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!

 

 

As a “Friend” of Sonoma County Wine Library I’d like to invite you to attend our 30th Anniversary which includes the Legends Event. Author/journalist Linda Murphy will moderate a panel of 5 of Sonoma County’s respected winemakers. You’ll certainly hear some great stories during the evening.

You’ll meet Meet moderator, author Linda Murphy, David Stare of Dry Creek Vineyard, Bob of Bob Cabral Wines and Three Sticks Wines, Ana of Keller Estate, David Ramey of Ramey Wine Cellars, and Richard Arrowood, the founder of Arrowood Winery and now Amaploa Creek Winery. The wines of the panelists will also be on hand for you to enjoy and a silent auction where you can bid on magnums, vineyard tasting experiences and other tempting offerings.

Click the photo below and I hope to see you on Tuesday the 26th!

 

Sonoma County Legends

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

This dynamic event offers an extraordinary immersive opportunity for wine enthusiasts to taste incomparable wines, visit acclaimed vineyards, meet passionate vintners and growers, and experience the welcoming community spirit of the Sonoma Valley wine region. Top vintners and growers include Hanzell Vineyards, Ram’s Gate Winery, Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery, and many more.

I focused on Signature Sonoma Valley on my radio show that aired 3/24/18. The audio is below. I interviewed winemaker Joel Peterson, best known as the co-founder of Ravenswood Winery, and Steve Sangiacomo from the longtime wine growing family in Sonoma Valley who are just about to launch Sangiacomo Wines. You can get their perspective on the weekend and maybe I’ll see  you there Friday, April 6th – Sunday the 8th  Click here for more details and tickets for Signature Sonoma Valley.

 

Signature Sonoma Valley Signature Sonoma Valley

Sunday, March 11th, McEvoy Ranch’s “garden gal,” Kyli Rose, will be hosting a succulent workshop where attendees will make their own arrangement and learn about propagating, designing, and caring for succulent gardens. The workshop will start with a tour of the Ranch, which will include the gardens and the family’s succulent collection, and along the way, Kyli will share tips for growing and propagating succulents. The workshop will then move to the Ranch’s beautiful greenhouse where Kyli will explain design elements for succulent arrangements, as well as care and maintenance of the plants. Then, attendees will get to create their own arrangement to take home. To conclude this delightful afternoon, they will enjoy a flight of wine and taste of olive oil at the Ranch’s tasting room. Try their wine too. It’s very nice!

1o:30 – 1pm. $85

 

I rarely upload a full episode of my radio show but I’ll do it for this post as it promotes ZinEX 2018. I’ve attended ZAP’s Zinfandel Experience the past 4 years, but have more often opted for the media tasting event that takes place on Thursday of the event week. This year will be the second time I’ve attended the Grand Tasting. And oh, how grand it will be. Over 100 wineries from around the state will be on hand pouring Zin at the gorgeous Pier 27 event space, featuring panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay. For details, click this link…ZINFANDEL

To hear my interviews with Zin winemakers Carol Shelton of Carol Shelton Wines and Randle Johnson of ARTEZIN click the player below.

Cheers!

Vineyards to Villages (V2V) features 23 wineries, 13 restaurants, and 2 hotels raising funds with sales of V2V wine to bring clean water infrastructure to schools in East Africa. As a response to the terrible wildfires, half of the funds raisedwill fund long-term disaster relief efforts for children in Sonoma County that have been most devastated by the fires. The other half of the funds will continue to fund clean water projects at schools in East Africa.

For details on the V2V Wine and Food Safari, and to get tickets, click here.

WHO: The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley, Charbay Distillery, & COPIA host their first annual Wizards of Elixirs Cocktail Competition to benefit families affected by the fires in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties. Originally slated for the Napa Valley High School Boosters program, in light of the current needs of those devastated by the fires, the Boosters are hoping that attendees will give far and large.

 

WHAT: The Wizards of Elixirs, a friendly cocktail competition fashioned in walk-around style at the Culinary Institute of America’s Copia location in Napa, The Wizards of Elixirs invites guests to sample cocktails by 13 of Wine Country’s top bartenders as they vie for the People’s Choice Award and apps prepared by the CIA. After The Wizard of Elixir is crowned, stay for a Halloween costume dance party from 8-11 p.m. Costumes are encouraged but not required.  Light bites provided by the CIA.

For more details, click here.

It’s always my intention to talk with people who make a difference here in wine country. The couple of weeks during the fires it was two of the hard working firemen who traveled to join the fight. I thought it was important to get to  know them as people, not just firefighters. You’ll hear why they fight fires, about their appreciation for our community, and the loved ones they leave at home to save people they’ve never met. It takes an unusually caring soul to make that sacrifice. Capt. Gilbert Miguel of Kings County Fire Department & Battalion Chief Brian Price of Fresno Fire Department took time during their resting period to share their story.

This is just south of the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Just one of the many spots were fire crews had 24 resting periods before fighting another 24 hours. There were so many trucks it wouldn’t fit in one or two photos.