Argentina,Malbec,Wine,Wine Appreciation,Wine Business,Wine Culture,Wine Ed,Wine Education,Wine of the Week,Wine Sales,Wine Samples

Are wines really seasonal or reasonable, while an equator separates all of it

We read titles like, “Spring into Summer with Great White Wines.” We do eat differently in differing seasons, but do our wine choices really vary, very much?

When it’s time to think about wine choices, I don’t know about you but I think “food,” and then I think “wine,” and vice versa – wine and food. I really don’t think, “We’re headed into summer, so here come all the whites for sipping and reds for barbecues that I need to load into the house.”

Really, if it’s in the dead of winter and I think, “I want a white wine,” I go for it. In the summer, if I think “Sangiovese,” I’m going for that, too.

Why newly released wines happen the way they do

In the spring months, a winery’s white wine is fully fermented, and so it’s being bottled. One reason this happens is to get access to that storage, be it stainless steel fermenting tanks or oak barrels. This gets the white wine moving along in its production cycle. Why? Because the season is about to deliver new white grapes, and they’ll need the units for fermentation and then storage. Once that cycle has been completed, red wines follow the same path.

While it makes sense to come up with “catchy names” to get some wine writer’s attention, the reality is that consumers think “wine and food” or “food and wine.” They never think, “The season is spring, so it must be time for a Sauvignon Blanc,” even though that’s a title’s message.


All wines have a reason, more than a season

To that end, we’re headed into summer, but I’m still going to share a consistent, simply delicious, and beautifully affordable red, versus the expected white or rose right now. Can you enjoy this with barbecued foods? Of course! But, so can you also enjoy it, regardless of mood you’re having… rain or shine, spring, summer, fall or winter. It’s simply enjoyable; that’s what you need to know, above all else. Grilled chicken and Malbec? Mais oui!

Seasonal twists; flipping the seasons via the equator

Whatever we’re doing in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere is six months ahead of us, seasonally speaking. For instance, our grapes are growing right now in June, north of the equator, and our winemakers are headed toward bottling 2018 white wines. South of the equator, it’s about to become their winter. Leaves have fallen from the vines, and the vineyards are going into dormancy. The wine cellars are finishing off their fermentations. When choosing wines and their vintage dates, wines from south of the equator have already been on the market for six months ahead of their northern hemisphere neighbors.

So, let’s cross the equator into South America, for a classic example of a red wine I’d enjoy regardless of the season; perhaps for the food or no apparent reason, this is an excellent example of a wine perfectly fitted and adapted to its terroir, to give us a classic example of a wine that proves itself worthy of your attention.

Let’s review Mendoza, Argentina, via, “The Terroir of Mendoza ~ High Altitude, High Desert and Watchful Vineyard Management,” by Pedro Marchevsky.

“Perhaps the single most important characteristic of the Mendoza terroir is its location in the high altitude Andean foothills. The premiere winegrowing areas average between 3,000 and 5,000 feet above sea level. As altitude increases, the average temperature decreases, in general 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Farenheit) for every 100 meter (328 feet) increase in elevation. Winegrowers can literally climb up and down the mountain side in order to find the ideal temperature and microclimate for each varietal. It is even possible to match desired wine styles of a single variety with different altitudes and their respective microclimates.

“As is typical with mountain climates, Mendoza enjoys a wide temperature difference between daytime highs and nighttime lows. This wide thermal amplitude between bright sunny days and cool crisp nights allows for gradual ripening of the fruit. This factor combines with the typically mild harvest season to allow for prolonged cluster hang-time. The resulting fruit is well balanced with fully ripe, soft and almost sweet tannins.”

Whatever our wine regions are experiencing north of the equator or south of the equator, in weather speak, south of the equator is now six months ahead of the northern hemisphere… (Plan vacations accordingly, too.)

[Purchased image of a Mendoza Argentina vineyard. Copyright: Alexandr Vlassyuk]

Wine-Blog’s Perfect Example Of Malbec ~ Trivento Reserve


  1. HEART ~ THE WINERY: info is coming from the company’s own statements
    1. I can’t make up their history
    2. Nor am I to try
  3. SOUL ~ Juicy Tales’ Take

2017 Trivento Reserve Mendoza Argentina

Trivento ~ “three winds” | tri – three ~ vento – wind


Adding to the above mention of Mendoza’s Winegrape growing region: Terroir is a very complex subject, just as humanity has proven to be. To have three distinct winds affecting grapes in any given region, like they do in Trivento’s Mendoza vineyards, each wine with its distinct influence, makes Mendoza, Argentina’s terroir even more complex… definitely more complex than any average region’s climate. Just image having three partners that come at you, one after the other, each with its own job to do. One’s enough for most people, for good reason. Although, the winds of change these days may be turning what used to have some sense of normalcy, Argentina’s terroir still remains very unique.

HEART ~ Trivento Winery

“Malbec fell in love with the South” ~ Vineyards Mendoza, Argentina. The grapes are primarily sourced from the Luján de Cuyo and surrounding areas. Alluvial soil.

When in the mid-1990s Concha y Toro, Chile’s leading wine producer, announced its successful purchase a collection of vineyards (now accounting for 3,185 acres) in the Mendoza region of neighboring Argentina, there was little doubt on either side of the Andes that change was in the air. Wind is the agent of change, so it was only fitting that the new venture was named “Trivento” (Three Winds), a whimsical reference to three winds that sweep through Mendoza and are such a distinguishing feature of the region’s climate and environment.

WINEMAKING ~ Trivento Winery

The wine is harvested in April by hand, aged in French oak barriques for 6-months, and then aged for an additional 5-months in bottle prior to release. The blend is Malbec 70 percent, Bonarda 20 percent, Syrah 10 percent. BACK LABEL: In Argentina’s Andean foothills, Malbec danced upon a generous terroir where it could attain its tremendous potential. Adding Bonarda and Syrah, it also expresses a distinct character in these lands.

Trivento’s principal vineyards are located in the Uco Valley, Maipu, Lujan de Cuyo, San Martin and Rivadavia districts of Mendoza – a wine region that exemplifies the advantages of high-altitude viticulture. Here, significant differences between day and night temperatures help minimize the risk of pests and disease. Vineyards that receive barely 8 inches of rainfall a year are irrigated with natural snow melt from the Andes. Not least, vineyards can count on the beneficial effects of the three seasonal winds for which the Trivento winery is named. The icy Polar wind in winter forces sap deep within the vines. It is succeeded by the Zonda, which races in from the Andes, its warmth rousing dormant sap to generate new spring growth. In the summer months a third wind, the Sudestada, provides a welcome respite from the searing sun and helps to temper ripening.

SOUL ~ Juicy Tales

When you taste this wine, keep their winds of change in mind… This is truly one of my favorite Malbecs, in all of the world. Trivento does a great job with it; each time I taste it, it’s with really fine pleasure, like a sunny day with nothing to do but relax and sip it all in… Maybe some of that grilled chicken to enjoy with it, too.

SAMPLE: Imported by Excelsior Wine



Law,Napa,Public Relations,Wine,Winery

Misleading Move to Monetize Historic Legacy in the Famed Napa Valley?

Perhaps a bit late to the party, but an issue that’s still near and dear to my heart, having worked and walked in Mondavi’s To-Kalon Vineyard. During that time, I was aware that we, at Robert Mondavi, were sharing that vineyard land with other wine companies, too, under contracts.

When I heard that Constellation brands (owner of Mondavi) launched To Kalon Vineyard Company, I thought, really? While working at Robert Mondavi Winery, now also owned by Constellation, three of our prized wines were their Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and the Oakville District Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as having the vineyards for our exclusive source of our Fumé Blanc Reserve.

What was this Email I just got, stating: Misleading Move to Monetize Historic Legacy in the Famed Napa Valley?

It has to do with Constellation launching To Kalon Vineyard Company as its new wine company. But, it appears to not be having a seamless go of it.

I received this “other side” of the coin, from one of those contracting brands, with To Kalon on the label. It’s got more historical perspective for us all.

