Wine Events Round-Up

GlassesGretchen Neuman

From time to time, I get notices of events and like to pass them on to readers who may not be aware of them….

Lynfred Winery Oktoberfest ” Pig Roast & Grape Stomp”
Saturday, September 26 3:00pm – Sunday, September 27 at 7:00pm
Lynfred Winery, Roselle IL

This one is technically  not a wine event, but a music event at a bar.. where I am sure you can get wine.  So go watch Jean Lotus rock out.

Headspins @ Phyllis’ Musical Inn “Rockin’ like it’s 1988 all over again!!”
Saturday, August 22 at 8:00pm –  11:55pm
Phyllis’ Musical Inn

Naperville Wine Festival
Friday, September 18 at 4:00pm – Saturday, September 19 at 9:00pm
Naper Settlement

Asbury Shorts New York An Evening of the World’s Best Short Films “To benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society L”
Martha Clara Vineyards Group
Saturday, August 22 at 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Martha Clara Vineyards

Windy City Wine Festival
Friday, September 11 at 4:00pm – September 12 at 9:00pm
Daley Bicentennial Plaza

Larkmead Vineyards Wine Tasting “Goodness gracious, great Belle’s of Fire!”
Hinsdale Wine Shop
Wednesday, August 19 at 6:00pm -8:00pm

Sixth Annual Top 100 Tasting Event
Wednesday, October 14 at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
The Galleria at the San Francisco Design Center

Eve Bushman, of Eve’s Wine 101, Works for Charity “Watch Eve TRY to work in a wine bar…”
Monday, September 28 at 4:00pm – 9:00pm
Valencia Wine Company

Fall Fashions & Cocktails at Banana Republic “Four Floors of Glamour at Banana Republic’s Michigan Avenue Store”
Thursday, August 20 at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Where: Banana Republic

Farm to Table Lunch “Part of the Napa Fresh Air Festival ~ enriching the body, soul & planet”
Ceja Vineyards
Saturday, August 29 at 11:00am – 1:00pm
Avia Hotel Outdoor Terrace

Family Winemakers of California ” 19th Annual Tasting”
Ceja Vineyards
Sunday, August 23 at 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Fort Mason Center

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Panel Discussion at Spring Mountain Vineyards

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

GobeletMiravalle and La Perla Vineyards

After a lovely lunch at Peju Province the folks on Bus 7, i.e. Me, et al. (I am withholding names to protect the innocent… or you can identify them if you dare via my sometimes odd photography) headed off to our panel discussion at Spring Mount Vineyards. We were looking forward to this tasting as we would have representatives of four wineries presenting a current vintage and a library selection (an older vintage). We were running a bit late so when we arrived at Spring Mountain Vineyards we were met by the somewhat anxious Valli Ferrell who led us quickly but graciously from Bus #7 to a table full of of glasses of Sauvignon Blanc (The 2006 I think.. Sorry, I didn’t have my notepad out) that was made from fruit grown in the lower, Miravalle vineyard and the upper, LaPerla vineyard. In both vineyards the vines are trained in the Gobelet method which allow for a greater density of vines per acre. As we walked along with our wine, we learned that the building that we would be heading over to for our panel discussion is the centerpiece of the Miravalle property and is more commonly recognized as the mansion from the 1980s TV series, Falcon Crest.

Miravalle HouseWineAs we made our way to the tables in the mansion, we sat down in front at the table in front filled with glasses. Each place setting had eight glasses of wine layed out on a placemat. Two wines from each of the wineries participating on the panel, Spring Mountain Vineyard, Freemark Abbey, Beaulieu Vineyards and Oakville Ranch Vineyards. The wineries were represented by Jac Cole of Spring Mountain Vineyard, Ted Edwards of Freemark Abbey, Jeffrey Stambor of Beaulieu and Paula Kornell of Oakville Ranch. The wines presented to us were all bordeaux blends.

