Donum Estate offers a break from the on-going virus madness?

Here’s an opportunity to soak in the sun and feed your soul. Thanks to Glodow Nead Communications for alerting me with the following press release.

The Donum Estate, who crafts award-winning wine, has received permission from the County of Sonoma to allow guests to tour the more than 40 museum-quality sculptures by world-renowned artists installed on the estate’s 200 picturesque acres. This marks the first time that the public, with a reservation, will be able to explore the estate’s extraordinary collection as a standalone experience.

“We are thrilled to reopen and welcome guests back to our property,” said Angelica de Vere Mabray, chief executive officer of Donum. “Everyone is so eager to get outside and experience something new and inspiring, and our one-of-a-kind art collection fits the bill perfectly. We are prepared and excited to open our gates and share the Donum collection in this beautiful, safe, outdoor setting.”

The Open-Air Sculpture Walks will be guided by one of Donum’s experienced hosts for groups of six or less and can be combined with other groups. The estate will be open for the walks by appointment only Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $50/person. Donum’s members are allotted one complimentary visit for up to four people. No wine is to be consumed onsite, but Donum’s highly acclaimed portfolio will be available for purchase to take home.

Recently acknowledged in Wine Spectator as one of Sonoma’s top 50 producers with impressive, consistent 90+ scores, Donum continues to be a sought-after single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producer sourcing exclusively from Estate vineyards in Carneros, Anderson Valley and Russian River Valley.  

For more information and to book a tour please visit www.thedonumestate.com.

I agree with Wine Spectator, the wine is excellent.

Here’s my interview with Donum Estate’s Director of Hospitality Maggie Stains, who I interviewed last year for an event they were offering. She explains the artwork and how they came to rest at the estate.

Scroll further and you’ll see some photos of the sculptures and a video I shot  during my visit last year. In the video you’ll see Maggie among the chimes of Doug Aitken’s site specific commission entitled Sonic Mountain (Sonoma).  But believe me, the many eye catching pieces are best seen in person. These days we can all use a peaceful walk among the sculptures.

 

Donum Estate

The Tasting Room at Donum Estate

Donum Estate

“The Care of Oneself” – Elmgreen & Dragset

Donum Estate

“Deux Bacchantes” – Wim Delvoye

 

 

“Soma” – Subodh Gupta

“Love Me” – Richard Hudson

 

Maggie sitting pondside at the vineyard deckhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this second ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) podcast, I feature Ramazzotti Wines & Berryessa Gap Vineyards as I promoted the annual Zinfandel Experience.

Joe and Travis Ramazzotti follow in immigrant Guiseppe’s footsteps growing zinfandel and other Italian varieties. In 2002, they  decided to start bottling their grapes and others from legendary vineyards in Sonoma County as Ramazzotti Wines. I met up with Joe and Travis at Deavola Pizzaria in Geyserville for the interview. Hey, why not drink wine and eat pizza while we talk?

Nicole Salengo, the winemaker at Berryessa Gap Vineyards, fills us in on the important history of grapvines in Winters, California. It’s a warm region but evening winds funneled through the Berryessa Gap cool down the grapes. She crafts a good variety of wines but zin is one of her favorites.  In this interview you’ll find out how this geology loving Vermont gal became a California winemaker.

From Sonoma County to Yolo County, Ramazzotti Wines & Berryessa Gap Vineyards do not share much in common with their winemaking style but between the two there’s something for everyone.

A Wine Uncorked feature is also included.  Stay in, stay healthy and enjoy some wine while you listen. Cheers!

 

Ramazzotti Wines

Joe is on my left, Travis is on the right

 

Ramazzotti Wines

The Ramazzotti Wines tasting room in Geyserville

Ramazzotti Wines

The wine that prompted the interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Berryessa Gap Vineyards

Winemaker, Nicole Salengo

Berryessa Gap Vineyards

Berryessa Gap Vineyards with the “gap” in the upper left that funnels in cool night air.

Berryessa Gap Vineyards

Boxes of Martinez Orchards rootstock that has appeared in vineyards from Yolo County to Napa Valley and Sonoma County.

