It’s hard to believe that summer of 2012 is upon us, but here we are… so what am I going to do over Memorial Day weekend? I’m sure I am not the only person realizing how close the holiday already is, so here is a list of some of the best activities in Napa Valley that are scheduled between now and Memorial Day.
We hope this list helps your Memorial Day Weekend be the most memorable one ever!!
May 26 – 28 — Robert Mondavi Winery Memorial Weekend Moscato Madness
Celebration: Come join us from 10am to 5pm at Robert Mondavi Winery as we celebrate Memorial Day Weekend with Moscato Madness. Our Moscato Fairy will be on site and treat you with a complimentary taste. You will also receive 30% off Moscato. 7801 St. Helena Hwy., Oakville Fee: Free Time: 10:00 am thru 5:00 pm daily Phone Number: 707-968-2002
May 26 — Tres Sabores movie night and fundraiser
Benefit: Tres Sabores movie night and fundraiser for the Oxbow School showing “My Grandmother” a silent film, accompanied live by the Beth Custer Ensemble. Bring a dish to share, chair and a blanket.$10 from every bottle of Tres Sabores wine sold will be donated to The Oxbow Film Program. 1620 S. Whitehall ln, St. Helena Fee: Ticket prices are $60.00 Reserve Admissi Time: 7:30pm Phone Number: 707 967 8027
May 27 — Wine 101 @ St. Supery Vineyards & Winery
Wine Education: We welcome all who wish to expand their knowledge of all that is wine. We start at the beginning with an explanation of where, why and how we plant, grow and harvest our grapes. Then we move onto the winery, following the grape to wine process, from vineyard to the bottle. 8440 St. Helena Hwy, Rutherford, CA Fee: $25/$20 for wine club members Time: 11 a.m.- 12 p.m.; reservations required Phone Number: 1.866.963.4524
May 27 — Les Violettes Concert @ Grgich Hills
Live Music: Enjoy a classic music concert by Violet Grgich and friends! Call for reservations and more information. 1829 St. Helena Hwy, Rutherford CA 94573 Fee: $25/$20 Wine Club Members (Cheese Festival & Concert $40/$25) Time: 2pm Phone Number: 800-532-3057
May 27 — Sterling Vineyards Greek Festival
Celebration: Not everybody can take a summer vacation to Greece…so Sterling Vineyards is bringing Greece to you with our Inaugural Greek Festival! Join us for this can’t miss event celebrating all things Greek: the wine, the food, the music, the culture, the lifestyle. Event price includes food and wine at the Greek Festival, plus aerial tram, self-guided tour, complimentary tasting of five wines and a souvenir wine glass. Call to RSVP. 1111 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga CA 94515 Fee: $85/$75 Wine Club Members Time: 11:30am-2:30pm Phone Number: 800-726-6136 x1
May 27 — Joan Osborne at Napa Valley Opera House
Live Music: “I knew when the time was right and my voice was ready, I wanted to make a recording like this one,” says Joan Osborne. That recording is Bring It on Home, a collection of vintage blues, R&B and soul songs that make up the seventh album from the Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum artist. 1030 Main St., Napa Fee: $40/$45 Time: 8 p.m. Phone Number: 707-226-7372
May 27 — Sunday Happy Hour: Mosel Rieslings
Wine Tasting: Every Sunday, Back Room Wines pours three very special wines, centered around an ever-changing theme. Sunday Happy Hour is always be just $10, and the wines poured will be on sale for a 10% discount during Happy Hour only. Back Room Wines is pleased to pour three Rieslings from the Mosel in three distinct styles: Kabinett, Spatlese and Auslese. First & Main Streets, Shop 120, Downtown Napa Fee: $10/Tasting. 10% off wines poured. Time: 3-7pm. No reservation neccessary. Phone Number: (707) 226-1378 Toll Free, (877) 322-2576
May 27 — Cheese Festival @ Grgich Hills
Food & Wine Education: Meet local artisan cheese mongers to learn about pairing cheese with wine, plus you’ll get to sample with some wonderful Grgich Hills wines! 1829 St. Helena Hwy, Rutherford CA 94573 Fee: $25/$15 Wine Club Members Time: 11am-2pm Phone Number: 800-532-3057
The reports coming in on the “Wine Harvest of 2011″ are pretty good! There were some patchy weather items, but from the comments being made, it ended on a good note! The additional time on the vines is said to create complex flavor profiles, and there were some who used different winemaking techniques to create port! That’s good news for those interested in Selling a home with a vineyard in Sonoma, or a farm with land in Napa Valley! Here are the reports on the 2011 Harvest:
In some of the Sonoma Appellations, the entire season was seen as a fight. In June there was a devastating rain that knocked flowers off the vines (limiting the amount of fruit that would be produced) and then there were unseasonably cool temperatures. The lower temperatures slowed the growing season from some growers to about 40 days, compared to 60 in an average year. It ended, for many with wet days in October that created a situation that left many with rotted fruit from botrytis.
