Cupramontano,Italy,Tuscany,Wine,Wine Ed,Wine Education,Wine Gift,Wine Samples

When a Wine Lover and Electronic Geek Collide, it’s got to be a Kelvin

As a wine writer, I’m occasionally queried about trying samples of new products that hit the marketplace. This is one of those stories.

[Both the Kelvin K2 and and the delicious Barrel Road Red Blend are samples in this story.]

It all began in early September:

Hi Jo:

I’m hoping that I can send you a Kelvin K2 to review.  The Kelvin K2 is a smart wine thermometer with Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity.  It combines the recent advances in aerial technology to send the temperature information to a smartphone (often from the inside of a refrigerator).  The free iOS or Android app then monitors the wine as it chills and provides as much or as little information needed to get the best from every bottle of wine.  Ask any wine expert, and they will tell you that wine taste is made up of a combination of numerous key elements, each of which is dramatically (and uniquely) affected by temperatures – so it makes sense that any wine is only at its best at the correct, recommended serving temperature.  mykelvin.co.uk

Hum… I’m not an Android geek, barely turning my phone on – for emergencies only – but I’m living with one. And I’m a bit of a wine geek; perhaps I could combine the two and come up with a new adventure?

Hi, Robin,

Sure, you can send one to me. With the holidays coming up, gadgets are always a fun blog story, especially when they’re this unique and techno…

When the Kelvin arrived, Jose saw me open the package:

He: Whatcha got?

She: A Kelvin Smart Wine Thermometer

He: Can I see?

She: Sure

He took over, faster than a Puerto Rican Second

A Puerto Rican second is faster than the speed of light, making a New York minute look like a millennial of time… Jose was born in Puerto Rico, brought to the US, and raised in both the Bronx and Manhattan. So, I’ve seen it all for the last 40+ years, and feel confident that I can define a Puerto Rican Second. This new gadget instantly became his new best friend.

Jose followed the directions, after choosing the wine he was going to open. It was room temp, so it was easy to begin:

  1. Turned on the Kelvin Band and clipped it to the bottle.
  2. He downloaded “Kelvin K2 from an app store. (The Ks connected to his app automatically and then showed up on his Dick Tracey watch.)
    • Anticipation and excitement followed.
    • I was also fascinated.
  3. He selected the wine style, as it read room temp of 81 degrees – quite warm, late summer day.
  4. He put the bottle in the refrigerator [above photo], as described. Kelvin calibrated it in just five minutes, as the instructions claimed.
    • Then he just monitored it until it was the perfect temperature. [Image to the right with 64 degrees.]
    • Yes, we totally “got it.”


He did just what Kelvin claimed would happen… He completely “unlocked the full flavors of the wine.” It was delicious and smooth, as if we had pulled it from a wine cellar, with the caveat that the Kelvin will function even better than a wine cellar before the opening of a bottle. Why? Because each wine has its own optimal wine temperature preferences… Most whites are slightly more chilled, to be really enjoyed at their best; versus a red wine, better performing at a wine cave temp of 55F to 60F degrees.

Your app gives you so much more than just the signaling that your bottle is at it’s optimal best, too.

  • Tasting notes
  • Food pairings
  • Glassware guide
  • Wine facts to impress
  • Common label terms
  • And you’ll dare to expand your palate with new wine varieties


So, I was just in Italy, gratis of Mick Yurch of Bluest Sky Group. I now have many stories to share of being at Castello di Meleto in Chianti  and Colonarra Viticultori in Cupramontana… This one relates to a Kelvin conversation, and is worth sharing, because it relates to New York retailer Daniel Posner of Grapes The Wine Company, located in White Plains, New York… another wine  and techno geek.

I asked Daniel if he has any items in his store, besides wine. (Just curious.) No, he doesn’t, but I still explained why I had asked. I told him about Kelvin K2 and I saw his heart skip a beat, as his eyes opened wide. “It does what?” he asked.

I’ve already ordered one for him as a thank you, because he was looking out for me as I dropped behind on all tours, while taking copious images. I know I’m spreading more joy in the wine gadget department, and now Kelvin is going to be really fun for him, too. (It’s now my go-to gift for When a Wine Lover and Electronic Geek Collide.)

If you’ve got a wine lover, who’s also very techno geeky, this is better than giving diamonds to him or her, seriously.

Image: Jose and friend Sue Straight, The Wine Wench. This made Sue’s visit with us pretty memorable, just as it claims to do. Although, instead of “wine facts to impress,” it was “wine gadgets to impress a fellow wine geek” this time.

Either way, it’s win-win… Or, in this case, wine-wine… Ciao!




