Monday, June 27, 2016

06/27 CHRIS UPCHURCH, DELILLE CELLARS IN WOODINVILLE WASHINGTON

CHRIS UPCHURCH - EXECUTIVE WINEMAKER AND COFOUNDER,  DELILLE CELLARS IN WOODINVILLE WASHINGTON 

DeLille Cellars is a boutique artisan winery located in Woodinville, Washington. The winery was founded in 1992 by Charles and Greg Lill, Jay Soloff and celebrated winemaker Chris Upchurch. The mission at DeLille Cellars has always been to create a new Bordeaux blend using Washington State vineyards. From the beginning, the winery has looked towards the prestigious Red Mountain AVA as the foundation of its wines, using grapes from its own vineyards in combination with fruit from other top sites in the Yakima Valley.

In 1992, the winery pioneered its Chaleur Estate Rouge and D2, both blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. The team at DeLille believed that blending Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the traditional style would create wines in which each varietal would contribute its own attributes and would create classically structured wines in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, wines that showcase the purity of fruit that defines Washington State terroir, a “first growth” wine from some of the oldest vines in the state. This belief remains one of the winery’s guiding principles today.

In 1994, DeLille Cellars was fortunate to acquire the rights to Harrison Hill vineyard which had some of the oldest vines in the Washington. Now, with vines over 50 years old, Harrison Hill has become one of the most sought after Bordeaux blends in the state.

Observing the Bordeaux tradition of blending varietals together, in 1995 the team at DeLille chose to make a barrel fermented blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for our first white wine:  DeLille’s Chaleur Estate Blanc. We knew this would create a wine with more complexity, diverse aromas and classic structure than many White varietal wines and which would pair well with a wide variety of food.  From the first, we achieved nuances of white flowers, sweet grass, honey suckle, creamy crème brûlée, toasted almonds and more.  Over the years, Chaleur Estate Blanc has shown us all just how well a properly structured white wine can age.

DeLille Cellars is a portfolio company of Bacchus Capital Management, an investment firm providing strategic capital and making equity investments in United States wineries and wine businesses. www.bacchuswinefund.com

ABOUT CHRIS
Executive Winemaker
“At DeLille, we believe that Washington State is a Grand Cru wine growing region, created 10,000 years ago.  The challenge for us has always been and remains: to create special wines from the uniquely expressive terroir that Mother Nature gave us a long time ago,” states DeLille Cellars’ acclaimed winemaker Chris Upchurch. “We know that this challenge of discovery is never ending, and is becoming tradition here at DeLille Cellars.”

Chris’ love for wine started in his youth, with extensive travel throughout the Grand Cru wine-growing regions of Europe and the west coast of the US. "I had to start off developing my palate and my perspective. How can you make great wine if you don’t know what that is?" he reflected.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Washington, Chris began his career as a wine merchant, working with several of Seattle’s best-known restaurants. This experience allowed him to hone his palate while tasting wines from around the world. Deep in his heart, Chris knew he wanted to express his passion in the production end of the wine industry.

Armed with his love of wine and commitment to learning its craft, Chris initially developed a successful grape-brokerage business contracting grapes from Washington State and selling them to winemakers. Chris uncovered his true calling once he started spending endless hours in the vineyards. That love of the land, the vine and its fruit, fostered Chris’ passion of winemaking and his passion for charting a course in Washington State.

An acclaimed professional winemaker for over twenty years, Chris still spends much of his time in the vineyards of Washington State, primarily Yakima Valley and Red Mountain AVA’s. Reflecting on the great European winemaking tradition, he remarks “The truly long-lived wines are made in the vineyards. I expect to be here for many years to come.”

WWW.DELILLECELLARS.COM

Monday, June 20, 2016

06/20 MATT DICEY, MT DIFFICULTY WINES, SARAH BRANDON, RUTH'S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE

MATT DICEY - WINEMAKER / GENERAL MANAGER, MT DIFFICULTY WINES

ABOUT MATT DICEY:
Matt (aka Le Grand Fromage) has a lifelong association with the wine industry, and is a fourth generation vigneron. After achieving a Masters Degree in Oenology and Viticulture Matt spent four years gaining experience overseas. He returned to Bannockburn in 1998 to try his hand at the ultimate winemaking challenge – making the best wines possible in a region with infinite potential. Matt's winter passion is skiing with his family, while summers bring jet boating and mountain biking "adventures".