Panel Discussion PlacematPlacemat Notes from Panel DiscussionIt is a treat to be able to to taste vintages back to back in order to get a sense of the effects of age and even weather on a wine. Naturally, I drank them the wrong way. Because I like to be different. The richness of the library wines was heady. They were meatier than their younger counterparts. In my opinion the Oakville Ranch tasted of peppery black fruit, The Beaulieu was even and plummy, the Freemark Abbey 1994 selection was the most alcoholic to me but the most medium bodied of the library selections and the Spring Mountain was full of olives and cherries. The younger wines naturally were nothing to sneeze either. The 2004 Elivette Cabernet from Spring Mountain was smooth though it didn’t have much nose. The 2004 Freemark Abbey was leathery with dry cherry tones, the 2008 Beaulieu was woody with bright plums a nd the 2005 Oakville Ranch was smooth and even with light fruit.

Among the most interesting part of this stop was sitting between two real wine experts and watching them taste. I learned a lot from watching them.

I have to admit that by the end of the panel discussion I was a bit Cabernet’d out and was thankful for a bottle of water as we headed back onto Bus 7 for our next stop.

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Jones Winery ~ Shelton, Connecticut

Marguerite BarrettJones Winery / Photo: Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

In the spirit of honesty, I must admit I don’t know what I was expecting as I headed over to Shelton, CT and the Jones Winery.  Despite the write-up in the Connecticut Wine Trail Guide, a perusal of their website left me with the impression that this was primarily a working farm, focused on berry and vegetable production, with wine as a sideline.  What I found was a delightful balance of both – good wines and even better strawberries.

One of the first things that struck me as I pulled into the winery grounds was the more than ample parking – somewhat unusual for our local wineries, particularly those on the Western Trail, which tend to be smaller than their Eastern Trail countparts such as Jonathan Edwards, Stonington, Chamard, and Gouveia.  As I walked up the slope from the parking area, I was next struck by how extensive the grounds of the winery/farm are.  The main house, winery and farm buildings are all built at the base of Pumpkinseed Hill.  The path leads you past the main house and into a large open courtyard-like setting with the farm house, sheds and a beautiful old red barn arrayed around the perimeter.  Child-sized versions of farm buildings dot the courtyard creating a play-yard for children visiting with their parents.  And weathered oak barrels line the pathway and courtyard, serving as signposts to help you find your way back to the winery and tasting room.

Jones Winery / Photo: Marguerite BarrettThe winery is housed in the 100-year old dairy barn, converted to provide one of the largest Tasting Room spaces I have found to date in any winery anywhere.  The space encompasses the entire ground floor of the barn and is divided into two regions: the Tasting Bar, a large rectangular shaped bar that dominates one-half of the space, and the Winery/Farm Gift Shop.  The Tasting Bar could easily hold 30 people comfortably, and there’s plenty of space to mill around when larger crowds are present.  The staff are welcoming and friendly – and very knowledgeable about their wines.

The Jones Family has been farming in the Shelton area for more than 150 years.  Philip James “Jamie” Jones, a sixth-generation Jones, is the vineyard manager and principal winemaker.  He attended Cornell University’s Enology and Viticultural Program and has been guiding Jones Winery since he planted the first vineyards in 1999.  The winery opened five years later in 2004, and in 2008 welcomed a second winemaker, Larry McCulloch, formerly winemaker for Chamard Vineyards.

Jones Winery Courtyard / Photo: Marguerite BarrettJones Winery currently has 6 acres of grapes, primarily Cauyga, Cabernet Franc, Seyval Blanc, and Vidal Blanc, under cultivation and 25 acres of fruit.  In addition to the Connecticut vineyards, they also import grapes from California.   In addition to the grapes for wine, the farm also produces table grapes, strawberries, blueberries (primarily “pick-your-own” although they will occasionally have pints and quarts of fresh berries available in the winery gift shop), pumpkins and Christmas Trees.  On the day I stopped by they had a few quarts of freshly picked strawberries that quite literally melted in your mouth; one bite and I was transported back to childhood summers spent in Northern Michigan with my grandparents.

Other Jones Winery/Farm offerings include hands-on cooking classes through their Harvest Kitchen, a Fall Children’s Festival supporting UNICEF, and the annual Christmas Holiday Gift Shop, featuring ornaments, candles, arts & crafts and fresh baked goods.

