impress their own guests by having that relationship with the SOMM.
  10. The Memory
    1. Fred Dame is perhaps the most important SOMM in the US.
    2. For over the last 40 years, he’s perhaps trained over 40 SOMMs.
    3. The 1870 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, France is one of the worlds most important vintages.
      1. Magnum cost in US: $23,995
      2. None of us can afford it, but it’s fun to know, when someone asks “What wine would you love to taste?”


Chile,Imports,Wine,Wine Astrology,Wine Business,Wine of the Week

Wines of the Week ~ For The Solar Eclipse ~ Concha y Toro Frontera After Midnight and Moonlight

[Image from Navicore]

On August 12, my husband and I went outside, pulled up the lawn chairs, got under our blankets, and watched the night sky. We were hoping that the meteor shower would be spectacular. It didn’t disappoint, with one brilliant, gigantic streak that had entered our atmosphere and shot across the sky in a major way. We both gasped, it was so incredible and scary at the same time. If that one had landed anywhere, it would have left an enormous hole. But, it did taper off, and left us with a once in a lifetime, united memory of star gazing… Seriously, it looked just like this, minus the colors. It literally took our breath away.

Adventure, looking into the skies, versus staring at mobile devices

Astrology, before astronomy, was the work of sage beings. Astronomy is now the other side of those who interpreted… Go back 3,000 years: planet alignments were the only evening entertainment. The predictability of the stars and planets aligned within about 360 days, a complete circle and the consequences were predictable. Hence, began history. If I didn’t know what was happening on the twelfth, and I had never seen anything like that before (and I haven’t) I would have been scared to death. What was the sky sending us, I would have wondered. Today, we have recorded events, so the momentary fright of the night dissipated as quickly as the comet.

[Wikipedia image]

Now, we have the next exciting celestial happening… the Solar Eclipse on August 21. I’ve been hearing people getting ready for it by having eclipse parties, traveling to the West Coast of Oregon that would help them to see it better (with protection, of course). It’s got people stirred up and that’s always fun, right?

USA Today: “Starting on the West Coast in Oregon, the USA’s total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 will trace a 67-mile wide path east across the country, finally exiting the East Coast in South Carolina.”

When Concha y Toro Frontera After Midnight Red Blend and Moonlight White Blend arrived more than a month ago, I knew I wanted to wait until we got a lot closer to the solar eclipse on August 21, instead of reviewing them right away. Not easy to wait, but they’re so specific. Why waste good marketing? So clever, in fact that really black glasses for viewing the eclipse also accompanied the wines. That one I have to think about. Lately I’ve been having eye strain. I’m on too many devices and my eyes are burningly telling me so.

Frontera Night Harvested wine blends are part of an innovative winemaking concept: wine grapes are harvested in the cool of the night, because they create wines that have bolder flavors and aromas. Both the Frontera Midnight red and Frontera’s Moonlight white were inspired by the moon. They like to say, “Made by the night – enjoy the nocturnal side of Frontera!”

So, let’s get to our Wines for the Week (and event)

2015 Concha y Toro Frontera After Midnight Red Blend ~ Itata Valley, Chile

The varietal composition of Frontera’s After Midnight is 55 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 40 percent Syrah, and 5 percent Merlot. Big from the Cab’s rich, black currant flavors, earthy notes are from the Syrah, and plummy black juice comes from the Merlot, this wine is drippingly good, without being complex and brooding. Remember the price for this wine is under $10, so as a house wine, it’s great for everyday… And, if you’re having a huge eclipse party, this one won’t hit your pocketbook hard. Have a group BBQ, put a bit of it in your sauce for a seamless experience, and get ready to be wowed in the middle of the day.

(For vegans, make sure they have Portobella mushrooms for you. This wine and Portobella… As Meridith May would say, enjoying deliciousness, kiss kiss.)

2015 Concha y Toro Frontera Moonlight White Blend ~ Itata Valley

This one is 85 percent Moscatel de Alejandría and 15 percent white (undisclosed) wine variety. Moscatel, like the Symphony grape, is more of a semi sweet wine. So, expect some sweetness to this one. Let me tell you, after having worked with the Symphony grape for so many years, when a wine has a sweetness to it, it makes for a great SALAD wine. Yeah, wine with a salad. Also great with fruits, BTW, but let me tell you how this works with a salad.

    • Butter leaf lettuce
    • Mandarin oranges
    • Pine nuts
    • One lemon, squeezed
    • 1/4 cup Frontera’s Moonlight blend
    • Whisk, adding enough light virgin olive oil to make it creamy
    • Add a bit of turbinado sugar, as needed

Whatever you do for the upcoming Solar Eclipse, get ready for a good time! It’s going to be heightened energy; and I, for on, intend to cash in on the sun fun!