But what hindered some wineries proved to be an opportunity for others. Zach Long, winemaker for Kunde Family Estate, said after seeing so many acres impacted by rot, they decided to make a limited production of botrytis white in a style similar to the French sweet wines known as sauternes.
“It’s kind of our celebration of detriment,” Long laughed.
He explained that the grey botrytis rot dries out the grapes, drastically increasing the sugar levels to around 40 brix. The wineries stomped 1.76 tons of fungus-infected grapes by foot to keep the fruit more intact, filling two barrels for fermentation. The unique flavor produced by botrytis mixed with the high sugar content creates a sweet wine with a higher alcohol content.
“It’s kind of like port, but you don’t add booze to it,” Long said. Although it’s a popular product, this style of winemaking is less common because so much fruit is required for a small yield of wine.
“It really is a high-end product lots of people strive for,” Long said, adding that it is not traditionally something Kunde offers. But the winery works exclusively off estate grown grapes, and this year, with a 30 percent drop in yield, it was important to salvage as many grapes as possible.
“Years like this are always a big heartbreak on an estate because you can’t subsidize the loss,” Long said. “If you have this challenge from Mother Nature, you might as well take advantage of it.”
While the impact on quantity was immediately apparent, the quality of grapes is yet to be seen. Thanks to the cooler weather, many vintners said the brix did not develop to the levels they were hoping, but the longer hang time on the vine meant the fruit was able to build more complex flavor profiles.
NAPA Valley Harvest 2011 Report
“2011 was a challenging and as well as what I am calling ‘an educational vintage,’ the third in a row,” said Oakville Ranch Winery General Manager Paula Kornell who was born and raised in the Napa Valley wine industry. “What we found this vintage were flavors that developed at lower brix, giving us an opportunity to make truly elegant wines at lower alcohol levels.”
“Harvest 2011–from tears to glory!” is how renowned vintner Tim Mondavi, owner of Continuum capsulized the year and winemakers appellation-wide are in agreement.
One of our favorite events each year gives us the opportunity to dine with four other couples at one of Napa Valley’s finest restaurants with a world class chef and a special menu all our own! During Flavor! the selected Chef will join your table to discuss the local ingredients, and their interpretation on Napa Valley’s bounty. Normally, the wine director stops by to discuss the pairings, which of course highlight the wonderful wines from Napa Valley. It really is a special event!
There are 18 restaurants participating this year in Flavor! Some of our favorites this year are Bottega Ristorante, Bistro Jeanty, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, The Lakehouse at Calistoga Ranch, The French Laundry (can you beleive they have 991 reviews on Yelp?), LaToque, Morimoto Napa and PRESS. The interesting thing about the choices of restaurants is that they speak to all of the wonderful culinary trends here – including Casual dining to “Master” Steak House. (We’re more casual).
The Chef’s involved in these activities include Tyler Florence, Masaharu Morimoto, Almir Da Fonseca, David Funaro, Clint Davies, Michael Chiarello, Michael Chiarello, Michael Chiarello, Cindy Pawlcyn and MANY more. The events are always interesting, and we are especially looking forward to meeting Dean and Deluca’s Wine Director Kerrin Laz who is scheduled to attend the Saturday, November 19th event at the Silverado Resort and Spa hosted by Executive Chef Jeffrey Jake.
All net proceeds from Flavor! Napa Valley benefit the CIA Greystone Campus scholarship programs, which support the development of tomorrow’s culinary and wine education leaders. Who knows what future Ultimate Flavors event they might create (we suggest something with Chinese Fusions!)?
Where: Several locations throughout Napa Valley, California
You can follow these chefs, and the activities planned for the week at #FNV11 on Twitter (of course, I’m @MarkStornetta, your welcome to follow me too!)! Looking for your own vineyard in Napa Valley or maybe you’d like to purchase a home with some land in Sonoma? I’m uniquely tied to this land. My wife’s family owns a vineyard, my educational background and professional experience includes number crunching ( Former CFO and General Partner Glen Ellen Winery), and I’m friends with many of the vintners and growers in the Coastal AVA’s! Call Mark Stornetta while you’re here 707-815-8749
September is normally a big month in California because it marks the harvest season. The Gov. Brown proclaimed it Wine Month, and there are a ton of fun activities planned.
