Thursday, June 30, 2016

Niles Canyon Railway Beer on the Rails was a success

Niles Canyon Railway held two Beer on the Rails events in June, introducing beer lovers to several local microbreweries.  The first Beer on the Rails train will featured two local Livermore Microbreweries, Working Man Brewery and Eight Bridges Brewery Company.  The second train brought aboard three more breweries, Strike Brewing Company, a brew house from San Jose with a great collection of ales, special seasonal ales and the experimental Bullpen Series; JP DasBrew. a local brewery in Fremont with the goal to brew world-class German-style beers with an American finish while maintaining the quality of beers, be environmentally responsible and give back to the community as a neighborhood craft brewery; and Fort Point Beer Company, a New American brewery shaped by deeply San Franciscan values, quality craftsmanship and a spirt of innovation.  They produce balanced beers that reference traditional styles but are not bound by them.  It was founded in 2014 and is located in the historic Presidio building that was formerly an Army motor pool.


Passengers aboard these trains got to sample a great selection of brews from each brewery along with the complementary lunch of Polish Sausage, macaroni salad, potato salad and pickles, as they enjoyed a relaxing trip through scenic Niles Canyon aboard a historic railway.
During July, August and September join Niles Canyon Railway for the Livermore Valley Wine Tasting Specials that will feature a selection of wines from Livermore Valley paired with delicious cheeses.  The Wine Tasting Trains will be July 16, August 6, August 20, September 3 and September 10.  Tickets are available at the Niles Canyon Railway web site.

For more information:

Livermore Valley winners in California State Fair commercial wine competition

Livermore Valley brought home the gold at the 2016 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.

Dating back to 1854, the California State Fair Wine Competition is America’s oldest and most prestigious wine event. Only wines made with fruit grown in California may be judged in the competition. Wines are evaluated by class, varietal, style and region based upon the source of the grapes.

Top wines including Best of Region and Best of California winners will be featured at the California State Fair in the Save Mart Supermarkets Wine Garden for visitors to enjoy July 8 - 24.  Livermore Valley captured the following Best of Region and Best of California awards.


BEST OF GREATER BAY RED
 Double Gold 98
Concannon 2013 Livermore Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

BEST CABERNET FRANC
 Double Gold 98
Bent Creek Wines 2013 Cabernet Franc Livermore Valley

BEST CABERNET SAUVIGNON
Double Gold 98
Concannon Vineyard 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Livermore Valley

Other winners at the California State Fair include:

Bent Creek Winery – In addition to the Best of California Cabernet Franc, they picked up two bronze and a silver medal

Concannon Vineyard – Besides the Best of the Greater Bay Red for the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon and Best of California Cabernet Sauvignon for the 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Concannon also captured a Double Gold for the 2012 Petite Sirah and other bronze and silver medals

Crooked Vine Winery – Awarded Gold for the Free Run 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and Silver for the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc and 2013 Syrah

Eagle Ridge Vineyard – Captured a Double Gold and Best of Class of Region for the 2011 Petite Sirah and other bronze medals

Fenestra Winery – Brought home a Silver medal and Best of Class for the Region for the 2011 Tempranillo and an additional three bronze medals
Las Positas Vineyards – Got Gold and Best of Region for their Coccineous blend plus Gold and Best of Region for the 2015 Pinot Blanc and several other Bronze and Silver awards

Longevity Wines – Picked up a Bronze for their 2015 Pinot Blanc

Mitchell Katz Wines – Was rewarded with a Double Gold and Best of Class of Region for the 2013 Zinfandel and a Silver and Best of Class of Region for the 2013 Petite Verdot, plus other Bronze and Silver awards

Murrieta’s Well Winery – Captured Silver and Best of Class of Region for the 2014 The Whip white blend and Silver for the 2013 The Spur red blend

Retzlaff Vineyards and Estate Winery – Picked up a Bronze for the 2013 Merlot

Stony Ridge Winery – Came home with a few Bronze and Silver medals

Wente Vineyards – Got a Gold and Best of Class of Region for the 2012 Sandstone Merlot, Gold and Best of Class of Region for the 2014 Louis Mel Sauvignon Blanc, Gold for the 2013 Charles Wetmore Cab and other Bronze and Silver medals

About the California State Fair  
For more than 160 years, the California State Fair has showcased the best of the Golden State. Cal Expo was dedicated as a place to celebrate California’s achievements, industries, agriculture, diversity of its people, traditions and trends that shape the State’s future. The 2016 California State Fair will take place July 8-24. Advanced ticket pricing starts at $6 for children, $8 for seniors and $10 for adults. Tickets are available at CAStateFair.org/tickets.


