This just in from Les Martin Executive Chairman for the festival..."Following are the judges which I was fortunate to arrange for this year’s competition." - Great job Les!
Christy Canterbury, MW – Christy is one of seven female US national Masters of Wine and an author, speaker and wine judge based in Manhattan. She also contributes articles to Decanter, Wine Enthusiast, Food Arts, Sommelier Journal and Snooth. She is the Consulting Editor of the book Rock and Vine (February 2013 release). Previously, Christy was the National Wine Director for Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group and the Global Beverage Director for Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges.
Peter Marks, MW – Peter, Vice President of Wine Education for Constellation Brands, manages the Constellation Academy of Wine team, which is responsible for Constellation Brands’ diverse wine education programs. Peter is one of only 30 Masters of Wine residing in America and received the MW title in 1995, when he also became the first American to receive the Madame Bollinger Foundation Award, which is bestowed annually to the MW candidate with the highest blind tasting score.
Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, MW – Jennifer is the fourth woman in the US to ever attain the international title of Master of Wine (MW). She was also honored with an international tasting trophy for her palate and holds an additional 5 leading wine and spirits certifications. She is the author of The One Minute Wine Master: Discover 10 Wines You’ll Like in 60 Seconds or Less and co-author of Pairing with the Masters: A Definitive Guide to Food & Wine along with Certified Master Chef Ken Arnone. Jennifer is also the author and host of five DVD series on wine and spirits.
Great quiz question that stumped me today...
The term Flurbereinigung refers to what?
Flurbereinigung is the post Word War II re-consolidation of land that previously, due to old inheritance laws, divided (what were previously single) German wine estates among multiple owners. Prior to Flurbereinigung, after many centuries this equal division of farmlands among heirs meant that many German farmers owned small non-adjacent vineyard plots, creating a logistic nightmare for accessing and farming those vineyards.
Thanks for the lesson localwineevents.com!
Contributor: Joe Roberts
Visit Joe Roberts's Website
From winespiritsdaily.com on January 8, 2013. Great updates on the industry and some surprising stats in categories you would not expect...
While perusing Nielsen data for the 52-weeks ending December 8, one of the key takeaways we noticed is that price increases in 2012 did not hinder the category's growth. Pricing was up 17 cents for all table wine and still maintained respectable sales and volumes increases of 4.4% and 1.6%, in all Nielsen-tracked channels (plus liquor and c-store).
However, things continued to slow down a bit in the 4-week period despite a stagnant price increase (+19 cents) in both the 13 and 4-week periods. Sales did increase about 3% in the 4-weeks, but that's down from a 3.5% increase in the 13-weeks. Volumes came in at -0.1% in the 4-weeks, compared to a 0.4% growth in the 13-weeks.
For the 52-weeks all wine price segments grew with the exception of the $6-$9 segment, which has been ailing for a while. Sales for the underperforming segment decreased -3.1% for the 52-weeks, and only got worse from there. Sales were at -4% for the 13-weeks and -5.8% in the 4-weeks. Volumes are the same story at -3.1% for the 52-weeks and -6.4% for the 4-weeks. Pricing for the segment remained flat for the year, while most other segments went up a few cents.
All of the wine price segments at $9 and up took dollar share from the segments with an average price below $9, for the 52-weeks. Wines in the $9-$12 sweet spot gained the most dollar share at 1.6%. Wines priced between $3-$6 lost the most at -0.7%.
Wines in the $9-$12 price segment had the best showing in 2012 with sales up 13%, which was outpaced by volumes up 14.2%. We should note, it is also the only brand to decrease pricing for the year at -10 cents.
Wines priced at $20 and above proved the theory that they have the easiest time raising pricing. The segment increased the average price by 59 cents, by far the highest increase, and delivered a 6.5% sales increase and volumes growth of 4.2%.
The growth for pricing segments $12 - $15 and $15-$20 were nearly identical for the year. Sales for the $15-$20 price category grew 7.7%, while volumes grew 7.2%. For the $12 - $15 segment, sales grew 7.5% and volumes grew 7.1%. As for pricing, the $15-$20 price segment raised the average price by 9 cents, compared to the 5-cent increase from the $12-$15 segment.
