Happy Holidays and New Year! My gift to you, a story featuring Taylor of Serres Ranch. She’s an ambitious 5th generation family member who loves to share the story of their nearly 100 year old ranch. She does so with guests while introducing you to their wine in the middle of the vineyards. I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of the experience as I did.
However, winemaking is just part of the many endeavors the family at Serras Ranch has embarked upon over the years. Growing blueberries is crop they also farm, and since the berries are available, why not make wine out of them? Ya, no kidding. They sell Bleusé!. You’ll hear about the wine grape they use to blend with the blueberries. Details about the other ventures they’re involved with await you. Did I not mention the spa? You’ll hear about that too. Click the Play button to join me in the Serras Ranch vineyard with Taylor.
This is where you’ll sit when you enjoy their Cabernet Sauvignon with Taylor
And this is how you’ll get there
This is why the call Sonoma Valley, the Valley of the Moon
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This podcast features the segments from my radio interview with Fabiano Ramaci of Mora Estate. I’ve had Fabiano on my show before, but I felt it was worth repeating. The Sonoma County winemaker has imported Italian varieties to craft an incredible Valpolicella (Valp0) in the ripasso style, and a Valporone, an appassimento made in a method that dates back to ancient Rome. In a sense he has brought Italy to California. Aside from that, he hand paints each bottle he produces! Try wrapping your head around that one. You may have seen his colorful wines on the shelf. If not, take a look at his Trio package below.
Click the arrow below to hear the story of this impassioned winemaker.
I’ve taken the trip to the San Francisco Wine School a number of times in the past to expand my wine knowledge while enjoying a selection of fine varietals. Heading into “the city” is something I enjoy.
Since I’ve been impressed with the classes and tastings I have attended at the San Francisco Wine School I thought you might find it an appealing option as well. They offer so many workshops, programs and events there’s bound to be one that appeals to you. So I sat down with co-owner, Master Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator David Glancy a couple of weeks ago for this interview, and it gave me the chance to ask…what led him to opening the school.
From the January 2022 class featuring Australian Shiraz
The different Shiraz wines we tasted. And yes, they were fantastic!
When you see this banner on Grand Ave in S. San Francisco, you’ve found the school
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This is THE event of the year! What I like about this year’s plan…each Sonoma County wine region will be in its own area. You can simply walk from one to the other to enjoy the best each region has offers. Over 90 wineries will be on hand! I’ll be there and hope to see you – Jeff
Soak up the sun and enjoy the bounty that Sonoma County has to offer in one immersive day. General admission to Taste of Sonoma includes a walk-around wine tasting, food trucks, themed lounges and more!
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Haven’t decided on the wines you’re going to serve this year? Here’s a list from VinePair that will help get your juices flowing, so to speak. It features some California favorites and thought provoking international brands.
Whatever wine you choose, I hope it accompanies a safe and
lively family or friends get-together.
Click the image for the list.
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I don’t know about you, but I find it fascinating when a Roman shipwreck of the past delivers its forgotten bounty through modern discovery. This story further emphasizes the wine trade between ancient civilizations. A previous discovery is included in this article as well. – Jeff
A Roman shipwreck dating back nearly 2,000 years has been discovered off the coast of Sicily, Italy. Through an operation led by the environmental protection agency ARPA Sicilia, in partnership with the Superintendency of the Sea (SopMare), researchers are working to uncover the history of the ill-fated ship.
Soon after its discovery, a high-tech remotely operated vessel dove 92 meters (302 feet) below the Mediterranean Sea to explore more. There, the robot found a “large cargo of amphorae” in and around the shipwreck, according to a statement from ARPA.
Typically made with a slim neck and handles, ceramic amphorae were favored by the Romans for transporting wine and other food products across the empire with ease and efficiency.
“The Mediterranean continually gives us precious elements for the reconstruction of our history linked to maritime trade, the types of boats, the transport carried out,’’ Valeria Li Vigni, expedition leader from SopMare, said in the statement. “Now we will know more about life onboard and the relationships between coastal populations.’’