Rare Rant,Wine,Winery,Wines

I’m so old that… Boutique Winery Just Doesn’t Cut It

I remember poodle skirts, bouffant hair, cotton candy, putrid pink, heavy perfume, and it all came under the word “boutique.”

That word – boutique – is now fingernails screeching down a blackboard, so when you call your winery a “boutique” winery…

Artisan, it’s so sophisticated… It lets the listener know that you take yourself craft seriously, there’s a great deal of worldly experience, knowledge of the process, with a cultured mind creating the end result.

Please no more “boutiques wineries,” please, please, please.

When a winery’s called “artisan,” that makes it crystal clear that there’s an artist on board; someone who’s devoted to his or her craft, and only the best will do. He or she is not focused on pleasing the entire universe with flavors, aromas and/or oddities that are over the top. Artisan wineries have devoted, cult followers. Quality over quantity reigns. When you read this, does ’boutique’ make any sense at all in this equation?

Maybe I just have PTSD?

Maybe it’s because I grew up in a time when my mother bathed herself in Faberge before going out with my dad. It was a time when beehive hairdos and poodle skirts were in… (We even had a poodle named “Pepe.”) Patent leather pocketbooks and mink stoles… All images of a time when someone went to a boutique salon to buy all those kitschy things.

You can do your own thing. It’s America, after all… Just know that you won’t find that adjective in anything I write, except for this story. Unless, of course… someone really does have one…

In that case, I’d have to tell the truth. Better yet, I just won’t write about a “boutique,” including yours as so described, even if you use and love the word.


Clarksburg,PR Advice,PS I Love You,Public Relations,Wine

Honoring Each and Every Person Within a Wine Company ~ Great Public Relations

This is worth sharing, because it’s exemplary. It demonstrates that there are those within the wine business who care deeply for the people who are also caring for their businesses.

This story celebrates Lizz Castillo, a young woman who’s worked very hard in the wine business to get where she is, and is going to be working even harder in the next chapter of her professional growth. Our vineyard directors (of one position or another) are unsung heroes. In my mind, it’s a time to honor women who have gone after what they’ve wanted and have succeeded. I admire this young woman, as much as I admire Steve and Mike Heringer.


Heringer Estates ~ Vineyard and Winery

It came in an email, and I stashed it for this very moment. It was shared by my friends at Heringer Estates ,located in Clarksburg. When I began PS I Love You, the advocacy group for Petite Sirah, Steve Heringer was one of the very first growers to join. He didn’t even had a wine brand, yet. That was to come in the future. He did, however, understand the importance of supporting an advocacy group, which would ultimately help him to grow. Steve Heringer wanted to support the effort. He was even president of our board of directors in the early years. I watched his company grow to where he also created his own brand and then brought in his son Steve to help his family grow. I’ve been able to watch his family business grow, and it’s heartwarming. I’ve come into his database for sharing. This was such good news. I’m going to share it, too, because this young lady deserves the spotlight for so many reasons, I can’t even list them all.

What’s important is her voice, through her content.

It’s great public relations and it’s heartwarming


It is with mixed emotions that I inform you all of my departure from the role of Vineyard & Winery Relations Coordinator with Heringer Estates. As some of you may already know, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Master’s program of Viticulture and Enology with UC Davis, which requires me to shift my focus to my academic career. I will still be with the Heringer family but in a much more behind-the-scenes role. While I am excited for this new chapter, I am also saddened by the idea of leaving this position behind. You are all such amazing people who have shown me nothing but kindness, and for that, I am grateful. I hope that our paths cross again in the future.

Please rest assured that you are all still in great hands. Winemaker Mike Heringer and Cellar Assistant Brittany Leininger will both be stepping in to assist you with harvest logistics, grape sales, and bulk wine needs. Your contact email and phone number will remain the same. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this transition, please feel free to call or email us, so we may help you to the best of our ability.

Many thanks,

Lizz Castillo

From the Heringer Website ~ Who They Are

Family farming together since 1868 in Clarksburg, CA

A sense of place is embodied in every Heringer Estates wine. The family honors its agricultural legacy through sustainable stewardship of the land, while embracing the excitement of today and the promise of the future with over 24 different grape varieties that are grown and created for you. From our family to yours we toast to your celebrations, your small get-togethers, and even your quiet times.  We toast to you!


Beaujolais,France,Viticulture,Wine,Wine Chemistry,Wine Country,Wine Culture,Wine Importer,Wine Making,Wine of the Week,Winemaker,Winemaking,Winery,Wines

Beaujolais News from Georges Dubœuf ~ Beautiful Grapes and Magnificent Vines

I’ve had communications with Georges Dubœuf’s wine company. I’ve had a very insightful phone interview with Franck. For two years in a row, I received a bottle of their Celebration of Beaujolais Day — Beaujolais Nouveau — each year with a very festive, very fun tie to celebrate. They’re so cool.  Quintessential is their exclusive US Importer, and so when a newly released wine goes out, Georges Dubœuf arrives back at my door. Sometimes, like right now, it’s just Email news. I pay attention. Today, I loved this news… Good news for Beaujolais; it’s worth sharing.

