Friday, August 31, 2012

Livermore Valley Wine Harvest Celebration

The 2012 Livermore Valley Harvest Wine Celebration marks the 30th year that people have gathered to celebrate the harvest of grapes in one of the oldest wine regions in California. Known for its signature bus service and festive atmosphere, the event is a Labor Day Weekend tradition in the East Bay. On Sunday, September 2 and Monday, September 3 between noon and 5 p.m., area wineries will offer Livermore Valley’s best wine, food, art and music to ticket holders. Bus transportation between wineries will be available on Sunday only, and wineries will offer special activities to festival guests on Monday.

Produced by the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association (LVWA), the Harvest Wine Celebration highlights the local winery experience. Thirty-nine participating wineries will be pouring at their tasting room locations across Livermore Valley, surrounded by lush vines, local artists, musicians and food vendors. Several wineries will be pouring and hosting festivities at either Concannon Vineyard or Wente Vineyards on Tesla Road. Food at all winery locations will be locally prepared and moderately priced. Admission includes a commemorative Livermore Valley wine glass, tastings of at least two wine varietals from each participating winery, official event program and exclusive discounts on wine purchases.

On Sunday, September 2, celebration guests are invited to ride complimentary shuttle buses between winery locations. The buses will travel on three different routes, each serving six to eleven wineries. Free parking will be available at Robertson Park in Livermore, where guests can board buses and transfer between routes during the day. Bus stops may be as far as 300 feet from winery locations, so guests riding buses must be prepared to walk up driveways. Monday, September 3 will feature a more intimate affair, as many wineries offer unique experiences to Harvest Wine Celebration guests.

Tickets are available online at www.LVwine.org and at all participating Livermore Valley wineries, The Winemaker’s PourHouse, the Wine Steward in Pleasanton, First Street Wine Company in Livermore and Bay Area Safeway stores. Ticket “will call” arrangements vary by purchase method. Please visit www.LVwine.org for details.

The ticket pricing for 2012 includes:
  • Two-day (Sunday/Monday) ticket: $55 in advance, $65 at the event
  • Designated Driver ticket: $10 (buy date of event)
The Harvest Wine Celebration is a fundraiser for the LVWA. During the event, participating wineries are open only to ticket holders with event wristbands. No outside food is allowed and the event is not intended for children. For more information, please visit www.LVwine.org or call 925-447-WINE.
Wineries hosting Harvest Wine Celebration festivities at their tasting room locations:
For more information:

Charles Krug winery breaks historic ground for the new hospitality center



When you talk about the history of Napa Valley and the wine industry in California two names will always be in that discussion, Charles Krug and Mondavi.

The Peter Mondavi Family officially embarked on the next phase of the restoration project of the Redwood Cellar at Charles Krug Winery last Tuesday when Peter Mondavi Sr., sons Marc and Peter Jr. and their families, joined Napa Valley architect Howard Backen and Tom Andrews of Andrews and Thornley General Contractors to break ground for Charles Krug’s new hospitality center. Backen and his firm Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects designed Charles Krug’s new tasting room and visitor center to be located inside the heritage building at the winery in St. Helena.


Guests and family donned hard hats and shrugged off rumors of ghost sightings as they accompanied Peter Mondavi Jr. on a tour of the cavernous multi-story stone structure. Adorned with 68 windows outlined in pink rhyolite and topped with many gables and an impressive belvedere, the 1872 Cellar remains as vintner Charles Krug’s testament to Napa Valley wine. The new hospitality center will occupy 11,000 square feet on the ground floor and the mezzanine of the Napa Valley’s oldest commercial winery, with Backen adding inspired modern touches while preserving the Redwood Cellar’s patina and rustic allure. The work is expected to take 14 months, with opening day slated for October 2013.

Howard Backen's blueprints for the project reveal an intricate lacework of exposed historic rafters and, beyond the mezzanine, views of the Peter Mondavi Family’s reserve Bordeaux barrel aging room through floor-to-ceiling glass walls. A towering 9000-gallon redwood aging tank and period bird-cage style elevator will be focal points, and recycled redwood from vintage wine tanks originally installed in the 1940’s, and other historical elements, will be preserved and incorporated into the design. In addition to several wine lounges, there will be a state of the art open professional kitchen, a casual eatery offering regionally sourced picnic fare inspired by the family’s Italian heritage, and a picnic area with views of surrounding vineyards and Mount St. Helena.

At the groundbreaking, visitors mingled and posed for pictures with three generations of the Peter Mondavi Family and star-architect Backen, whose portfolio of work includes Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle wineries, as well as projects for Robert Redford, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, and the late Steve Jobs of Apple.