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The Tour of Peju

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

After lunch and our wine pairings we began our tour of the Peju Province Winery with Herta Peju.

The first stop was the tasting room which includes the 50 foot Peju Tower a collaboration between Calvin Straub and Tony Peju. The Tower was completed in 2003 and is designed to resemble a French provincial tower made of stucco and stone complete with a copper roof. The Ulurhu Room was added later and has beautiful silk covered lights and a beautiful red and green quartzite floor which I did NOT photograph well (mea culpa).

The Three GracesChandelierStaircase to the MezzanineUluru Room
Next we began our tour of the grounds. Behind the tasting room are some of the vineyards and the rear access to the winery. The wooden barrels are the emergency water supply. As you walk clear of the winery buildings there is a wall (virtually) of plantings and trees. When you walk through this area you enter the family’s private domain which is exactly what we did (though some in the group did take a moment to check out the Taxi-yellow stretch Hummer limo. Assessment? Even more hideous than it appeared from the outside). In the course of our tour we walked past the poultry coop (HA! Girls! People really do keep backyard chickens), a pomegranate tree, another of peach and a mulberry from which we snatched a few berries and then back to vines that were undergoing veraison. The final stop on our tour was the old family garage which is the site of the original tasting room. You could feel the history in that room and I certainly hope Mrs. Peju keeps it just as it is…

Emergency water tanksEntering the private PejuThe house and garagePomegranatesVeraison at PejuThe original winery

Peju Province Winery
8466 St. Helena Highway
Rutherford, CA 94573

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Shoreline Wine Festival (Connecticut) ~ 8.15 – 8.16

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Saturday 8.15.09 (12-7 pm) and Sunday 8.16.09 (12-6 pm),

Bishop’s Orchards in Guilford, Connecticut is hosting the


Featured wineries include the host winery, Bishop’s Orchard, Chamard, Jonathan Edwards, White Silo, Jones Family, and Hopkins.

In addition to the wines, the festival will feature food and produce from local restaurants and farms, arts & crafts, and live music.

Bishop’s Orchards & Winery is located in Guilford, Connecticut, just minutes from I-95 off exit 57.  15 miles east of New Haven, Guildford is an easy day trip from New York (90 miles) and Southern New England.

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Lunch at Peju Province Winery

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Our next stop after the CIA was to head into Rutherford and to lunch at Peju Province Winery. Founded in 1982 by Tony and Herta “HB” Peju the winery has been producing red, white and rose wines at their boutique winery.

We were joined by Katie Lewis, Communications Coordinator who gave us the background of the winery and chatted with us as we ate our lunch of sandwiches and salads. (I loved the cantaloupe and prosciutto salad… it solves the issue of how to eat the wrapped cantaloupe/prosciutto by making it all bite-sized and I will make it here at the house when I can keep a cantaloupe for longer than 12 hours) As we were finishing our meal Herta Peju came out, poured Sauvignon Blanc and began speaking about her wines.  Wine, horticulture and art seem to be viewed as kindred spirits at Peju.  The vineyard was already producing wine grapes for when the Peju’s first purchased the property.  Eventually, the family began producing their own vintages beginning with the first block of Cabernet Sauvignon that is known as the H.B. Vineyard.  Soon after, the family’s garage was converted into a tasting room and the winery began to grow.

Peju PR Girl... She is as cute as a buttonLunch at Peju

Currently, the winery produces 35,000 cases annually and has expanded from the original 3o acres to include 350 acres in Pope Valley and 86 acres in Dutch Henry Canyon.  In fact, as the next generation of Pejus have joined the business, sustainability has become a bigger issue.  In the last few years the vineyards have received certifications from the California Certified Organic Farmers, Napa County Green Winery and Bay Area Green Business.  The winery has installed 720 photovoltaic panels atop the winery roof which produces enough electricity to power 40 average homes and will reduce Peju’s electrical demand by 36%.

Herta joins us for lunchFifty/Fifty and Cabernet Sauvignon

We were given two glasses with which to taste during our lunch and chat and I used the opportunity to try some of those wines side by side.