 

With Nicole in front of their downtown tasting room

 

 

This is a shorter podcast that features the Mount View Hotel and Spa in Calistoga, Napa Valley. It’s an historic, beautifully designed art deco hotel that offers many enticing experiences for their guests.

This interview aired on my radio show last Saturday and I wanted you to hear it in case you’re panning a trip to Napa Valley or Sonoma in the coming weeks. On April 1st, The Mount View is offering a one of a kind experience that combines wine tasting, a film, dinner – featuring one of the performers in the film, and a night’s stay at the hotel. Scroll down to see the flyer for this full day of enjoyment.

If you can’t make it that night keep the Mount View in mind for a future stay. I hope to see you there on April 1st!

 

Young Indie Blue, Michael and Stephanie Woods

The lobby of the Mount View Hotel and Spa

The stylish lobby

The Indie Blue Salon at the Mount View Hotel and Spa

The Indie Blue Lounge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cottage Spa

The Mount View Pool

The Mount View Pool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spa Cat

One of the beautifully decorated rooms

One of their beautifully decorated rooms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each year I have the great pleasure to taste wine from the world’s Top 100 Wineries all in one place. If only Wine & Spirits Magazine’s event was several days so I could taste them all. The local culinary treats are a welcomed bonus.

In this podcast you’ll hear interviews with winemakers from California’s Central Coast, South Africa, Portugal, Slovenia, Napa Valley, and W&S Magazine’s senior editor Joshua Green. The Top 100 wineries gather every October in San Francisco. It’s a must experience event if you appreciate wine and would like to expand your horizons. Pop open a bottle, click play, and join the fun.

If you’d like to see the list of the Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Top 100 wineries while you listen click here.

A fraction of the indoor scene at the Metreon.

The outdoor patio of the Metreon, reserved primarily for Champagne and oysters.

 

Hugh Symington of W. & J. Graham’s Port. I wish I had a bottle of their port that size!

 

Angela Osborne of A Touch of Grace Wine Company.

Owner, winemaker Jerry Seps of Napa Valley’s Storybook Mountain Vineyard.

Andrea , the winemaker at Mullineux & Lees Family Wines.

The annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair

Locals and visitors alike can gather in Grace Pavilion for a two-day wine packed event to toast the county’s hard-working farmers, ranchers, vintners and producers. Sip or stomp your way through the 2019 Sonoma County Harvest Fair, this Friday & Saturday, October 4th and 5th.

The epicenter of the 2019 Harvest Fair will be the Tasting Pavilion, featuring the area’s best wine. Over 100 Sonoma County wineries participating will be pouring over 300 wines. Even the most experienced connoisseur is sure to find a new favorite. The Grand Harvest Tasting ticket offers guests the chance to savor all of the award-winning wine from this year’s Professional Wine Competition and enjoy some small food bites.

To see a list of this year’s winners, click the link below. You’ll see the wineries alphabetically. Scroll down to see how your favorite wineries performed.

2019-Harvest Fair Awards

For the Harvest Fair website click here.

 

 

Recently I spoke with Nancy Light of the Wine Institute by phone to share the news about September being California Wine Month 2019. Click on the interview below and you’ll discover every wine region in the state is offering multiple events, festivals, discounts and more, some relating to this season’s harvest. This is a great time of year to pick a place you may not have visited yet, take a trip and get to know that wine region.

California is the world’s 4th largest wine producer. Now that’s something to celebrate!

Find the map and list of events here. You can search by date or click on a region. Get out on the wine road this month and celebrate California Wine Month 2019!

 

On Friday, August 30th the Russian River Valley Winegrowers present the 2019 Paulée event. No less than thirty wineries will be in attendance, local esteemed chefs, and guests beaming with anticipation. Delicious wine will be poured, delectable food will be served, and stories will be told as all celebrate the harvest season together at DeLoach Vineyards.

The Paulée family style harvest celebration originated in the French Burgundian region centuries ago. This year you can join in this rich history! It truly one of my favorite events of the year.

I sat down with Jeff Colton of Deloach Vineyards and the President of the Russian River Valley Winegrowers, Chris Crispo so you could hear more about the event.

I will be attending and I hope to see you there too!