PRESS RELEASE from The Vineyard House

Misleading Move to Monetize Historic Legacy in the Famed Napa Valley

In a misleading and disingenuous move to monetize one of the most iconic and historic legacies in the famed Napa Valley, corporate giant Constellation brands recently announced the launch of To Kalon Vineyard Company. The true legacy of H.W. Crabb and the famed To-Kalon property that he planted over 150 years ago is not solely owned by beverage giant Constellation Brands – but is shared by many in Napa Valley.

“The legacy of H.W. Crabb and the iconic To-Kalon property represent a specific place within Napa Valley and a unique history that is well documented and not owned exclusively by Constellation Brands. It is a true misrepresentation of that famed legacy and that unique history for one corporation to use them as a marketing tool,” stated Jeremy Nickel, The Vineyard House.

H.W. Crabb’s To-Kalon property began with an initial purchase of 240 acres in 1868 and expanded with the acquisition of 119 acres in 1879 and 168 acres in 1889. At To-Kalon, Crabb helped establish Napa Valley as a premier wine region through his experimentation with varietals, production of high quality wine, and vine cutting sales. As a pioneering viticulturist and winemaker, he was respected for his technical expertise and shared his extensive knowledge through lectures and articles. At the time of Crabb’s death in 1899, the 527-acre To-Kalon property was regarded as one of the most significant vineyards in Napa Valley.

“Preserving and protecting the unique heritage and history that help to make Napa Valley such a special place has been a lifelong passion that was instilled in me by my father. He taught me the importance of place and history and the need to preserve that history for future generations so that they can better understand the pioneers like H.W. Crabb who helped to forge the early history of the Napa Valley that we all love so much,” stated Nickel.

For more information contact: The Vintage House: cory@publicpolicyinc.com


First of all, the press release is intended to get our attention (according to the Public Policy site): “bring the full force of our considerable strategic communications experience and proven relationships with community opinion leaders, the media and multi-levels of government.” It did get my attention.

So, where does it go from here? Does it become political? Does the public own history, or does the owner of the property own the history?

Would it have to become a historical site, to settle the issue?

Yet, Constellation is Constellation and they have a new, high end brand. By creating it, Jeremy Nickel might not have to work as hard at marketing the name connecting his own brand’s access to rows of the famed To Kalon Vineyard. But, he does have to make some more noise, so he’s not lost in the shuffle?

Constellation had an epiphany: Create a new brands and call it the To Kalon Vineyard Company. If the name’s not already copy [stories that have been] written, what can anyone do, but (perhaps) try to fight it? Copy written text [stories written about a subject, not going through the process of establishing a copyright] might win over all else, if it’s not already on the record, though; especially since Constellation now owns the land.

[I have clarified in brackets above, since I didn’t clarify which process I was referencing.]

Public Policy did get my attention. Jeremy Nichols did gain my empathy.

Someone comes up with a new winery name, gets there first, and the rest is history.

Something to ponder: It may also be at the crux of Jeremy’s concern; what if Constellation grows so big with their wine that no company, beyond Constellation, will have renewed contracts for the extra fruit being grown in this vineyard?

  • If you have a contract, may you hold onto it and keep being so special, if Constellation lets you.
  • If you lose the contract, you may have to find another piece of history and attach your historical, lucky star to that.

The one constant in life is change, and so we mostly have to go with the flow. To-Kalon Vineyard’s history is still being written, even as I publish this, stating the obvious. We shall see if there’s any public outcry.


CBD,Wine,Wine Business

He Asked, What Do You Think… Will CBD Be cutting Into Wine Sales?

I had just received an Email from the CBD Awareness project, as they’re scouring for CBD advocates. I’ve had an earlier thought about this issue on my blog. I’m on record.

Then, I found myself in a discussion with a legendary winery owner, and decided to share what I think. This vintner was truly frightened, BTW, and I felt for him. Could his livelihood actually be at stake… I wasn’t concerned, and answered yes and no.

Here’s Why

The wine industry is now living in the land of Do We Have a New Competitor? Guys, there will always be new competitors. That’s called evolution. It’s like, Will there be weather today?

In my humble opinion, I think it’s a “yes” and a “no” answer. I come from the flower power generation. We experimented… And we not only enjoyed dropping out, but we also still had an appreciation for wine. We were stoned, resourceful people, who made candle holders out of the wine bottles, seashell mobiles, extravagant bead work, pottery, etc… We had to live underground with our behavior, while it taught us a lot about this herb.


So, it’s a no side, when people are solely looking for CBD from hemp as a medicinal, there’s nothing for the wine industry to worry about. They’re not looking to get high; they’re looking to stabilize their health, with a natural plant that Mother Nature’s provided, since the beginning of time.

Another “no” side is this… If you have any malady at all, and are fed up with pharmaceutical greed,  you’re possibly considering CBD oil – from HEMP, with no THC involved. So, no; not a biggie, either, for the wine industry.

We also know that pharmaceuticals are now looking beyond their synthetics research. They’re the one concerned. They, too, can share the in the profits, but will their greed be too far gone? Yet to be decided.


On the “yes” side, some might decide to just return to marijuana, and leave wine behind… I believe that number will still be so much fewer than what any of the wine companies are concerned about. Advice? Just readjust your quality, if you’re a commodity wine company. You’ve got the resources to do that. But, don’t push up the price; just be better and tell your shareholders, it’s the right thing to do. You’ve humanly got enough money for all.


So, I was asked if I’d entertain a Brief Introduction to CBD Oil. I responded yes, since the wine industry is beside itself, whispering every which way, is the legalization of marijuana going to cut into our sales. As I just wrote, Yes and No. Perhaps a little competition might bring some wine back a bit to be more terroir driven, versus commodity manufacturing. Who knows?

Below is what was presented to me, and I found an independent link to verify each statement.


I hope your week is going well! My name is Mary and I work with the CBD Awareness Project, a newly launched organization dedicated to bringing accurate information about hemp-derived products to the general public.

It Begins with an Information Problem

CBD oil is being touted as the next best thing in medicine, but there’s one big problem. There is a ton of information out there and not all of it useful or easy to understand. If you are interested in potentially trying CBD oil, here’s a primer on what it is, what it does, and how to use it safely.

What is in CBD Oil?
There are two cannabinoids that are common in CBD products – CBD and THC. Both cannabinoids have different effects and those effects can change when they interact with each other. They work with the endocannabinoid receptors in your body to help bring your body’s systems back to homeostasis.

What is CBD?
CBD is the common name for cannabidiol. It is usually derived from hemp, Marijuana’s less fun cousin. It usually works as a mild sedative, which helps it to relieve pain, symptoms of anxiety and lower blood pressure. It can also help to dull some of the psychoactive effects of THC.

What is THC?
THC is the common name for tetrahydrocannabinol. This is the cannabinoid that creates the psychotropic high that you expect to get from smoking weed. If you have enough of it, it can lead to increased appetite and red eyes like marijuana.

How can I take CBD Oil?
It can be taken in many different forms. You can ingest it through oils, drinks, vaping or foods. You can also use it as a massage oil for topical use. Each form has its own benefits and drawbacks, so you’ll need to try different ones to figure out what works best for you and your lifestyle.

Is CBD Oil Legal?
For the most part, CBD oil is legal. However, if the product you choose includes THC, you may run into some issues if you travel. To be sure that you and your CBD product are street legal wherever you travel, check to make sure that recreational marijuana is legal wherever you are going.

More to Think About

If you’re getting on an airplane, make sure your liquid oil stays under 3 ounces as well, to ensure you don’t run into any issues with the TSA.

What are Some Benefits of CBD?

CBD products can help to reduce anxiety, lower the amount of pain that you feel, lower your blood pressure and even help you sleep at night.

Everybody reacts differently to CBD like any other medication and needs different dosages.

You’ll need to start at a low dose, and work your way up to figure out how much you need over time.

What are Some Drawbacks of CBD?

There hasn’t been a lot of long term research on how CBD and THC will affect people who take them, so we don’t know a whole lot.

However, If your product has THC in it, taking large dosages for a long period of time can lead to neurological issues in the long term. It can also cause issues with your kidneys, because that is where your body metabolizes these cannabinoids.

Make sure to talk to your doctor before adding CBD products to your regimen to keep yourself safe while you take it.