Public Service Announcement,Wine,Wine Business,Winery

PG&E Uncorks Energy Savings for Wineries

[Press Release from PG&e, Images gratis of Rack & Riddle]

PG&E Uncorks Energy Savings for Wineries

SONOMA, Calif.—  Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is helping both boutique wineries with small production, and large wine producers, “crush” the harvest season by saving on energy costs. The “Crush” season typically starts in August and continues into the fall as grapes are processed and fermented into wine. PG&E is offering free energy audits, cash incentives and customized programs during what can typically be an energy intensive time for wineries.

Over the last three years, on average, PG&E’s Wine Industry Efficiency Solutions (WIES) program saved its customers more than 3.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity and 150,000 therms of natural gas – enough energy to power 246 average homes for one year. The average annual energy cost savings totaled $559,000 per year.

“To enable other businesses during a crucial time of year for them is what a long-standing partnership with PG&E is all about,” said Dave Canny, senior manager for PG&E’s North Bay and Sonoma Divisions. “Whether it’s incentives that help facilitate the wine-making process or our laser focus on safety and reliability improvements to the grid, we want to help them meet their business targets.”

Alexander Valley winery, Rack & Riddle, a family-owned company, is working with PG&E on a top-to-bottom energy audit that includes evaluating equipment for energy efficiency, determining whether purchasing new equipment is worth the cost savings and consulting on the expansion of processing operations.

“Crush is an important time of year for us when we work around the clock to start the wine-making process and this year the number of tons that we’re crushing went up considerably – more than 80 percent,” said Bruce Lundquist, owner of Rack & Riddle. “Because of the increase in product demand, we look to PG&E as a business partner to analyze whether we’re being as energy efficient as possible while looking ahead to determine if current cooling equipment needs to be replaced to meet future facility expansion,” added Lundquist.

Jackson Family Wines, headquartered in Sonoma County, has more than a dozen wineries in the North Bay that PG&E has been working with on several energy efficiency projects, including refrigeration upgrades and lighting improvement – all run through the WIES program.

“The Jackson family is focused on making the highest quality wine in the most responsible manner, with an eye on preserving our agricultural heritage for future generations,” said Julien Gervreau, Director of Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines.

Estimated savings on these energy efficiency programs have totaled more than $8 million for the family-owned and operated wine company since 2008. A recent lighting retrofit at its flagship winery, Kendall-Jackson, located in Fulton, involved converting hundreds of lights to LEDs. PG&E rebates helped offset about 20 percent of the project costs.

“We’ve recognized for a long time that there is a significant energy impact associated with the winemaking and grape growing processes. We’re doing everything we can to minimize that impact and the associated emissions from our activities, and that includes working with like-minded companies such as PG&E,” added Gervreau.

PG&E also announced upgrades in infrastructure so customers in wine-growing territories throughout Northern California can expect reliable energy. Reliability improvements that have directly impacted service during this crucial time of year include: replacing 1,200 feet of power line along Highway 12 through Sonoma and installing new equipment throughout Sonoma to minimize outages; upgrading power poles and installing self-healing grid technology in Napa and upgrading electrical equipment in communities in the Dry Creek Valley.

If you are in PG&E’s service area and would like more information on agriculture rebates, visit www.pge.com/ag or for the WIES program, contact (via email) CLEAResult.


Social media,Wine

Social Media 101 ~Don’t Be One of the Instagram Frauds Out There

“Dear XYZ Winery,” I wrote (Paraphrasing, I was fuming and didn’t save it):

“I have just unfollowed you, too. Yesterday you followed me, so I followed you back. Today you unfollowed me, so I – in turn – unfollowed you. May I suggest to you that this is bad PR. You made me aware of you. And, the social media people that you’ve hired, who promised to get you lots and lots of followers for you, have been successful, in that regard.  However, with today’s apps for finding out who is following you and who is dropping you, your PR plan is flawed. I won’t out you, but you need to know that this is not good PR. It’s so wrong, in fact, that I’m going to blog about it. You’ve given a great story to me.  And I’m giving you free PR advice. If you want to at least appear to be sincere, you should have nearly, if not more, people following you as you are following.”

That was five days ago. They had 5,000 plus Followers when this all went down, and they were following about 700 people. That’s always the dead giveaway. Any company with thousands of followers and they’re only following a measly few… they’re playing the new game to pretend fame and importance. They’re just phony baloney.

As I write this, I just checked where they’re at 5-days later. Well they took my message to heart. Somebody got really busy, liking those that they’ve yet to follow. They just crested to 6,000 followers, but here’s the punch line – they now are also following 5,869 entities.

Good, that makes me feel so much better. Can I do this with everyone? Not hardly. However, I’m blogging about it and perhaps a few more companies will get with a decent PR program.