From Beaujolais, France

Beautiful grapes and magnificent vines ~ everything’s in top form!

Since January, Beaujolais has been enjoying near-perfect weather conditions: a glut of sunshine, especially this summer, and just the right amount of rain to allow the vines to pass through each cycle smoothly and calmly. And although the summer dry spell is starting to show, the health of the vines remains excellent. The leaves are green and healthy, allowing the grapes to ripen beautifully.

The vines flowered wonderfully and very quickly (six days instead of 10, on average), ending on June 3 – three days earlier than in 2017.

After a hot and sunny June, the grape clusters closed, around the 27th of June, like in 2011.

On average, they started to colour on the June 23, two days earlier than in 2017.

On Tuesday August 28, we brought the first grapes of the season into our winery. Analysis revealed

  • Huge sugar content, between 12° and 13.4°
  • Low acidity between 4.7 and 5.5g/l
  • pH levels hovering between 3.22 and 3.34.
  • As for the colour, we’ve been seeing an uptick in anthocyanins* this week, and it should keep up as long as the beautiful weather holds.

*Anthocyanins (also anthocyans; from Greek: ἄνθος (anthos) “flower” and κυάνεος/κυανοῦς kyaneos/kyanous “dark blue”) are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that, depending on their pH, may appear red, purple, or blue. Wikipedia

The harvest is continuing under the summer heat, with temperatures of 90°F during the day and cool nights to let the grapes reach their peak maturity for the harvest. It looks like the good weather is set to continue over the next fortnight, so everything’s pointing to an excellent 2018 for the Beaujolais !

There have been a series of early harvests recently with 2009, 2011, 2018, 2017 and now 2018.  These have consistently led to high quality wines, and it’s looking like 2018 might top them all.

Up until now, at least, these ideal conditions have given our winemakers a certain peace of mind this year. We’re looking at an exquisite vintage both in terms of quantity and quality, from the South to the North of Beaujolais.  The weather and the seasons are working with us this year. Now it’s up to the winemakers, oenologists, cellar masters and all the teams to capture the charm of this beautiful vintage.






Books,Education,Rosé,Wine,Wine Book,Wine Education,Wine Writer,Wines

DRINK PINK: A Guide to the World’s Best Rosés ~ by Larry & Ann Walker

PHOTO: Pamela Klein of her new novel 17 Dresses, which is referenced below in my lead-in part of Larry and Ann Walker’s newly released book  A Guide to the World’s Best Rosés.

A Guide to the World’s Best Rosés ~ by Larry & Ann Walker is a Gap-filling Rosé book; it’s timely, comprehensive, and fun. I’m delighted for Larry Walker and his wife Ann Walker. Now I know why he disappeared for a bit.

My friend Pamela Klein just received her first hot-off-the-press copy of 17 Dresses. Pamela and I were just chatting about that it took six years to get her fiction from start to a finished book in her hand. I remember meeting in her San Juan Puerto Rico n 2015, as one of my Facebook friends. We had a great time, she moved back to the LA area, Hurricane Maria has happened, now her book is released. That’s like a lifetime… Six years for her. Larry and Ann… you scamps!

Larry and I spent many years working together, because he’s a wine writer/reviewer and I’m a wine publicist. He was a valuable contact for my wine brands. I actually thought he had retired. I’d see things pop up occasionally, but it didn’t seem to return to where it was pretty quite often. Now I know… now we all know. Larry and Ann have given birth to their project.

PHOTO: Board and Bench Publishing

The New Pink Wine: A Guide to the World’s Best Rosés,

published by Board and Bench Publishing

They now have got “writing duo” on their list of accomplishments. Larry and Ann are obliging the rapidly expanding US set of rosé devotees, with their timely new buyers’ guide. And the authors bear a message for these new American enthusiasts. Pink wine tastes just as good in December as it does in July.

As the US Rosé market heats up,  authors Larry and Ann Walker offer a “how-to” manual for the coming revolution.

For one, pink wine is arguably the most food friendly wine.

“While doing the tasting for this book,” says Larry Walker, “it became apparent that rosé is a more versatile wine with food than either red or white. Even though we were already big fans of pink wine, we were constantly surprised by how well the wines covered all bases.”

“It has the ability to shape itself to the food on the plate, unlike, say, Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay, which are locked into a fairly narrow flavor profile. Dry rosé has a much wider profile.”