Art in Wine,Beaujolais,Contest,France,Willamette Valley,Wine,Wine Appreciation,Wine Business,Wine Importer

Georges Duboeuf’s Beaujolais Nouveau Label Design Now Goes Public

This one reminds me of Willamette Valley’s Oak Knoll Winery. Being the exclusive partner of Portland’s popular Rose Parade, as regards wine, Oak Knoll Winery conducts an annual, label design contest. The inspiration, actualization, anticipation, and gratification for everyone in the process takes on a life of its own, until announced. It’s a lot simpler to just hire a few people in the design process. Any wine company, having the good business sense to engage its audience, like this, demonstrates great business acumen. The closer a company draws in its audience, the more ambassadors it’s created. It’s they, who ultimately, sell wine to their friends.


The picture I’ve taken [above] shows the “old” guard… The ties of the Duboeufs, with the emerging new connections… It feels like the left side of the picture tells the story of history and local culture… Then, in the center, there’s a split from the past, which segues into what’s new and even more exciting. Fresh, bright, and alluring, having a Georges de Duboeuf’s Beaujolais Nouveau is like having friends arrive for one day (the first few sips); and the excitement easily grows into a much longer finish than anticipated, with the great visit.



The tradition of Nouveau began when the winemakers and growers of the Beaujolais region celebrated the end of harvest with a young wine that was initially only produced for local consumption. Georges Duboeuf was the first to bring that quaint local custom to wine-lovers outside of the region, creating a worldwide phenomenon. Bottled six-to-eight weeks after harvest, Beaujolais Nouveau is fresh, fruity and vibrant. It is often considered to be an indicator of the quality of the vintage and it is best served with a light chill. The wine’s annual release the week before Thanksgiving has made Beaujolais Nouveau a harbinger of the holiday season in the U.S. for more than 35 years.


Georges Duboeuf is a premium producer of award-winning French wines from the Beaujolais and Mâconnais regions of Burgundy and the South of France. His legendary palate, his ability to spot great wine and his enthusiasm made him a celebrated figure in the wine industry. The company that he founded, Les Vins Georges Duboeuf, brings to market wines renowned for their quality and value. They work closely with hundreds of small family wine growers to procure the highest quality fruit throughout the region, as well as export many small Chateau and Estate-produced wines that would otherwise not be able to brings their wines to the US. Georges’ son, CEO Franck Duboeuf, has taken on the tradition of leading the family winery and company, helping to navigate Les Vins Georges Duboeuf through the world’s wine markets as they continue to thrive in the 21st Century. Les Vins Georges Duboeuf is imported by Quintessential Wines, based in Napa, California.

Dallas Artist Laura Runge Wins 2019 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau Artist Label Competition


Dallas Artist Laura Runge just won the 2019 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau Artist Label Competition. The yearly competition to find the best original art for the U.S. label of Georges Duboeuf’s world-famous Beaujolais Nouveau has ended with the highest levels of social media engagement to date, and an impressive number of submissions by talented artists from around the country. Over 600 pieces were entered, with native Texan Laura Runge’s Joyous Crush taking the top prize. Included is a cash grant and the honor of having her work debut on the label of over one million bottles of Duboeuf’s 2019 Beaujolais Nouveau, Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau and Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé, when the wines are released on the third Thursday of November (November 21, 2019).

We have a sneak peak…



Direct to Consumer,Wine,Wine Distribution

This Is the Best News I’ve Heard Since 1993, As Regards Wine Distribution

Another Platform Helping Wine Brands Get to Far Away Places

Tier3 Global: Your Go-to-Market Platform

Now you can distribute wine to all 50 states, legally, if you can’t already…

From a query to my E-Mail account: Now producers of all sizes have an additional way to get their brands to market and sell them through to the end customer.

Tier3 provides immediate access to any of the 50 states for any producer. We accomplish this with a web platform that connects you with Tier3 Distributors and Importers who are committed to moving your product through retail accounts.

In my early years as an employee, I was the person who was given the task of boxing-up an order from over the weekend wine sales, and shipped it off to Florida. Some of you in the wine business, may remember in the mid-90s, a shipment was stopped before it arrived at its intended location… with my fingerprints all over it. As an employee, I was just doing my job. My proprietor, however, was fined a $10 grand slap on the wrist. That signaled to the entire industry, the laws being ignored for so long, were not going to be ignored any longer.

I struggle, as does 95 percent of the industry (somewhat imagined, but somewhat also very real), how does any brand beyond the oligopolies survive, beyond the 80/20 rule? I cater to small brands, the big guys all have their own publicists. I’ve worked for them, and I know I prefer a “less is more” client, rather than the employee circus that one encounters, with some employers.

To that end, this is the best news I’ve heard since 1993.

From Tier3’s Web: Distribute Wine To Any State

Tier3: Your Go-to-Market Platform
Now producers of all sizes have an additional way to get their brands to market and sell them through to the end customer.

Tier3 provides immediate access to any of the 50 states for any producer. We accomplish this with a web platform that connects you with Tier3 Distributors and Importers who are committed to moving your product through retail accounts.

Distribute Wine To Any State


Alignment: Brand to Customer
Tier3 creates better channel alignment from you to your customers and delivers the right customers to the right brands. Because Tier3 “snaps-together” transaction based on customer demand and desire for your product; not simply what happens to be in the warehouse that has been assigned to the sales rep.

New brands and products from small producers flow through the channel just as easily as the big brands. This means product winds up in the best possible placement location delivering the most value to all players in the process.

I’m leaving this right here

I don’t need to tell you any more about this 50-State Platform. You… and you know who you are… need to explore this option. You’re welcome.


Books,Wine,Wine Book,Wine Writer,Winery,Wines

The Wines of Long Island, by José Moreno-Lacalle

Wine-blog’s Books page lists (with links) the wine books I’ve reviewed over time, since my first one on September 11, 2006. I was honoring Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Complete Wine Course ©1994. Kevin actually lost his staff, during the collapse of the Twin Tower, on September 11, and it just seemed like the right thing to do on that day. I had been given my copy while working at Robert Mondavi Winery. They were paring down their library and we got to bring home books we wanted.

I didn’t see the depth and breath of my “Books” page coming… Do we ever see the growth of something simply started, like planting a tree, for the width and height it will reach, until many years later? No, but still we plant, to give it a place to be. Someday, this library will find a new home in some small wine country library. I’ve yet to decided where. There are a few excellent options I’m considering, though.

I’ve always loved books. I’ve yet to review all of those books from Mondavi, because once I wrote about Kevin’s Zraly’s, I began to be queried about reviewing more… 13 years later, and the Book page is a pretty good resource. As I just searched through my files to find the first book I decided to review, I discovered it was Kevin Zraly’s. What Irony for me… Last October, during my trip to Italy, we finally met in person. He was on a book tour in Italy, a close friend of Michael (Mick) Yurch’s. I was there to learn about the companies that Mick Yurch is representing. We all met at Castello di Meleto in Gaiole ~ In the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany.

Fast Forward to the Present

My Facebook friend José Moreno-Lacalle shared a link, on Facebook, stating the following:

“For the last couple of weeks I’ve been working furiously to get my book on The Wines of Long Island fully corrected and revised. It’s now in the hands of my designer, who’s doing an excellent job of helping create a book with high production values. In the meantime, I’ve also gotten blurbs from Mark Squires and Kevin Zraly, who liked my book very much.”

I’m familiar with The Wines of Long Island. This is a “must have,” updated version; a necessity for any (nearly) complete wine book library.  (I write “nearly,” because new books are always being released.) Long Island has a long history in wine, which began long before Vitis vinifera vines were bring planted in California, let’s say.

Now, I eagerly await The Wines of Long Island’s newly revised copy.

From José’s Website: About José Moreno-Lacalle

Wine is a subject that has held a special fascination for me for well over fifty years.  In fact, I used to write a wine column for Abel Magazine and Park West back in the late 60s and early 70s.  That made me a kind of pioneer as writing about wine wasn’t widespread in those days (when the only useful reference written by an American was Frank Schoonmaker’s Encyclopedia of Wine, published in 1964; Hugh Johnson’s first book on the subject, Wine, came out in 1966; then, in 1970 Time-Life published one of the first mass-market books on the subject, Wine and Spirits,by Alec Waugh, as part its Food of the World Series).  The first winery that I wrote about was Pleasant Valley Wine Company, in Hammondsport–in what would become the Finger Lakes AVA–back in 1971.