NAVIGATING THE DISTRIBUTION BUSINESS WITH VISION WINE AND SPIRITS
Vision Wine & Spirits importing company (VWS) has been in business for roughly two years and has already grown to operate in 47 states with eight of its 0wn brands and several agency brands. Some of the most popular include Txt Cellars and Funky Llama wine brands, and John B. Stetson bourbon. Your editor recently sat down with Dan Lasner, managing director at VWS and former executive vp at William Grant & Sons, to discuss VWS's strategy for navigating distribution and retail relationships.
One of VWS's toughest challenges has been getting distributors "to buy into" the company philosophy. Dan says the plethora of new products clamoring for distribution puts a lot of pressure on them, especially large suppliers that require a lot of time, attention and inventory. "That makes it a little more challenging for us."
Dan believes a successful distribution strategy involves more than the relationship with each distributor. "We have to develop relationships not only with the distributors, but with retail and the on and off-trade to help push our products through the system," says Dan. "It helps the distributors do their jobs. "
VWS works with both large chain accounts as well as multiple independents. "When we're talking with retailers we try to find out what works best for them. We're always questioning the retailers in terms of, what's working today, what's not working today, what are consumers buying, what consumers are looking for."
Although he believes distributor consolidation will likely continue over the next several years, he doesn't believe it will add to the challenge. "I think that's always going to be an issue in our industry. We see it in the beer industry too. Going back 15 years ago, there were three-times as many distributors as there are today."
Instead, Dan sees it as an opportunity for entrepreneurship. "At the same time, there are a lot of mid-sized and small distributors with operations that see there is a void and that the big distributors just can't handle everything in the market. As much as there is consolidation, I think there is a lot of entrepreneurship that you'll see over the next couple of years."
So, what are the key trends VWS is hearing about? For one, Dan believes consumers are transitioning from traditional varietals to lifestyle brands. "We see that happening with brands like Cupcake and other categories, so we got into the lifestyles in a very heavy way."
One of VWS's best-selling lifestyle brands is Txt Cellars, billed as a "unpretentious" and "easy to drink" wine. The line includes WTF pinot noir, OMG chardonnay and CYA syrah etc. It was designed to appeal to Millennials with contemporary packaging and the tagline: "The times have changed... has your wine?" However, he says they're finding that the average age is closer to the late 30's.
As for spirits, Dan says there's no question that premium brands are doing well and will continue to do so. He believes better packaging is the way to differentiate a brand in this category. "Better packaging creates better price points," he says.
Going forward VWS will continue to grow the business on a national basis with an eye out for brands that fall under one of their four essential categories: prestige, premium, value or innovation/lifestyle. "The change in the consumer trends are constant and we're just trying to stay one step ahead of the next trend."
BERNSTEIN PREFERS PERNOD TO DIAGEO
As the No. 1 and 2 spirits companies in the world Diageo and Pernod Ricard are in very good standing, currently. However, in a recent note to clients Bernstein Research concluded that Pernod "has a slight edge over Diageo, " at least in terms of investor value. While Diageo has the upper hand in Scotch, especially in Latin America, Pernod benefits primarily from premium cognac in China and future growth from Jameson. "Overall, we have a slight preference for Pernod Ricard given current relative valuation and the fact we believe Pernod Ricard's growth model is perhaps slightly more top-line oriented," writes Bernstein senior analyst Trevor Stirling.
BLACKHEATH EXTENDS PARTNERSHIP WITH ATLANTICO RUM. Blackheath Beverage Group will now represent the Atlantico Rum throughout the US in 2013. Blackheath will serve as the Dominican Republic rum's exclusive sales agency, while Park Street Imports will remain as the exclusive importer.
BEAM ADDS BOURBON AMBASSADOR. Adam Harris, long-standing employee of Beam Inc, has been promoted to the position of bourbon ambassador, North America. As part of the new role he will represent Beam's premium and super-premium bourbon brands through the US. Prior to the promotion Adam worked as Beam's distillery specialist in Austin, Texas.
BUCKEYE VODKA MOVES INTO KENTUCKY. With the addition of Kentucky, Crystal Spirits' Buckeye Vodka will now be available in 35 states through The Party Source. Buckeye retails for approximately $17 a 750 ml and will be represented by Heidelberg Distributing.
MERRYVALE AND STARMONT HIRE NEW COO. Mark Evans will take over as coo of Starmon winery as well as Merryvale vineyards. Mark has 26 years of experience in the industry, most recently as manage director at Negociants/Yalumb USA. Before that he held stints at Kendall Jackson Winery, and Schramsberg & Trefethen Vineyards. In his new role he will be responsible for day-to-day operations at Starmont, focusing on sales, marketing and general management, as well as broad market sales for Merryvale.
