Category Archives: Santa Rosa

Russian River Valley – Grape to Glass Weekend Aug 14-16

Want a good excuse to head up to Northern California?  Here is the perfect reason.  It’s summer, the area is beautiful, there are more wineries than you know what to do with and the Russian River Valley Winegrowers Association is holding their annual Grape to Glass fun-filled weekend.  The festivities start Friday August 14 and go through Sunday the 16th.  This is not like your normal festival.  There are activities that you sign up for in advance and participate in.  Here is a sampling of things to do:

• Get your boots dirty and your wine knowledge refreshed while taking part in our Behind the Wines grower and vintner presentations.
• Taste your way to a winning hand at the Winery Poker Run.
• Take in Sip ‘N’ Cinema – Where Hollywood meets Wine Country at MacMurray Ranch – A Sensory Experience.
• Experience the Russian River Valley Lifestyle by land, water and air – on bikes, kayaks and in hot air balloons.
• Enjoy wine country at its best at the Hog in the Fog Winegrower BBQ, Tasting Fest & Auction showcasing samplings of more than 50 of our wineries.

                      Grape to Glass                                                                              Hog in the Fog

• Wings, Wine and Wind-down is where you can relax, watch the“Wings Over Wine Country” Air Show, experiment with salts and wind-down from your Russian River Valley weekend.

There are so many things to see and do while in the area from Santa Rosa to Healdsburg!  If you need any help in planning it out for you go to, their Education Wine Tours will guide you if you want to stay overnight or make a vacation out of it.

Go to the Grape to Glass website and order your tickets today.  You can order the tickets for individual events or as a whole package (this saves you $$$).  Bring some friends and take a day or the whole weekend.  You will be glad that you did!

You’ve heard of Speed Dating but what about Speed Blogging?

There are 275 wine bloggers in one room here are the Flamingo Hotel.  We just finished lunch and are eagerly awaiting the “speed blogging” to commence.  How this works is that for 6 minutes we have a winemaker come to our table.  We taste the wines, learn about the wines and the winery and winemaker’s philosophy, then have a question and answer period.  I will try my hardest to write a little bit about each winery.  After 6 minutes are up they ring a bell and then the next winemaker comes to our table.  It got kind of crazy but somehow we had 13 different wineries most from Sonoma County come to our table to showcase their wines.

Speed blogging:

1.    Schramsberg, 2006 Blanc de Blancs.  Not huge champagne fans, but this is good.  Schramsberg was the first US made sparkling wine.  Light, refreshing, has bubbles; not much more to say.
2.    2007 Bella Zin with 8% petite sirah, 3% syrah.  Lily Hill Estate, in Dry Creek Valley, a good place for Zins.  $38 each for this.  Raspberries.  OK fruit, but not my style.  My brother-in-law has always liked Bella, but not for Larry and I.  
3.    Twisted Oak Winery, which is in Calaveras County, Sierra Foothills.  $35 per bottle.  Wine is called River of Skulls:  88% Mourvedre, 12% Syrah.  Nice blend, soft, drinkable now, except that it won’t be released for another 3 weeks.  Proprietor is El Jefe, or Jeff.  Go visit.  
4.    Northwest Wine Academy, 2007 Barbera.  No winery came by on this rotation, so Josh H opened this up.  
5.    Fish Eye, 2008 Pinot Grigio, Central Valley, $6.99 each.  Brand launched in 2005.  Good nose, tropical and grapefruit; OK taste.  Lightweight summer wine.  
6.    Line 39, 2007 Lake County Petite Sirah.  39 degrees used to be the name.  
7.    Pinot Evil, pinot in a box, eco-friendly, French.  NV.  3-liter box.  Cheap, but not so bad.  
8.    Cupcake Vineyards.  2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.  Nick.  Soledad.  55% Monterey County, 45% Livermore; 85% Cab, plus Merlot, Petite Verdot.  $13.99.  Good value.  (They hired a local cupcake company and had chocolate and strawberry cupcakes for us with their wine inside the buttercream frosting).  YUMMY!
9.    Snows Lake Vineyard.  Think about mountains, clean air, 72% Cab Sauv. 28% Cab Franc.  2005.  Snows Lake “Two”.  Best wine so far, hands down.  Could lay down for a few years.  
10.      Cline Cellars, 2007 Ancient Vine Mourvedre.  Contra Costa County.  $16.  Plums, cherry.  Charlie, winemaker, poured for us.  Even better than the Snow!
11.      Tandem, Chardonnay, 2007.  Greg Lafollete.  Ex-Flowers.  Wife is the power, treats him like a horse, “puts blinders on”.  Partnership.  Manchester Ridge not tasting, clone Dijon 809.  Basket press.  
12.      Foggy Bridge 2007 Chard, organic, SF Bay appellation (Livermore).  Good acid, nice fruit, not a lot of oak, but sour finish that lingers.  100-acre vineyard in Livermore.  $18/ea.  
13.      Bacchus 2008 $35.  Napa.  Steve winemaker, Jill.  Sauvi, Semillon, Birbola fiola blend.  Good stuff, goes with Bouillabaisse.  Best white.  T-shirt:  what would Bacchus do WWBD?