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Lively consumer column

A roadmap to Family Winemakers of California

If you’re a regular at the annual Family Winemakers of California tasting being held on September 9th from 3:00 to 6:00 PM at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion then you probably have a game plan for navigating a tasting of this size. If you’re new to the game or if you’re a bit overwhelmed just by the idea, take heart, help is on the way. I spend a big chunk of my time attending wine tastings. Each year I taste about 5,000 different producers from every winegrowing region in the world. Here in California, I not only spend time visiting wineries, I jury several regional wine competitions which helps familiarize me with smaller producers including many of those pouring at Family Winemakers whom only sell their wine directly to consumers. Like any good quarterback, I always have a game plan lined up before heading out onto the field. I invite you to piggyback on my research and use this list as a guideline to some not-to-be-missed wines by California’s best and brightest. The real beauty …

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California wine bar chain opens in Hong Kong

Wine bars aren’t new to the metropolis of Hong Kong but the concept behind California Vintage, a California-themed chain of wine bars slated for expansion in mainland China, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan, has struck a chord with locals and ex-Pats alike. Located on Wyndham Street, a chic enclave in Hong Kong’s Central District, California Vintage features the wines of 22 California family winemakers and serves up 90 wines by the glass. Chief Branding Officer Susan Darwin who resides in San Francisco said the concept sprang from a desire to raise the profile and demand for California wine in Hong Kong and offers customers a “high-tech, high-touch experience.” The company opened its flagship operation in January and introduced comparative wine flights, a form of service that is commonplace in the U.S., to an eager audience in Hong Kong. The operation also emphasizes food and wine pairing and serves an expansive menu of small-plate California cuisine paired with specific varieties and wine styles. “We’re marketing a California lifestyle,” said Darwin “with a holistic concept that makes a …