Until tomorrow, Emily
"Look for the ridiculous in everything and you will find it."
- Jules Renard
In 2011 the Southern Oregon wine industry partnered with the city & business leaders of Jacksonville, Oregon to facilitate growth of Southern Oregons' World of Wine grand tasting into a multi-day festival. One of the additional offerings last year for the first time ever was a duo of classes open to both the trade & the public focused on wine education. With standing room only in both classes offered last year, the Executive Committee of the event is proud to offer the following four classes this year.
August 23rd, 2012
Morning Session - 930am
The History of the Rogue Valley
Presented by MJ Daspit
Come learn the history of our wine growing region & the varietals that have thrived within it. Discover little known facts about the families and the wines that have brought our industry to where it is in the state of Oregon. While we fill our heads with knowledge, we will be pouring two medal winners from festivals past to sip on.
Afternoon Session - 1pm
A Sensory Exploration
Presented by Dwayne Bershaw
Dwayne Bershaw, Associate Director of the Southern Oregon Wine Institute at Umpqua Community College, will lead the class on how to evaluate & identify wines. He will teach us helpful systems & tools to both identify varietals & flaws in addition to pairing wines with food. Palates attending should be prepared to explore two flights of four to five wines.
August 24th, 2012
Morning Session - 930am
“Unraveling the Mystique of Terroir in Southern Oregon & Beyond”
Presented by Dr. Greg Jones
The term 'terroir' is a French notion that encompasses the climate, landscape, soil, and people that contribute to the growing of great grapes and the making of fine wine. Unlike most other beverages, wine has a special quality of invoking positive images of a specific place - it is the expression of the distinctiveness and individuality of a particular site. While many of the effects of terroir on wine production are reasonably well known, other aspects and their interrelationships are more mystical. This talk will provide some insight into what we know about terroir and its role on wine typicity and style and provide examples of different terroirs around the world and Southern Oregon, where unlike centuries-old wine regions, grape growers are still understanding the region’s terroir and the varietals that do well here.
Afternoon Session - 1pm
Southern Oregon vs. The Old World
Presented by Dr. Peter Adesman
Physician by day and wine educator by night, Dr. Adesman has long been revered by Southern Oregon wine nuts for his palate. In addition to commanding a cult "cork dork" following Dr. Adesman tends to be extraordinarily generous with his extremely deep cellar. As such we have coerced him into leading a side by side tasting of some of the best wines produced in the Old World next to some of the brightest stars produced in Southern Oregon. Which wines will your palate prefer? You'll have to join us to find out....seats are limited for this class and it is sure to sell out early, so get your tickets today!
Tickets for each class is $30 per person and seats are limited at 30 people per class to ensure an intimate learning environment. The goal of the committee is to continue to expand the number of classes each year and to do so, we need your support & attendance! For more information & to check out all of the events happening at this years festival, please visit www.worldofwinefestival.com
Join Southern Oregon Wineries in Jacksonville this Saturday!
I am looking forward to seeing everyone at the Magnolia Inn as I proudly pour fine wines from Serra Vineyards! Here are the details for those interested...
Saturday June 9 • 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
No admission fee; prices apply for specific activities
Spend the day in Jacksonville celebrating the beginning of another Britt summer in Jacksonville. The afternoon will include live music, food from local restaurants, demonstrations by the artists of Art Presence, a wine walk featuring several local wineries, children’s activities on the courthouse grounds, street performers and more!
Live Music Location: SOUTH 3rd STREET
Blue Lightning: 12-2 p.m.
Left: 2-4 p.m.
Location: CALIFORNIA STREET (next to Pico's Worldwide)
Phoenix Sigalove: 12-2 p.m.
Kites & Crows: 2-4 p.m
Location: NORTH 3rd STREET (next to Blue Door Garden Store)
Djamenco: 12-2 p.m.
The Fret Drifters: 2-4 p.m
Location: COURTHOUSE STEPS
The Blank Notes: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Wine Walk The following wineries and tasting rooms are participating in the wine walk. Tickets will be available, beginning at noon, at the Britt/Chamber booth at the corner of S. 3rd Street and California
Wine tastings ticket: $14
Wine glass: $8
Tastings are open from 12-4 p.m.
