Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Livermore Valley Kicks Off Sauvignon Blanc Month - July

Celebrate Sauvignon Blanc! It's July and that's what you do in wine country.

The Livermore Valley, historically known for the grape, is  home to several wineries that produce Sauvignon Blanc.  Here are a few:
3 Steves Winery
Bent Creek Winery
Charles R. Vineyard
Chouinard Vineyard & Winery
Concannon Vineyard
Crooked Vine

A Little on the history of the Livermore Valley Wine Country.

Unbeknownst to many, the first international, (read French) Gold Medals (read Grand Prix) awarded to a California wine were from the Livermore Valley. The event was the 1889 International Paris Exposition (about 113 years before the well known judgment at Paris) when Cresta Blanca Winery, owned by Wetmore, submitted a 'dry white wine' for the competition. The wine was composed of Sauvignon Blanc, grown on cuttings, that, ironically, originated at Château d'Yquem in southern Bordeaux. Cresta Blanca Winery was designated a California historical landmark in 1957 and is owned by the Wente family. 

Read more about that here. The Forgotten Grand Prize Award.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Europe And US Battle Over .Wine And .Vin Top Level Domain Creation

This week Europe and the US wine industry is in an uproar.  In London this week is an ICANN, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, meeting to decide on new Top Level Domain names (TLD).  French minister Axelle Lemaire  sent a letter to ICANN stating that the new TLDs would cause confusion and be misused. Lemaire claimed that the new domain names could weaken identity of beverages such as Champagne which can only be called Champagne if produced in the Champagne region of France.  There are also claims that ICANN is doing this to make money as it will cause a burden on companies as they will be compelled to buy up the related TLDs to protect their brands. More than 80 companies petitioned the US Department of Commerce, saying that the plans would cause "excessive cost and harm to brand owners". Stay tuned for the results of this meeting.
Associated meeting documents:
LONDON – GAC Meeting: New gTLDs - Board Responses to ...

Friday, May 2, 2014

Lost in in the Livermore Valley Wine Country

Recently, a new map has appeared in the Livermore Valley Wine Country.  The Livermore Valley Wine Map And Visitor Guide. 

They show 44 wineries on their map and Website. Then there is the Wine Grower's Association with 43 wineries on their maps and Website.

The there is the Livermore Wine App with 55 wineries listed. 

Plus a few more other Apps and Websites.

The problem is there are more than 60 wineries in the Livermore Valley Wine County. 

The  Livermore Valley Wine Map and Website and the Wine Grower's Association Website and Maps will only show those that have a membership or buy into the map. The Livermore Valley Wine App has a lot of incorrect information on the varies wineries as well not listing all of the wineries. 

For a better map source you can use Wine Country This Week. However they show only 54 wineries. The local paper The Independent News in their hard copy IN magazine shows 50 wineries. For a local newspaper they could do better.

As for the other Websites and Apps, there are too many to list. They could do a better job at being accurate on listing the wineries and each winery's specific information.

My suggestion is to find a Livermore Winery  you want to visit then ask them what other wineries you should visit in the Livermore Valley Wine Country.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Drought And Your Wine Cellar.

Time to address the historical drought in California and how it will effect the wine industry and the
2014 vintage.  

While the 2013 vintage will be a great year for wine, 2104 will be a different story.  

Vineyards don't need a lot of water to survive, although the lack of rain and continued sunny weather could eventually affect the crop. Winemakers said they would prune heavily and thin to keep the crop at a minimum, focusing on ripening whatever crop they have at the expense of volume. All they can do for now is manage what little water they have and pray for rain.   While dry farming is great for some varietals such as Pinot Noir, other varietals need a bit more water. 

Per the California Plant and Soil Conference attendees, "salinity and scarcity of water make the soil toxic and current crops can not survive." 

Some vineyards are so concerned they have fallen back on old not so scientific method of finding water. Dowsing or Water Witches who use "diving rods" to find water. Rods are made of copper or wood and can detect water deep in the ground.  Folklore has it that this happens by natural energy. This could be a reach and/or desperation.  

While grapes are usually the topic here. I need to mention that this drought will effect all produce.  Prices will rise not only on wine but produce on a whole will be more expensive.  There’s going to be several million tons of production that will be lost,” said Winters farmer Bruce Rominger, chairman of the California Tomato Growers Association. “It will be devastating to the industry.”  This means less tomato products on the grocery store shelf.

Lack of rain and with warmer weather Bud Break is earlier this year. This is just as alarming as lack of water for irrigation. The chance of frost is still a possibility.


Look for my next article on tech and water.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Livermore winery wins Best of Show at the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.


Once again Livermore takes "Best Of Show" 3 Steves Winery with their 2011 Cienega Valley Ancient Vine Zinfandel.  Also taking a Silver for their 2012 Chardonnay and 2011 Cabernet Franc. 
 More on Livermore winners at the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Musical Chairs In The Livermore Valley Wine Country

I'll start with Thomas Coyne Winery.  They completed their move to their new location at 2405 Research Dr., Livermore, CA in October of 2013.  It was unfortunate how this happened as the property owner sold the former location and was not nice about telling Coyne he had to move.

Eckert Estate Winery moved from Arroyo Rd to 5963 Graham Court, Suite D, Livermore, CA.  The former location on Arroyo Rd., has a new owner. The new owner was willing to make upgrades and

in doing so gave way to a new location for Cuda Ridge Winery.
3 Steve's Winery offer for the White Crane Winery was not accepted by the bank.   However they purchased the old Red Feather location and have made a real nice home for themselves.  They moved out of the Swirl location recently.   It does not appear that Red Feather winery has new location at this time.

Looks like White Crane is still hanging on some how. 

Cedar Mountain Winery has moved and is going back to their original plan to make wine for themselves and no longer doing custom crushing.  They have broken ground on their new facility with hopes to be open to the public by harvest of this year. 
With Cedar Mountain's move, that gave way for a new location for Darcy Kent Vineyards.

A new Winery has opened in the Livermore Valley.  Caddis Winery opened in December of 2013 and is using Triska's property for production and their tasting room by appointment only. 
Mitchell Katz Winery parted ways with Mike Callahan and moved to 2481 Buena Vista Ave. Livermore, CA.  

Callahan moved another one of his wineries into the old Katz location. You can visit Rubino Estates Winery.   at the old Katz location.

A new winery will be opening this May.  Nella Terra  produces Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay. 

Another notable new winery in 
 Livermore Valley is Enoteca Five. They produce Cabernet Franc and Merlot blends.  They share space at  633 Kalthoff Common, Livemore, CA.  You can find out where to taste their wines on their Website.

One more very new winery. It's by appointment only. Twining Vines  located at 16851 Cull Canyon Road, Castro Valley, CA. Keith Seibert, owner and caretaker of ten acres at Twining Vine, does not have a tasting room.  He does have a very large Red Barn on the property.  Twining Vine Winery will be producing Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. They were approved to open for 12 events a year by the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council December 2013.  Not much to see on their Website at this time.

Something new for one of the wineries.  Eckert Estates Winery as delved into the distilled spirits industry. Mike just opened Artisan Spirits and Brandy Works. They are collocated with the winery at 5963 Graham Court, Suite D, Livermore, CA. You can like them on Facebook at