Publication: Los Angeles Magazine
Title: California’s Renegade Winemakers Are Pouring Weird, Wonderful Wines
Los Angeles Magazine highlights the Garagiste Festival founded in California. Andy Herman gives a brief background about garagiste producers and how the image of these producers has changed over the years. In California, these producers are being celebrated yearly at the Garagiste Festival which celebrates its eighth year in 2018 with events in Paso Robles, Solvang, Sonoma and Los Angeles. These micro-wineries are making everything you can imagine in California, from Tannat to tempranillo and many focusing on the biodynamic or natural wine styles. Andy discusses a few of the characters that are behind these funky wineries as well. Learn more about the founder of the Garagiste Festival here.
Title: Wine Reviews: California Pinot Noir
Isaac Baker tastes through trade samples of California Pinot Noir and rates his top picks. All are from the 2014 and 2015 vintages. He highlights two wineries, Carmel Road from the Central Coast and La Follette from the North Coast. All of the bottles reviewed are under $60 including a few pinots for under $35.
Publication: On the Trail
Title: California Clarity – Part II
K&L Wine Merchant’s head buyer is on the trail again and this time he’s staying in-state to traverse the wineries of California. This article is the second of a two-part series highlighting California producers. In part two, David travels to Sonoma to catch up with Bibiana González Rave. He tells the story of Bibiana, a Colombian woman who moved to France to learn about viticulture and enology and ended up working harvests at some of the top chateaus in Bordeaux, throughout Burgundy, Northern Rhone, and South Africa before she put down roots in California. Now she is making cool-climate style wines in Sonoma at affordable price points that are receiving praises and big scores from wine critics.
Publication: Seven Fifty Daily
Title: What Wineries Are Learning from Mystery Shoppers
Wine tourism in California is a business that generates over 7.2 billion a year according to the Wine Institute. Wineries and tasting rooms are starting new initiatives to evaluate and improve the customer experience so they can capture more of that spend. As many retail stores and restaurants do, these wineries have started using mystery shoppers to get a better idea of the type of experiences they currently offer.
This article discusses how mystery shopping works in the context of a Napa-based agency called WISE. Wineries hire WISE to conducted various evaluations using mystery shoppers. The director of business operations at wise explains that “mystery tasters are used as a coaching tool and not as a weapon.”
Publication: The Washington Post
Title: How an 80-pound Goldendoodle helped build a California wine brand
The Washington Post tells the story of a California-based winery, Smith Story Wine Cellars. The couple began their winery with funding obtained through a Kickstarter campaign. Eric and Alison Smith-Story have an adorable golden-doodle that has gained a huge following on Instagram. They noticed an opportunity to build a brand with the help of their golden-doodles’ follower and did so with the Lord Sandwich Red.
They also decided to use this bottling to give back by starting a charity called Socks for Sandwich where they couple donates socks to a charity with each bottle sold. Look out for other Smith-Story labels where they source grapes from not only California but also bottle wines from Germany and plan to start working with producers from Austria and France in the future.
Publication: The Times
Title: Wine review: treasures from the Golden State of California
Will Lyons talks about his recent trip to Northern California last September, just before the wildfires hit. He says that producers were optimistic about a great harvest during his time there in September. While the wildfires were devastating, 85-90% of Napa and Sonoma County’s grapes were harvested before the fires hit. Lyons says the wildfires won’t hold him back from drinking California’s 2017 vintage explaining “I’ll certainly be buying more of their wines in 2018, and I urge you to do the same.”
Publication: Napa Valley Register
Title: Grape growers report early Napa County bud break
Unusually warm weather in Napa has enabled early bud break in parts of Napa Valley. It is mostly occurring in the southern Carneros area which is usually one of the first harvested regions. Early bud break is affecting certain varietals like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay which are expected to have bud break before other varietals, but in some areas, experts say that even Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t too far from bud break. If a cold wave enters the area, bud break can be delayed, but that won’t reverse the bud breaks that has already occurred. Growers now have to be on alert about potential frost risks while the buds are vulnerable. The lack of rain in the area coupled with early bud break will present growers with problems this harvest if rain doesn’t come.
Publication: Wine Enthusiast
Title: Top Five Pinot Noir Vineyards in California’s Anderson Valley
Wine Enthusiast brings to light the top five vineyards in Anderson Valley, California for Pinot Noir. These are cool-climate, independent vineyards that supply wineries for site-designated bottlings. These five sites are considered the best for Pinot Noir in terms of delivering high-quality grapes and bringing a “taste of place” to their wines. Ferrington Vineyards, the biggest and oldest of the sites, that some say delivers bright fruit and floral notes. Next, Charles Vineyard’s inland location brings warmth that translates to full bodied and rounded wines. The rugged, hilly vineyard of Morning Dew Ranch is divided into ten blocks with different clones, rootstocks, slopes, and exposure. Valentin Vineyard is a very small site that sits at 1,200 feet elevation which some say gives deeper colored wines with earthy characteristics. Lastly, Savoy Vineyard found at the deep end of the valley has protection from harsh elements and gives wines with blue fruits and a hint of herbs.
Publication: Napa Valley Register
Title: Petite Sirah: Delicious wines from an underrated grape
The Napa Valley Register takes a look at petite sirah, the grape’s history and relevance in the California wine world. Bob Ecker explains that petite sirah is a cross between Peloursin and Syrah which was brought from France to California in the late 1800s. The grape had long been used as a blending grape until the 1960s when Concannon Vineyard became the first winery in Californian to make a varietally labeled petite sirah. Now there are various producers making petit sirah in the state, these inky wines are powerful and concentrated. Ecker introduces his favorite of the variety coming out of California.
Publication: Growing Produce
Title: Report Shows 46% Jump in Certified Sustainable Vineyards
The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSAW) has reported that there are 127 wineries and 1,099 vineyards that are certified sustainable in California. This is a growth of 46% among vineyards and 20% for wineries. The CSAW certified Sustainable program was launched in California in 2010. The CSWA commends California saying, “The commitment to sustainability by California growers and vintners is truly impressive.”