Online or In Person - 2016 is the Year to Improve your Wine-Industry Spanish

Online or In Person, 2016 is the Year
to Improve Your Wine-Industry Spanish


Napa, CA --  “Primero moleremos las uvas para vino blanco.”   Effective communications with your Spanish-speaking workers in the vineyard and winery is the goal of a new series of Spanish For The Wine Industry classes that begin online and on-site in Northern California in January 2016. Taught by Josefina K Adriance in Napa, the classes are also now available online via VESTA, the Viniculture Enology Science and Technology Alliance program created by Missouri State University for the grape and wine industry in the USA.  Detailed information on both online and on-site classes is available at


The VESTA online classes offer students the convenience of learning at home or in the office rather than a classroom.  Over the course of 15 weeks, self-paced weekly video lectures are supplemented with a live online class.  This VESTA course, VIN108, can also count as college credit toward a variety of VESTA technical certificates, two year Associate degrees, and Bachelors and Masters programs. 


Classroom instruction offered in Napa features four-students-only evening classes of 90 minutes that meet once a week for 10 weeks.  Small class size assures rapid and individualized learning.  There are two levels of classes available: a beginning class, Spanish for the Wine Industry 1, and an intermediate level class, Spanish for the Wine Industry 2.  The goal is to gain confidence with language skills need to work effectively with Spanish-speaking employees in the vineyard and winery.


Adriance also offers classes on-site at wineries. Over the course of 10 weeks, up to ten students meet on winery premises for instruction for two hours weekly. 


In her classes, Adriance covers basic grammar, as well as vocabulary pertinent to topics including soil preparation, irrigation, planting, pruning, canopy management, disease and pest control, harvesting, crushing and pressing the fruit, winery sanitation, filling out paperwork, safety, and awareness of cultural differences.


"In a profession such as winemaking there are a multitude of technical terms," said Peter Luthi, a Napa Valley winemaker who has taken Adriance's classes.  "Finding the proper translation is not easy.  Adriance's Spanish classes, books and dictionary specifically developed for the wine industry, provide an invaluable resource for anybody involved in viticulture or enology where Spanish is used."


For more information, contact Adriance at or visit the website


                                                               ##  Nov 2015  ##


About Josefina K Adriance: 

A native of Madrid, Adriance earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Spanish. For almost 30 years, she has taught Spanish for the Wine Industry; her clients include some of the most prestigious wineries and vineyards in California.  She provides customized classes as well as interpretation and translation services.  Adriance is the author of several books and manuals:  Spanish for the Wine Industry, English for the Wine Industry, the English-Spanish Dictionary for the Wine Industry, and Spanish for the Hospitality Industry.

Wine Walking in Tahoe City - Put on Your Calendar for June 20th

One of the nicest ways to enjoy the breeze off Lake Tahoe in late June is to stroll the streets of Tahoe City during the annual Wine Walk.

This year's line-up of wineries is really terrific, and my tasting glass is ready already!   If you want to attend, you can get tickets in advance at

Downtown Tahoe City
Here are the wineries you'll have a chance to experience, all in a tidy 6 block walk:

A to Z Wineworks, formerly REX HILL Vineyards, a 25 year old legacy winery in the northern Willamette Valley, is known for their Pinot Noir

Arbios/Praxis Cellars, a small Sonoma County family wine business, is known for their Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Bent Metal Winery, located in nearby Grass Valley, features Barbera, Primitivo, and wonderful blends

Charlyn Zin is showcasing its Old Vine Zinfandel,  Lodi appellation, from a limited production of 10 barrels

NEW TO THE EVENT!  Cline Cellars, a family-owned vineyard and winery in the Carneros region of Sonoma County, sustainably farms and crafts Single Vineyard, Sonoma County, Ancient Vine and California wines.

NEW TO THE EVENT!  CrossBarn by Paul Hobbs, is featuring its Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and its Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Fawnridge Winery is a small, family-run winery and tasting room located in the heart of the Placer and Nevada County wine trails,

HaGafen Cellars brings together the elements of “Old Napa” style so often missing from today’s world of wine.  They produce wines that they themselves drink and enjoy: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, White Riesling, and Zinfandel as well as Sparklig Wines.

NEW TO THE EVENT!  Handley Cellars, established by Milla Handley in 1982 in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino County, produces award winning Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris

NEW TO THE EVENT!  J Vineyards & Winery is an independently-owned Sonoma County winery that focuses on Brut and Brut Rosé sparkling wines, as well as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris primarily from the Russian River Valley appellation. 

