"Integrity wines, the Watsonville based winery celebrates a
new milestone this winter with the release of their
2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains."
“...It takes a village to create exceptional wines from vineyard owner to pickers to sorters to crushers to barrel toppers to
winemakers to bottlers
and finally the one that enjoys the wine.
We at Integrity Wines want to celebrate the
whole experience and our love for wine
with fellow wine enthusiasts
and the community. We are dedicated to producing wines that are tasty and
reliable year after year,
and we’re happy to add the
2016 Cabernet Sauvignon
to follow that ideal,”
said [owner] Mark Hoover...
To read more about Watsonville's newest winery, visit my feature, Integrity Wines.
Initially started as a jug winery in the 1920s, guests would come to Guglielmo Winery to refill their wine jugs. Some would take it home, but many stayed and made a day of it at the winery. It was a time for the locals to enjoy a picnic, catch up on the social scene, and relax together.
Things tend to come back in style. The refillable wine jug, or Growler, is popular again. And why not? It's convenient, and eco-friendly.
Angelia Guglielmo (Customer Relations & Business Development) is 4th generation Guglielmo. With roots deep in the Santa Clara Valley, the staff are quick to point out that the family started the winery in 1925 and “Guglielmo Winery is the oldest, continuously operating, family owned winery in Santa Clara Valley.”
Along with making wines, the focus extends to guest services and the winery experience.
The Guglielmos produce their Italian-focused wines to go along with food and
celebrations. The wines are much more acidic, low in tannins, with little oak. About half of the wine spends four months in oak barrels, imparting much less oak than many local winemakers do.
The winery offers a touch of Old World family charm just miles from the Silicon Valley Tech hub. So if you're looking for a venue, the first step, naturally, would be to stop in (or schedule an appointment) for a taste of the Guglielmo heritage.
From their tasting room:
Wine styles come and go,
but the Guglielmos have stayed true to their family's style of winemaking.
It takes a great deal of grit and grace to be making wines for almost one hundred years.
A toast to your family & all those your love!
Visit my feature on Martin Ranch Winery, thoughtful & enticing wines.
If you're tired of visiting wineries that are overcrowded and overpriced,
it may be time to seek out a new wine region.
Here are 3 wineries you can add to your Spring wine jaunt!
The Camino wine region may not be the most popular destination in wine magazines, but it's definitely worth a look! Rucksack Cellars' owners, Maggie and Paul Bush, keep busy crafting wines from local fruit. Rucksack's sister winery, Madronia Vineyards, is just up the road.
Paul is winemaker for the two wineries. It sounds like a big job, but it has its advantages. Sometimes, as people, there are two side to us. The loud and the quiet. The zany and the thoughtful. At Rucksack, Paul has more room to explore, be adventurous and experimental. At Madronia, the wines are made with a focus on tradition and consistency. He has the best of both worlds!
The Rucksack tasting room (Link) is heading into its third year and open seasonally. Assistant winemaker, Ryan Wright, told me that with over 70 wineries in the area, it's a fun wine region to explore. Local touches can be seen around the winery.
Holly's Hill Vineyards
As my car climbed the hill to the vineyard, I could feel a sense of anticipation. This Placerville winery was higher in elevation than I'd expected. Holly's Hill Vineyards grows and produces Rhone style wines. The lean wines and hilltop vistas made me feel as if I was tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Here you'll find Roussanne, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Viognier, and their signature wine, Patriarche, to name a few. Carrie and Josh Bendick are the winemakers, producing wines from their 24 acres of grapes for their club members and tasters from the Tahoe and Sacramento areas. The winery (LInk) has been crafting wines, and participating in the El Dorado's annual Passport weekend for 17 years.
With their penchant for Rhone wines, Holly's Hill is part of the El Dorado Rhone Rangers; a collective of vintners who promote Rhone varietals. There's a niche here. The winery's higher elevation allows local and visiting fans to enjoy Rhone style wines—which typically aren't found in the Foothills.
The wines were paired with flavorful small bites.
Lava Cap Winery
Lava Cap is iconic. Each time I've tasted in the California foothills, people say, “Have you been to Lava Cap? While Lava Cap makes notable wines, they also are home to a very special geological site.
Emmett Jones, part of the vineyard team, spoke about the land. Lava Cap sits on one of the few areas in the Sierra Nevada Foothills with volcanic soils. Bedrock runs along the contours of the ridge of the vineyards (Link.)
This makes for organic, highly nutritious soil. From erosion comes fine wines. Beautiful things can come from struggle.
It takes a team to produce Lava Cap's smooth wines, from soil to bottle. Jean Jones is the founder of Lava Cap Winery, and the Grandmother. She daily walks to the tasting room and enjoys a glass of wine. She's a warm and charming woman, and looking at her, she's an example to me. Pioneering a winery, and still daily making time for people and a touch of wine.
Charlie Jones, vineyard manager, focuses on sustainable vineyard applications. Being a family business, Noreen, wife to Charlie, was chatting with guests during my visit. Winemaker, Joe Norman, has been at Lava Cap over five years. He's the one to thank for the style of the wines—artfully fruit forward, layers of flavor, and gracious.
Emmett shared how his grandfather was a geologist and his grandmother was an avid bird watcher. The Lava Cap name and logo is a winsome merging of their interests.
These are the kind of wines that deserve sitting down with a glass,
giving them my full attention.
It's a great time to plan a few Spring wine jaunts.
These wineries are off the beaten path, and may be your next favorite.
Here's to your next discovery,
Wine tasting in Corralitos?
Nicholson Vineyards serves wine among the apple & oak trees...read about my visit.