Belle Fiore, Caprice Vineyards, Cliff Creek Cellars, Corks Wine Bar, Daisy Creek, Devitt WInery, Edenvale Winery, Fiasco, Grizzly Peak, LaBrasseur, Merrill Cellars, Pebblestone Cellars, Quady North, Serra Vineyards, Soloro Vineyards, South Stage Cellars, Umpqua Wineries, Valley View Vineyards, Weisinger's Vineyard
Beer Garden Beer garden sponsored by the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, located at the northeast corner of California and 5th Stret.
Food Booths on 3rd Street by: Frau Kemmling, Bella Union, Gary West, Back Porch BBQ
Also, local restaurants will be open!
Free Puppet Show Performance Britt and The Storytelling Guild present the Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre performance "When Animals Were People"
Show time: 3:30 p.m., Britt Pavilion
Free admission, with donation of new or gently used book for local outreach programs
Art Presence The following artists will be demonstrating downtown:
Ron and Dee Moore
Also, the Art Presence Art Center on N. 5th Street (former children's museum/courthouse area) will be open, with artists present.
Children's Activities Doc Griffin Park will be a hub for young children's activities, including activities by local churches, World Arts Outreach and more
Activities on the Courthouse lawn: Farmers' market
Demonstration by Wildlife Images
Classic Cars Street Performers Thanks to Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce
Jacksonville Oregon Business Association
Wineries and Tasting Rooms
Art Presence artists
City of Jacksonville
For more information, visit the Britt Festivals website!
20THANNUAL ZAP FESTIVAL FULL OF NEWS & NOVELTY
San Francisco and Rough & Ready CA, February 2011--- Almost 8,000 peopletasted more than 400 wines from 206 Zinfandel wineries at Ft. Mason in SanFrancisco on Saturday, January 29 at TheGrand Tasting, the grand-finale event of the 20th Annual ZinfandelAdvocates & Producers Festival. Décor included enormous multi-colored ballssuspended from the ceiling as well as many touches referencing the “roaringtwenties,” including strolling costumed musicians.
Notable is that this was a year where the Festival reached in many newdirections and offered many new options for the attendees. “We wanted to helppeople personalize their Festival experience this year,” explains Rebecca Robinson, Executive Director, ZinfandelAdvocates & Producers. “Our twenty year anniversary means we know how topresent the wonderful world of Zinfandel, and we challenged ourselves to burstthrough expectations to offer new and compelling ways to learn all about thisgreat grape,” she adds.
Ten years of researching historic Zinfandel vineyards around California and thepropagation of cuttings from those vineyards in The Heritage Vineyard madepossible a very detailed presentation of those results---including tasting thewines---at Flights! Advancing a Legacy: TheZinfandel Chronicles on January 28. Those ten years of research haveresulted in the availability of Zinfandel cuttings for consumers and vintnersalike to purchase and plant on their own terroir. The body of research resentedat Flights was literally unprecedented in the California wine business. “ZAP’scollaboration with UC Davison The Heritage Vineyard project will result in the release of 19 newselections of Zinfandel from historically significant vineyards beginning in2011,” explains Rebecca Robinson.“The growth characteristics, wine characteristics and virus status have beencarefully investigated. No study of this kind has ever been done before for anyvariety in California---thisis precedent setting,” she adds.
Another distinguishing angle thisyear was the involvement of celebrity chef-tv host Nadia G., whose programBitchin‟ Kitchen (www.nadiag.com,http://bitchinlifestyle.tv) has zoomed to enormous popularity on The CookingChannel---having launched initially in her own Montreal kitchen on YouTube. Nadia G.’s rolein the Festival included cutting the ribbon at the Tasting on Saturday, acooking demonstration at Good Eats & Zinand auctioneering some of the lots at Evening With The Winemakers‟ auction on Friday. She also blogged andtweeted throughout the Festival.
Another angle this year was the inclusion of Zinfandel blends at the Grand Tasting---the recognition ofZinfandel’s part in Californiahistory, in that so many vineyards were planted as “mixed blacks.”
Yet another interesting variable this year was that ZAP delineated “ZinTracks,” a way to find a winery by different variables---whether byappellation, price, gender of winemaker, generation-of-ownership, organicproduction, old-vine status, winemaker’s hair color or whether the wine is a Zinfandel blend.