Madroña Vinyards, located near Placerville in El Dorado County, makes wines that are a pure and balanced expression of the land.  They have produced a Lake Tahoe Red (Zinfandel) and a
Lake Tahoe White (Chardonnay) for your enjoyment!   (for more information, search this blog for “Madrona”)

Nevada City Winery is a small production high-quality boutique winery located in historic downtown Nevada City, in Nevada County, CA  (for more information, search this blog for “Nevada City Winery”)

Pedroncelli Winery is a family winery that has been making wine in Sonoma County for nearly 90 years.  Enjoy their Zinfandel, white wines, and Rose’

Renwood Winery, located in Amador County, is one of the most respected wine producers in the Sierra Foothills, specializing in Zinfandel, Rhone and Italian varietals.  (for more information, search this blog for “Renwood”)

Single Leaf Winery is the oldest continuously owned family winery in the Fair Play region for over 2 decades!  Enjoy their Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Barbera

NEW TO THE EVENT!  Skinner Vineyards and Winery produces hand-crafted Rhone-inspired wines in El Dorado, in the Sierra Foothills of California. (for more information, search this blog for “Skinner”)

Smith Vineyard produces exquisite wines from a 10 acre estate vineyard is in the Sierra Foothills near Grass Valley. (for more information, search this blog for “Smith Vineyard”)

Sobon Estate and Shenandoah Vineyards are a family owned and operated winery in the Shenandoah Valley of Amador County, specializing in award winning wines that include Zinfandels, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Primitivo, and Zinfandel Port. (for more information, search this blog for “Sobon”)

Tank House Winery is a two generation family winery located in Gilroy, Santa Clara County, CA.,  with a tradition of creating premium wines, each with their own distinctive varietal character.

Twisted Rivers Wines is a winery created by the Heringer Family which has been farming the Clarksburg Delta for over 145 years. After selling wine grapes through the decades to many of the great wineries in California, they now produce a full range of wines from their grapes.

Vino Noceto is a small, family-run vineyard and winery, renowned for our premium Sangiovese wines and located in the Shenandoah Valley of Amador County.  (for more information, search this blog for “Vino Noceto”)

Wilderotter Vineyard is a premier grower and producer of fine wines in the Shenandoah Valley of Amador County, CA.  They are pouring Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, Mourvedre and Zinfandel

A summer treat near Tahoe: the fabulous Wine Dinners at Atlantis Spa Casino in Reno

It is impossible to resist the lure of a wine dinner at the Atlantis Spa Casino in Reno.  One of the outstanding events of my summers at Lake Tahoe has always been to attend one of these dinners.  At only $125 per person, it is one of the best values in wining and dining around -- particularly as a wine lover when you consider the wonderful high quality wines that are served.

In addition to the food and wine, these dinners are a SPECTACLE not to be missed!  The service is exceptional, and I may have mentioned this before in past blogposts.  It is like a well-choreographed ballet, and the servers are as graceful and orchestrated as any performers can be.  All together, it's a treat.

Here's what is ahead for you, if you go.  And if you do go, you will see me there!   Thanks to Tracie Barnthouse, who does a great job with PR for the Atlantis, for the sneak preview below"

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa welcomes Paul Hobbs wines to Atlantis Steakhouse on Tuesday, June 30 at 6 p.m.

The second oldest of 11 children, Paul Hobbs grew up on a farm near Lake Ontario in western New York, but moved west to study winemaking at the University of California, Davis. After working at and consulting for a number of prominent California producers, he started his own label with the 1911 vintage, eventually adding his own winery and vineyard in the Russian River Valley. Paul Hobbs wines produces around 23,000 cases a year of top-notch, vineyard-designated Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Merlot from sites around Napa and Sonoma.

To complement the wines, Atlantis Steakhouse will be serving the following:

Amuse Bouche
Diver Scallop Crudo
Roasted Pear, Pickled Pumpkin, Honey-Almond Coulis, Micro Celery
Paul Hobbs, Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
First Course
Pan-Roasted Alaskan Halibut Cheek
Citrus-Scented Blue Potato Spatzle, Roasted White Peach Compote, Fleur de Sel
Paul Hobbs “CrossBarn”, Rose of Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Second Course
Earl Grey Tea-Smoked Arctic Char
Hazelnut-Quinoa Salad, Cranberry Gastrique
Paul Hobbs, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Third Course
Lavender-Pepper Crusted American Kobe Strip Loin
Olive-Strewn Couscous, Wood-Grilled Black Fig, Natural Jus
Paul Hobbs, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Fourth Course
Carpaccio of Bison Loin
Cocoa Oil, Smoked Walnut Salad, Flash-Roasted Wild Berries
Vina Cobos “Bramare”, Malbec, Lujan de Cuyo, Argentina
Strawberry Tiramisu
Grand Marnier Soaked Lady Fingers

Dinner is $125 all-inclusive. Reservations are recommended and can be made at 775.824.4411.

About Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa is a world-class AAA Four Diamond resort destination, nestled at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and ideally located in the heart of Reno’s restaurant, shopping and entertainment district. Atlantis is the only resort connected by a Sky Bridge to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, and boasts Reno’s only Concierge Hotel Tower. Atlantis is just minutes away from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, downtown Reno, pristine area golf courses and is a half-hour away from Lake Tahoe. Guests enjoy complimentary airport shuttle service, free valet parking and acres of convenient self-parking. Recognized for luxurious accommodations, eight award-winning restaurants, 10 captivating bars and lounges, a world-class spa and casino-wide action, Atlantis has all the options and amenities to suit your needs. For more information please visit or call 800.723.6500.

STILL THE KING: Steve Bjerklie writes about Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Name a specific region and a specific wine that sum up what quality American winemaking is all about. If you say “Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon,” you will be in agreement with most people, I’ll bet.

Other areas and wines are making a claim to be definitive for American wine — the elegant Pinot Noir produced in Oregon’s Willamette Valley; Washington state’s rich, luscious Syrah from the Walla Walla region; and the delicious Riesling from New York’s Finger Lakes — but California’s Napa Valley remains the most famous winemaking region in the United States, and its primary wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, is still king.

This is due in large part to the marketing genius of the late Robert Mondavi. Napa had produced great Cabernet in the distant past, notably from the Inglenook and Beaulieu wineries, but when Mondavi opened his own namesake winery in Oakville, Calif., in 1966 after a tumultuous partnership with his brother Peter at the Charles Krug winery, he sought to give the Napa Valley the same cachet as held by France’s famous Bordeux appellations. And to a great extent, he succeeded.

Robert Mondavi
looking pretty determined!

Indeed, the argument can be made that Mondavi succeeded too well. Even before the advent of so-called “cult” Cabernets in the 1990s, prices for upper-end Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon were generally higher than for any other American wine, and a good portion of those prices was generated by the Napa Valley mystique Mondavi had created and so effectively marketed. (Interesting trivia sidebar: Did you know that Robert Mondavi and Bob Dylan were both young children in the same town? It’s true, and that town is Hibbing, Minnesota, not exactly the heart of rock and roll or the wine industry!)

But the cult wines took things to a new level. After capturing the hearts, minds, taste buds and flowery pens of influential critics, including Robert Parker, these wines competed with the most expensive French Bordeaux. They still do. A quick Internet check finds a single bottle of 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Screaming Eagle, which Parker’s Wine Advocate publication awarded with a perfect 100-point score, available at for a bargain $2,399.95. A 2011 Pritchard Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Bryant Family Vineyards is available at the Mister Wright wine shop in Manhattan for $600. Vinfolio, another online wine retailer, offers a bottle of 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Colgin Cellars for $495 and a 2010 Madrona Ranch Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Abreu for $575.

I’ve had an occasion or two to taste a couple of these cult wines, and personally I find them overdone, overblown and most definitely over-priced. They remind me of blockbuster superhero movies: take away all the flash and special effects, and you don’t have much of a story, really. To my taste, these ultra-high-end Napa Valley wines fail in wine’s most basic job, which is to accompany food. They are just too rich and dense, and generally have way too much alcohol (15%, even higher, isn’t uncommon for these wines) to accompany anything but themselves. No thanks.

But that’s me. Cult wines have cults for a reason. I just don’t belong to any.

Fortunately, there are plenty of less expensive Napa Valley Cabernets from numerous producers that are complex and balanced and will deliciously accompany steak and other Cabernet-friendly goods. I love the Cabernet made by Randy Dunn at Dunn Vineyards. Not only are Randy’s wines as graceful and beautiful as Ingrid Bergman, they don’t carry the high alcohol that the cult wines generally do.

Silver Oak is another reliable Napa Valley producer of wonderful Cabernet. Same with Stag’s Leap, Cakebread and Spottswoode. You won’t go wrong with a Robert Mondavi Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, either. And good old Beaulieu Vineyards still makes a superlative Cabernet under its Georges de Latour designation.

None of these wines cost anything close to the cult wines, but they’re not cheap. A bottle of Dunn, if you can find one online, runs $80 or more. The Mondavi will be in the neighborhood of $120 and a Stag’s Leap will be in the same territory — but then, it was a Stag’s Leap Cabernet that knocked the priciest French Bordeaux on its butt at the famous Paris Tasting of 1976, so they’ve earned extra cred.

Steak and Caesar and Napa Cab: Yum!