The Walkers are true foodies, and it shows. Included are a dozen exotic recipes from regions where pink wine has been drunk for millennia.

The New Pink Wine is the only rosé buyer’s guide in print, featuring over 200 wines from around the globe, with tasting notes written in a style that “conveys a sense of genuine pleasure rarely encountered in wine writing these days,” says Norm Roby author of The Connoisseurs’ Handbook of California Wine.

Additional features include:

  • Pink Primer: rosé history, and methods employed to make pink wine.
  • Pink Profiles: Discussions with producers from the U.S.A., France, Iberian Peninsula, South Africa, and beyond.
  • A case of quality for value.
  • Wines and Producers Indexes for easy in-store selection.

~ Endorsements ~

Norm Roby, contributing editor for Wine Spectator and Decanter magazines, and author of The Connoisseurs’ Handbook of California Wine

“Reading this book is like welcoming an old friend, someone fun to hang out with who also has tons of information and first-hand experiences to share. They must have checked out every known rosé. Some are truly rare. And the wine descriptions are detailed but also convey a sense of genuine pleasure rarely encountered in wine writing these days.”

Steve Burns, President of Wine Market Council and co-founder of O’Donnell Lane, LLC.

“The New Pink Wine couldn’t be more timely, comprehensive or fun. Wine lovers’ enjoyment of rose has never been higher and as the category blossoms into a year-around phenomenon this book will help everyday wine drinkers and aficionado’s alike navigate the vast array of delicious roses’ coming from all over the world.”

Final thought: There are a lot of “pink” books out there. I’ve read a few lately. Each one brings a different perspective. What I love about this duo activity is Larry’s longevity in wine. There’s lots of history with some very important Rose producers, from around the world via their world travels. Names that you’ll come to know, via reading this lovely book. Couple that with Ann’s area of expertise for cooking, this is a total package: history, present, and the future of your own rose wine and culinary pairings, with her exotic recipes, from regions where pink wine has been enjoyed, especially for millennia.

[PHOTO: Ekaterina Molchanova]


Oregon,Pinot Noir,Wine,Winemaker,Winemaking,Winery

When a Winemaker Writes Poetic Literature ~ Carpe Noctem

[PHOTO: from Eric Eide, Diaz Communications wine client]

As a wine publicist, there are many times when writing technical data introductions are required. Winemakers, after all, have little time to be crafting their own messages. In some instances, however, someone who uses his or her right brain (creative side) is as natural as using her or his left brain (logical side).

I marvel at winemaker Eric Eide (pronounced as ID), of Aberrant Cellars.

Part of Eric’s autobiography:

The secret of getting ahead is getting started ~ ​Mark Twain

A defining moment came in January 2008, while traveling through France, on an annual pilgrimage with my employer. At the time, we were visiting and tasting new releases, for the wineries that we represented. More specifically, it was while listening to Messrs. Claude Dugat and neighboring vigneron Christian Serafin. These two heralded Gevrey-Chambertin producers, for whom I have immense respect and admiration, talked candidly about the challenges each faced, with the newly released 2006 vintage.

When I read this about him, I instantly knew I’d love working with him, and have been for a couple of years now.

I just edited the following technical data sheet into. As I spent time editing, I realized that this is such a great philosophical read. I’m going to share it with you. It’s  extraordinary poetic literature, and demonstrates his complex, well-balance capabilities; i.e., it’s a great story… And truth be told, he makes extraordinary wines, too. His critical acclaim proves that to be true. It’s very easy to promote his wines, with this information as the lead into offering his wines as a sample to “taste.”

Want to Taste This Adventure?

Carpe Noctem ~ Willamette Valley PINOT NOIR 2015

[PHOTO Purchased]


Carpe Noctem {Seize the Night}: Some activities simply seem better suited for when darkness falls, and our animal spirits are once again awakened from daytime temperance. In addition to those[!], pulling the cork to this evocative wine should be placed toward the top of the list. Spawning from the first choice of the cellar, through a methodical process of barrel by barrel selection, we hone in on distinct characteristics sought in every vintage: deep and sensuous, structured and carnal, graceful enough to walk the high-wire of balance, and the vitality to disco many nights yet to come. As the name suggests, one can easily get lost in its magnitude, much like the evening’s wake. For those up to the task, carpe diem and then Carpe Noctem!