OUR STORY
Today Mt Difficulty Estate is comprised of six vineyards; Templars Hill, Pipeclay Terrace, Menzies Terrace, Mansons Farm, Target Gully and Long Gully – total plantings of 40 hectares protected by the rain shadow of Mount Difficulty in Bannockburn, Central Otago. The region provides New Zealand’s only “continental” style climate combined with unique soils ideally suited for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.

It all began in the early 1990's, when the owners of five newly-planted vineyards in Bannockburn shook hands and decided to work together to produce wine under one label, Mt Difficulty. The handshake bound the owners of Molyneux, Mansons Farm, Verboeket Estate and Full Circle until 2004 when Mt Difficulty Wines Ltd was formed, and the majority of the individual vineyards passed into the ownership of the company.

As a result, Mt Difficulty Wines Ltd now owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn sub-region of Central Otago in New Zealand's rugged South Island. The vine age gives our wines, particularly the Pinot Noirs, extra complexity and concentration. The Bannockburn area is internationally recognised as one of the few places in the world outside Burgundy where the pernickety Pinot Noir variety has found a home. Parts of New Zealand and cooler areas on the western seaboard of the United States are the only other regions where Pinot Noir seems to truly flourish.

The unique microclimate of the Bannockburn area is partially created by the presence of Mount Difficulty which overlooks the southern Cromwell basin, and is the namesake of Mt Difficulty Wines. Mount Difficulty is integral in providing low rainfall and humidity for the region. Bannockburn enjoys hot summers, a large diurnal temperature variation and long cool autumns; conditions which bring the best out of the Pinot Noir grapes. These conditions, along with soils which are ideal for viticulture, provide an excellent basis not only for Pinot Noir, but also for Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Chardonnay. The soils are a mix of clay and gravels, but all feature a high pH level; grapes produce their best wines on sweet soils.

The Mt Difficulty brand started in 1998 with a very small production of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, made by Grant Taylor of Gibbston Valley Wines (now of Valli Wines). Prior to this the Gang sold their grapes to either Gibbston Valley or Chard Farm. The Air New Zealand wine awards in 1999 put Mt Difficulty on the map, with our 1998 Pinot Noir winning a gold medal and the Chardonnay, silver.

In 1999 Matt Dicey came on board as winemaker, and he made the 1999 and 2000 vintage wines at Longburn Winery in Cromwell's budding industrial area. In 1999 the range was increased to include Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc; while Gewürztraminer and Riesling were added in 2000. Gewürztraminer proved to be too difficult to grow economically (the variety often has a poor fruit-set) and the vines were pulled out prior to 2001. More recently the Mt Difficulty Chardonnay vineyards in Bannockburn have been replaced with other vines, including Chenin Blanc, leaving the Growers Series label (introduced in 2011 to showcase the terroir of other sub-regions) to fly the Chardonnay flag from 2010.

The vintage release in October 2001 marked a progression for Mt Difficulty Wines, with several Single Vineyard wines being seen for the first time. The 2001 white wines included two later-pick Rieslings and a late pick Pinot Gris, plus two Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs from the 2000 vintage. The philosophy of Single Vineyard wines is to display the unique characteristics that are particular to their site. With such a mixture of soils, microclimates and grape clones the difference in the wines from each vineyard site is quite noticeable and significant.

The next major change to the portfolio happened in 2004, when our second label Roaring Meg was launched. The first release consisted of a Pinot Noir and a Merlot from the 2003 vintage, with Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc following on a few years later. The Merlot was a short lived label, only appearing in 2003 and 2004. The varietal proved a little too thick skinned to achieve optimal ripening in Central Otago, but did at least give assistant winemaker Roger deGrauw the chance to hone his Rosé making skills in 2005 before the vines on Templars Hill were replaced by Pinot Gris. The fruit driven, early drinking style of the Roaring Meg wines struck a chord with the market and the brand has been the main source of growth for Mt Difficulty Wines since 2007.

THE MT DIFFICULTY WINERY AND CELLAR DOOR
Commonly referred to as "Downstairs" and "Upstairs"

In late 2000 Mt Difficulty commissioned a new winery among the vines in Templars Hill vineyard on Felton Road. The winery was specially designed to produce quality Pinot Noir, but included separate facilities for other varieties and a specific barrel hall for Chardonnay. The building was completed just prior to Christmas 2001 and included an on-site Cellar Door which received many enthusiastic visitors over the busy summer holiday period. As the Mt Difficulty brand became better known, the small Cellar Door outgrew its premises in the winery and a new architecturally designed building was built high above the winery on Templars Hill. This building opened in February 2003 and visitors were able, for the first time, to enjoy a glass of wine over a light platter lunch in the small café while marvelling at the views.