For instance, I was able to try the Provence blend alongside the Rose of Syrah. It is remarkable to taste seemingly similar wines and find how different they really are…

ProvenceRose of Syrah

More about Peju coming up….

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Summer on the Wine Trails

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

To date, Summer ’09 has been a cool and soggy one here in New England.  Despite that, there have been moments of glorious weather, perfect for hitting the Win(e)ding Roads of Connecticut, New Jersey, and as of yesterday, Rhode Island.   But the summer’s not over, and August promises even more great days – so if you haven’t hit the trails yet, come and join us!

All pictures by Marguerite Barrett, July – August 2009

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The CIA, No, Not That One…

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

On Saturday, bright and early or 9:00am in reality, we loaded onto buses and headed off to the CIA.

No. Not the spys. The chefs. The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, California. Home of the Vintners Hall of Fame. The twenty three inductees are listed here.

We entered the Greystone Cellars building which was originally a cooperative winery beginning in the 1880s and later owned by the Christian Brothers to produce sparkling wine.  The building contains the Hall of Fame, the teaching kitchens, EcoLab Theatre, Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant, Spice Islands Marketplace, De Baun Theatre, De Baun Café, and administrative offices.  As we made our way up to the third floor conference room, I managed to get pictures of the kitchens… and a spectacular collection of corkscrews.

We were addressed by CIA operatives (sorry, couldn’t help myself) er, officials and then by Barry Schuler, former AOL CEO and Meteor Vineyard owner.  He spoke to us about blogging, social media  and wine.  During his talk he discussed the  about the potential for creating marketplaces for internet content.  I thought his views of versions 1,2 and 3 of the internet were fascinating and seemed to resonate with the rest of the group.  For me, it made me anxious as crossing that line from Web 2.0 to 3.0 is an ongoing issue with me that I am personally trying to achieve.

The next speaker was then by Jim Gordon Editor of Wines and Vines about the upcoming wine issues.  To me, the most important issues related to environmental issues.  Water resources and smoke damaged grapes, to me are offshoots of these concerns.  Questions about barrels and closures also relate to the environment.  Place, in the terroir sense, as always is important and maintaining the climate of a terroir is essential to maintaining viability as a grape producing region.

Soon though, our discussions were finished and it was time to get on the buses and head off for our adventures for the rest of the day.  It had been suggested to me that the bus to be on was #4, however as I approached that bus, the doors were being closed.  So I did what we Neuman’s typically do when trying to figure out which bus to get on or where to park… Go to the last available option..  And that is exactly what I did….


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New Jersey Fresh Wine & Food Festival

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

On Saturday, August 8th (12-5) and Sunday, August 9th (12-5) join The Garden State Wine Growers Association for the

Jersey Fresh Food and Wine Festival

The festival will feature wines from 20 New Jersey wineries along with locally grown food and arts & crafts.

The event is being held at Heritage Vineyards (480 Mullica Hill Road (Rte 322), Richwood, NJ 08074 Phone: 856-589-4474 ).  Heritage Vineyards, owned and operated by the Heritage family, has been producing award-winning wines since 2001.

Richwood is located in the Southwestern corner of New Jersey, close to Philadelphia, and about 2 hours from New York city.

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WBC’09 – Meet The Sponsors

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Registration began at 11:00 am… after receiving my credentials, I headed over to meet the conference sponsors.  And, of course, enjoy a little wine.  It was 11:00am after all, which means that wine was a legal as Sunday morning in Chicago.

I tried several of the Verdejo and Verdelho from the Rueda region of Spain… They were absolutely lovely and perfect for a chilly summer morning.. or a warm one too.

Next up was Sherry… Now, the trick with Sherry is that you want to drink the dry ones now and come back and taste the sweeter ones later… naturally I forgot.  But I did enjoy walking around the room learning about the wines of Napa, Sonoma, Xeres, Rueda and the Russian River Valley.  I also got to learn (more) about Wines and Vines and Wine Mutineer magazines… oh, and I got to vote for the best wine tattoo (which was no contest! Michael Wangbickler totally won!) For voting, I got a tattoo (albeit temporary) of my own…  Not bad for the first 90 minutes!


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