Yet another new and popular option this year were winemaker seminarsgoing on during the Grand Tasting,enabling attendees to stop in for a half-hour of right-from-the-source commentsfrom winemakers. The presentations were on Barrel Samples (by JonathanLachs/Cedarville Vineyards, Kerry Damskey/Trattore Wines), Zin Blends (by MattCline/Three Wines Company, Bill Grant/Four Vines, Joel Peterson/Ravenswood,Morgan Twain-Peterson/Bedrock Wine Company, Eric Braugher/Ridge Vineyards,Karen Birmingham/LangeTwins), Chocolate Pairing (Stefan Tscheppe/Perry Creekand Chris Leamy/Terra d’Oro with chocolate samplings provided by San FranciscoChocolate), Old Vine Zins (by Nils Venge/Saddleback Cellars, Steve Hall/RobertBiale Vineyards, Bruce Walker/Starry Night, Scott Harvey/Scott Harvey Wines,Josh Beckett/Peachy Canyon, Duane Dappen/D-Cubed Cellars), Cheese Pairing(Julie Johnson/Tres Sabores, Bruce Patch/Wine Guerrilla, Shauna Rosenblum/Rockwall Wines, Sue Hoffman/Delicato Family Vineyards/Brazin with cheeseprovided by Fiscalini Cheese) and Single Vineyards (Pete Seghesio/SeghesioFamily Vineyards, Tim Macchia/Macchia, Carol Shelton/Carol Shelton Wines,Marisa Manna/Sbragia Family Vineyards).
Yet another aspect was the availability of recipes from chefs andrestaurateurs at Good Eats & Zin,whether Nadia G.’s peanut butter-and-banana fritters or Joyce Goldstein’sMoroccan Meatball Tagine, Ruth’s Chris Steak House’s Lamb Lollipops, RadioAfrica Kitchen’s Roasted Leg of Lamb with Root Vegetables, Bin 38’s DarkChocolate Peanut Butter & Jelly Truffles or Compadres Rio Grille’s StreetTacos Al Pastor.
The ZAP 20th Annual Festival presented four events in three daysshowcasing 206 wineries. Good Eats & Zin,a walkaround food and wine tasting, took place on January 27 at Ft. Mason.On January 28 attendees enjoyed Flights:Stories From The Vineyard, where respected winegrowers told thetales of historic vineyards and researchers from UC Davis presented the resultsof ten years of research. Evening With TheWinemakers, a gala dinner and benefit auction, took place also onJanuary 28. The Grand Tasting,the most comprehensive tasting of Zinfandel in the world, filled two pavilionsat Ft. Mason on January 29. Over the three daysproducers poured their barrel samples and new releases during educationalseminars, culinary demonstrations and decadent food pairings.
ZAP member wineries will be traveling to Kansas City (MO) on March 3and Austin (TX) on March 6. Details:http://www.zinfandel.org/default.asp?n2=803&n1=19&member=
The Association of Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) is anon-profit, educational 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. ZAP is dedicated toadvancing public knowledge of and appreciation for American Zinfandel and itsunique place in our culture and history. Winegrowers, winemakers and wineenthusiasts combine to form the membership. The common focus is thepreservation and recognition of Zinfandel as America‟s heritage wine. ZAP‟smembership includes approximately 275 winery-members, 5,000 advocate membersand 100 associate members.
Nadia G., based in Montreal,is the first person to successfully transition from a Web series to prime time.She won an award for best mobile comedy series and was recently named DigitalMedia Woman of the Year at The Canadian New Media Awards. She wrote The Bitchin' Kitchen Cookbook: Rock Your Kitchen andLet the Boys Clean Up the Mess (skirt!, 2009), has an onlineboutique at www.nadiag.com, a show on Food Network Canada and has just launchedin American prime time with Bitchin’ Kitchen on the new Cooking Channel(channel 182 on Comcast). Nadia G. looks at the funny side of everydaysituations and turns them into occasions worth celebrating — with food. From'Recession Recipes' and 'Impressing the In-laws' to 'Break-up Brunches,' NadiaG. rocks the kitchen with her tasty techniques and stiletto-sharp wit.
Peanut Butter Banana Fritters Drizzled with Chocolate Sauce
Courtesy Nadia G. of Bitchin' Kitchen
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 pinch sea salt
small pinch of baking soda
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup smooth organic peanut butter
2/3 cup milk
1 liter peanut oil (for deep frying)
1 cup dark chocolate
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup water (for double boiler)
Combine dry ingredients is a bowl and mix.