Our raison dêtre is to capture, and ultimately bottle, an elusive element of the profound. We strive by diligently following the practice of “making” as much of our wines, while the clusters are still hanging on the vines. Carefully chosen hill-side sites provide for naturally lower yields and attentive farming, throughout the season. This culls out any lingering mediocrity. Finally, a last, ruthless pass through every row of every parcel, by the winemaker, cuts out any remaining “critter clusters” that will be left lying on the vineyard’s ground just prior to the start of harvest. We go to these lengths in the vineyards, so once gravity forces the clusters into the awaiting fermenters, our approach can be focused exclusively on coaxing all of the hidden secrets during fermentations. Adaptive technique, matched to the peculiarities of the vintage, allows for a truer expression to be captured within a given year. This absolute commitment ensures that Noctem will be the pinnacle offering under Aberrant Cellars. Where nature allows us to garner a small portion of her beauty, we attempt to relay that message, via our individual dialect, in an integral and provocative manner as is possible.



Importer,Italy,Wine,Wine Exports,Wine Marketing

When Bluest Sky Group Destiny Calls ~ Tuscany Is on the Horizon

LOGO: Permission of the Bluest Sky Group

What is Bluest Sky Group?

From Micheal Yurch’s Website:

The Bluest Sky Group (BSG) is a brand focused organization specializing in working with wineries worldwide that are trying to either enter or improve their position in the very complex American marketplace.

Our basic program is a three year plan:

  1. One year of consultation during which we work with the winery to maximize item selection, pricing and packaging with the goal of securing an American Importer.
  2. Compensation for the first year is by a quarterly retainer.
  3. Having secured an Importer, in the second and third year, BSG functions as your market representative, managing your importer and working with their sales team, while at the same time leveraging our relationships with wine journalists and high profile customers to build a permanent position for your winery in America.
  4. In the second and third years of the plan we are compensated in traditional broker fashion with a percentage on sales.

In this way, we only succeed if you do.

Who is Michael Yurch

PHOTO; Permission of Bluest Sky Group, from The Italian Trade Commission’s induction of Michael Yurch Into the Wines of Italy Hall of Fame at Vino2011

From WineBusiness.com:

Michael Yurch Departs Sherry-Lehmann, Creates Bluest Sky Group

Posted on November 01, 2013

Michael Yurch, president of the iconic New York retailer Sherry-Lehmann since 1997, has sold his interest in the firm to form a new company. Yurch has been a part of Sherry-Lehmann since 1985.

“After 33 gratifying years in the New York wine market, I want to spend the next phase of my career working closer to the vineyards,” says Yurch. “Working with producers has become the part of the wine creation process that I enjoy the most.”

PHOTO: Alfons Taekema on Unsplash

Tuscany Is on the Horizon

I’ve always wanted to go back to Italy. I haven’t been there in this lifetime, but I’ve always wanted to return.

If you believe in past life experiences, you know what I mean. If you have yet to read any evidentiary examples, might I suggest Dr. Michael Newton‘s book. Newton is the founder of the Newton Institute. As a psychiatrist, he didn’t believe in past life experiences, until a woman that he was working with who he had hypnotized, began to tell him her past life story. This led to Michael’s curiosity into this kind of therapy, and subsequently becoming the author and documenter of many books, on the subject of successful past life – and in between lives – hypnotherapy. If you’re curious, the books are compelling. And, when you finish the book, you might feel a tremendous sense of loss that the book ended, because you really want more of his fascinating recorded examples.

PHOTO: Cristina Gottardi

So, back to Italy… I’ve always felt that I have a past life in Venice. I can see myself in an apartment, second or third floor. I had a clothes line that was on a wheel and pulley, going across the canal to the apartment on the other side of the water, to another one. I can hear myself calling “Yoo-hoo” across the canal to another woman. That was our communications system. Each day we called to each other, most especially when we were hanging clothes to dry. Rainy days were sad days, like a day without the internet, and being shut in.

Another example, that still freaks me out: One night, years ago, I had a dream. I was with three other people: an old man to my left, an interpreter in front of me, and a child to my right. The old man and child were conversing. The old man was speaking Italian, the interpreter was well versed in both languages, the child was speaking English. The banter was going back and forth. I understood EVERY word in Italian.

It startled me into waking right up. Everything was so vivid. I told Jose about it and asked my, what do you think this means. He simply said, “In a past life you were Italian. I knew he was right. This is one powerful dream I’ve never forgotten.

I’ve had two years of high school French and one year of high school Spanish. I’ve studied two more semesters of Spanish in college. I know NO Italian. I’ve heard it spoken, when my Spanish speaking husband has talked with some Italian people; each speaking his own language to the other, and both completely understanding each other. I understood only bits and pieces of Jose’s Spanish, but not a word of Italian.

Although… my dear friend Hector Bedolla, when teaching me viticulture in Bill Hambrecht’s vineyards, told me that I speak Spanish with an Italian accent.

Let’s just say it’s all there for me to know that I am now about to return to Italy, again. With this new development in my life, another piece of my puzzle is coming back to me. While living in Venice, in that past life, I had a dream of going to Tuscany. I’m not sure if I ever went in that lifetime. I’m about to find out if I actually did get there, or if it was just a desire.


