Qorkz.com – For Hidden Wine Gems

Do you wish you were in Napa or Sonoma right now? (Don ‘t we all?)

Want to find that winery that is a hidden gem that is off the beaten path? The ones that have such a small production you have the upper hand with your friends and family? Especially when they rave about the wine you are serving?

Well, I, your VinoVerve Editrix has been working secretly to bring these kinds of wines to you. Welcome to Qorkz Wine.

These wines are made by passionate winemakers who want to share their craft with you.

We are scouring California (for now and eventually around the country and maybe even the world) to find these treats for you!

You all know how much I enjoy looking for these treats… so please, enjoy!

We will have more choices to come!



Moon Mountain District Sonoma County

Frontispiece of Jack London's Valley of the Moon

Frontispiece of Jack London’s, “Valley of the Moon”, 1913, The Macmillan Company, Ny

Now that I am out and about again, I wasted no time high tailing it out of town to visit some new wineries. The first on the list was Repris Wines in the Moon Mountain District.  This post will explore this eerie landscape and I will discuss the winery in the next.

Moon Mountain District is located within Sonoma Valley across the eastern ridge from the Mt. Veeder AVA (or the Sonoma-Napa border, if you will…). The name of the area is based on the mistaken belief that the local indigenous peoples referred to Sonoma Valley as the “Valley of the Moon”.  At least the last Mexican governor of the area did, as well as Jack London, who wrote a book with that title.  While there was a “valley” of the moon, there was no associated mountain.  That has all changed.  After asking the USGS  nicely to designate a “Moon Mountain”, the people were finally rewarded (57 years later).  The peak is located east of Mt. Pisgah and south of Bismark Knob.

The appellation ranges from 400-2,200 feet above sea level and is known for its series of medium sloped hills that build upon one another. This leaves the terrain with little pockets of terroir that receive different amounts of sunlight and different airflows.  The majority of the region faces the west to maximize the amount of sunlight that the vines receive as well as maximizing the intensity.  Cool day time temperatures from the Pacific have warmed up by the time they reach Moon Mountain and night time fogs roll down the mountain to keep the  vines from freezing.  The temperatures in the area provide almost double the growing degree days in the area making it a perfect location for growing Zinfandel and other long hanging grapes.

image of lava outcrop, Moon MountainThe geology of the area is a mixture of andesite and basalt lava flows from the Sonoma volcanics that have been mixed with gravels.  The resulting soils are brown and shallow and very well drained allowing the grapes to grow deeply into the  hillside.  This gives the area a sometimes eerie look from these flows that are visible in places at the surface (thus the name Moon Mountain, perhaps?).  The brown soils are largely of the Goulding series are volcanic and very well drained.

There are currently 11 bonded wineries and 40 commercial vineyards operating around Moon Mountain.

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Where, Oh Where Have I Gone?

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Yes, it has been a long while since I chimed in here. But I have been working on wine stuff.

What exactly will be revealed Tuesday night or Wednesday morning depending on the success of the venture.

Just know that I will need a little luck on my side… oh and it is wine related!

Visiting the Vineyard at Wollersheim Winery

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

VinoVerve continues its exploration of the Wollersheim Winery with a stop in the vineyards and exploration of the historic wine cave built by Agoston Haraszthy. Please note that this is the first vineyard I have ever encountered with electric fencing.

What To Do With All Those Glasses

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

One of the side effects of my Win(e)ding Road adventures is a growing collection of souvenir wine glasses.  In most wineries, at least here in Connecticut, the tasting includes the wine glass etched with the winery’s logo.  A nice idea, but what do you do with the wine glasses when you’re done?  

Courtesy of great sales at IKEA, Target and Bed Bath and Beyond, I already have a large collection of basic wine glasses which I keep on hand for parties.  And courtesy of my friends Richard and Charles, I have a set of beautiful crystal white wine glasses for special occasions.  I also don’t have the luxury of a huge wine cellar and/or bar room, so finding space for souvenir wine glasses poses its own challenge.

When I can, I politely decline the glass at the end of the tasting ~ if the winery can wash it and reuse it, it saves them money and me space in my cupboard.  My rememberance of the visit is usually several bottles of wine I purchase at the end of the tasting.  Sometimes, though, the winery won’t keep the glass, or they wrap it up and slip it in with my wine before I remember to tell them I was fine not taking it home.  I’ve given a few away to my friend and wine-trail-buddy, Christy, so she can have matched sets, but I’m still finding myself with a nice little collection of wine glasses in my garage.

So what does one do with all those glasses?  Take a page out of Seinfeld and re-gift them!  I can’t take credit for this idea, as I got it from a staff member at Priam Vineyards who while sympathizing with me when I said I already had too many glasses and really didn’t need to take another home, also told me that she doesn’t do dishes, so the glass was mine.

I regularly give gifts of local wines; it’s a great way to promote local wineries, and it’s a unique gift because I’m finding most people haven’t tried their local wines.  Combine a bottle or two with one or two tasting glasses etched with the winery’s logo, and presto – a gift that feels like you put some thought and creativity into it.   And best of all the idea can be expanded for any occasion.  Need something more special (or substantial) than just a bottle of wine?  Combine the wine and glasses in a basket with local cheeses, fruits or other foods; or add a cookbook featuring local cuisine, or a special book on wines of the region ~ you’re only limited by your imagination (and budget).

And best of all?  You’ve found a use for all those glasses…

More in News of the Obvious.

I love science and learning how stuff works.

But sometimes, I am surprised that certain questions had not been asked sooner.

Red wine increases the female sex drive

This fell into the realm of duh. After all, hasn’t this been the male philosophy for several millenia?

The study, itself followed nearly 800 Italian women aged 18-50 (when apparently sex ends)

Women who drank one or two glasses of wine each day were more likely to be more sexually active and more likely to lower inhibitions.

Which once again says, duh to me.

Unfortunately the articles regarding the study are unclear. Were the women offeredanything other than red wine? How did women who drank other things fare?

Still, the story inevitably reinforces the stereotypes of virtually every man I know. So for that I was a little disappointed.