Add bananas, peanut butter, milk, egg and whisk until consistency issuch that it can be balled up in a spoon.
In a medium sauce pan, heat peanut oil to 375 degrees F.
Using a teaspoon, delicately spoon the peanut-butter-banana batter intothe oil, a few balls at a time and deep fry for 5 minutes until they fluff upand become crispy and golden brown. Drain on wire rack.
In a pot, bring a cup of water to a simmer.
Add a large metal bowl over top of the pot. In the metal bowl add thechocolate and whipping cream then whisk until it melts together.
Drizzle generously over fritters.
Contact: Julie Ann Kodmur
707/963-9632, firstname.lastname@example.org www.zinfandel.org
Downloadable high res images:
Good Eats & Zin recipes:http://zinfandel.org/default.asp?cid=1&n1=15&n2=764
Sunridge link to buy cuttings: http://www.sunridgenurseries.com/
ZinTracks at The Grand Tasting:http://www.zinfandel.org/uploads/TastingProgram2011FINAL.pdf
ZAP’s upcoming events in Kansas City andAustin:
SCHMIDT FAMILY WINERY IN THE APPLEGATE VALLEY TAKES SEVEN MEDALS AT THE LARGEST WINE COMPETITION OF AMERICAN WINES IN THE WORLD
Most medals awarded a Southern Oregon winery
at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Applegate Valley, OR -- Jan 17, 2011 | (http://www.sfvineyards.com/) -- Schmidt Family Vineyards wins big at the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle wine competition, bringing home seven
medals - including two golds! The only Southern Oregon winery to take home more than one gold medal, this small production, family owned and operated winery from an emerging wine region is raising the bar for other producers in the region.
The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition broke records with 4.913 entries in 2010 and now in 2011, it continues to uphold the title of "Largest Competition of American Wines in the
World" with a staggering number of entries, 5,050 from 23 states. Wines made by Southern Oregon fruit or wineries took home 58 medals (1 best of class, 4 gold, 29 silver and 25 bronze medals this year - up 4 medals from last year). This spectacular representation will expose more people to our outstanding Southern Oregon wines.
Schmidt Family Winery was awarded:
Gold Medal Winners
Schmidt Family Vineyards, Applegate Valley, 2008 Syrah, $34
Schmidt Family Vineyards, Applegate Valley, 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, $38
Silver Medal Winners
Schmidt Family Vineyards, Applegate Valley, 2008 Merlot, $32
Schmidt Family Vineyards, Applegate Valley, 2008 Malbec, $30
Schmidt Family Vineyards, Applegate Valley, 2008 Soulea $34
Schmidt Family Vineyards, Applegate Valley, 2008 Tempranillo, $32
Bronze Medal Winner
Schmidt Family Vineyards, Applegate Valley, 2008 Zinfandel, $32
Cal Schmidt grew up on a wheat farm in Kansas. Successful in business he missed his roots & longed to farm the land, thus Schmidt Family Vineyards began with a dream of farming. Cal tells the story with passion in his eyes. "One lucky Thursday in 2000, our realtor called Judy and I asking if we would be interested in the old Bennett Ranch that rested on a prime spot of the coveted and fertile Kubli Bench, in the Applegate Valley. The next morning, the property was ours." Realizing that their dreams were coming true faster than they could have planned, Cal began taking classes in viticulture and wine making by taking extension courses at UC Davis continuing as a student through 2008, simultaneously building & opening a winery between classes.
In talking with the family about this competition, and their overwhelming success Cal says, "To win gold on my Cabernet Sauvignon in Cab country is huge, particularly in a vintage that started out all wrong with an early frost in mid October that took out the canopy with all of the fruit still hanging. It's easy to make wine on a perfect vintage but this took all of us a full vintage to ensure the quality to the consumer." Schmidt Family Winery is truly a family winery. Rene, Cal's daughter is the tasting room manager and both she and her son help out in the cellar. Duncan Cal's grandson built the spectacular new tasting room while Judy (mom & master gardener) tends lovingly to the gardens and seamlessly combines the wine making & hospitality with the gardening. When asked about the recipe for their overall success, Judy says, "We feature a herb on most of our wine labels and when we release that wine we use that herb in a food pairing that compliments that wine. We try not to make life about wine but rather wine about life."