 

The 2019 Paulée Event

Join us at the table, won’t you?

 

On this podcast we celebrate the Earth, and those who are doing their part it keeping it as livable as possible.

Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd and the Wine Institute is presenting their 8th Annual Down To Earth Month. They’re promoting celebrations throughout the month, across California. You can find more details on my Events page Down To Earth Month Celebrations. You might also want to visit Discover California Wines.

In this podcast you’ll hear my interview with Allison Jordan, the Executive Director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and Vice President, Environmental Affairs for Wine Institute.

I have a brief conversation about sustainable winemaking and vineyard practices with Ana Diogo-Draper, Director of Winemaking at Artesa Vineyards and Winery. Then I talk with C.O.O. and winemaker John Olney of Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs about their April 20th event celebrating organic farming. We’ll also chat about the rich history of Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello as well. I mean, it’s iconic. I couldn’t pass up that opportunity.

Let’s drink some wine and celebrate this big blue marble we call home!

 

 

Down To Earth Month

The old zinfandel vineyard on a fog covered morning at Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs in Dry Creek Valley, Geyserville, CA.

 

 

Earth Day of 2019

The California Wine Institute is celebrating with their 8th Annual Down To Earth month. Throughout April there are events and activities across the state from wineries who practice sustainable winegrowing, winemaking and farming practices. These include producing high quality grapes and wines, protecting the environment, being a good neighbor and employer, and maintaining a thriving, long-term business.

Guests on my radio show, April 13th

I will feature an interview on my radio show on Saturday, April 13th with Allison Jordan, the Executive Director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. Also joining me will be John Olney, the Chief Operating Officer and Winemaker at Ridge Vineyards, Lytton Springs. The discussion will explain sustainable practices, we’ll touch upon some of the 50 events, and you’ll hear about Ridge Vineyards’ celebration of organic farming on April 20th. Both locations, Lytton Springs in Healdsburg and Monte Bello in Cupertino, will participate.

Guests on my radio show, April 20th

On this show you’ll learn about the Slow Wine movement. Very much like the Slow Food movement, it awards wineries and vineyards who make wine and farm sustainably. I’ll talk with Ann Baker of Larkmead Cellars and Ted Lemon of Littorai Wines. Both are featured in the 2019 Slow Wine Guide.

Find events near you

Events have already begun so I wanted to help you get a jump on where you can go to join in on the celebration. Click the map below to be taken to the Wine Institute’s California Wines’ press release about Down To Earth Month. Celebrate Earth Day with wine!

 

Down To Earth Month

Oliver Ranch is a unique 100 acre preserve dedicated to Site-Specific Art.

In 1985, Steven and Nancy Oliver commissioned their first piece. Since then, the Olivers have added 18 works that rise up over the rolling hills of the ranch’s landscape. The most recent addition is Ann Hamilton’s The Tower where commissioned dance, poetry, theatre, and music performances take place. 

Oliver Ranch
You are invited to join the Friends of the Sonoma County Wine Library as we spend two and a half hours
at Oliver Ranch on April 6th. This is a rare opportunity as the ranch is not open to the public. Tours are strictly for the benefit of non-profit groups such as the FOSCWL.
We will meet at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, 300 Via Archimedes at the 101 freeway. We will gather at 9:00 am, leaving for Oliver Ranch at 9:30. Park near the bus. The tour will be completed about 12:30pm. Your ticket includes a wine tasting at Coppola following the tour if you’d like to join us!

Tickets are $100 and are limited to 50 people. This tour will sell out!
We are excited to have you join us for this one-of-a-kind experience at Oliver Ranch!
For tickets please click this link to Brown Paper Tickets.
Please keep in mind there are no bathroom facilities at Oliver Ranch. However, the bus will have one.

 

Oliver Ranch

Proceeds from all tickets sales benefit the Friends of Sonoma County Wine Library, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Your attendance will help us continue our mission to support the Wine
Library and all it has to offer. Thank you!

 

 

In an effort to take you behind the scenes at a wine judging competition I recorded a couple of interviews with fellow judges. This is from the recent 2018 Harvest Challenge wine competition that took place on November 13 & 14th in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, CA. It was an international competition that featured about 900 wines.  Click the play button to hear the interviews, click the Best Of Awards link to see the winners. It’s quite a list!