The hospitality center project is budgeted at $6 million. The Peter Mondavi Family recently completed a $9.6 million earthquake retrofit and exterior restoration of the Redwood Cellar and Charles Krug’s other heritage structure, the 1881 Carriage House. The Redwood Cellar and Carriage House represent the birthplace of the Napa Valley wine industry; both are California Historic Landmarks and on the National Register of Historic Places.

Charles Krug Winery’s storied history traces the transformation of the Napa Valley from “Wild West” to Wine Country destination. With a legacy of nearly 70 years at Charles Krug, the Peter Mondavi Family’s continuing restoration project is part of a complete recasting of this esteemed Napa Valley winery. Having extensively replanted its vineyards with a focus on noble red Bordeaux varietals, the family is now practicing sustainable viticulture on its 850 prime Napa Valley acres. Those efforts to steward the land and preserve the winery's historical legacy are earning new respect for a family long identified with California wine.

The winery’s hospitality staff will continue to welcome visitors at the existing tasting room during construction. To learn more about Charles Krug Winery and the vision of Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, visit www.charleskrug.com.

Family Winemakers of California

California’s annual Family Winemakers tasting event is back in its 22nd year on September 9th & 10th with the debut of new wine members, gourmet food offerings, and the launch of an exclusive wine lounge. Held at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion, attendees will taste and experience dozens of varietals and hundreds of wines as presented by the Family Winemakers of California (FWC) wine association. Since its inception in 1991, and as the largest of three California tasting events, the San Francisco Family Winemakers tasting has always been a unique opportunity to experience the winemaking craftsmanship of vintners from across the state. 

This year’s winery lineup includes well-known favorites and smaller boutique wineries waiting to be discovered, all representing the vast and exhilarating world of wine in California.

Back for its second year, the Family Winemakers tasting event will also include the “Taste & Take” onsite buying program, allowing members of the trade and consumers to purchase bottles from participating wineries at the event.

Winemakers and winery-owners want to meet the people who enjoy wine as a part of their lives. Wine enthusiasts can grab this chance to find new wines that they may not get to try anywhere else,” says Paul Kronenberg, President of Family Winemakers of California. “Imagine having 225 wineries in one pavilion at your tasting finger tips instead of driving over 1,000 miles to visit each one. And, if you like what you taste, you can buy it there for dinner that night.”

By the numbers, the Family Winemakers of California 2012 San Francisco tasting will include: \
  • 225+ participating wineries
  • 22 wineries new to the tasting
  • 20 white wine varietals
  • 30 red wine varietals
  • 24 Rosé wines
  • 21 dessert wines
  • 6,000 wine glasses
  • 225 volunteers
  • 16,200 bottles to be recycled
  • 4,800 pieces (600 lbs.) of cheese from Tony’s Fine Foods
  • 4,000 crackers
  • 500 baguettes from Bakers of Paris
  • Winery size:
  • 33 wineries produce 1,000 cases or less
  • 122 wineries produce 5,000 cases or less
  • Price ranges:
  • 101 wineries pouring wines priced at $20 or under
  • 17 wineries pouring wines priced at $100 or over
  • 30+ appellations represented
  • Oldest winery founded in 1856
  • Youngest winery founded in 2012
NEW THIS YEAR:
At this year’s Family Winemakers of California 2012 tasting event, FWC is proud to partner with Sommelier Courtney Cochran in an all-new “iSip” wine lounge in the loft area. Requiring a special ticket that can be purchased through the FWC website, the lounge will be open to a limited number of consumers on Sunday, September 9th, from 3pm-6pm. It will also be open, free of charge, to members of the media.

The lounge will provide a guided tour through a selection of 8 wines hand-picked by Cochran to serve as an “at a glance” representation of the diversity of wines that the FWC tasting showcases. This year’s loft theme will focus on lesser-known wine varietals such as Albarino, Petit Verdot, and Nebbiolo. The “iSip” wine lounge will also provide light bites to demonstrate food pairings.

Also new to this year’s event will be Crêperie Saint-Germain, San Francisco’s own fast-casual crêperie specializing in traditional French buckwheat and gluten-free crêpes made with locally grown organic ingredients.

EVENT DETAILS:
Where:
Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center
99 Marina Boulevard, San Francisco, CA

When:
Sunday, Sept 9th – 3pm – 6pm

Tickets: http://fwcsf12tasting.eventbrite.com

For Sunday, September 9th, tickets are $55 through August 19, $65 during August 20 – September 8, and $75 at the door. At $85, a limited number of Early Entry tickets are available that admit the purchaser during the trade hours (1:00-3:00) on Sunday. Tickets to the “iSip” wine lounge, also in limited quantity, are $75. Monday, September 10th is open to Trade and Media only.