This isn’t the first such high-profile amphorae discovery
In 2013, researchers uncovered a Bronze Age shipwreck carrying between 6,000 – 8,000 amphorae. It was the fourth-largest cargo to be found in the Mediterranean and solidified historical presumptions about the wine trade between ancient civilizations.
photo: IONIAN AQUARIUM
Archeologists continue to uncover historical evidence along ancient Rome’s vast trade route, from remnants of Middle Eastern spices to chipped Grecian vases. The catch: these items must be located and taken in by authorities before they make it onto the black market.
On this podcast I feature Seghesio Family Vineyards & Shadowbox Cellars. Winemaker Andy Robinson and Sonoma County’s Seghesio Family Vineyards are celebrating 125 years of grape growing this year. Seghesio is one of the few that made it through Prohibition and continue to this day.
In comparison, owner Justin Preiser’s Shadowbox Cellars is in its infancy at 11 years of winemaking. His fairly new tasting room in downtown Napa was the first wine entity granted an outdoor space, the parklet, during this covid era.
Seghesio Family Vineyards and Shadowbox Cellars are producing outstanding wines and offer enjoyable experiences. Justin’s Salt and Acid Pairing is nearly one-of-a-kind, utilizing a gourmet food item paired with his aged wine. To hear more details about the Salt and Acid Pairing you’ll just have to listen to the podcast. I’ll tell you this, it was surprisingly tasty.
Hit play to join us under the ancient trees in Healdsburg, and streetside in Napa.
While the Napa and Sonoma Vintners organizations are incredibly supportive to their winery members and their communities, covid-19 has required an even greater response.
The Napa Valley Vintners and Sonoma County Vintners are helping to promote the creative and necessary ways wineries are reaching out to the wine loving public. In some cases, they’re presenting their own virtual tasting sessions.
In this podcast, I talk with the President and Executive Director of the Napa Valley Vintners, Linda Reiff, and the Executive Director of Sonoma County Vintners, Michael Haney. These interviews were conducted to coincide with my previous post “Wineries Battle the Coronavirus Blues.”
As you’ll hear, there is no elitist attitude from either of these executives, despite the fact they run organizations in two of the world’s top wine regions. They’re pleasant, down to earth people. Many winemakers, growers and owners are the same way. As I’ve said before, that’s what I love about the wine industry.
Keep listening until the end. You’ll hear promising news that was released as I was finishing up the podcast today. We may be seeing you soon on winery patios. That’s all I’m going to say about that right now. Can’t ruin a good content tease.
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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.
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.
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I’ve known these guys at Kokomo Winery over five years now. Winemaker Erik Miller was on my first show back in October of 2013. Winegrape grower Randy Peters was kind enough to by my guest every other month a couple years ago when I presented a feature called From Bud to Bottle. And as you’ll hear, my wife and I belong to their wine club.
When I heard they achieved a perfect 100 point score in the North Coast Wine Challenge, I was thrilled for them. Like a friend would be. Sure, it’s not quite the same as receiving 100 points from some international wine critic but when you consider the wineries entering are from six of the most respected wine regions in California, well that’s sayin’ something.
By the way, I knew that wine was special the first time I tasted it, before the award. I remember the moment. It’s sublime. A true representation of the nectar of the gods. Here’s your chance to find out how they did it.
Randy Peters (left), Erik Miller (right)
The winning 2016 Pinot Noir
The Kokomo Winery Tasting Room at Timbercrest Farms, Dry Creek Valley, Healdsburg, CA
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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.
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The name Mondavi is synonymous with wine in California, and across the globe for that matter. Riana is a 4th generation Mondavi and is a brand ambassador for CK Mondavi and Family. In early March I had the chance to sit down with her and their winemaker, Charlie Gilmore.
We met at the Sonoma County Wine Library, a true library rich with books on wine history as well as educational resources. There were a few people studying nearby so it may seem like we’re talking in hushed tones. It is a library, after all.
During this podcast we’ll discuss their 75 year history, their decades long relationships that help maintain their incredibly low prices, and keeping the brand relevant with the current generation.