The main event for the California Wine Month will be in San Francisco on September 17th. This wine tasting will include all major wine regions of California. Tickets to the event are $45, and there are a limited number of tickets available. Over 100 local wines with artisinal cheeses and salamis will be available. You can also meet many of the winemakers and growers.
Later this month enjoy the 114th Harvest of the Moon Festival in Sonoma, September 23-25. Since 1897 the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival has been celebrating the Sonoma Valley’s bounty, community, and local culture. California’s oldest festival, this Sonoma tradition takes place the last full weekend of September in downtown Sonoma’s historic Plaza. There’s a Parade, there’s a 5k race, there’s Grape stomping… and my favorite, the Firefighter’s Water Fight! Yes folks, we know how to live it up in Wine Country! Check out the Event Schedule here. The video is from last year’s event!
For many of the Tourist heading to the Sonoma Wine Country Labor Day Weekend Bonanza from San Francisco, the first winery you might encounter is Ram’s Gate Winery. Located just across the Golden Gate Bridge, Ram’s Gate hopes visitors heading out of the City to Wine Country will be anxious to have an upscale wine and food experience when it opens mid September (Unfortunately, not in time for the Sonoma Wine Auction).
The winery is located on Highway 121, in the former 22,000 square foot Roche Winery. They are building the wine tasting room in a structure that was once a Barn at the crest of a hill in the Sonoma Carneros region, directly across from Infineon Raceway.
The Who’s Who list is involved in creating this endevour for owner, Jeff O’Neill:
The designer is recent Robb Report top-tenner Orlando Diaz, who did Masa’s demure decor. Screaming Eagle and Meadowood Resort architect Howard Backen is creating the structure, complete with open-air courtyard, grand tasting pavilion, open kitchen, fireside lounge, tasting suites and an underground dining alcove next to the barrel storage.
The selection available will include both single vineyard wines and portfolio wine created onsite. Reportedly the small case wines will be sold exclusively at the vineyard, and through the vineyard website and wine club. They expect the price per bottle to fall between $25 and $75, with all of the grapes coming from Sonoma County and the Carneros Appelation.
The website says:
If you’re the type of person who loves the idea of sampling fine wines and fresh locally sourced cuisine in beautiful surroundings, then consider this a warm invitation to Ram’s Gate Winery. No matter how much you happen to know (or want to know) about wine, we have designed Ram’s Gate with you in mind.
There’s no hint of a menu mentioned, but it is known that they will be offering “Farm to Table” food pairings with some of their private wines, tasting menus and they eventually plan to add hands on cooking classes. The head Chef, Jason Rose, came from Delfinia in San Francisco. This Italian Restaurant has a history of being the “Best of the Best” Italian eateries in California!
Living in Napa Valley Wine Country during June means you are probably going to be outside, at a festival or wine tasting event. Think of it as a month long picnic, with all of your friends, and some of the best wine and food in the WORLD!
Here are some of the activities in June, 2011 that I’m looking forward to!
Auction Napa Valley June 2—5, 2011 – Put on by the The Napa Valley Vintners, it’s four days and dozens of parties, ranging from blue-jeans casual to wear-your-finest formal, each hosted by the people behind some of the world’s most recognized wines. More than 250 auction lots, yours for the bidding – from a single case of wine to trips offering experiences not available anywhere else. So far this event has raised over 97 million dollars for health, youth and affordable housing non-profits.
Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa, June 10-12 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Folks will be camping out for this event! Visitors will be treated to outdoor entertainment of all descriptions, performed on six different stages, along with aromatherapy demonstrations and market stalls, information about Ecology and Healthy Living will be right next to Art!
Annual Walk Through the Vineyards – June 11, a charity event raising funding for the Napa Valley Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. This walk is around 2 miles / 3 km in length and takes in some beautiful vineyard scenery along the way
Robert Mondavi’s Birthday Celebration June 17 – we will celebrate the 98th anniversary of Robert Mondavi’s birth with Margrit Mondavi and winemaker Genevieve Janssens, Wine Enthusiast’s Winemaker of the Year. In honor of Robert Mondavi, with every new “LIKE” received on our Facebook page during June 13th-17th, Robert Mondavi wines will donate $1 to Days of Taste, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating children about the food we eat.
Father’s Day: Father’s Day at Raymond Vineyards June 18th under the trees laughing and having a great time with Dad. Barbequed Chicken and Spareribs with wine! There’s another Father’s Day Celebration on the 19th at V. Sattui Winery and Hall Winery in St. Helena, and Dogs with Dad at Peju Province Winery.
The Cave is one of the little wine bars that make this area so wonderful. It might be a little hard to find, but the food is wonderful, and the wine tastings are usually really nice.