José Moreno-Lacalle’s press release and on his Hone Web page: Wine, Seriously

The Wines of Long Island was originally published in 1987 and a second, revised edition was issued in 2000.  19 years later, it remained the best and most complete single volume on the history, geography, viniculture, winemaking, and the wineries of Long Island.  It was carefully researched and quite well written.  It is also seriously out of date.

In the 19 intervening years a very great deal of change has taken place in the wine industry of the region. In 2000 there were 25 wineries and vineyards, about half of which are no longer in business; in 2019 there are 62, including several wine brands that have no winery or vineyard as such and use a crush facility.  A handful of the wineries are not even in the East End, but elsewhere in Suffolk County, with two in Brooklyn.

19 years ago the issue of sustainability was scarcely on the radar. Today, sustainable winegrowing is a major issue worldwide, and a new entity, the Long Island Sustainable Winegrowers association, is providing independent certification for members.

Long Island wine country has become a major tourist destination, counting about 1.3 million visitors a year, and most wineries provide not only wine-tasting facilities, but also weekend entertainment during the high season.  Many of them also host events, dinners, and weddings.

The new edition of The Wines of Long Island provides all this new information as well as updates to the history of the region in a new edition.  Every wine producer on Long Island is described in the book, some extensively, often with anecdotes. This edition is intended as the principal reference and guide for the wines of Long Island.  It has nearly 300 pages, a foreword by Louisa Hargrave, and an expanded section on terroir, varieties, and vintages.  Most of the 127 illustrations are in color.

Mark Squires of The Wine Advocate says, “This book’s greatest virtue is its ability to appeal to both geeks and average consumers. It tells you where we are and how we got there.”

Kevin Zraly, wine teacher and author of Windows on the World Wine Course, writes that the book is “a must-read for anyone visiting the wineries of Long Island.”

Carlo DeVito, author, East Coast Wineries , writes: “Though I taste in the region annually, Mr. Moreno-Lacalle’s book is the best tour of Long Island wine I’ve had in years. Thorough, complete, and definitive. The author has done a superlative job.”

Louisa Hargrave, a founder of the Long Island wine trade, wrote in the foreword of the book: “Palmedo and Beltrami revised their own book in 2000. Now, the time is ripe again for revision. How appropriate it is that they handed their project over to José Moreno Lacalle, a man who, like themselves, views the wine business with the perspective of his own successful career outside the industry. With worldliness and sophistication, he brings his profound interest in the topic—twinkle in the eye, and glass in hand.”

José Moreno-Lacalle has been writing about Winemaking and Viniculture in Long Island for his blog, Wine, Seriously, since 2010.  he holds a Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Diploma in Wine (a professional certification) and has an MA in Art History as


France,French Wine,Italy,Oregon,Provence,Rosé,Verona,Walla Walla,Washington,Willamette Valley,Wine,Wine Appreciation,Wine Making,Wine tasting

Living in the Land of Roses

May, the glorious month, when we know winter is truly behind us. Spring has sprung, and in a Mediterranean climate ~ where I’m living ~ so are the roses. They surround our homes, all colors, all styles, the visual flavors of the season. I just photographed this lovely Talisman, singular rose. Last year, just as I was really loving this one, I went to get my camera, and when I got back, it was gone… vanished… and I thought, “those pesky deer.” They know a delicacy, when they see one, too.

This year, I got it before they they did, but for how long? Not really sure, but we’re off to get some fencing today. I put this image on Facebook, with the following:

The Talisman Rose is what I chose, to give to my mother [when she was with me]. Now, my Mother Nature chooses to give them back to me.

Amalia Papagiannopoulou responded with, “Magnificent! I really appreciate the poetic way that you love nature!”

I do love Nature, always have, always will… She just speaks to me.


A Rose by any other name is called a Rosé ~ Backstory

The other roses in a Mediterranean Climate are called rosés. You can either see it and drink it in, our you can pour it and drink it in. Either way, they’re glorious. I’ve been doing some work with David Bruce Winery lately. I had no idea that it was our legendary Dr. David Bruce who first began to experiment with rosé wines, in the 60s… Predating Sutter Home, people. Sutter Home was an accident. Dr. Bruce was deliberate.

WINE SPECTATOR: author Tim Fish: “Often ahead of the curve, he tinkered with white Zinfandel as early as the 1960s…”

WINE SPECTATOR: author Dr. Vinnie: “Even though rosé, blush and pale red wines have been made for centuries, white Zinfandel as we know it was invented in the early 1970s at Sutter Home by Bob Trinchero, and yes, it started as a mistake. Trinchero had been making a dry version of a white Zinfandel, but then a batch stopped fermenting. It’s known as a “stuck fermentation”—when the sugar doesn’t completely converted to alcohol—so the wine remains a little bit sweet. A winemaker can try to get the fermentation going again by inoculating it with more yeast or adjusting the temperature, or decide to blend it with other wines. In this case, Trinchero bottled it solo. By 1987, Sutter Home White Zinfandel was the best-selling premium wine in the United States.

When art is wine, and wine is art

There is a lot of time and attention spent making wine, in one department at a winery. There’s also a lot of time and attention coming up with the wine’s presentation. Just look at these bottles, if you need more evidence.

These bottles, for instance ~ Today’s rosés…

Left to Right:

  • 2017 Christopher Bridge Cellars, Cuvée Rosé Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • 2018 Famiglia Pasqua Rose Trevenezie, 11 Minutes Odi et Amo, Verona Italy
  • 2018 Fleurs de Prairie Vin de Provence Rosé
  • 2018 Roubine Rosé Côtes de Provence
  • 2018 Forgeron Cellars Pink Rabbits Rosé of Syrah, Columbia Valley, Washington

Wines of the Week

2017 Christopher Bridge Cellars, Cuvée Rose Willamette Valley, Oregon

Christopher Bridge’s Susanne Carlberg is a dear friend, and has been since I produced the Oregon Pinot Gris Symposiums, for Oak Knoll Winery. She recently sent a box of wines to me from her winery. “They’re a gift, just because.”

No grape variety is listed with Cuvée Rose.

Their wines are excellent. Her husband Carl is also the winemaker, and the label artwork is part of this story’s take on not only rosé, but also the design that accompanies it… consistently, with each bottle of wine. I love this cattle representation; it’s so Oregon. Remember their motto up there in Oregon, “Keep it weird.” How many cattle have you ever seen on a label, for instance? And, it’s not just any bovine, it has beautiful pink, rose colors, and the words as a sidebar: Family Soil Artisanality. Oregon’s wine history began in the 1970s, with much of Oregon being dairy and cattle country.


Christopher Bridge Cellars and Satori Springs Vineyard are owned and managed by the Carlberg family, since their inception in 2001 and 1998 respectively. Chris’ parents Ragnhild and Wolfgang Carlberg purchased the nearly 80 acre farm in 1952 primarily for its stunning Willamette Valley views and close proximity to Portland. They raised their family of three children here, while primarily working the ground with their hands. The farm was a simple affair with beef cattle and blackcaps as the main crops.

This Rosé was as smooth as buttah, with sweet strawberries and cream… Oh ~ my ~ gawd. Great for a Memorial Day Weekend. Great for any day, really, when a craving for rosé arrives.

2018 Famiglia Pasqua Rose Trevenezie, 11 Minutes Odi et Amo, Verona Italy

[LATIN: Odi et Amo = I hate and I love]

Why 11 minutes?


The new rosé interpretation by Famiglia Pasqua is a fine blend created from the most noble native varietals like Corvina and Trebbiano di Lugana and varietals like Syrah and Carmenère. The name 11 MINUTES refers to the duration of the skin contact, the pressing of grapes: the full load of grapes is very softly pressed. In this optimal length of time we extract the most noble qualities of the grapes and obtain the slightly rosy shade that characterize this wine. Once the precious must is created, it is cooled and transferred to a steel tank where it remains for about 11 hours, the necessary time for the more solid parts to decant.