Congratulations to all who pick up awards!

 

Harvest Challenge Best Of Awards

 

Harvest ChallengeHarvest Challenge

Here are wines that will draw attention at any Halloween party.

Wines for Halloween that need to be ordered:

New to this year’s list is one of two that will also be well received at a Dia de los Muertos party. “Vinos de los Muertos”, or Wine of the Dead, is a red blend dessert wine (a perfect pairing for your haul of Halloween candy), and hails from St. Clair Vineyard in New Mexico.

Next to it is a wine from Bulgaria, which of course, features the region of Transylvania. It’s appropriately called “The Legend of Transylvania V Pinot Noir.” Although, I don’t know which is more scary, the title or the $3.99 price. Both of these wines can be purchased through Wine Searcher. Click on the bottles to be taken to the page. You may be able to have them shipped to receive by Halloween.

The more accessible Wines for Halloween:

Truett Hurst’sBewitched” comes in a nicely designed paper wrapped bottle. You can find it at some Safeway stores or from their tasting room in Dry Creek Valley, Healdsburg. Louis M. Martini’sGhost Pines” has Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot varietals and sells for Around $17. Bogle offers “Phantom” which sells for about $18. There’s Charles Smith’sThe Velvet Devil” Merlot, priced at about $11. The most unique is Concha y Toro’sCasillero Del Diablo” (Cellar of the Devil). It offers a great list of varietals from Chile, yet sells as low as $11. Seven Deadly Zins is the easiest to find but not very special as it’s available anywhere wine is sold.

You’ll be the hit of the Halloween or Dia de los Muertos party with one of these in your hand.

Wine that has Vanished like a Phantom:

The bottle below is one of my favorite labels for this time of year, “Todos Santos,” meaning All Saints. It was a small production wine from Tank Garage Winery in Calistoga, Napa Valley. Sadly, this 2015 Barbera, Mourvedre blend is no longer available. Sorry for the tease but you have to admit, it’s a pretty cool looking label.

 

 

Halloween line-uphalloween-lineup

 

Halloween Line-up

 

 

On this podcast I chat with principles from 5 wineries who have been chosen to attend Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Top 100 Tasting Event in San Francisco on October 9th.

I’ve had the extreme pleasure of tasting (some of) the top wines of the world the past 3 years. It’s a spectacular evening that  includes some of San Francisco’s top restaurants.

The recordings you’ll hear are from past interviews with Jason Drew of Drew Family Wines, Jared Brandt of Donkey & Goat, Cathy Corison of Corison Winery, Eric Sussman of Radio-Coteau, and Jean-Charles Boisset of Raymond Vineyards. No doubt they are proud to have been chosen as the producer of one of the top 100 wines of the world.

Additionally, publisher and senior editor Joshua Green explains the lengthy process of the picking the top 100 wines. Astonishingly, approximately 15,000 wines are tasted!

Below the player you’ll see a teaser from Wine & Spirits about some of the attendees, including local restaurateurs Sondra Bernstein and chef John Toulze from The Girl and the Fig. It’ll be great to see them there this year.

If you can’t make it to the event, pick up Wine & Spirits special Winter issue being released next week, or peruse the Top 100 list online.

Taste with Napa luminaries Cathy Corison, Steve & Jill Matthiasson and Diamond Creek‘s Boots Brounstein.

Louis-Michel Liger-Belair will be pouring his new Willamette wines from Rose & Arrow. And Larry Stone, MS, will share his Lingua Franca Pinots.

Raúl Pérez is bringing his Bierzo and Galicia wines. And Valter Fissore is flying in with his Elvio Cogno Barolo.

Paris Sigalas will offer his single-vineyard assyrtikos from Santorini to match Island Creek Oysters.

And, for the first time, we’re featuring Sondra Bernstein and chef John Toulze from The Girl & The Fig at the Top 100!

This Saturday join me and other fans of Zinfandel for an exquisite afternoon takes place at the ultimate Napa Valley destination for experiencing the world of food, wine, art, and community – the CIA at Copia on Napa’s revitalized First Street. The seated seminar is sold out but you can still enjoy the walk-around tasting of over 20 wineries pouring Napa Valley Zinfandels with paired bites from the talented CIA chefs. Hope to see  you there.