For me, a good Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a special occasion wine. I’ll buy one every once in a while and put it away in the cellar to forget about for several years. When the occasion’s right I’ll bring a dusty bottle back up into the light, pull the cork and share it with people I love over a good steak or simple Caesar salad. (Try it: Cabernet matches wonderfully with a Caesar.) It’s like bringing a work of art to the table for everyone to admire and be inspired by.

There may still be a lot of marketing razzmatazz driving Napa Valley’s reputation, but there’s a lot of good wine behind it, too. Robert Mondavi was not wrong about that. At its balanced and well-aged best, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is still the definitive American wine. I would never pass up a glass. Would you?

Guest Blogger Steve Bjerklie notes this about his love of wine:

Steve and his gal Polly
enjoying the New Hampshire
snow at Tuckerman's Farm
"I grew up in Mill Valley, Calif., just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. My mom and dad enjoyed wine with dinner nearly every night, and together as a family we explored the wine country of Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Monterey counties, the Sierra foothills and the San Joaquin Valley. I became acquainted with European wines in my early 20s when I toured western Europe on a bicycle for three months. Later, back in the States, I grew to love wines from Oregon, Washington state, Virginia and New York in addition to my old favorites from California. My wife and I moved to New Hampshire in 2007 to assist my aging father, who had retired here. We fell in love with the Upper Valley, North Country and White Mountains Region almost instantly, and now live on a small farm in Dorchester, NH, with several goats, rabbits, chickens, ducks, three rambunctious dogs and one regal cat. A fledgling apple orchard on our property will one day produce great cider and applejack, we hope. Thanks for stopping by.

This article was first published in The Upper Valley ezine:

Bunting Wines - Tasty Rhones in Calaveras County

Strolling around Murphys last weekend, I wandered into the tasting room for Bunting Wines.  I hadn’t been to Murphys for a while, and needed a refresher on the Calaveras County wine scene.


Bunting is a welcome addition to the cluster of tasting rooms in Murphys on and near Main Street, and I thoroughly enjoyed tasting through a few wines with Garrett Neeley, the young and amiable tasting room manager.


Bunting specializes in Rhone varietals and their offerings are all the classics you’d expect:  Grenache, Marsanne, Syrah, and a GSM blend.  A 2009 Muscat Canelli is their first dessert wine Garrett noted that their most consumer-popular wine was their Syrah, and it is a nice not-so-tannic wine,  and is at the upper end of their price range at $42 a bottle.


Scott Neeley
Tasting Room Manager
My favorite was their 2012 Red Blend GSM, which they call a Cuvee’ Rouge.  The grapes are sourced from Vallecito (not far from Murphys) and the blend is 44% Grenache, 44% Mouvedre and 12% Syrah.   It is really yummy, and at $32 the bottle, it is a good value in my estimation.  Alcohol is 14.2%


Bunting uses primarily grapes from the nearby Sierra Foothills vineyards in and around Calaveras, in particular their own Pyshon Vineyard which is just over 6.5 acres in Vallecito.  Mourvedre, Grenache, Marsanne, and Roussanne vines were planted in 2004, using French ENTAV clones.  Grapes for the Syrah come from Flicker Oaks Vineyard in Mokelumne Hill,  Calaveras County, managed by Steve Collum.


Rich Gilpin, owner of Lavender Ridge Vineyard in Calaveras County, has served as a consulting winemaker.  I personally love it when that happens … it is so much a part of the sharing-expertise tradition of Sierra Foothills wineries, and a wonderful attribute of wineries in this California wine region.


The Bunting Winery tasting room is located at 397 Main Street.  Open seven days a week from 11am until 5pm.   They also offer wine by the glass on Friday and Saturday evenings from 5pm-7pm.


For more information, go to

Best California Wine Event of the Summer: The Barbera Festival

Ever since the Wine Institute put me on their wine writers list, I get invitations to all kinds of events from all over the state.  My favorite is the Barbera Festival, held each June in Amador County.  I'm looking forward with anticipation to this year's festival.  If it's not already sold out... you should go!  Tickets are sold at for $50 general admission and BRAVO FOR THIS! $30 for Designated Drivers.

This year, the fifth one, the festival moves to the historic Terra D'oro Winery/Montevina Vineyards in Plymouth.   Saturday June 13 is the date.

The organizers call Terra d’Oro Winery/Montevina Vineyard  "the original home of barbera in Amador County."   It is located at 20680 Shenandoah School Road, Plymouth.
All proceeds from The Barbera Festival benefit the Amador Community Foundation.

“Terra d’Oro is one of the fabled vineyards in Amador County’s distinctive barbera tradition,” said co-organizer Brian Mueller of the new venue.  “With its beautiful meadow spotted with ancient oaks tucked among Terra d’Oro’s hillside vineyards, everyone will have a little more elbow room. We look forward to continuing a barbera tasting tradition like no other in California.”