In 2001 Schmidt Family Vineyards planted Merlot, Syrah & Cabernet Sauvignon with new vines being planted with each succeeding vintage. Humbly starting their first vintage producing a mere 300 cases, the Schmidt Family has steadily increased their production to its current 3000 case annual production. Along with the fertile vineyards, and a large picturesque pond, several acres of herb and flower gardens have been created which are available for private events. The tasting room of understated elegance and craftsmen style is a very welcoming place to sit and enjoy Southern Oregon. They invite you to come and lift a glass!!
Owned and managed by Judy and Cal Schmidt, our tasting room is located at 330 Kubli Drive ~ Grants Pass, OR 97527. Regular tasting room hours are 7 days a week from noon to 5pm, and private appointments can be made by calling 541-846-9985. http://sfvineyards.com/
For those of you who have not stopped by, this is a "not to miss" spot in Southern Oregon.
For those of you who plan to stop by, please congratulate the family - winning medals at large competitions is not only a victory for the winery but also one for the region. The best way to say "thank you" is to become a patron and support the efforts of those who strive for excellence.
If you love to travel through wine country, you should check out Huffington Posts "10 Wine Regions Worth Exploring". In this article/slideshow you'll find 20 gorgeous shots of wine regions around the world including pics of Oregon and a stunning shot of juicy Syrah clusters from none other than the Applegate Valley in Southern Oregon. You can even participate by uploading a picture of your very own favorite wine region!
This was a great article sent to me by my buddy "M" in Orange County...I am hopeful that Southern Oregon is on the same path to being spared this vintage and if nothing else it made me feel as though we are not alone in our worries.
By Patrick Comiskey, Special to the Los Angeles Times September 30, 2010
The cool summer delayed winemakers, but payoffs could come in a rush.
Days after record-breaking, triple-digit temperatures across much of the state, the 2010 wine grape harvest has officially lurched into gear, weeks later than normal, kicking off the final acts of one of the strangest California vintages in recent memory.
Just a little more than a week ago, the day before the autumnal equinox, Sonoma winemaker Merry Edwards had her harvest staff stuffing envelopes for a fall mailing and once again taking a mop to the floors of her barely used crushpad. Morgan Twain-Peterson, winemaker for Sonoma's Bedrock Wine Co., wondered on his Facebook page about whether he should attend a late-afternoon yoga class. And in Napa Valley, Frogs Leap winemaker John Williams was whiling away the hours at a long lunch meeting with the sales team of his Japanese distributor.
Needless to say, not one of these winemakers was doing what she or he almost always is doing in the third week of September: picking grapes. Across the state, winemakers were eager for harvest, but the grapes weren't ready to pick.
Even with the latest heat spell, most red grapes (and quite a few white grapes, Chardonnay especially) remain on the vine statewide, anywhere from 10 days to three weeks later than last year. Late-ripening varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot, have been so far behind in some places that producers were worried they'd be lost to bad fall weather: rain, a cold snap or both.
"We've had late harvests before," says Chris Carpenter, who makes Cabernets and blends for Cardinale and Lokoya wineries in the Napa Valley, "but never in my career have I seen it this late."
While this inevitably is going to make 2010 more of a nail-biter than previous vintages, it also could prove to be one of the state's finest harvests in years — delivering wines with lower-than-average alcohol, more vibrant flavors, plenty of color and more balance. Winemakers' well-earned gray hairs would be a small price to pay.
When you look at the temperature charts, the numbers are dramatic. Most wine regions use "degree days," a heat index that is a measure of accumulated degrees above 50 degrees during the summer season. A typical reading this late in the season for Oakville, the heart of Napa Valley, is about 2,700. This year, until the recent heat wave, it was at 2,300. In Paso Robles, typical is about 3,000; this year, it's 2,200. Both areas are two to four weeks behind what's considered normal.
In the mountains above Napa, in Sonoma's outer coast growing region and in other coastal areas of Northern California, grapes that in past years would already be in a fermenter were just completing their coloring phase, called veraison. "We've picked this early in the past, the third week of September," Nick Peay of Peay Vineyards on the outer coast of Sonoma said last week. "But our Syrah is still going through veraison, which is frightening."
By all reports, 2010 has followed a classic La Niña weather pattern, only this year the pattern is more pronounced than people had bargained for. La Niña years typically follow El Niño years; both patterns are linked to ocean currents and the resulting water temperatures, which affect coastal weather patterns. In an El Niño year, water temperatures are higher, resulting in warm dry weather on the Pacific Coast. La Niña, though, is yang to El Niño's yin: the ocean currents are cooler, resulting in lower coastal temperatures and a stronger-than-normal marine inversion pattern.