From tractors to corks, this year's North Coast Wine Industry Expo (WIN)
offered attendees a toolbox of leading wine industry trends and information.
Hosted in Santa Rosa, attendees chose sessions on up and coming wine practices,
walked the Trade Show floor, and mingled with others in the wine industry.
Ultimately, the California wine industry is all about putting a better glass of wine in your hand.
Here are a few highlights of the day...
Behind the Bottle...a look at who pours your wine.
Have you ever been tasting and found a great wine you liked? Often, it's not just the wine that you liked. The winery's staff, its vibe, and the customer service can all enhance the tasting encounter.
Behind the bottle, the tasting room staff need to be on task and
offer guests the best possible wine experience.
Before they pour into your glass, noteworthy staff are themselves poured into thru training.
The Investing in Staff Training session offered insightful ideas for winery management
and for employees. Keys that can be applied to any industry.
For Winery management, here are a few Take-Aways
For Winery Staff, here are a few Take-Aways:
What else do wineries desire of their employees? A good work ethic. It's hard to fake that!
Luxury. “Where need takes off to want.”
Eric Guerra, from Vineyard 29 (Link) was kind enough to chat with me via phone,
while waiting at the airport for a flight. He lead the Luxury Wine Session.
Eric has a broad arch of experience in the Luxury Wine world.
His common theme was excellence!
I asked Eric what he thought about the Bay Area luxury wine market.
He's tasted some of the greatest wines in the world, including wines from Ridge Vineyards in Cupertino. Eric mentioned that Ridge proved to him
“the (Bay) Area can make some of the best wines in the world, if done right.”
If you're a winery/owner wanting to tap into the Luxury Wine market, remember:
The concept of luxury is just that—a concept. It is 100% Perception. It's a feeling that becomes a reality in people's thinking. Eric shared if there's a Pinot Grigio for $12 and one for $25, people often feel the more expensive wine has to be better! And many consumers want "better."
Does Anybody See Me? Getting your Winery Noticed.
Mike Blazac, from Balzac Communications and Marketing (Link.)
was one of the speakers at the What Wine Writers are Looking For session.
He too chatted with me via phone. (A big thanks to your guys!)
For wineries, how do your guests find you?
And what kind of winery content are you offering your guests? Wine fans, more and more, look beyond the classic brochure to other content forms:
your web site, your winery blog, social media, event write ups, and features by influencers.
Help your customers find you:
And my own personal tip...make sure your winery's web site content/info is accurate and up to date. It's handy for your customers and also those featuring your winery.
For more info on the WIN Expo, visit their link.
The jewel like liquid you sip and savor has a history.
From vineyards and production, to marketing, and operations.
You may be surprised to hear some of the singular ways
your favorite California winery goes out of their way to craft your preferred wines.
So cheers to the whole team of people behind the bottle, and to those getting the word out.
Here's a look at more Wine Jaunts beyond the Bay Area.
Cheese, wine, and chocolate are a friendly trio.
With so many delicious wine and food options,
keeping it simple over the Christmas and holiday season is ideal.
Cheese and wine make for a great starter, or dessert course.
Chocolate and wine, especially red wines, are best friends.
Aged, hard cheeses can be served along side wine and chocolate.
Cheese & Wine Pairing tips for the holidays
...and for 2019!
Brie & Bubbles.
Serve Brie with dry Champagne/sparkling wine. The yeast of the Champagne elevates the
musty-ness of the Brie. Expand the flavors with dried Slab apricots.
Try a Santa Cruz Mountain Champagne style wine...Equinox Wines (link)
locally crafts some of the best sparkling wines!
Pinot Noir & Bleu d’Auvergne.
Sharp and creamy, blue cheese is notoriously good sprinkled over grilled steak.
The tangy cheese pairs classically with a dried cranberry, walnut, spinach and bacon salad.
A Pinot Noir with a bit more body elevates these foods.
Go for a flavor explosion and add dates, honey, and dark chocolate.
Try Morgan Winery's Pinot Noirs (link.)
Chardonnay & Comte'.
One of my new favorite cheeses, Comte'
is produced in large wheels, up to 85-100 pounds.
Enjoy hints of stone fruit, toasted nuts, and cream.
Wrights Station Vineyard and Winery offers 3 local Chardonnays to choose from (link.)
Enjoy a Late Harvest Zinfandel (dessert wine) or Port with dark chocolate.
Try Storrs Winery's Late Harvest Zin (link.)
Or tuck into a glass of Merlot with chocolate cake.
Go for a cool weather Monterey County or Santa Cruz Mountains Merlot.
Bargetto Winery's 2016 Merlot, Santa Cruz Mountains, would be spot on with the cocoa flavors (link.)
Cheeses of Europe
hosted a cheese and wine pairing at the WBC.
Recently my lactose intolerant friend was in Portugal.
Being the gracious guest she is, she ate the local cheese and was fine!
But once back at home, she had difficulty with chain grocery store cheese.
I find that “cleaner” foods (natural, un-mucked foods) work better for our bodies.
Cheeses of Europe served cheeses that were from specific regions,
aged with natural methods, and made with natural, whole ingredients.
Qualities that make for an excellent product.
For recipes and cheese tips, visit Cheeses of Europe.
So find a local cheese producer or look for European cheeses made with all natural ingredients.
You may have success with that...and get back together with cheese!
Pair with Bay Area wines and celebrate the season.
Cheers to your Christmas season and to the love of cheese, wine, and chocolate!
For more flavor profiles, visit my Nose & Palate page and taste away!
Join me at California Wine