Miller, who coordinates the participating wineries for the Festival and is the proprietor of Amador 360 in Plymouth, reports that, “as in previous years, we will host nearly 80 wineries from all over California, including the Sierra Foothills, Paso Robles,Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake County, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Ventura County, Lodi and the Bay Area.”

"All of us here at Terra d’Oro are VERY excited to host the 2015 Barbera Festival!” said Jeff Meyers, Terra d’Oro Vice President and General Manager. “We are long-time supporters and producers of this very important Italian variety and feel privileged to be the host of this prestigious event and can’t wait to get started on it!"

Barbera-friendly cuisine for the Festival is provided by top area restaurants and caterers, including the prestigious Zagat-rated Restaurant Taste, local favorite Incahoot’s BBQ, premier Andrae's Bakery, the "fiery" tastes of Wood, Fire & Smoke, and more.

Barbera originated in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. In California, over 7,000 acres of barbera are planted. Louis Martini, produced the first varietal barbera in Napa in 1954. Today, nearly 200 California wineries produce barbera wines.

Sacramento’s internationally distinguished wine expert, Darrell Corti, explains, “The history of barbera in Amador County begins at Monteviña in 1971. This variety was one of the first ‘new’ varieties to the County commercially planted by Cary Gott at his new winery called Monteviña. The first vintage in modern times, if not the first ever, was in 1974. There is no reason why Amador County growers, several generations from now, could not look with pleasure on their ‘old vine’ barbera vineyards much as they now do with their old vine zinfandel vineyards.”

Barbera is known for its generous acid structure and low tannin levels producing a smooth wine that pairs well with food.  Barbera styles range from bright flavors of tart cherry, raspberry, and spice, to riper styles evoking flavors black cherry, blueberry, blackberry, and vanilla.

Tickets include admittance, wine tasting and commemorative wine glass. Food, provided by top restaurants and caterers, is sold separately.  Beer and white wines are also available for purchase. Free parking is provided.

Easter Traditions Call for Celebratory Libations

What do flying bells, exploding carts and circus acts all have in common? Easter.
Around the world, Easter traditions vary from religious to a bit unusual but they all end in celebratory libations.  Here's a quick look at international Easter customs and their shared wines.

France: "Joyeuses Pâques:” Flying Bells and Chocolate Fish

Like many families, patrons of Maison Louis Jadot observe the tradition of the “Ringing of the Bells.” As the story goes, church bells stop ringing on Good Friday to “fly” off to the Vatican in remembrance of the crucifixion and return to rejoice by ringing on Easter morning. The bells arrive with decorated eggs and chocolate fish, known as Poisson d’Avril, for the children. The adults celebrate with a glass of wine, most likely from the Burgundy region. Our Easter wine suggestions comes from the house of Louis Jadot, a well-known Burgundy producer and America’s #1 French selling wines:

Louis Jadot: Puligny-Montrachet 2012v (SRP $76.99) – A distinctive, yet delicate wine with notes of fresh fruit and vanilla that carry on to the palate and culminate in a lingering finish. This wine is pairs well with lighter meals and cheeses.

Louis Jadot: Pommard2011v ($64.99) - A masculine full- bodied Côte de Beaune red with a fruity depth of character and earthy aromas and flavors. This wine shows well with lamb, complex beef dishes, pungent cheeses.

Italy: Exploding Carts in Florence-“Scoppio del Carro”
“Scoppio del Carro,”or the explosion of the cart, is a 350 year-old Florentine tradition. Legend has it that a young member of the noble Pazzi family raised the Christian flag in Jerusalem during the First Crusade of 1099. For his bravery, Pazzi was gifted with three flints from the Holy Sepulchre. During Easter, Florentines celebrate by lighting a cart on fire to distribute around the city for families to relight their hearths on Easter morning to symbolize new life. Our Tuscan Easter Wine Suggestions are

Tenute Del Cabreo: La Pietra Chardonnay di Toscana(SRP $36.99)- This Chardonnay has rich, intense aromas and flavors that are velvety, complex and balanced, with notes of spices, vanilla and butter. It pairs well with white meats, fish and aged cheeses.
Tenuta Sette Ponti: Crognolo Toscana (SRP $-34.99)- ItThe wine has a fruity, spicy bouquet and ripe cherry and berries on the palate.  It is a lovely companion to full-flavored meats, game and roasts
New Zealand: The Circus Comes to Town