Grape varieties: Corvina, Trebbiano di Lugana, Syrah, and Carmenère. Corvina dominates.

The Famiglia Rose was like enjoy liquid art that held so many mysteries. This is not a bottle to be the background music. This was like Rose Opera; i.e., Opera performed to the highest standards… Mozart, for instance.  (Rose Opera is registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales.) It was floral like rose petals; and a long, linger finish, like my recent visit to Italy.

Now, let’s talk about this bottle art! The shape is non-traditional for the times, right? And, it certainly gets your attention. But, big “but” here, the cutout circle on the front label allows the oval of the back label’s artwork  to come through. It’s a really lovely, forlorn looking woman in a garden, with a tiny bird with open wings on her right hand. As she casts her eyes upon it… you make up what she’s thinking… So, as I’m enjoying the liquid art, I can’t take my eyes off the physical vessel for this outstanding wine. Not easy to photography, by the way; incredibly easy to enjoy!

2018 Fleurs de Prairie Vin de Provence Rosé

The life of the party!

The art of the deal for Fleurs de Prairie Vin de Provence Rose: both inside and outside of the bottle. It’s an elegant Rose, made even more grand by the special vessel which holds the wine. The name translates into “wildflowers.” I can’t help but wonder what it was like to produce this special glass, with textually embossed wildflowers. What a great wine to bring to a garden party. Placed with others, it won’t last long, though, because it’s really delicious…

Grape varieties: 55% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 15% Syrah


“Fleurs de Prairie” translates as “wildflowers,” celebrating the beautiful fields of wisteria, lavender, poppy, and sunflowers carpeting Provence.

This wine is sourced from select Provençal vineyards that dot the coastal wind-swept hillsides of the region. The Mediterranean combination of sun, wind, mild water stress, and ocean influence provide ideal conditions for grapes to ripen to the perfect balance of flavor and freshness.

This wine is crafted in the traditional Provençal style with a pale salmon color, delicate flavors of strawberry, rose petals, and herbs, and a bright, refreshing acidity. It is made by the family-owned Les Grands Chais de France.

2018 Roubine Rosé Côtes de Provence

Roubine La Rose Cotes de Provence is another example of art within the bottle, and gracing the bottle itself. Beautifully embossed white roses surround the name of the wine. And, the real bottle discovery is when you hold the bottle by the bottom, only to discover the rose on the base. Watching the prototype being created would have been a fabulous experience.

Making glass is such an art… If you don’t believe that I have one word for you, Chihuly.

If you’re a collector of any sort, this is a keeper. So delicious… Only 13 percent alcohol, for those who are also looking for a food friendly rosé.

Grape varieties: 43% Grenache, 22% Cinsault, 9% Tibouren, 9% Rolle, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Mourvedre

Winemaker’s Notes: Harvested at night, this wine benefits from a skin maceration at a low temperature. The grapes were vinified separately. And the temperature was maintained between 59° F – 60.8° F (15° C – 16 ° C) after letting the must settle. A second (malolactic) fermentation was avoided to ensure the crisp vitality of the rosé. The wine was then filtered and bottled.

This adventure allow me to add a new grape varieties to my Wine Century Club list of wines tasted: Tibouren


2018 Forgeron Cellars Pink Rabbits Rosé of Syrah, Columbia Valley, Washington

Last, but no least, in this series. The Forgeron Cellars Pink Rabbits Rosé is one of the bottles in their ARTIST SERIES.

They explain it this way:

The summer of 2018 was one of the hottest years on record throughout the eastern side of Washington. We experienced many weeks of above 95-degree temperatures. Once August came around it finally started to cool down, which lengthened hang-time, allowing for complex flavor development. The result is a truly remarkable vintage across the board. Each of our 2018 lots exhibit bright, fresh notes, and seemingly innate balance between fruit and alcohol

Variety listed: 100% Syrah

Forgeron is the French word for Blacksmith. Their wines in this series have labels that comes from street art. I have a lot of respect for street art… the drive to have one’s art appreciated by everyone, everyday, as people pass by. The labels  for this group of wine bottles features street art murals by artist Julia Yu-Baba. I love her work, having just been made aware of it, as I have also with their wines. Julia is highly talented and has great creds.

The rosé? Tangy raspberries, light bodied, and a lovely lingering finish. The green tint of the bottle gives the wine extra color, which belies the delicate color and flavors of the wine. You’ll know that once you put it into your glass. I wanted to taste this one last, based on its color. It’s a truly delicious rose… Think grilled salmon, that just wraps up the Northwest so well.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey with me… Now to share the samples, as the Forgeron Cellars is still lingering on my palate. It was all remarkable…



Cabernet Sauvignon,Calistoga,Napa,Pinot Noir,Wine,Wine Hospitality,Wine tasting,Wine Travel,Winemaking,Winery,Wines

Long Time Coming Story ~ Castello di Amorosa

It seems like so long ago, from now, when I visited Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, Napa Valley, on a whim. My husband Jose and I had just attended a media tasting for a Rutherford Dust event, and I decided that I wanted to not pass by Castello di Amorosa, as I had so many times before. (I live in wine country, so we pass every winery every day we’re on the road; this isn’t unusual. (Wanting to stop after an event was an extraordinary decision, never made before.)

What was unusual was piling one event on top of another, because I knew it was going to ultimately be very time consuming. Still, I just felt like it was time…

Today, I’m recalling one of the best decisions I ever made, when I asked Jose to segue up the hill to the “Castle.”


From V. Satuti Winery to Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa has gained the cache for being a great place for parents with kids (with them in wine country), to segue for a bit, so the kids are a bit entertained, too. So few wineries are as cordial as the Castello. Honestly, I’m not surprised. When I was working at Robert Mondavi Winery, for instance, I loved having children on my tour. I knew that learning a bit about wine was going to help with their own temperance some day. Deny anything to a child and they want it more. Educate them as to why their parents are enjoying a bit of wine in their lives, and they’re possibly future wine connoisseurs. Nowhere will anyone learn that more than by traveling to Europe and observing their wining and dining psseggiata culture. Does it help that Castello di Amorosa is owned by someone who is of Italian descent? Yes, it does…

This Tuscan, thirteenth Century-style Castle (think dungeons and dragons) is owned by Dario Sattui. From the Castello’s Website:

Castello di Amorosa is the realization of an all-consuming passion. Fourth generation winemaker Dario Sattui built an authentically styled 13th century Tuscan castle winery to honor his Italian heritage and deep love for medieval architecture.

But it all started with wine.

Dario is the great-grandson of pioneering vintner Vittorio Sattui, an Italian immigrant who founded St. Helena Wine Cellars in 1885. 

Dario Sattui also owns V. Sattui Winery. It’s the one on Highway 128/29 that has a large picnic area in front, in the town of St. Helena, set in the heart of Napa Valley. Besides wine, they also have an Artisan Deli and Marketplace, which allows for you to picnic with your wines. The operative here is picnic! What is more American Family than a picnic. Again, Dario has been catering to a lifestyle, ever since I can remember. Why? It’s in his DNA…


So, how about that Castle 

HERE’S A NUGGET: The wines from the Castello are all sold directly from the winery to consumers. If you love these wines, get onto their mailing list. Direct to consumer is so chic for the winery and the consumer, alike.

As Jose and I entered the Castello, I asked to speak with someone in their PR department. If I was going to do this, I wanted a business-to-business person, so writing a story would give me all of the paperwork I needed. We were greeted by Michala Jeberg, the PR and marketing manager, at the time. Now she’s listed as their author.

So, kids? Yes, Castello does take care of having a place where children can be exposed to Thirteenth Century Medieval times; yet, it’s important to note that Castello di Amorosa also has a Club Member Lodge, and this one does not allow any minors to gain entrance. So, if you’re not traveling with children and want to avoid the hyper diapers, book yourself into the lodge. Here’s why!

The Luscious Pinot Noirs of Castello di Amorosa

Michala Jeberg

Michala Jeberg immediately took us to an adults’ only room, and she proceeded to tell us about their Villa Amorosa Estate Vineyard, their Three Arrows Ranch, the Three Arrows Ranch Estate Vineyard, their cool climate Terra de Promissio Vineyard, and their Morning Dew Ranch in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley. Who knew, honestly, that this Castello has been honoring cool climate Pinot Noirs, while prominently placed in Napa Valley?