Your next California Wines Road Trip through Livermore Valley

California is famous for its dozens of scenic wine regions that offer an exceptional variety of experiences and wines to enjoy. To help visitors explore them all, Wine Institute’s California Wines Road Trips series highlights a different region each month.  Take a trip into California history in Livermore Valley, where Robert Livermore planted the valley’s first winegrapes in the 1840s. One of California’s oldest wine regions, Livermore Valley is enjoying a renaissance with a flourish of vineyards, wineries and experiences.

Located within the San Francisco Bay American Viticultural Area (AVA), Livermore Valley is a hidden gem region just 30 miles east of San Francisco. As the only California wine region accessible by the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART), it’s easy to access no matter where you are in the area. Both the Livermore Valley and San Francisco Bay AVAs are within the larger Central Coast appellation.

The Livermore Valley wine region is home to more than 60 wineries. You can browse a list of Livermore Valley wineries or use the discovercaliforniawines.com interactive map to search wineries by amenities such as tours, gardens, picnic areas, food for purchase and more. The Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association also lists wineries, events and even a helpful selection of pre-planned visit itineraries.

One of the most convenient and fun ways to experience Livermore Valley is on the Livermore Wine Trolley, which offers group and private tours of the region. The six-hour group tour stops at four wineries and provides lunch for only $99 per person. Wine tasters visiting Livermore Valley have a range of options, including a huge network of scenic bike and hiking trails with views ranging from vineyards to coastal mountains. It is possible to visit at least 16 Livermore Valley wineries using more than eight miles of multi-use trails and bike lanes.

You can uncork your inner winemaker at The Winemakers Studio at Wente Vineyards, where you’ll get hands-on with several signature experiences including a blending class, wine aroma discovery, and wine and cheese pairing seminar. At Concannon Vineyard, groups of 12 or more can enjoy a friendly competition to see which team’s custom red blend takes the prize at The Art of Blending. See tours and tastings at the website.

Surrounded by coastal range mountains and foothills, the Livermore Valley has an east-west orientation, making it unique among northern California winegrowing regions. This feature allows the coastal fog and marine breezes to come in from the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay and cool the valley's warm air, resulting in warm days and cool nights, ideal conditions for producing fully-ripened, balanced fruit.

Pioneer Livermore winemakers C. H. Wente and James Concannon planted their vineyards in the early 1880s, having recognized the area’s winegrowing potential. Today, both wineries continue to thrive and have celebrated more than 130 consecutive harvests. California winegrowing owes a great deal to Wente and Concannon’s early grapevine plantings: most California Chardonnay can be genetically traced to the Wente Chardonnay clones and 80 percent of California Cabernet Sauvignon can be traced to a Concannon clone. Livermore Valley was also the first region in California to label Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Petite Sirah as varietal wines.

Visit discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wine regions, wines and wineries throughout the Golden State and for planning a trip to California wine country. California is the number one U.S. state for wine and food tourism with dozens of distinct wine regions, 138 American Viticultural Areas and 4,400 wineries that produce 85 percent of U.S. wine. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries.

For more information: wineinstitute.org.

California State Fair commercial wine competition winners for 2016

Winners have been announced for the 2016 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. With the help of 175 volunteers, 55 judges had just three days to taste 2,854 wines from more than 750 California wineries. In the end, 115 Double Golds and 230 Golds were awarded to wineries of every size throughout the Golden State.

Dating back to 1854, the California State Fair Wine Competition is America’s oldest and most prestigious wine event. Only wines made with fruit grown in California may be judged in the competition. Wines are evaluated by class, varietal, style and region based upon the source of the grapes.

Top wines including Best of Region and Best of California winners will be featured at the California State Fair in the Save Mart Supermarkets Wine Garden for visitors to enjoy July 8 - 24.

A complete list of award-winning wines can be found here.