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When I attended Wine and Spirits Magazine’s Top 100 Wines Tasting event in San Francisco this past October I had the chance to meet Chris Phelps, the associate winemaker at Inglenook Estate Winery. I jumped at the chance to do an interview with Chris. We finally made that happen in December. You may not realize this but Inglenook was one of the first estate wineries in Napa Valley, founded in 1879 by Finnish sailor (and early entrepreneur), Gustave Niebaum. Following its sale in the mid-60s the winery’s quality and reputation suffered. Enter Francis Ford Coppola. Through his love and decades of painstaking efforts the winery is once again an internationally respected estate and remains a Napa Valley icon. This is its story.
As you’ll hear in this podcast, David of Ramey Wine Cellars is well known by most in the biz. His name came up three times in the last few months while talking with other winemakers. A lot of wineries have tapped into his knowledge by hiring him as a consultant. I’ve also heard he doesn’t hold back his opinions. Those spring forth concerning a bit of a controversy he’s in the midst of here in Sonoma County. Meet the winemaker who utilizes old world methods with modern innovations…when necessary. Here’s David Ramey…
Photo compliments of Mark Spivak
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Hear how a ski trip to Chile, which turned into a three-year adventure, inspired Randy Ullom to take his appreciation for wine and make a career out of it. Eventually, he would join Kendall-Jackson, travel the world, and make what has become the number one selling Chardonnay in America for 25 years in a row. You’ll hear about Randy’s career and learn about Jess Jackson, the maverick winery owner who took the world by storm.
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Since a 2010 discovery of a winery in Armenia near the village of Areni, it is known that winemaking dates as far back as 6,100 years. Mesopotamia has also been considered to be one of the earliest winemaking regions. Now researchers have discovered traces of wine in terracotta jars in a Sicilian cave dating back to the fourth millennia BC, which is also about 6000 years ago. That means Italians have been making and drinking wine much longer than previously thought, which was suspected to be the first millennia BC. With this recent discovery some historians argue winemaking could go back as far as 10,000 years. It didn’t take long for early humans to craft the elixir of the Gods, did it?
This is an image from the Armenian discovery released with the UCLA/National Geographic press announcement. The ancient-winery study was led by UCLA’s Hans Barnard and partially funded by the National Geographic Society’sCommittee for Research and Exploration.(Photo credit: Gregory Areshian)
In celebration of the upcoming National Pinot Noir Day, on August 18th, here’s some Pinot trivia for you.
What inspired the French to call a grape variety Pinot Noir? You might know that noir means “black” in French, but what does pinot mean?
The pinot noir grapes are smaller and come in tight clusters. To the French centuries ago it looked very much like a pine cone. Since the grapes are darker than other varieties the word black was also attributed to them. Hence the name Pinot Noir. I guess they could have gone with Pinot Cône Noir, which does roll nicely off the tongue, but Pinot Noir is sufficient.
Whole cluster Pinot Noir in the bin following sorting during the 2015 harvest, Russian River Valley
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I read that Garrett of G. Love and Special Sauce is a fan of wine and that his sister imports Burgundian wine for a distributor in New York. This gave me a good reason to set up an interview prior to a show at the Fillmore in San Francisco a while back. I’ve been a fan for many years and it was very cool to spend some time with him. We talked wine, music and family. After the interview he asked if I wanted to hear a song he’d been working on called “Drinkin’ Wine.” It was a great start to an extraordinary evening.
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The Swiss spend just over $492 per person on wine every year, reports MoveHub. The main reason is the price of wine is a few dollars more than other European countries. As far as consumption is concerned the Swiss are the 6th biggest global consumers of wine per capita drinking the equivalent of 53 bottles per year. That’s behind the French in 4th place but well above Germany (16th) and Spain (30th). The U.S. is also far behind at just 10 1/4 bottles consumed per year per capita. The Vatican continues to top the list drinking just over 72 bottles of wine each year. Think of all the visiting dignitaries and sacramental wine consumed in an area less than a square mile.
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