  • Villa Amorosa Estate Vineyard ~ Surrounding the castle ~ about 30 acres in the warmer climate Diamond Mountain District
    • Bordeaux Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petite Verdot
    • Italian Varieties: Primitivo and Sangiovese
  • Three Arrows Ranch Estate Vineyard ~ In a cool climate on the southwest edge of Sonoma County, in the famed Green Valley of Russian River Valley
    • Burgundy Variety: Pinot Noir
    • Clones: 115, 777, and the Pommard 4
  • Terra de Promissio Vineyard ~ Located in the cool climate of the Petaluma Gap, in Sonoma County’s Coastal region
    • Clones: DRC, 115, 777, Rochioli, 23, and the 828
  • Morning Dew Ranch ~ Located in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley, another cool climate location


I listed the Castello’s Estate Vineyard first. Then, if you know about Calistoga, you know that in Napa Valley, where things are a bit upside down temperature-wine.  Unlike the East Coast, where the more north you go, the colder it gets, in the Napa Valley and Sonoma County, the more north you go, the warmer it gets. So, Southern Napa is Carneros… a very cool climate, from the influences of San Pablo and San Francisco bays. The more north you go in Napa Valley, the warmer it gets. Calistoga in Napa Valley is quite warm – if not downright hot, in the deep summer months.

So, let’s talk about the vineyards away from the estate, because each one is strategically placed in a cool climate, viticultural areas. This is where they are sourcing their fruit to craft their Pinot Noirs”

  • Three Arrows Ranch Estate Vineyard ~ Pinot Noir grown in Sonoma County’s Green Valley of Russian River Valley (all clones listed above)
  • Terra de Promissio Vineyard ~ Pinot Noir in Petaluma Gap AVA, in Sonoma County’s Coastal region
  • Morning Dew Ranch ~ Pinot Noir in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley

What is so significant with cool-climate Pinot Noirs?

If you know about Bordeaux, you know their varieties used to make wine. (Warmer climate grapes thrive with a bit more heat.) Knowing a bit about Burgundy, you know the grapes of choice are Pinot Noir. (Cool climate grapes thrive where there’s a bit of a chill in the morning, made that way by some moisture influence(s). Notice above I mentioned Southern Napa is located by San Francisco and San Pablo bays.

So, these three locations ~ with their moisture influences.

  • Three Arrows Ranch Estate Vineyard ~ GREEN VALLEY ~ Only 10 miles due west to the Pacific Coastline. It’s also influenced by the Russian River. The photo above is one I took, when the sun was going down over the Russian River (bottom water) and the Pacific Ocean (upper water). This is the location where the river pours into the Pacific.
    • Mark Twain: “The coldest winter I ever spend was the summer in San Francisco.” It’s cold down there in the summer, and quite mild in the winter.
  • Terra de Promissio Vineyard ~ PETALUMA GAP AVA ~ Also getting its cool climate influence from San Pablo Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The Gap’s newly defined AVA. I’ve written about it stating:
    • Then, it occurred to me, because my daughter and her family live in Petaluma. From Petaluma, we can easily drive to Tomales Bay. We’ve been there and watched the fog roll in, in the late afternoon. If you’re on the beach, you can visually see the fog rolling into that valley area, and understand the pinpoint location of the Petaluma Wind Gap on its southern end. I’ve been there when it happens… It just rolls in. It’s cold and windy, and it just takes over. We run from the beach. (Yeah, it’s that cool and Pinot Noirs just love that cool!
  • Morning Dew Ranch ~ Pinot Noir in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley ~ From the Anderson Valley Website:
    • Towards the [Pacific] coast the summers are cool and moist with frequent fog, while the interior Anderson Valley proper features a warmer climate during the day, with daytime highs in excess of 100 °F (38 °C) several times per year, but diurnal-temperature swings consistently 40 to 50 degrees.

Pinot Noirs Tasted ~ The Soul I found in Each of the Four Pinots

I should first say that it’s been a while since I tasted these wines. The Castello di Amorosa owns the vineyards, so they control all aspects of their grape growing and winemaking. While there may be slight variances from vintage to vintage from weather, only a new winemaker would make a drastic stylistic difference. I tasted the fruit; I tasted the soul of the vines’ terroir. You’re going to have to experiment on your own, but might take a piece of this with you in the process.

My palate was so ready for this wine, having just finished a Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon tasting. I had had some of the best Cabernet’s that Napa Valley has to offer… Big, rich, linear Cabs, intended to knock your socks off, straighten your spine, and make you suavely and good-naturedly declare, “Ooooo yeah, darling!” This is IT!”

Now was the time to shift from fourth gear, down to second gear. This is very generally speaking here…

  • First gear ~ Commodity wine, no thinking with the drinking, sold, done
  • Second gear ~ Pinot Noir, which attract tree huggers and family lovers
    • Cool climates, hard to grow, the delicate of the delicate
  • Third gear ~ All the other varieties, from the US to Italy, to Portugal, South America, Australia, etc. All of them…
  • Fourth Gear ~ Big Cabernet Sauvignon (Bordeaux and Napa), which attracts the collectors and readers from image-maker recommendations

So, we’re in Second Gear, also known as Pinot Noir Heaven… Enjoying Pinto is like having a velvet lining in your esophagus. You swirl, cherries and plums. You sniff, “Is that strawberry I’m picking up?” Then the sip and the lining of your esophagus… Round, ripe, and unctuous… A word that came up frequently in each of the wines I tasted… With the same winemaker, some elements of the wine overstep from one lone location to the next, and these wines delivered that consistency.

  • 2017 Rosato Morning Dew Ranch Pinot Noir (Rosé) ~ Anderson Valley ~Provisional Adult
    • So delicious and refreshing, cleansing and pleasing. I could have stayed right there, until I picked up the aroma of the Pinot being poured Huh? Turing my head… A rose is a rose is a rose… And, so is a Rosé.
  • 2016 Rosato Morning Dew Ranch Pinot Noir ~ Anderson Valley ~
    • This wine, of course, had the same flavor profile… except… we were now talking about a bit more maturity, no longer being provisional. This equals more food options. Round, sensuous flavors that are alluring, inviting, and oooo lala. Paté and mushrooms…
  • 2016 Three Arrows Ranch Pinot Noir ~ Green Valley of Russian River Valley ~ Sensuality
    • Food friendly, sensuous sipping turned in voluptuous and expanding the food options to duck and Turkey’s dark meat. Very polished, credit to the oak barrels… Vanilla doesn’t take over… It just slides into place, just like a figure skater coming to the end of her or his performance.
  • 2016 Terra de Promissio Pinot Noir ~ Petaluma Gap ~ Temptress….
    • This is the final of these four wines. It’s been a perfectly beautiful progression, led by Michala Jeberg. These Pinots were “on allocation.” Small production equals limited distribution… Again, you can contact the winery to find how you get over this Castello’s moat. The Terra de Promissio Pinot made its way onto my middle-weight soup list as a great option. I just made that soup with chicken in a beef broth and potatoes thickening the base. Chicken, pork, mushrooms, Herbs de Provence … more to add and enjoy. This wine took me back to my days of living in Maine on a lake: Damp and reassuring, as flavorful as morning dew, as enriching as being in Burgundy would be, on a day off…


We also tasted this Pinot tasting with their Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a classic styled Napa Valley Cabernet, with delicious black currant flavors, worth of any fare that is brought home of substantial substance, like a scrumptious Porterhouse steak or a steak stir fry in a balsamic fig sauce.

These wines are so worthy of your time, just as I hung onto my visit for the day when I could shout “Hurray!” When traveling through Napa Valley, with or without children, this is a “must stop to enjoy” winery, for all of the right reasons.

Step back in time to enjoy wines of today, at Castello di Amorosa.




Carneros,Chardonnay,Pinot Noir,Wine,Wine Business,Wine Country,Wine Culture,Wine Education,Wine Hospitality,Wine Philology,Wine tasting,Winemaker,Winemaking,Winery,Wines

Carneros Wine Alliance Annual Spring Barrel Tasting ~ 2019

Who can define a regional American Viticultural Area (AVA) better:

  • The collective marketing decisions from a gaggle of people, and a Webmaster who simply needs content?
  • Or, the historian who did the research and development?