BEST OF SHOW RED
 Double Gold 98
St. Amant Winery 2014 Tempranillo, The Road Less Traveled, Amador County

BEST OF SHOW WHITE
Double Gold 98
J. Lohr Gesture 2015 Viognier, Paso Robles

BEST OF SHOW SPARKLING
 Double Gold 98
Gloria Ferrer NV Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine, Carneros

BEST OF SHOW PINK
 Double Gold 98
Robert Hall Winery 2015 Rosé de Robles Rosé Wine, Paso Robles

BEST OF SHOW DESSERT
Double Gold 98
Navarro Vineyards 2014 Riesling, Cluster Select, Late Harvest, Anderson Valley, Mendocino

GOLDEN STATE WINERY OF THE YEAR
 South Coast Winery

BEST OF MICROWINERY RED
 Double Gold 98
Michael Gill Cellars,  2015 Counoise, Paso Robles

BEST MICROWINERY WHITE
Double Gold 98
Turkovich Family Wines 2015 Albariño, Yolo County

BEST MICROWINERY OTHER
 Double Gold 98
Renegade Winery NV OMG Port Style Dessert Wine, California

BEST VALUE
 Double Gold 98
Smoking Loon 2014 Chardonnay, California

BEST OF REGION

BEST OF NORTH COAST RED
 Double Gold 98
Shed Horn Cellars 2014 Lake County, Red Varietal Blend

BEST OF NORTH COAST WHITE
Double Gold 98
Bliss Family Vineyards 2015 Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc

BEST OF SONOMA RED
Double Gold 98
Sean Minor 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

BEST OF SONOMA WHITE
Double Gold 98
J. Vineyards 2014 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

BEST OF NAPA RED
 Double Gold 98
Double T 2013 Napa Valley Red Wine

BEST OF NAPA WHITE
Double Gold 98
Black Stallion Estate Winery 2015 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

BEST OF GREATER BAY RED
 Double Gold 98
Concannon 2013 Livermore Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

BEST OF GREATER BAY WHITE
 Double Gold 98
Bloomfield Vineyards 2015 Contra Costa County Viognier

BEST OF NORTH-CENTRAL COAST RED
Double Gold 98
Stephen & Walker 2013 Monterey County Pinot Noir

BEST OF NORTH-CENTRAL COAST WHITE
Double Gold 98
Fetzer Vineyards 2014 Monterey County Riesling

BEST OF SOUTH-CENTRAL COAST RED
Double Gold 98
Le Vigne Winery 2013 Paso Robles Di Domenico Cabernet Sauvignon

BEST OF SOUTH-CENTRAL COAST WHITE
 Double Gold 98
J. Lohr Gesture 2015 Paso Robles Viognier

BEST OF SOUTH COAST RED
 Double Gold 98
Shadow Mountain Vineyards 2013 San Diego County Nebbiolo

BEST OF SOUTH COAST WHITE
 Double Gold 98
South Coast Winery 2015 Temecula Valley Sauvignon Blanc

BEST OF SIERRA FOOTHILLS RED
 Double Gold 98
St. Amant Winery 2014 Amador County Tempranillo

BEST OF SIERRA FOOTHILLS WHITE
Double Gold 98
Oakstone Winery 2015 Fair Play Pinot Grigio, Estate Mother Vine Ranch

BEST OF LODI RED
Double Gold 98
Loma Prieta Winery 2013 Lodi Pinotage Bodo’s Blend

BEST OF LODI WHITE
Double Gold 98
Lewis Grace 2014 Alta Mesa Torrontés

BEST OF OTHER CALIFORNIA RED
 Double Gold 98
Cardella Winery 2014 Fresno County Malbec

BEST OF OTHER CALIFORNIA WHITE
Double Gold 98 
Rendez-vous Winery 2014 Clarksburg Chenin Blanc

BEST OF CALIFORNIA STATE RED
 Double Gold 98
H. Mynors 2013 California Zinfandel Old Vine Cuvée

BEST OF CALIFORNIA STATE WHITE
 Double Gold 98
Smoking Loon 2014 California Chardonnay

BEST OF CALIFORNIA WINES

BEST BARBERA
 Double Gold 98
Amador Cellars 2013 Barbera Cooper & Karmere Vineyard Amador County

BEST BORDEAUX RED VARIETAL BLEND
Double Gold 98
Windwalker Vineyard 2011 Red Table Wine El Dorado

BEST CABERNET FRANC
 Double Gold 98
Bent Creek Wines 2013 Cabernet Franc Livermore Valley

BEST CABERNET SAUVIGNON
Double Gold 98
Concannon Vineyard 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Livermore Valley

BEST CHARDONNAY
 Double Gold 98
Belle Ambiance Family Vineyards 2014 Chardonnay California