Email from Michael Yurch

I got an E-mail from Michael Yurch. My eyes blinked as I read, and then read it again. Nothing had changed, it really was Michael Yurch inviting me to go to Tuscany and Le Marche, in the hope that I would find something interesting enough to write. I was stunned, speechless, because I really knew what this meant… I really knew. I created a quick answer that evening. God forbid that I didn’t respond right away and perhaps lose this opportunity. My answer was brief, but I did want him to tell me more, as I was most assuredly interested.

As I have just told someone else, younger than me in this wine business, who recently went to France, these are opportunities of a life time. The next day, when Michael and I talked in person, he told me he did hope that I would find something interesting to write about. Oh – my – goodness, will I ever be able to stop writing about Tuscany and Le Marche?

To be continued… Leaving on October 9, for Rome, and then off to Tuscany and Le Marche!

Still blinking my eyes…



Auction,Bordeaux,Cabernet Sauvignon,Wine,Wine Appreciation,Wine Auction,Wine Business,Wine Etiquette,Wine Investments,Wine Sales,Wine tasting

Château Pétrus Drives Record Breaking $1.5 Million Fine Wine Auction at Heritage

PHOTO: Heritage Auctions

Today, I’m wearing my publisher hat, not my writer’s one. The following is a press release from Heritage Auctions. Having not attended, but having a keen interest in what’s happening in the world of wine, I see two distinct categories of who’s buying wine for what purposes.

  • The first one is people who enjoy tasting wine and pairing it with a meal (or not).
  • The other one is people who invest. Yes, he or she will pull out an occasional bottle to enjoy. You never know if you find someone you like, who also has a similar appreciation and palate. That’s a celebration worth remembering and can be very worth opening a really fine bottle of wine.

SIDEBAR: I once had a friend who, when we took her wine tasting with us and my credentials were on the line, exclaimed – at a particular tasting in a prominent tasting room, – “This wine sucks!” Okay, I wanted to just crawl away, but it also defined from that moment forward who I wouldn’t waste a really great wine on… In case you’re wondering how and why we define what would be shared and with whom, this is the perfect example, if you collect any wine at all… The great wines are for the great palates; and, they can also put a kid through college, if necessary.

Investors, savor the following:

Château Pétrus Drives Record Breaking $1.5 Million

Fine Wine Auction at Heritage

Event sells more than 99 percent by value and lot

DALLAS, Texas – More than a dozen world records fell, and nearly 40 percent of the lots sold for more than their pre-auction estimates to lift the final total for Heritage Auctions’ Fine & Rare Wine Auction to $1,534,971. The 742-lot event sold 99.7 percent by value and 99.18 percent by lot.

“Bordeaux dominated the auction market about 10 years ago, but has taken something of a back seat since then,” Heritage Auctions Rare & Fine Wine Director Frank Martell said. “But many of the great recent vintages – 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998 and even 2000 were still exceedingly young but now are drinking exceptionally well – are reaching maturity. The Bordeaux results below, including Pétrus and Mouton, all fit into this group.”

Pomerol, France – June 6 2017: Facade of Chateau Petrus in Bordeaux region. Petrus is one of the most expensive red wine n the world

Château Pétrus produced the top six prices in the event, including Château Petrus 2000 Pomerol Bottle (12), which passed its pre-auction high estimate when numerous bidders drove the final sale price to $51,660, while Château Petrus 2000 Pomerol Bottle (12) brought $49,200.

Another Château Petrus 2000 Pomerol Bottle (12) also drew $49,200, while Château Petrus 1990 Pomerol Bottle (12) yielded $44,280 and Château Petrus 1998 Pomerol Bottle (12) closed at $38,130.

The auction included a broader focus on lower-production Burgundy, with big names like DRC and Leroy enjoying a significant bump recently, a boon that has extended to producers like Liger-Belair, Cathiard, Groffier and Boillot, particularly to their more mature wines. For example, six bottles of J.F. Mugnier Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses cleared the high pre-auction estimate by more than 51 percent, when it finished at $4,920; while, two bottles of 1990 A. Cathiard Romanee St. Vivant nearly doubled the high pre-auction estimate, closing at $2,214.

PHOTO: ricochet64

Among the records that fell in the auction:

Other top lots included, but were not limited to:



Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.

The Internet’s most popular auction-house website, HA.com, has over one million registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of four million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.