I always begin my searches with the organizations. In this case, it’s the Carneros Wine Alliance and the Sonoma County Grape Growers Association. They’re both great resource, if you ever have any questions about this AVA called “Carneros.”

  • UNIQUE DISTINCTION: The only California AVA that’s contiguous into two locations; both Sonoma County and Napa Valley.
    • SONOMA SIDE: The southern rolling hills in Sonoma
    • NAPA SIDE: The southern base of Napa Valley, overlooking San Pablo Bay

Would I endorse Carneros Wines as a region? You bet I would, in a heartbeat.

It was a lovely day in Carneros, at The Donum Estate, the host winery for this educational, wine event.

From the Carneros Wine Alliance:

“Influenced by the maritime breezes and fog from its southern border with the San Pablo Bay, Carneros produces the region’s finest Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines. The Carneros Wine Alliance is committed to promoting the distinction, diversity and above all, quality, of the grapes and wines from Carneros.”

From the Sonoma County Grape Growers Association:

“On the northern most edge of San Francisco Bay (here called San Pablo Bay), is the Carneros region, which rises gradually from flush-with-waterfowl wetlands, where tiny pink brine shrimp thrive in salt marshes. The thin-soiled gently rolling hills spill over into neighboring Napa County, and was once home to shepherds and their wooly flocks, hence the name – which is Spanish – for “ram.”

Having an invitation for a media day with the Carneros Alliance members, I decided it was time to get my own perspectives about the region. While driving to the event, I began to think about how I was going to approach the dynamic.

  1. First, I was going to get some photos
  2. Next, going to interact with the individual vintners and/or winemakers
  3. Finally, will taste the wines, if there’s any time left (only about 10 minutes, as it turned out)

I’m familiar with the region (since my 1980’s visit). I wanted something else, though; something to expand what I’ve a;ready heard, learned, know, written, tasted, and driven through.

Each person will have his or her own story to tell. That’s not exactly what I want… Marketing speak about the winery. (I write it, I know it. Nothing gets out that isn’t approved, and it might not even have what I think should be included – or not included.)

So, what’s it going to be? I wills say, ahead of time, that terroir plays a major role. They all know they’re in a cool climate, and take great joy in where they are as it relates to their wines. This is not a commodity wine group; these are passionate people and it’s serious business in Carneros.

The Obvious ~ The Hook, Something from the Heart

SHE: Hello, I’m going to ask you only one question, because I’d honestly like to connect with each of you here today.

HE: Fair enough.

SHE: Okay, here it is. “There are at least 10,000 brands in the whole wide world. Each company has a unique point of view, based on its own history and development over time. I want to know, in this context, what makes your brand so unique, from ALL others in the world.”

HE: Hum… Let me think about that for a minute. It’s a good question, and I’ve never thought about what the answer would be.

I repeated that 17 times, pushing people out of their comfort zones.

The following are the results, from Participating CWA Members

Final Participating CWA Member Wineries:

  • Artesa Estate Vineyards & Winery
    • Winemaker Ana Diogo-Draper
    • Our vineyards present soil diversity, within our terroir. We have a Spanish heritage and a Spanish flavor with California Albariño and Pinot Noir.
    • From the Web: Our iconic, modern, hilltop Estate, just 15 minutes from both downtown Napa and Sonoma, is surrounded by rocky mountains, rolling vineyards, and breathtaking views across the San Pablo Bay. Established in 1991 by the oldest winemaking family in Spain, Artesa takes pride in blending old and new-world techniques to create the next generation of estate-grown wines.
  • Bouchaine Vineyards
    • Winemaker Chris Kajani and Assistant Wine Maker Erik Goodmanson
    • Site to financial district. Wine ties to micro climate of San Francisco. Lots of energy and attention to wines.
    • From the Web: Bouchaine is the oldest continuously operating winery in the Carneros District – a winery that began making wine long before the region earned its reputation for producing the great Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays of Carneros today.