My Back Story ~ How I got even, instead of angry

And, you can, too. There’s an app for that…

When I began to use Instagram on August 12, 2016, I went in like a sheep to the slaughter. I searched on “jodiaz.” Not a good idea, when you’re years late to the party. Who knew my name was so common? Since I was wanting to build my wine presence I decided to use jodiazwine.

I began following people also into wine. Many of my friends connected with me. Some right away, some later, some not at all. SommTable, for instance: 5,055 Followers, 898 Following. I began to really notice that trend. She asked me to follow her, I did, and in the blink of an eye, I was unfollowed. (Huh?)

Many people, places, and things began to follow me, as soon as I began using hash tags. Many of you know what I mean. Those of you not yet adept, read on. These guys would follow me and that’s how I discovered them. Silly me, so honored that they would appreciate my hard work in life, so I followed them right back. But, interestingly, my follower numbers really didn’t budge.

“Hum,” I wondered, “how could that happen.” I was beginning to experience Instagram; and even more important, I began to realize a social media, nefarious PR faux pas. I decided to start checking every single follower that I had, as a result of them coming after me and then disappearing. One after the other, large followers and only a handful of people – or companies – that they were following THEM back. Hum… “Do these people actually find followers and then as soon as they follow them, they get deleted,” I wondered.

Are People Really That Desperate to Build Their Presence

You bet they certainly are. As I was deleting them one-by-one, Jose being the tech guy that he is, said, “there’s an app for that.” I said, “no, that’s alright, I can do this one-by-one.” Then, after a few days of doing this in the spare time I really don’t have, I said, get me an app. He did. It’s called “Followers.” I love this APP. Everyday, I’m checking it and keeping my Instagram account “real.” Real people, real images, real following and being followed. I HIGHLY recommend it, if you’ve got an Instagram account.

Bah-bye… In the blink of an eye, I cleared my unfollowing list in no time. I check it daily. It won’t ever happen again

So, What’s the Take Away?

I had a Winery from Italy (above) follow me. Cool, right? That lasted until the next day, when it Unfollowed me. I had had enough of these creeps. I want real people to interact with, not make myself look ultra popular, not a company that’s hired a firm that says, “We’ll build up your Instagram account for you.” Some troll for hashtags that are related to their concerns, friend you, and the next day POOF! You evaporate.

I gave myself to them as a credible follower. I was played. but, never again… this same way.



Rosé Wine, by Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, MW ~ Brilliant

Rosé Wine, by Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, MW ~ Let me start with the finish.

Loved the book, read it to this very last statement on the back cover: If you’re a beginner, Rosé Wine offers the ideal starting point, and it also serves as a great resource if you’re an enthusiast looking to expand your horizons. Here’s to drinking pink!

Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan has learned much more than the average person within the wine business, for instance, when it comes to this type of wine. And, as a brilliant educator, she now has written the quintessential book on Rosé.

So, let me tell you how I would have added a bit more to the final thought above: If you’re a beginner, Rosé Wine offers the ideal starting point, and it also serves as a great resource if you’re an enthusiast looking to expand your horizons. As a wine pro, this book belongs in your wine book library, because it’s a perfect reference, when you need to review anything about Rosé. Here’s to drinking pink! 

Rosé Wine is now carefully stored with my other wine books, and it’s not going anywhere. (No sharing. I’ll buy you a copy, if you want one, friends.)

Some of my favorite nuggets

  1.  Provence France: “This region has been producing wine since the ancient Greeks colonized the area around 600 BC and brought wine with them. That long history makes Provence France one of France’s oldest wine growing regions in addition to being one of the world’s largest regions specializing in rosé.” p. 90
  2. In “A Short History of Rosé:” In the Twelfth Century, France began exporting wine from Bordeaux to England. It was called a clairet. This means it was more of a rosé than the inky, brooding Bordeaux wines we know of today.
  3. Mateus wine – did I even know it was a rosé, when we were chugging it in the 60s? I have an image in my mind of being at a party my brother had thrown at our summer home (unbeknownst to my parents, of course). The bottle was passed around the room, as if it were a joint. And, did I even know it was from Portugal? Did we even care back then?
  4. White Zin
    1. 1980 – 25,000 cases
    2. 1986 – 1.5 million cases
  5. Gen X moved Pink Moscato forward
    1. 2011-2014 increased sales by 42 percent
  6. As comprehensively as I’ve written about terroir, I’ve never written about elevation having an impact. It does, and I was completely reminded, when I read Jennifer’s word “altitude.” (Hit my head moment.)
  7. Merlot is named for Bordeaux’s blackbirds, who are called “merles.”
  8. I know about cold soaking grapes, during the wine making process. I didn’t know it was at 53 to 59 degrees, which makes sense, but first you have to ask or read about it, right? Never had the time or curiosity to ask the question.
  9. To have vintage Champagne, it has to be 24 months old.