It’s not a huge place – but it’s an intimate setting, and it’s easy to start conversations with folks who stop by. (When I say not huge, I mean the dining area holds like 10 to 12 people) The food is not “processed” but comes from fresh ingredients daily. The burgers there are some of my favorites in the county. They are big, on great buns with cheese that almost drips off!
It’s open until 2am, and I suspect many of their customers come in for a late night snack!
The Cave is located at 524 Broadway in Sonoma, and is near many shops, so it makes for a nice place to stroll on a spring evening! Living in Wine Country has it’s benefits, and The Cave, like many other Wine Tasting Rooms, is one of them! I’m networked with many of the Sonoma Vintners and Growers, and finding little out of the way spots like this is one of my favorite things to do!
If you are interested in living in Wine Country, or purchasing a vineyard in Sonoma, call Mark Stornetta!
Sonoma National Golf Course is one of the jewels of the area, with a rich heritage over it’s almost 80 years. It was the former J.K. Bigelow ranch, and Sam Whiting crafted it into the 18-hole that adds to the historic lore and romance of the Sonoma Valley. It’s a wonderful amenity for the popular Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Spa and Resort in a casual and comfortable wine country setting.
The Sonoma National Golf Club hosted the Charles Schwab Cup Championship from 2003-2009 as the traditional end of the PGA Championship Tour. Now, you often see Large Wedding Parties playing in their own tournament!
Golf Magazine says:
There are no weak holes, and no outrageously difficult ones. No forced carries or Great Wall of China bunkers. Except for one semi-blind tee shot, every hole unfurls in front of you—no hidden bunkers, all tree and rough lines clearly delineated. The golf course will make an honest call on every club in your bag, demanding an array of shot shapes and trajectories along the way.
The greens are subtle. The facts you’ll have to gather to judge break and speed won’t jump off the putting surface like the roller-coaster dips and swerves we so often see on newer courses.
If you are looking for a home near Sonoma National Golf Course, look at this beauty with a producing vineyard! It’s a great place to play, and the homes nearby are wonderful too!
The oldest Military bunkers, sitting right under the Golden Gate Bridge are perfect for holding that extra stash of wine you might be collecting! The Presidio in San Francisco has huge cement walls, that were made for the gun battery.
Several years ago, the Presidio Wine Bunker started leasing out spaces, as small as 4×4 to hold your extra bottles! It was transformed into a wine bunker because it’s an ideal place to store wine with it’s constant temperature… much like the deep caves in Europe.
Built in 1897 to house morter and shells, it’s part of the National Park System. Signs of the past life of 3 wars and the Wild West can still be found there – but deep in the halls that are covered with 24 feet of earth on top with 4 feet of concrete are these wine lockers! It’s wild! There’s no air conditioner needed, and no bright lights.
They are earth quake proof – something that most houses can not boast! Because they are part of a national monument – the bunkers can not be changed or disturbed – so you can’t really “pimp” out your space. It’s a storage closet – not a tasting room. Like I said, the smallest lockers are 4×4 – but most of them are larger than 6 x 8.
When they first opened, it was a fun place for wine tastings outside on the patios with others who have wine in the lockers of Presideo… Recently, I understand that the laws have changed, and you are no longer able to do those there.
If you are looking for fun and unusual places for your wine locker – maybe you should consider purchasing a home in Wine Country! Call Mark Stornetta 707-815-8749 for a personal tour!
Sometimes, people buy a home or build a home in California Wine Country often because they love wine, and often spend their vacations in Normandy, Germany or Italy or California Wine Country. The home styles often reflect Mediterranean and Tuscan styles, and it’s been said that the climate and the landscape of the countryside of Sonoma county is so much like Umbria that you can actually like close your eyes and project that you’re in Umbria when you’re actually in Sonoma and vice versa.
An old ranch can be turned into your dream home, with a six acre vineyard – and it will be ANYTHING but a typical replica kind of house. One couple who moved to Healdsburg wanted their house to look like an old European hilltop home, and were easily able to get the “look” right down to THE IVY COVERED WALLS.
“People said that it’s going to look it’s going to ruin the stucco. Fine let it grow up the stucco. I said I want that old aged look”
Many of the color pallets I see in these homes reflect the earth, and Terra cot ta. It’s an old world feel – with modern elements!
The home shown in this blog post is currently for sale, on Oak Creek Drive in Sonoma. It’s got wonderful views on this 4+/- acre country estate bordering the 8th fairway of Sonoma National Golf Club! Robert Parker 90+ point rated Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard awaits the buyer looking for a wine country family compound – because even though it only has 3 bedrooms… the septic field is there to add on and make it your own, 5 bedroom home!