For more information: www.familywinemakers.org

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Taste of Terroir delivered exciting food and wine

The Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association held their sold-out Taste of Terroir on Thursday, July 21. The 550+ visitors enjoyed the 26 Livermore wineries 17 Tri-Valley restaurants for a great wine and food pairing event.
The judges for Taste of Terroir this year were:
  • Lynne Char Bennett, Food & Wine Staff Writer and Test Kitchen Director for the San Francisco Chronicle
  • Jessica Yadegaran, Food & Wine Staff Writer for the Bay Area News Group
  • Jeffrey Anderson, Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Innovation, Safeway Inc.
Everyone had a great time working their way through the 16 Food and Wine pairings and then sampling an additional four wineries on the patio and tasting the fine ports and dessert wines in the dessert room from an another six wineries. And US Foods provided and extensive layout of great desserts to go with those dessert wines.
The winners for this year are:

Most Innovative:
Team: Wente Vineyards Estate Winery and The Restaurant at Wente Winery
Pairing: Wente Winery 2009 Nth Degree Merlot from Livermore Valley paired with a lamb sausage with crispy garlic and mustard-curry BBQ sauce.

Best Classic Pairing:
Team: Rodrique Molyneaux Winery and Castlewood Country Club
Pairing: Rodrique Molyneaux 2009 Cabiovese from Livermore Valley paired with wild game burgers made with buffalo and lamb seasoned with fresh local herbs, St. Andre cheese honey truffle aioli and arugula micro greens on a soft roll
Judge Jessica Yadegaran says, “A marriage of protein and tannin with the minerality of the Sangiovese”

Judges’ Best Pairing:
Team: McGrail Vineyards and Winery and Double Barrel Wine Bar
Pairing: McGrail 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from Livermore Valley paired with a cocoa rubbed pork belly, smoked cherry shallot marmalade with a crispy potato gaufrette.
Judge Jeffrey Anderson says, “A great combination of sweet and sour and a great wine.”

People’s Choice (selected by the visitors):
Team: The Steven Kent Winery and Neil Marquis Catering
Pairing: Steven Kent 2009 The Premier Cabernet Sauvignon from Ghielmetti Vineyard in Livermore Valley paired with an open-faced BLT – cabernet infused, cured, cherry wood smoked pork belly, on parmesan crisp with heirloom tomatoes, micro greens and a black cherry cabernet and chocolate aioli.

There were other great pairings at this event, showing the skills of the chefs and the winemakers.
Garre Winery served their 2009 Primitivo from Livermore Valley and paired it with a roasted salmon from Garre Café that was drizzled with a blackberry infused Primitivo chipotle sauce. This was a great pairing full of delicious flavors and body.

Concannon Vineyards paired their 2008 Grenache Reserve with a smoked salmon from the Underdog Wine Bar that was served with a roasted cream corn and frisse Mache salad with fried leeks. The toast of the wine and smoke of the salmon worked well together.

Las Positas Vineyards served their 2011 Pinot Blanc with a poached Atlantic salmon from Scott’s Seafood Grill & Bar that was blended with crème fraiche, fresh lemon juice and a hint of tabasco. It is then piped into a wonton crisp which was flash fried, cooled, shaped and slightly baked. The pairing not only looked delicious but came together well with some nice flavors.

Taste of Terroir is produced by the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association and sponsored by Dublin Toyota, City of Dublin, Beets Hospitality, Image Setters, Livermore Valley Florists, Pleasanton Rentals, US Foods and Fantasy Sound.

Funds raised at this event benefit the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association.

For more info: Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association

Niles Canyon Railway Livermore Valley Wine Tasting Special runs again

The Niles Canyon Railway 2012 Livermore Valley Wine tasting Special is rolling this year for four Sundays this year.  The first two trains on  July 29, August 12 were sell outs.  The remaining trains will be on August 26 and September 9 leaving the Niles station in Fremont at 1:30 p.m. each day. This exciting wine tasting event will focus specifically on Livermore Valley wines. As one of the Golden State's oldest wine regions, Livermore Valley played a pivotal role in shaping California's wine industry.

Spanish missionaries planted the first wine grapes in the Livermore Valley in the 1760s. In the 1840s, California pioneers looking for outstanding vineyard sites began planting grapes in the region. Robert Livermore planted the first commercial vines in the 1840s. Pioneer winemakers C. H. Wente, James Concannon, and Charles Wetmore recognized the area's winegrowing potential and founded their wineries in the early 1880s.