In New Zealand, Easter occurs during autumn. Kiwi families celebrate by attending the Auckland Easter Show, which features thrill-seeking rides, circus shows, art exhibitions and a wine show. The Craggy Range Winery serves as a benchmark ambassador for the high quality of New Zealand’s wines. The wines produced are bright, juicy and perfect for any celebratory occasion. Our Kiwi Easter wine suggestion includes
Craggy Range: Te Muna Road Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (SRP $21.99)- This wine shows richly expressive aromas and flavors of fresh lime, lemongrass, ripe nectarine, and citrus. Overall, the wine is powerful, crisp, clean and dry. It pairs well with aperitifs, seafood and poultry. 
Craggy Range: Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir (SRP $45.99)- This dense yet elegant wine offers black fruit, floral and spice aromas and flavors. The palate is silkily structured with layered fine tannins, culminating in a finish that gradually unwinds, revealing bright red berry and violets. This wine is delicious with poultry, lamb and mushrooms.

Many thanks to Jennica Ossi of Kobrand for compiling this information and providing photos!

Rosé Rising: “Joie de Vivre, Bottled”

Jennifer Hong, representative of Rosée d’Aurore distributor,
visits with Billy Jim Crawford, founder, soon-to-launch Club Botanic,
(an online fresh bouquet service, delivered weekly)
at the Vins de Provence tasting in San Francisco in early March.
Guest Author: Nicole Zaro Stahl

Forget all those old notions about rosé wine—that it’s sugary-sweet, that it’s produced as an afterthought by mixing excess red and white grapes. Au contraire! This frequently misunderstood category stands on equal footing right alongside its red and white counterparts. In fact, today rosé accounts for some 30% of total wine consumption in France, where it was first crafted more than 2,000 years ago.

Americans are catching onto the trend. U.S. retail sales of imported rosé wines have grown by double digits in each of the past 10 years. A substantial number of the imported labels hails from Provence, the romantic landscape of alternating hills, gorges, and lush river valleys that runs 150 miles inland along the sun-kissed French Mediterranean coast.

The largest rosé-producing region in the world, Provence presents a mosaic of terroirs hospitable to the grape varieties most commonly cultivated to give the authentic blush wine its refreshingly crisp, dry taste: Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvėdre, Tibouren, Cabernet Sauvignon. The grape skins are removed before fermentation to attain the characteristic pale pink color and fruity aroma.

In large part, rosé’s surging popularity can be attributed to its versatility. From ski slopes to sailboats, rosé is in demand year-round as an apéritif, accompanying the main meal, or with dessert. The price point is attractive, too: many Provence wineries export AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) vintages that sell for $20 a bottle or less at retail.

Here are three 2014 rosés well worth decanting.

Château d’Esclans was established by Sacha Lichine, son of Alexis Lichine, the legendary wine expert and author of the Encyclopedia of Wines and Spirits. While the domaine’s chalky-clay slopes produce some of the world’s most exclusive rosés, “Whispering Angel” Côtes de Provence Rosé 2014, at $20 per bottle, offers a pleasantly affordable entrée into the highly esteemed brand. Described as a “chameleon,” the 13%-ABV Whispering Angel will compliment any meal, from seafood or steak to barbecue or pan-Asian cuisine.

In addition to its unique terroir of schist and clay soil, Domaine de la Fouquette is known for “green” growing and harvesting practices. The estate’s pale and fruity Rosée d’Aurore Côtes de Provence 2014 boasts intense, complex flavors of citrus. This is the rosé to serve at cocktail hour with nibbles of olive tapenade or for mains like bouillabaisse, the classic Provençal fish stew. The 12.5%-ABV Rosée d’Aurore sells for less than $20 per bottle.

The four Brun brothers, the third generation at the helm of Château de Brigue, blended the latest technology (including the use of screw caps) with the agronomic savoir-faire of their engineer father to produce Brigue Provence Côtes de Provence 2014. This entry-level rosé (12.5% ABV), which retails at $13.50 per bottle, offers notes of lemon, pear, grapefruit, and mineral. The fruity, fresh and balanced wine pairs well with fish, seafood, poultry, stews, fresh vegetables, and other Mediterranean classics.

So the next time you’re debating between red and white, think pink instead, and chose a rosé. A votre santé!
About our Guest Author: 
Nicole Zaro Stahl is a professional business writer based in San Francisco who covers food, beverage, technology, distribution, and logistics topics.