BEST GRENACHE
 Double Gold 98
Villa Vallecito Vineyards 2013 Grenache Sierra Foothills

BEST MALBEC 
Double Gold 98
Martin Ranch Winery 2013 Malbec Thérèse Vineyards Santa Clara Valley - Dos Niñas Vineyard

BEST MERLOT
Double Gold 98
Francis Coppola Diamond Collection 2014 Merlot Blue Label California

BEST OTHER FORTIFIED DESSERT WINE
Double Gold 98
Galleano Winery NV Port, Old Vine Cucamonga Valley

BEST OTHER RED VARIETAL BLEND
Double Gold 98
Obscurity Cellars 2014 Carignane & Zinfandel Murrill Vineyard 100th Anniversary 1916 Amador County

BEST OTHER RED VARIETAL
Double Gold 98
Acorn Winery 2013 Dolcetto Alegria Vineyards Russian River Valley

BEST OTHER WHITE VARIETAL
 Double Gold 98
Lewis Grace 2015 Torrontés Alta Mesa

BEST PETITE SIRAH
Double Gold 98
Wolff Vineyards 2014 Petite Sirah Edna Valley

BEST PINOT GRIGIO
Double Gold 98
Menage à Trois 2015 Pinot Grigio California

BEST PINOT NOIR
Double Gold 98
Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards Sonoma Coast 2013 Pinot Noir Sonoma County

BEST PRIMITIVO
Double Gold 98
Smith Vineyard 2013 Primitivo Estate Bottled Sierra Foothills

BEST RED GENERIC
Double Gold 98
Three Thieves 2014 Red Wine California

BEST RIESLING
Double Gold 98
Fetzer Vineyards 2014 Riesling Goosefoot Road Monterey County

BEST SANGIOVESE
Double Gold 98
Windwalker Vineyard 2012 Sangiovese Sierra Foothills

BEST SAUVIGNON BLANC
Double Gold 98
South Coast Winery 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Carter Estate Vineyard Winemaker’s Signature Collection Temecula Valley

BEST SHIRAZ
Double Gold 98
Barefoot NV Shiraz California

BEST TEMPRANILLO
Double Gold 98
Peirano Estate Vineyards 2013 Tempranillo Estate The Heritage Collection Lodi

BEST VIOGNIER
Double Gold 98
Acquiesce 2015 Viognier Premium White Wine Lodi

BEST ZINFANDEL
Double Gold 98
Sobon Estate 2014 Zinfandel ReZerve0 Paul's Vineyard Amador County

The California State Fair will recognize the top award winners at a special press event on the steps of the State Capitol on June 23 at 10 a.m., along with the Best of Show winners from the Fair’s other well-respected commercial cheese, commercial beer and extra virgin olive oil competitions. The Best of Show award-winners are invited to pour their award-winning wine at a special invitation only Best of California tasting reception prior to the annual California State Fair Gala the evening of June 23 at 5:30 p.m.

About the California State Fair  
For more than 160 years, the California State Fair has showcased the best of the Golden State. Cal Expo was dedicated as a place to celebrate California’s achievements, industries, agriculture, diversity of its people, traditions and trends that shape the State’s future. The 2016 California State Fair will take place July 8-24. Advanced ticket pricing starts at $6 for children, $8 for seniors and $10 for adults. Tickets are available at CAStateFair.org/tickets.


Wine Blog Award Winners for 2016

Congratulations to the 2016 Wine Blog Award Winners. 

Best Blog Post of the YearHENRI BONNEAU, LE DERNIER ADIEU by Jerry Clark
Best Original Photography or Video on a Wine BlogVindulge
Best Winery or Industry Wine BlogBerry Bros. & Rudd Wine Blog!
Best Single Subject Wine BlogProvence Wine Zine!
Best Writing On a Wine BlogL’Occasion!
Best New Wine BlogDionysian Impulse!
Best Overall Wine BlogL’Occasion!

A panel of expert judges evaluated all the nominated blogs for each category and selected the top five blogs in each category. These judges are all volunteers and put in loads of hours reviewing the many nominated blogs.  Then the public was given the opportunity to vote for the finalists of each category in from June 2-13.  Each category winner was chosen based on 50% of the input coming from the judges and 50% coming from the public vote.

Winners in attendance at the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference will receive their physical awards in a special Wine Blog Awards Ceremony at the conference on August 13 and sit on a panel of award winners.


For more information:  Wine Blog Awards