All posts filed under: Napa Valley

Horizons left to chase: Q & A with One Mind Institute’s Brandon Staglin

Brandon Staglin, recipient of the Mental Health Association’s 2017 Clifford W. Beers Award, has been recognized as the nation’s leading consumer advocate for improving treatment and attitudes toward people who live with mental health conditions. Having recovered from schizophrenia, an illness that affects two million people living in the United States, Staglin is both a role model and an inspiration. He is the Board Director for the One Mind Institute, a non-profit dedicated to funding brain health research founded by Shari and Garen Staglin in 1995, and Director of Marketing and Communications for the Staglin Family Vineyard. In the below interview he talks candidly about his work and life experiences. What would you say to someone who has a family or community member who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia to help them understand that it’s possible to manage and overcome the disorder? Managing schizophrenia can be a challenge, but one that I have been able to meet and succeed at. One of the most helpful things I’ve done toward returning to wellness has been to …

It’s a small world

Microbial fingerprints leave their mark on winery and vineyard sites — and on finished wine.

Riedel celebrates 260 years of glassware expertise

There’s no question that glassware can alter our perceptions of wine. It’s a phenomenon experienced by every resourceful consumer who has pressed a plastic cup into service when a wineglass wasn’t close. While the proliferation of shapes intended to complement or enhance specific wines has been met with skepticism from certain corners, without empirical evidence to the contrary, simply increasing the measure of enjoyment that’s obtained from a glass of wine has validated the practice and the efforts of Austrian glassware maker Riedel. Science has already provided empirical evidence that makes a case for the superiority of wine glasses for the appreciation of wine. Using a thermal imaging technique, Japanese researchers have captured pictures of ethanol vapors volatizing from a wine glass in a ring-shaped pattern, with the area of lowest alcohol in the center. This “donut hole” effect allows for greater appreciation of volatile aroma compounds without the added interference from ethanol. When wine was tested from a Martini or straight glass it didn’t exhibit a ring shaped-vapor pattern, proof enough that wine glasses …

UV Tank Sanitation a Viable Conservation Strategy

A new method for sanitizing stainless steel tanks and barrels using ultraviolet light is finding a receptive audience in California. The BlueMorph technology has been in development for four years and is coming to market at an opportune time. According to founding partner Alex Farren, a biochemist and toxicologist, the method known as Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) uses little or no water, no chemicals and only takes 30 seconds to install. Depending upon size, tanks can be sanitized in less than 30 minutes.

Journey to the west

San Francisco has long been a destination for travelers. Some, like Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, arrive and spend a lifetime realizing their dreams, while others cross the globe for the purpose of sharing their dreams. Croatian-born Mike Ggrich made his way west in 1958 and set the wheels of his destiny in motion when he began making wine at Souverain Cellars. Mike’s legacy is a familiar one, and now, at age 91, the man whose hands made the Chardonnay that helped put California on the map when it won the Paris Tasting in 1976, is a bona fide and well-deserved bon vivant. At a recent retrospective tasting hosted in the newly-renovated Ranch House at his Napa estate, Mike, his nephew and winemaker for Grgich Hills Ivo Jeramaz and daughter Violet seemed as much a part of the terroir as the wines themselves. Together they presented a vertical of Grgich Hills Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 1991, 1994, 1997, 2004, 2007 and the just-released 2010 for almost 20 years of perspective on the vineyard. Grgich Hills Yountville Selection …

Ballad of East and West: A Carneros Wine Alliance Barrel Tasting Reveals Both Sides of this Cool-Climate AVA

  When producers from both sides of the Napa/Sonoma county line that bisects the Los Carneros AVA gathered at Cuvaison for the 30th annual barrel tasting of the Carneros Wine Alliance, Rudyard Kipling’s “Ballad of East and West” came to mind. The AVA stretches east to west and encompasses portions of both Sonoma and Napa counties. Alliance winemakers offered first looks at the 2014 vintage and poured library wines as well. “It’s an exception when we’re representing Carneros,” said Anne Moller-Racke, President and Winegrower at Donum Estate in Sonoma. “We’re usually pouring under a Napa or Sonoma banner.” Read the article here: Ballad of East and West

An Oakville Retrospective: A Look at 19 Vintages of Groth Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

  For the maker, wine requires patience; it seems to mark time at a different pace than much of the world around it. Imagine a chef who had 30 tries in as many years to master a recipe or a musician who plays one performance a year for three decades to master a symphony. For the casual consumer, however, wine is, more often than not, immediate gratification. Read the article here: An Oakville Retrospective

Sprucing Up The Goose: A New Chapter For Goosecross Cellars

“We’re in pop-up mode,” said vintner Christi Coors Ficeli who purchased Goosecross Cellars in 2013 and broke ground on a winery expansion in November 2014. Closing the tasting room during construction wasn’t an option for Coors Ficeli, whose fiercely loyal club members are content to taste her current releases in a single-wide trailer with a view of the construction. “We’re engaging our club members in the next chapter of our winery’s story,” says Coors Ficeli.“When completed, the new winery will have a large patio area devoted to outdoor seating so we can take full advantage of our west-facing view of the Mayacamas.” Read the entire article here: Sprucing Up The Goose

Tools of the Trade

Consumer acceptance of wine packaging other than glass is growing, but fine glassware remains the undisputed tool of choice for presenting, evaluating and fully appreciating wine. While both crystal and glass stemware share space on winery tasting bars, the move by wineries to upscale glassware frequently coincides with the addition of luxury tasting experiences designed to showcase top-tier wines. “We’ re seeing wineries choosing the best,” said Sylvie Laly, director of U.S. winery sales for Riedel, Spiegelau and Nachtmann. “When a winery using our non-varietal specific Riedel glass trades up to the varietal-specific series, tasting room managers can see that their consumers’ experience is being significantly enhanced, and that translates directly to increased sales for the winery.” For Riedel customers, that choice means a baseline increase in cost by about 30%. From the entrylevel Degustazione series, nonvarietal- specific glasses designed for basic wine styles, a 19.75 ounce red wine glass runs $2.99 per stem whereas a varietal-specific 21.5 ounce cabernet/merlot glass from Riedel’s Restaurant series runs $5.95 per stem. Read the full article Tools of …

Rutherford Dust 2010

We’re kicking up the dust once again with the 2010 vintage presented by the Rutherford Dust Society at a blind tasting held at Beaulieu Vineyards’ Rutherford House in July. According to President Davie Piña, the Society is in the last stages of their watershed restoration project which has lessened erosion and reduced disease pressure along the 4.5 miles of riverbank that bisect the AVA. “Rutherford growers have given up eight acres of vineyard to restore the river,” said Piña who was met with a round of much-deserved applause for his pivotal role in managing the project. Across the 18 red wines shown that morning, vintage events in 2010 including cool, grey La Niña conditions punctuated by a severe heat spike and untimely rain during harvest produced a narrower range of styles. The tasting was organized moving clockwise around the AVA from west to east and conditions at Rutherford House were ideal with the wines being given time to aerate prior to the tasting. Read the full article at Rutherford Dust 2010.