Chaddsford Hard Cider Sports Contemporary ACI Screw Cap

for a high resolution version
of this image, please contact

Chaddsford Hard Cider Sports
Contemporary ACI Screw Cap 
on Fast-Growth Traditional Colonial Beverage

Newly launched craft cider keeps its freshness with ACI’s “fizz” screw cap liner

Chadds Ford, PA--
Today’s packaging technology merges smoothly with Jim Osborn’s historical approach to crafting hard cider. Osborn, the winemaker at Chaddsford Winery, the largest and best known in Pennsylvania, evokes a centuries-old tradition with his contemporary rendition of the beverage favored by North American colonists and now embraced in a dynamic revival. The new “fizz” screw cap liner from ACI Cork USA marries well with Chaddsford Hard Cider, thanks to its unique ability to retain fresh crisp flavors while offering ease of consumer opening and reclosability.

Chaddsford’s own history is one of award-winning wine production. A stone’s throw from the famous Revolutionary war site, the Battle of Brandywine, the Winery has steadily established a tradition of locally-sourced, quality wines since its founding in 1982. Osborn was inspired to apply his talent and creativity to hard cider early last summer. He started with 1,000 gallons of fresh-pressed apple cider, which he then cold-fermented and left unfiltered, capturing the pure, simple nature of the fruit. The result is a European-style cider much like that consumed by his forefathers—and a big hit among visitors to both the Winery tasting room and the Chaddsford retail shop in Peddler’s Village, in nearby Bucks County.

Osborn was also drawn to hard cider for pragmatic reasons. Using just Pennsylvania-grown apples, the cidery that provides a key ingredient in Chaddsford’s Spiced Apple wine presses the proprietary blend on demand, with overnight delivery for maximum freshness. The availability of a year-round supply aligns perfectly with Osborn’s plan to produce hard cider on demand as well. “The beauty of it is that I am not locked into a specific season, and I can utilize all the equipment we already have in house,” he comments.

He did have to find an appropriate closure for the 750-ml amber-colored glass bottles selected to represent the product’s brand. While the hard cider is not carbonated, a small residue of CO2 remains in the bottle, requiring a higher level of gas retention than the 60 x 30 ACI screw caps regularly used on Chaddsford wines. The solution is the ACI “fizz” screw cap with an aluminum exterior and a polymer insert with a Saranex liner, the same closure purchased by ACI customers who make sparkling cider and wine. The liner provides a total oxygen barrier to preserve the organoleptic qualities and flavor of the product at the time of bottling. Osborn points out, “I can still use the same capping equipment we use for our wine, but this screw cap offers a tighter seal that gives me a little extra insurance and allows me to sleep well at night.”

Since its debut last fall, Chaddsford has sold 500 cases of Hard Cider from its two retail outlets; plans call for an output of 2,000 cases in 2015. There is interest in launching the product into the Winery’s Mid-Atlantic distribution network, “but we haven’t cemented that decision yet,” Osborn says. As he eyes the multiple attractions of his new product—its lively taste, 6% alcohol by volume, and naturally gluten-free composition–he sees a bright and fizzy future ahead.

The Chaddsford Winery and tasting room are located at 632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, PA 19317, (610) 388-6221. For more information on products from Chaddsford Winery and Hard Cider, go to

# # March 2015 # #

ACI Cork USA, celebrating its 11th anniversary in the United States, is located at 2870 Cordelia Road, Suite 150, Fairfield CA 94534. Telephone: (707) 426-3566.

Valentine's Wines: Steve Bjerklie Writes from New Hampshire

wine-st-valentine-day (2)Your lover wants chocolate, you want wine. Can this relationship be saved in time for Valentine’s Day?
You won’t have to look far to find expert, well-meaning advice saying, yes, sure, no problem. Red wine — especially a dense zinfandel or petite sirah, even a good pinot noir — is a great match for chocolate, or so goes the conventional wisdom. I’m here to tell you, however, that’s baloney. I think red wine goes with chocolate like flip-flops go on a hockey rink: the combination usually proves embarrassing.
So instead of following the crowd, try pairing Valentine chocolate with a good port. New Hampshire state liquor stores usually have a variety of good ports on hand, and the full state wine list (from which you can order online) offers dozens of ports, including some high-end vintage bottles.
True port is a sweet dark wine fortified with aguardente (a grape spirit, though not brandy) that comes from Portugal, specifically the Duoro Valley. If “sweet” and “fortified” don’t seem to you like attractive descriptions for a wine, consider that production of port dates back at least to the 17th century, and across the centuries port makers have learned a very great deal about how to make delicious wine.
Several kinds of port cater to different tastes. Tawny port is aged in wooden barrels, often for decades, and tends to be on the sweet side. It’s usually served as a dessert wine. Ruby port is the most common port and is typically the cheapest; it is not aged in wood but in stainless steel tanks. Vintage port is the good stuff, made only in years that are declared “vintage” by the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto, the official body governing port production in Portugal, based on the quality of that year’s grapes. Vintage ports are typically aged for two years in wooden barrels, then further aged in the bottle for much longer, sometimes as long as 40 years, before they’re released for sale. Indeed, vintage port more than 100 years old can still taste wonderful.
What makes port a good match for chocolate is the hint of sweetness in the wine that’s supported, in the best ports, by subtle, tantalizing fresh fruit flavors. A dark chocolate, not too sweet, captures and complements the port’s sugar. Great port is as complex as a great Bordeaux or New World cabernet sauvignon, but in a completely different way. Just as you wouldn’t pair a cab with ice cream, you wouldn’t match a port with a steak. With port you want a food that complements and enhances the wine’s quiet sweetness and subtle fruitiness without bringing along a clashing acidity or oily fat. Strawberries dipped in chocolate come to mind. So does a really good chocolate truffle with raspberry filling.
A flavor combination I happen to love is orange with chocolate, and so another wine match for chocolate that’s a favorite of mine is dark chocolate accompanied by a glass of Essensia, a sweet dessert wine from Quady Winery in California that’s made with the orange muscat grape. You will find Essensia on the occasional restaurant wine list — it’s available at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT — and in a few well-stocked Vermont wine shops. It’s not on the New Hampshire state wine list, unfortunately.
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COWBOYS, MAPLEWOOD AND SYRAH - Steve Bjerklie writes from New Hamphire