On the Wine tasting Special you will learn more about the Livermore Valley wine region and the history and style of many great wineries of Livermore Valley. At the same time you will also learn about the history of the rail line traveling along the original route of the transcontinental railway where trains first rolled through Niles Canyon in 1866.

Wine Educator Steve Ferree will walk you through tasting a flight of five Livermore wines. Each wine will be paired with cheese or chocolate selected especially for that wine. Each weekend will showcase a different flight of wines and different Livermore Valley winemakers. Thus over the four Sundays, 20 Livermore Valley wines will be served. The actual wines for each train will be announced later. You will enjoy an afternoon of fine wine while gently cruising through Niles Canyon, riding on history.

Wineries being featured this year on the Livermore Valley Wine Tasting Special include:
The Wine Tasting Special departs the Niles depot of the Niles Canyon Railway promptly at 1:30 p.m. each of the four Saturdays. The price is $37.50 per person and you must be 21 to ride the train.

Non-alcoholic beverages will be served for those not wishing to join in the wine tasting. You can make reservations at www.ncry.org and information is available at 510-910-7024. Proceeds support the Niles Canyon Railway preservation activities.

For more info:

Charles Krug Winery breaks historic ground for new Hospitality Center

When you talk about the history of Napa Valley and the wine industry in California two names will always be in that discussion, Charles Krug and Mondavi.

The Peter Mondavi Family officially embarked on the next phase of the restoration project of the Redwood Cellar at Charles Krug Winery last Tuesday when Peter Mondavi Sr., sons Marc and Peter Jr. and their families, joined Napa Valley architect Howard Backen and Tom Andrews of Andrews and Thornley General Contractors to break ground for Charles Krug’s new hospitality center. Backen and his firm Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects designed Charles Krug’s new tasting room and visitor center to be located inside the heritage building at the winery in St. Helena.
Peter Mondavi Sr. jauntily pointed his golden shovel into the dirt for the ceremonial groundbreaking photo, and then encouraged the assembled construction team to get to work. “I don’t want to wait forever!” quipped the lively 97-year-old vintner.

Guests and family donned hard hats and shrugged off rumors of ghost sightings as they accompanied Peter Mondavi Jr. on a tour of the cavernous multi-story stone structure. Adorned with 68 windows outlined in pink rhyolite and topped with many gables and an impressive belvedere, the 1872 Cellar remains as vintner Charles Krug’s testament to Napa Valley wine. The new hospitality center will occupy 11,000 square feet on the ground floor and the mezzanine of the Napa Valley’s oldest commercial winery, with Backen adding inspired modern touches while preserving the Redwood Cellar’s patina and rustic allure. The work is expected to take 14 months, with opening day slated for October 2013.

Howard Backen's blueprints for the project reveal an intricate lacework of exposed historic rafters and, beyond the mezzanine, views of the Peter Mondavi Family’s reserve Bordeaux barrel aging room through floor-to-ceiling glass walls. A towering 9000-gallon redwood aging tank and period bird-cage style elevator will be focal points, and recycled redwood from vintage wine tanks originally installed in the 1940’s, and other historical elements, will be preserved and incorporated into the design. In addition to several wine lounges, there will be a state of the art open professional kitchen, a casual eatery offering regionally sourced picnic fare inspired by the family’s Italian heritage, and a picnic area with views of surrounding vineyards and Mount St. Helena.

At the groundbreaking, visitors mingled and posed for pictures with three generations of the Peter Mondavi Family and star-architect Backen, whose portfolio of work includes Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle wineries, as well as projects for Robert Redford, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, and the late Steve Jobs of Apple.

The hospitality center project is budgeted at $6 million. The Peter Mondavi Family recently completed a $9.6 million earthquake retrofit and exterior restoration of the Redwood Cellar and Charles Krug’s other heritage structure, the 1881 Carriage House. The Redwood Cellar and Carriage House represent the birthplace of the Napa Valley wine industry; both are California Historic Landmarks and on the National Register of Historic Places.

Charles Krug Winery’s storied history traces the transformation of the Napa Valley from “Wild West” to Wine Country destination. With a legacy of nearly 70 years at Charles Krug, the Peter Mondavi Family’s continuing restoration project is part of a complete recasting of this esteemed Napa Valley winery. Having extensively replanted its vineyards with a focus on noble red Bordeaux varietals, the family is now practicing sustainable viticulture on its 850 prime Napa Valley acres. Those efforts to steward the land and preserve the winery's historical legacy are earning new respect for a family long identified with California wine.

The winery’s hospitality staff will continue to welcome visitors at the existing tasting room during construction. To learn more about Charles Krug Winery and the vision of Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, visit www.charleskrug.com.