This year, bud break, the starting gate for any vintage, arrived late in most parts of the state. But the first part of spring was warm and sunny, and led to a strong early spurt — abundant winter rains had prompted lots of canopy growth — the green stuff that's the engine for growing fruit. April and May, however, were unseasonably cool.
"This is a normal cyclical pattern for La Niña," says Peter Cargasacchi of Cargasacchi Winery in the Santa Rita Hills. "If you were aware of that, you could incorporate farming practices based on the historical patterns of the weather." For Cargasacchi, that meant leaving a cover crop between vine rows to suck up excess winter rainwater, then deficit irrigation to stimulate the vines into ripening — "to give them a sense of urgency," he says.
But in June the Golden State experienced not only cooler temperatures but a stubborn coastal cloud layer that seemed never to break up. "June gloom" lasted well into July, and even into early August, causing the vineyard growth cycle to dawdle. "There were weeks when it didn't get above 60 degrees before noon," Cargasacchi says.
Persistent coastal fog can also lead to another cool weather hazard, mildew. To combat this, many growers, especially in the north coast region, thinned their leafy canopies to facilitate air circulation. A side benefit of this thinning is that the fruit is also exposed to what little sun there is, which can advance flavor and color development, especially in red wine grapes.
In the third week of August, a heat wave sent triple-digit temperatures across the state, and the exposed fruit, unaccustomed to such a radical onslaught, succumbed to sunburn damage, an extreme form of desiccation that can render the cluster unusable. As much as 40% of some vineyards were affected. Some winemakers even reported some latent stem damage, which affects vine circulation and flavor development.
Then the temperatures went cool again, and the waiting game commenced in earnest. In the weeks that followed, Lokoya's Carpenter has been especially proactive in his mountain vineyards, trying to do what he could to accelerate the ripening process. "Every last bit of fruit that was still green was getting dropped," Carpenter says. He added that if a fruit cluster wasn't getting close to ripe, it was probably holding back the development of clusters that were further along. "We cut our losses, essentially."
He also opened up the canopy to let in as much light as possible — but that left the fruit vulnerable to the second heat spike. "We had exposed the vines to capture heat and light, though we didn't expect this kind of heat," he says. "It was quite a worrisome weekend, wondering if we had overdone it or not." The heat will certainly accelerate sugar development, however, and the vineyards that are lagging will have more of a fighting chance to get to full ripeness.
June gloom may have outstayed its welcome, but many producers reported that the vineyards were happier for it. "In a hot year, the vines can look a little scraggly by this time of year," says Jason Haas of Tablas Creek Winery in Paso Robles, "but this year the vineyard looks a lot healthier, the leaves are still bright green, and we're seeing some good, even ripening."
Haas points out that in a normal Paso summer, temperatures frequently exceed 100 degrees, which stresses the vines so much that they shut down and stop producing nutrients to preserve moisture. This year, that has been a rare occurrence. The Tablas vineyards, he says, have fared well through the current heat: "One nice thing about the heat wave coming at this time of year," he says, "is that the days aren't as long."
And when it finally reaches the fermenter, fruit quality is likely to be very high. "The fruit flavors are very strong," says Larry Hyde, proprietor of Hyde Vineyards in the Carneros region of the Napa Valley. "The stuff that makes fruit taste fruity, compounds like esters and ketones, are sensitive to hot weather and tend to be vaporized in the heat of a warm season. But we're finding great fruit flavors in all varieties, and high acidity." All of this should be achieved at lower-than-normal sugar levels, which translate to lower alcohols and better-balanced wines.
As for this last burst of heat, Pinot Noir producers such as Merry Edwards seem the happiest — it has pushed many of Edwards' Pinot vineyards to optimal maturity. "As of Saturday, we began crushing at maximum capacity," she wrote in a hasty e-mail, "and will continue through this coming Saturday at least. In one week we will bring in 50% of our total production. Pinot quality looks off the charts; color is twice normal, with great tannins."
Out on Sonoma's far coast, where the temperatures hit 90 degrees on Monday, Nick Peay was clearly grateful for a little acceleration. "We are still later than ever," he says, "but at least now there is hope for the Syrah."
Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times
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