For details and tickets click the link below.

 

Zinfandel: Stories from Napa

On today’s podcast Nancy Light, the Vice President of Communications at the Wine Institute rings me up to discuss the fact that September is California Wine Month. There are over 70 events occurring throughout the state. We touch upon many in the Sonoma, Napa regions as well as a few in other appellations. You just might be inspired to plan a trip around one of the events. I’m parking the car and picking up the phone for this On The Wine Road Podcast.

For a list of events visit DiscoverCaliforniaWines.com

 

California Wine Month

Nancy Light of the Wine Institute

California Wine Month

This over-the-top Paulée event brings winemakers and collectors together to enjoy an elegant multi-course meal paired with wines from winemakers and guests’ personal cellars, including special, limited and rare vintages.  The date is Friday, August 31st at Sonoma-Cutrer. This Annual Paulée features over 30 Premier Russian River Valley Wineries pouring world class Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc.

Click below for my conversation with Sonoma-Cutrer’s Director of Winemaking Mick Schroeter, and Winery Chef Kevin Markey. For tickets visit Russian River Valley Winegrowers. We hope to see you there. Cheers!

 

Paulée event

Kevin Markey

Paulée event

Mick Schroeder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paulée event

Tables from last year’s event at Hop Kiln Winery

Paulée event

A happy crowd with plenty of well crafted wine and food

Join Russian River Valley Winegrowers for an amazing tasting experience of Russian River Valley single vineyard wines. More than 30 wineries will be pouring small-lot, single vineyard wines from the Russian River Valley, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. Guests will dine on delicious appetizers while enjoying single vineyard wines.

This year the event takes place at the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country

My interview with RRVW Board President Giovanni Balistreri and Executive Director Wendy Hilberman is below. I apologize ahead of time. We were drinking Russian River Vineyards Rosé.

I hope to see you there!

Russian River Valley Winegrowers

Single Vineyard Night Single Vineyard Night Single Vineyard Night

 

 

This is one of our favorite events of the year. The wine has been voted the top in surrounding North Bay counties and the chefs who attend are among the most popular. We’ll be there and hope to see you too!  For details click here.  For tickets, click here.

north coast wine and food

Each year, member wineries of the Stags Leap District Winegrowers open their doors for this one weekend, giving visitors exclusive access to the wines, vineyards and people behind this iconic wine region. This year the event takes place April 27th through 29th.

Visitors enjoy unparalleled personal, backstage access to private homes and historic wineries alike. The weekend includes exclusive dinners, private tours, barrel tastings, food pairings, music, and experiences–all set amongst the glorious vineyards and towering Palisades of the Stags Leap District.

Additionally, to further support relief efforts from the recent fires last year, 5% of the proceeds from this year’s Saturday Open House tickets will be donated to the Napa Valley Community Foundation.

Here’s my interview featuring two of the participating wineries and principles; Silverado Vineyards’ G.M. Russ Weis, and Malk Family Vineyards’ owner Brian Malk. You’ll learn about the wineries past and present and hear what they have planned for the weekend. Cheers!

Stags Leap Vineyard to Vintner Event

The limited 2015 Appellation Collection of 17 handcrafted 2015 SLD designated Cabernet Sauvignons each signed exclusively by the vintners

Stage Leap Vineyard to Vintner Event

 

Hello Dallas wine enthusiasts, I will be joining Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards for their wine club event on April 14th at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

Gloria ferrer

Club members are invited to join us. Not a member?  I will be giving two couples a chance to win free admittance to this $75/person tasting event. Yes, there is a catch.

To be eligible I’m inviting you to join my wine community on Patreon. You’ll receive interesting news and behind the scenes content about this world renowned Northern California wine region.

As a subscriber, for as little as $5 a month, my posts will come to you directly. Rewards are also included. Click below for more details and if you join, you’ll be entered to share bubbles with me and Gloria Ferrer at the beautiful Rosewood Mansion on April 14th.

Cheers! Jeff

Rosewood mansion