  • Calmére
    • Proprietor Ariana Peju (proprietor), with Winemaker Sara Fowler Calmére (daughter)
    • Cal Mére means calm sea. Our wines are made with love. We have cute, little baby-top tanks. All of our wines are estate grown. We have a sparkling Roe Pinot Noir, a chardonnay, and a bit of Viognier. I have a loosely based name for it… “How to train a dragon.”
    • From the Web: In 2016 our family purchased 100 acres in Carneros and a state-of-the-art winery. We have spent two years developing a brand that represents our vision and captures the spirit of this unique property. The beautiful Calmére Estate Winery represents the next generation of Napa Valley and beautifully showcases the terroir of Carneros through Burgundian varietals like Chardonnay and Pinot
  • Ca’ Momi Winery
    • Owners: Stepano, Dario, and Valentina
    • We’re tied to wine and foods, from Italy. We make approachable wines. We’re rebels, just being ourselves.
    • From the Web: Ca’ Momi is built on Napa Valley soil, but we’re rooted in soulful Italian tradition. Founders Valentina Guolo-Migotto, Dario De Conti and Stefano Migotto all grew up in Italy, where community comes together around the table. We brought this tradition to Napa Valley with all the fiery passion you’d expect from three Italians.
  • Cuvaison Winery
    • Winemaker Steve Rogstad
    • Our fruit is 100 percent Estate grown. We represent the heart of the vine, where it grows.
    • From the Web: Founded in 1969, Cuvaison is one of the pioneering wineries that helped shape the modern era of Napa Valley winemaking. As an independent, family-owned winery for nearly five decades, we are dedicated to crafting exceptional wines from our acclaimed estate in the Los Carneros region of Napa Valley. To this day, our mission remains true to our roots, and so do our wines.
  • Domaine Chandon
    • Director of Winemaker Pauline Lhote
    • They are unique in that they are in six countries from around the world (Argentine 1959, California 1973, Brazil 1973, Austria 1982, India 2013, China 2014; so, they really and truly do have a global perspective and can consult internally with their winemaking team, in a “let’s work together attitude. Each region stays true to their roots, and the French tradition of making sparkling wine. And, in California’s instance, it’s their California terroir.
    • From the Web: This year at Chandon California, as we celebrate our 45th Anniversary, we are humbly thrilled to be reminded that so much of what our founders dreamed to achieve has come to fruition. In 1973, ‘M & H Winery,’ that will be renamed to Chandon, became the first French-owned sparkling winery in California.
  • The Donum Estate
    • Tony (assistant winemaker) and Agustin (cellar master)
    • Our estate was planted in 1985. At the time we were a dairy farm. We really work vines that reflect our own site. We’re Terroir driven. We have a sense of place in Carneros (also in Russian River Valley and Angel’s Camp, where we source some of our fruit). At our winery, we farm fruit on the valley floor, where air moves in different ways, than in a valley with some elevation.
    • From the Web: Donum means “gift of the land.” We produce only single-vineyard, estate wines from vineyards in Carneros, Russian River Valley and Anderson Valley.
  • Etude Wines
    • Winemaker is Jon Priest
    • We have a one-world connection: Vineyards, wines, and people, in everything we do. We’re all connected to by the vineyards. We bring in interns from around the world. Everyone we also takes on this special responsibility.
    • From the Web: Etude was founded on the philosophy that winemaking begins in the vineyard long before harvest, and that superior grape growing allows our winemakers to craft wines of exceptional varietal expression and finesse. This remains our approach today as we continue to build the Etude legacy.   – Jon Priest, Etude Winemaker
  • Poseidon Vineyard (left)
    • Coolest right nest to the San Pablo Bay. We also have our own cooperage, where we work with Hungarian Oak, from Tokai, Hungary. Our barrel treatment is completely controlled. In 2017 we launched our first vintage. James McPhail is our winemaker, and we sell our wines only by allocations in the spring and fall.
    • From the Web: In 1973, we planted Poseidon Vineyard on what had been grazing land since the time of the missionaries. We were among the first to farm the southern extreme of Napa Carneros, which at the time was considered too cool to ripen wine grapes. Poseidon Vineyard is the heritage wine project of Obsidian Wine Co. We seek and farm the extremes of the North Coast. This is our story. 
  • Saintsbury Vineyards
    • Gary (extreme right)
    • Our history dates back to 1981, when two guys went from Burgundy went to U.C. Davis. Richard Ward – get other name. They found their place in Carneros and dug in their heels.
    • From the Web: When the wines were good they pleased my senses, cheered my spirits, improved my moral and intellectual powers, besides enabling me to confer the same benefits on other people.” ~ GEORGE SAINTSBURY
  • Sangiacomo Family Vineyards
    • Jamie
    • We like having some control over our grapes’ flavors. We’ve been growing wine grapes for over 50 years. We’ve always been devoted to being wine grape farmers; but, now we are also making our own wines from our estate grapes, and defining our own flavors, according to our vineyard location.
    • From the Web: We are proud to continue our family’s farming tradition. We would not be where we are today without the knowledge and values we learned from our grandparents, parents, uncles and aunt. And we continue to plant seeds to enable future generations of our family to build upon this legacy.
  • Schug Carneros Estate Winery
    • Winemaker is Michael Cox
    • Our philosophy is heredity… Walter Schug came from the same school 50 years later. Johnaes whites are more popular. New world with history of old world. We have a beautiful climate for growing Chardonnay and Pinot for 3 years.
    • From the Web: ‘WINE AS PURE AS THE LAND’ ~ At Schug we craft our wines to be true to the land they were sourced from; our grower relationships are among our oldest and most cherished. In the tradition of Walter Schug’s home estate in Germany, we offer this Sparkling Pinot Noir as a celebration of the intense yet delicate flavors the Pinot Noir grape
      has to offer.
  • Starmont Winery and Vineyards
    • Pamela, with Jeff Crawford being their winemaker
    • In the early 1900s, traditional farming kept most vineyards sustainable. We keep Green in our thinking. We have our Stanley Ranch Estate for our chardonnay, and we have diversity from the Brown Family, located in Napa.
    • From the Web: SUSTAINABLE WINES from classic vines in NAPA VALLEY ~ “Starmont has always had a special spirit.  It is a soulful place that speaks to each person who visits this unique location.  It is this soulfulness that we try to express in our wines, so that they can be shared and experienced by all who enjoy the wines.” — Jeff Crawford 
  • Truchard Vineyards
    • Anthony M. Truchard II, second generation Vintner, General Manager
    • Our location is 100 percent estate. We’re the northern most vineyard in Carneros. We have volcanic soil running through the property. Some clay, some volcanic, this soil is the most diverse in California.
    • From the Web: During Tony’s [Father] tour in California the Truchard family took a number of road trips.  On one such trip, after checking in at the Presidio in San Francisco, the family drove up to the Napa Valley to see the vineyards.  Tony thought it would be “fun” to buy some Napa property and plant a vineyard.  During the next two decades, Tony continued to buy property until he had 400 adjoining acres.  At the same time, their family grew to include 4 daughters and 2 sons.
  • Viansa Sonoma
    • Heather
    • We have a long Sebastiani history, and we work to define Sonoma Valley, including with our Carneros wines.
    • From the Web: Idyllically situated at the summit of the Sonoma Valley, Viansa Sonoma embodies the proud history of local winemaking. The legacy of Viansa Sonoma dates back to 1896 when Samuele Sebastiani arrived from Tuscany and saved enough money, while making cobblestones for San Francisco streets, to purchase vineyard property in 1904. Following in his footsteps, Samuele’s children and grandchildren continued the tradition of sharing great wine, supporting the land from where it comes, and through passionately maintaining precious wetlands that are vital to our eco-system. Founded by Samuele’s grandson in 1989, Viansa Sonoma remains committed to producing wines of true excellence while continuing the tradition of land stewardship and winemaking that defines the Sonoma Valley.
  • ZD Wines
    • Scott
    • Z Zapone aero jets, Brett Dillars Scientists Get what they did that’s so unusual.
    • From the Web: ZD is a favorite wine country destination for folks who enjoy world class ChardonnayPinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Situated in the heart of Napa Valley in picturesque Rutherford, ZD is surrounded by gorgeous vineyards.


This was my morning in Carneros. I learned a lot worth sharing. Perhaps you learned something new, too?





Brut,Bubbly,Bubbly Wine,Italy,Prosecco,Sparkling,Wine

Romeo and Juliet Prosecco, the Angst and the Sparkle, in The World of Wine ~ Italy

[IMAGE by Wiesław Jarek : VERONA, ITALY – MAY 1, 2016: Part of the wall covered with love messages in Juliet’s house, Verona, Italy]

SAMPLE: The following is a springtime-worthy (heck – all year-worthy) wine, delivered from Famiglia Pasqua and the vineyards of the Veneto region, in northeast Italy.


  1. HEART ~ THE WINERY: info is coming from the company’s own statements.
    1. I can’t make up their history
    2. Nor am I gong to trying
  3. SOUL ~ SAMPLE ~ Jo Diaz Musings

I’m happy to have sparkling wine of any kind, from any region, because I crave it with any food… including my Kriptonite potato chips.

When you hear a cork pop, isn’t there a bit of a thrill for you, too?

I love pouring it down the side of a flute… ever… so… slowly. I don’t want to lose one tiny bubble to pouring it in haste. I want every bubble I can get. Bring them on.

[PHOTO Mykola Kokaryev: Juliet balcony in courtyard of the museum. Verona, Italy]

Romeo & Juliet Passione Sentimento Bianco 2017


Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine is an historic winery that produces high quality Veneto and Italian wines and one of the main players in the Italian and international wine market. A family passion. A century long history. The history of Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine begins in 1925, when the first generation of the Pasqua brothers came to Verona and established a new business devoted to the trade of wines from their homeland, Apulia. From wine trade and retail, they decided to become a real winery. In a few years, with the acquisition of new vineyards in the Verona area, the company progressively gained importance and visibility.

During the 60’s, the second generation of the family entered the business, bringing about an opening to export and an orientation toward quality. The constitution of Cecilia Beretta in the 80s, the agricultural estate and innovative research centre for vines, grafting techniques and vineyards, is the symbol of the family’s constant quest for excellence.

When the third generation, composed by Riccardo, Alessandro, Cecilia and Giovanni, started to lead the company, the international market orientation boosted to a peak in 2009, with the foundation of Pasqua Usa LLC in New York. The company now sells wines in 50 countries worldwide.


This sparkling wine was made using the Charmat method, and produced by using the wine grape Glera; a variety native to the Treviso area. In this land there are the best soils and weather conditions, ensuring a wine with unique characteristics. It is a vivacious and fresh wine that’s versatile and quaffable, and suitable for any occasion.

From Wine Folly:

“The [Charmat] tank method came about during the industrial advancements made in the early 20th century and is the main process used for Prosecco and Lambrusco wines. The major difference between the tank method and the traditional method is the removal of the individual bottle as the vessel used to turn a still wine into a sparkling one. Instead, base wines are added together with the sugar and yeast mixture (Tirage) into a large tank. As the wine has a second fermentation, the CO2 released from the fermentation causes the tank to pressurize, whereafter wines are then filtered, dosed (with Expedition liqueur) and bottled without aging.”


The preparations, mentioned above, are not lost on this Prosecco. Glera is a decidedly productive grape variety, which ripens late in the season. It’s know for its generous acidity, and a pretty neutral flavors on our palates, making it really ideal for Prosecco’s production. Glera’s aromatic profile is also characterized by the mild, white peach. I enjoyed a bit of the usual lemon curd flavor of sparkling wines, and then it finished with its refreshingly vibrant bubbles.

This wine deserves a bit of dialogue, taken from Act II, Scene 2, Capulet’s orchard. It’s just so perfect, as I envision a white peach orchard:


I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far
As that vast shore wash’d with the farthest sea,
I would adventure for such merchandise.

Yes, this one is worth looking for, for any romantic adventure, which you can have any day of the week… just by popping the cork, and writing your own happy ending ~ like I just have. This sparkling Prosecco is the happy ending version of Romeo and Juliet, that Shakespeare didn’t have the opportunity to write.