Fermenting change,Mendocino County,Wine,Wine Making,Wine tasting,Wine Writer

Fetzer Vineyards Honored with “Changemaker” Distinction from B Lab for Increased Impact in Sustainability

After having just visited with Fetzer Vineyards, to celebrate their Fiftieth Anniversary, the press release below does not surprise me in the least. I’ll be writing in greater details about my visit and their programs, in the near future. I want to let the following information stand on its own merit, before I even begin with my own musings…

Before moving to California from Maine, I was as organic then as I am now. I’ve always been. I was raised on my grandparents gardening… pre-Monsanto, is probably the best way to describe it. I’ve never used weedkillers. There are natural repellents, people. Try marigold in your garden to ward off bugs. I never understood why each year my grandmother surrounded her garden with a marigold patch. Now, I’m the grandmother… I totally get it.

What I also “got” in the early 80s, when I saw a bottle of Fetzer Vineyards wine, is what a smart direction to take! Yes, we bought the wine from our wine shop in Auburn, Maine. I have a very clear memory of that organic wine. I’m also thrilled that the organic and biodynamic program is spreading with great success. Onward and upward.

What does an organic winery look like?

Just like any other winery. The real difference is what you don’t see, like sheds filled with chemicals that are going to be spread on the grapes and ground. Anyone who might think wine causes allergic reactions, is probably not thinking about all of the chemicals that the wine grapes might have received, too – well before they’re even harvested.

So, when the World’s Largest Winery to be Certified as a B Corporation is recognized for improvement and commitment to regeneration, I’m on it…

About B Corporations

Certified B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. There are more than 2,500 Certified B Corporations in more than 150 industries and 60 countries with one unifying goal – to redefine success in business.

[PHOTO: Jo Diaz]


Fetzer Vineyards, the sustainability pioneer celebrating its 50th anniversary of Earth-friendly winegrowing, has been recognized as a “Changemaker” among certified B Corporations. The Changemakers List, published today, highlights global B Corporations that made the most positive improvement on their overall impact, based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab. This award recognizes Fetzer Vineyards’ measurable, verified progress towards enhancing its leadership in sustainability in the wine industry and beyond.

The largest winery in the world certified as a B Corporation, Fetzer Vineyards is among the first recipients of the Changemaker honor. The distinction comes at an exciting time for the vintner, which in 2017 was the only wine company among 19 global recipients of a “Momentum for Change” Climate Solutions Award for climate action at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany (COP23).

Using Business As a Force for Good: The B Corp Approach

B Corps are for-profit companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. The B Impact Assessment, which all B Corps undergo as part of the certification process, focuses on four key areas: Governance, Workers, Environment and Community. The Best for the World: Changemakers list honors the improvement made by B Corporations from one certification to the next, with re-certification occurring every three years.

“We are humbled by this recognition, which highlights our company-wide efforts to continue to evolve and improve our sustainability initiatives,” said Cindy DeVries, chief operating officer of Fetzer Vineyards. “We have a strong foundation of environmental focus dating to the last century, and today we are expanding on that to increase our overall positive impact as a company.” Last year, Fetzer Vineyards detailed its 2020 sustainability goals and initiatives in a report titled “Road to Regeneration.” Fetzer Vineyards’ latest B Corp Impact Assessment is also available online.

B Lab recently introduced the Changemaker category as part of its annual ranking of B Corps it categorizes as “Best for the World,” recognizing performance among organizations that explicitly strive to deliver social and environmental benefits along with profits for investors. Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab, noted that “People are hungry for companies like Fetzer Vineyards, who are changing the system by building businesses that seek to create the greatest positive impact.”

Strategizing Sustainability Toward 2020 Goals

Since obtaining B Corp status in 2015, Fetzer Vineyards improved its score by nearly 15 points, from 80.5 to 95.1, marking significant progress towards its goal of a 100-point score by 2020 (Certified B Corps must obtain a minimum of 80 out of 200 possible points on the assessment scale). Looking to the future, the B Corp framework will continue to guide Fetzer Vineyards’ sustainability strategy. “At Fetzer Vineyards, we strive for continuous improvement, and being a part of the B Corp community has pushed us to make tangible positive improvements in every area of our business, from our employees to communities to supply chain, ” said Elizabeth Drake, regenerative development manager at Fetzer Vineyards.

In keeping with its plans for continuous improvement, Fetzer Vineyards has set a goal to be Net Positive by 2030. This includes plans to replace all negative impacts with positive impacts that enhance and regenerate ecosystems and communities while producing sustainable growth for its business and shareholders.

About Fetzer Vineyards

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, Fetzer Vineyards was founded in 1968 by Barney Fetzer in Mendocino County, California. An award-winning purveyor of wines and spirits spanning multiple origins and available in more than 50 countries worldwide, Fetzer Vineyards is a leader in sustainable business practices, organic winegrowing, and craftsmanship in the cellar.