Back in the fall of 2013, a windstorm took down a stately old sugar maple on some acreage we own in Dorchester, NH. I didn’t have a chainsaw just then, so I let the fallen tree rest and dry out for more than a year before cutting it up for firewood. The past few weekends I’ve been at the task, sawing rounds off the trunk and the larger branches, and it’s a beast of a job. The tree, maybe 150 years old, is four feet in diameter at its thickest, and the wood, now nicely dried out, is hard as stone. (It burns great, though.)
While I work the old tree on a chilly gray afternoon, I like to think about the delicious stew my wife Cindy makes on cold days, a hearty concoction she calls “cowboy bean.” It’s amazing how thoughts of good, hot food can make sawing rounds of heavy trunk-wood in an icy, biting wind much easier, especially when those thoughts include a wine that is one of my favorites. For there’s nothing better with cowboy bean stew than a great big syrah.
Syrah is the basis for the elegant, complex red wines of the northern Rhône region in France. It can also be made into a fruitier, much simpler wine, as cheap shiraz (as syrah is called there) from Australia demonstrates. In the United States, syrah (not to be confused with petite sirah, which is a different grape altogether) tends to be denser than light Australian shiraz but is usually not as multi-dimensional as the best Rhônes.
There are exceptions, though. My favorite American syrahs come from Washington state, particularly the Walla Walla Valley. There, the hot, dry summers and cold, sometimes bitter, winters and the rocky, volcanic soils stress syrah vines just enough to concentrate an abundance of flavors into the grapes. Indeed, the region has attracted several French-born vignerons in addition to a new generation of young winemakers. The highest-end Walla Walla syrahs — those from Cayuse, Spring Valley, Sleight of Hand, Trust Cellars, Long Shadows and SYZYGY, among others — are all but impossible to find in the eastern U.S. outside of a tiny handful of exclusive restaurants, though it’s very much worth trying to get on mailing lists for these wines. However, excellent Washington syrah is widely available under the Columbia Crest label, and the New Hampshire State Liquor store wine list includes terrific Walla Walla syrah from K Vintners and Charles Smith.
This isn’t to say other regions don’t produce fine syrah. Randall Grahm, the original “Rhone Ranger,” began growing Rhone varietals, including syrah, in California north of Santa Cruz back in the 1980s. His winery, Bonny Doon, makes a very good syrah called “Pousseur” that’s on the NH State Liquor list. In addition to Santa Cruz and Bonny Doon syrahs, I’ve tasted good syrahs from the Sierra Foothills and the Paso Robles area in California and the northern Willamette Valley in Oregon.
Not to forget, of course, syrah’s ancestral home, the Rhône Valley in southeastern France, which produces some of the finest wines in the world. Syrah has been grown there for wine for 2,500 years, and across the millennia the French vignerons have learned a thing or two about how to make great wine from this wonderful grape. If you see the word “Cornas” in large type on the label of a French wine, snap it up. That sub-region of the northern Rhône produces, arguably, the best syrah anywhere. With Cornas in your glass, you are in for a truly special wine experience. This beautiful wine would certainly pair well with Cindy’s cowboy bean stew. Even a Frenchman might say “Mon Dieu!” to the match while a maplewood fire warmed the room.
(Steve Bjerklie is a writer who works from the Half Pint Farm in New Hampshire.  This column first appeared in online magazine, in January 2015)