Today the Cellar Door and Restaurant at Mt Difficulty Wines showcase the Mt Difficulty brand to thousands of New Zealand and international visitors annually. Though still small, the café has evolved to become a destination restaurant, with people travelling here for the food as well as the wine. Our popularity with diners has necessitated yet another extension, with a new wine tasting area having been opened in May 2012. We anticipate that this will improve the experience of wine enthusiasts and diners alike.

While the Cellar Door extension was taking place, a much bigger project was also occurring. The size of the winery had been growing incrementally for many years, with warehouse space being taken over by tank rooms. In 2012 the 30 hectares of Roaring Meg vines from Station Block were coming into full maturity and so the need for more winemaking space, and in particular a new barrel hall, was evident. The revolutionary design was completed just in time to see the first grapes come into the winery from the 2012 harvest. The hall is topped by New Zealand's largest semi-extensive living roof, and is a testament to Mt Difficulty's commitment to sustainable winegrowing.


SARAH BRANDON - SALES MANAGER, RUTH'S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE        

PASADENA
369 East Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
818-426-2086

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With rooms perfect for parties, dinners, business meetings, presentations and more, we offer the best service for you and your guests. Our Private Dining Manager will help create an ideal environment for your event.

CATERING BY RUTH'S CHRIS
Let us cater your next meeting or special event. The food will be unforgettable, just the way Ruth did it. It's how we honor our founder and help you sit back and enjoy a perfect event.

PRIVATE DINING & EVENT SPACE
Ruth’s Chris offers private dining spaces for special events. Impress your guests with our exceptional menu options and unsurpassed level of service.

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Designed to meet the needs of organizations that host multiple special events and meetings. Our programs provide you and your guests access to the largest collection of upscale steak houses across the country.

RUTHSCHRIS.COM

Monday, June 13, 2016

06/13 SHELLEY KEKUNA, KAANAPALI BEACH RESORT ASSOCIATION, HEATHER PATZ, PATZ & HALL

SHELLEY KEKUNA - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KAANAPALI BEACH RESORT ASSOCIATION

KAANAPALI. WHERE THE WORLD COMES TO PLAY.

Kaanapali is a three-mile stretch of beach that has been touted as one of the best beaches on Maui, and even in America. Long ago, these sands and lush gardens were enjoyed by Hawaiian kings and queens who sought a relaxing, rejuvenating retreat. The land itself was once comprised of green sugar cane and taro, grown with the help of the Maui sun and a freshwater spring. This magical spot is steeped in culture, from when it was used as a training ground for Hawaiian warriors in ancient times, to the romantic days of “Old Hawaii” in the ’30s and ’40s, to the present.

Today, couples, friends, and families still gravitate here for all this renowned beach has to offer, but also for its fabulous resorts and condos. And Kaanapali Beach Resort provides the best of the best, with easy access to everything you want to see and do. For beauty, excitement, convenience, and comfort, it simply can’t be matched.

KAANAPALIRESORT.COM


HEATHER PATZ – FOUNDER, PATZ & HALL

ABOUT HEATHER PATZ:
Heather Patz has been actively involved in Patz & Hall since its founding in 1988, contributing her unique mix of style and skill to the success of the winery.  Her enthusiasm for sharing the culture of wine, combined with her warm, hospitable nature has helped to define the personality of Patz & Hall, and its gracious approach to customer relations.

In the early years of Patz & Hall, Heather managed administrative and accounting responsibilities for the winery. In addition to overseeing the office, Heather contributed to the production process wherever possible, from sorting fruit to sampling grapes. A passionate spokesperson for Patz & Hall, Heather’s role soon evolved to include hospitality and consumer relations. In this capacity, she was instrumental in establishing Patz & Hall’s Salon Society, thereby ensuring loyal customers access to the winery’s most sought-after releases. Building on the success of the Salon Society, Heather helped to design and establish the intimate and beautifully appointed Patz & Hall Tasting Salon with its focus on seated, private tastings of the winery’s acclaimed Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

As a founding partner, Heather continues to participate in all important decisions affecting Patz & Hall. In addition, she remains actively involved in the winery’s hospitality program, helping to organize and host club dinners, tastings and fundraisers. Just as important, Heather champions an intimate, hands-on approach to customer relations. Whether she is helping long-time customers plan a trip to wine country, conducting in-home tastings for Patz & Hall aficionados, or personally making phone calls or writing thank-you notes to Salon members, Heather believes in the value of making real and lasting connections with Patz & Hall’s customers. In keeping with this warm, authentic approach, Heather also helps to spearhead Patz & Hall’s involvement with a variety of charitable causes, both locally and nationally. Outside of her work for Patz & Hall, Heather dedicates much of her free time to working with church and community-based organizations on behalf of children and families in need.