In addition to robust offerings under the winery’s flagship Fetzer label, the winery also crafts the leading wine from organic grapes, Bonterra Organic Vineyards, named American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine in 2016. Other California offerings include Adorada, Anthony’s Hill, Jekel Vineyards, Sanctuary Wines and 1000 Stories, the original Bourbon barrel-aged wine. Part of global winery Viña Concha y Toro, Fetzer Vineyards imports iconic South American wines such as Chile’s most-acclaimed wine, Don Melchor, as well as the Cono Sur, Viña Maipo, Marques de Casa Concha, Casillero del Diablo and Frontera labels from Chile, in addition to Argentina’s Trivento Reserve. Recently, Fetzer Vineyards entered the ultra-luxury wine and spirits category by forging a partnership with Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. to sell its historic craft rye whiskey.

[IMAGE: by Fetzer]


Books,Education,Wine,Wine 101,Wine Blogger,Wine Book,Wine Ed,Wine Education,Wine Folly: Magnum Edition of the Master Guide

Wine Folly: Magnum Edition of the Master Guide is Released TODAY, by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack

SAMPLE BOOK, From Avery Books.

If ever there was a wine book of the times ~ like the times right now ~ Madeline Puckett and Justin Hammack have nailed it with Wine Folly: Magnum Edition of the Master Guide. Today, right now, the book has gone on sale. It’s a hard copy and it’s going to be a quintessential guide to have in any wine library. Completely visual with wine graphics and charts, bottles and maps, varietal characteristics for some old and some-new-to-you Wines to Explore, etc… This is the compilation of a massive endeavor, a book of the times, and an adoring audience so ready for quick sound bites to solidify the skeleton their fleshing out. It’s also a quick reference for anyone with great knowledge of wine and just wants quick navigating of facts and figures…

Madelyn wrote:

I am SO excited to send you this early hard copy of Wine Folly: Magnum Edition…. we love this beauty so hard, and I hope you find it as enjoyable and as useful…

This is my first foray into Madeline’s hard copy books. On-line? All over it. Having my own copy hadn’t yet materialized. So, I can’t compare, but I can tell you what an amazing body of word is enclosed between these two covers now.

Let Me Explain My Odd Photo Above

Yup, I took it. Why not something more traditional?

  1. It’s NOT a traditional wine book photo, per se.
  2. Because this photo is fun and nothing is more fun than kites, wine, and books.
  3. And who doesn’t want to go fly a kite, like right now, if that presented itself?
    1. The car engine is running as  I write this, to go do just that, seriously.

…And its composition

In 1971, I gave birth to my first child. I had already thrown out my TV years before. It was only producing junk, IMHO. But, when my daughter Katie Sunshine (yes, it was the times) became about two, I broke down and got another small box. The only channel Katie and I watched was PBS. And, the only programs we watched together were Sesame Street, Electric Company, and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. By the time my daughter was four, she was reading proficiently, knew her numbers, and was writing love letters to me. We had a schedule for watching, so it was home schooling at two.

She learned easily, because everything was in soundbites, graphs, charts, letters, numbers, songs, and a neighborhood of animation. We laughed and sang, counted and learned all about our happy neighbors. Numbers flashed, tiny snippets of stories were told, then back to repetition for the letter and number for that day. All three of my kids are still singing those songs. This was the method I used to teaching my pre-school scholars.

So, why am I telling you all this?

Because this body of work is a manifestation of how that generation of children now think… In soundbites graphs, charts, daring to try new things, not their parents’ wine enthusiasts, etc.. They’re on their own with wine, and this book speaks VOLUMES to them (as well as for me for references).  It’s great for visual learners, too.

  • Wine Basics
  • Food & Wine
  • Grapes & Wine
  • Wine Regions

Just an example, so you guys get on board with this one… so easy to read and enjoy. In teaching, a really great teacher reduces something very complex to its lowest common denominator and then builds on that strong skeleton… A chart does that by eliminating articles, verbs, pronouns, conjunctions, objects, etc. Is there any quicker way to learn? A graph also visually just takes numbers to a snippet hieroglyphic.

So, the book, the kites, a bottle of wine called Confero by Aberrant Cellars. [One of our Diaz Communications clients, which is why the familiarity with this wine company.]

Why did I use the Aberrant Confero bottle?

Confero Defined (Latin)

  • bring together, carry/convey
  • collect/gather, compare
  • direct/aim
  • unite, add

This bottle of wine and wine book are both intended to do exactly that.

  • bring together, carry/convey
  • collect/gather, compare
  • direct/aim
  • unite, add

Yeah, you’re going to really enjoy this book, wine book lovers, wine writers, teachers, librarians, sommeliers, novices, and pros… It a book of the times.