PATZ & HALL LEGENDARY VINEYARDS, RENOWNED WINES  
Patz & Hall was founded in 1988 by four talented individuals: Donald Patz, James Hall, Anne Moses and Heather Patz. Together, they have turned Patz & Hall into one of California’s most highly regarded wineries with a celebrated portfolio of single-vineyard wines. Though Patz & Hall was not the first California winery to make vineyard-designate Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, it was one of the first to introduce these wines to a wider audience outside of wine clubs and tasting rooms.  

To achieve their goal of making exceptional limited-production wines from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the four founders each focus their specialized knowledge and expertise on different areas of the winery’s operations. This integrated approach, along with a commitment to developing close personal relationships with many of California’s finest growers—people like Larry Hyde, Lee Hudson and the Martinelli and Pisoni families—have become the cornerstones of the winery’s success, allowing Patz & Hall to realize the highest levels of quality and consistency.    Patz & Hall makes all of its wines in a state-of-the-art winery in Sonoma designed by Winemaker James Hall. This purpose-built winery allows the Patz & Hall team complete control during every step of the winemaking process. In the winery, Patz & Hall applies both traditional and cutting-edge techniques, including a unique, custom barrel program, where stave wood is air dried and seasoned for three years to Patz & Hall’s specifications by the François Frères and Seguin Moreau cooperages in the heart of Burgundy. To reveal the distinct identity of the legendary sites it works with, Patz & Hall applies a consistent winemaking approach that has been refined to underscore the finesse, depth and complexity of each vineyard. Located in the Sonoma Coast, Carneros (Napa Valley), Russian River Valley, Mendocino County and Santa Lucia Highlands, these vineyards span California’s finest winegrowing regions.
In 2014, the four founders unveiled the stunning new Sonoma House at Patz & Hall. Located in the heart of Sonoma wine country, amid a majestic backdrop of vineyards and mountains, the Sonoma House is an idyllic setting for enjoying Patz & Hall’s acclaimed Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

NEW SONOMA HOUSE AT PATZ & HALL IS UNVEILED  
Located in the heart of Sonoma wine country, the Sonoma House at Patz & Hall features enhanced visitor amenities and a 12-acre estate vineyard.

Patz & Hall is happy to announce the opening of its new Sonoma House at Patz & Hall at 21200 8th Street East, just a few miles south of the Sonoma town square. Located near the Highway 12 corridor, against a backdrop of vineyards and mountains, the Sonoma House features a luxurious new Tasting Salon. Guests at the Tasting Salon are welcomed for private, by-appointment seated tastings of Patz & Hall’s acclaimed vineyard-designate Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, paired with gourmet savory panna cotta food complements. The new Sonoma House also offers alfresco Terrace Tastings featuring wines paired with a locally sourced cheese plate. In addition, the new location includes a drop-in tasting bar, a member-exclusive Reserve Room and an expansive patio surrounded by 12 acres of estate vineyards newly planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  

The Sonoma House Salon welcomes guests for by-appointment tastings Thursday through Monday at 10:30 am, 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm. These seated, private tastings include six Chardonnay and Pinot Noir single-vineyard-designate wines, paired with locally sourced gourmet food complements to enhance the tasting experience. The Salon experience is $60 per person and lasts approximately 60 minutes.
 
The Sonoma House also offers seated, by-appointment tastings at its stylish tasting bar, Thursday through Monday. These tastings begin on the hour starting at 10 a.m. with the last tasting at 4 p.m. The tasting bar experience features four Patz & Hall wines served in an intimate group setting at the 12-seat marble bar, at a cost of $30 per person. Tasting bar guests may also purchase cheese plates exclusively featuring artisan Sonoma County cheeses, as well as select prepared specialty items from the Sonoma House shop. Drop-in tasting bar guests are accommodated if space is available.

In addition, throughout 2014 and 2015, Patz & Hall partnered with California Home+Design and 7x7 magazine to host installations by artists and designers featured in both publications at the Sonoma House.  

WWW.PATZHALL.COM