Monday, October 20, 2014

10/20 JASON PUGACH, NATASHA SWORDS, CALIFORNIA WINEMASTERS EVENTS, VINFORT 2014, KATRINA FREY. FREY VINEYARDS

JASON PUGACH  & NATASHA SWORDS - CALIFORNIA WINEMASTERS EVENT - VINFORT 11/7/14

THE CALIFORNIA WINEMASTERS launches vinfort 2014 for cognac, port and late harvest wine fans  a Charity Event Raising Money for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation!

California Winemasters is launching the inaugural VinFort event for those who appreciate Cognacs, ports and late harvest wines, this November 7th.

“The California Winemasters is excited to offer something a little new and different to wine-tasters who enjoy fortified wines as much as they do a bottle of wine. The timing is perfect too! Just before holiday season.” – says Barbara Balik, Director of Special Giving at Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

VinFort will pour Cognacs, ports and late harvest wine brands within the Jeanie Madsen and Hamilton Galleries on Ocean Boulevard in Santa Monica, on November 7th, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

“ From Norton Late Harvest Wines to Ye Olde King’s Head Shoppe Christmas pies – there will be an array of Cognacs and other fortified wine brands, as well holiday inspired foods to get us all in the mood,” says Natasha Swords of Swords PR, who is responsible for the event’s logistics. “Art for the eyes, fortified wines for the palate, and live jazz for the ears too! Local restaurants will be there too to keep our tummies satisfied with their signature holiday fare. It’s set to be an exceptionally unique evening!”

Tickets are available at www.vinfortsantamonica.com. Only three hundred will go on sale today and will likely sell out during September.

The California Winemasters is a perennial Wine Spectator Top 10 Charity Wine Auction set for May 16, 2015 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.  This extraordinary event showcases 50 international chefs and 75 of California’s Finest Wineries.  “Winemasters” has raised over $27 million in support of the mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
2014 marks the first year for its VinFort event.

The CF Foundation is a nonprofit donor-supported organization dedicated to attacking cystic fibrosis from every angle.  Its focus is to support the development of new drugs to fight the disease, improve the quality of life for those with CF and ultimately, to find a cure.

CALIFORNIAWINEMASTERS.ORG


KATRINA FREY - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FREY VINEYARDS            

Frey Vineyards – A History of America's First Organic Winery

Paul Sr. and Beba Frey grew up a few blocks apart in the gritty New York City of the 1930's and 40's. Paul relished his summer escapes to the Poconos Mountains, Pennsylvania. And Beba found bliss each summer on a Catskill Mountains dairy farm (see photo above). Each vowed to escape the city permanently. They later met and married in medical school. While their family grew, they longed for a life closer to nature and finally settled down in Northern California in the early 1960's on their ranch in Redwood Valley, Mendocino County. The 12 children grew up instilled with love and respect for the natural environment, and picked up gardening, farming, and agricultural skills, as their parents had dreamed.  Paul Sr. and Beba rounded out their children’s education by schooling them in the sciences, history, literature, classical arts and music, as well as appreciation for world cuisines paired with wine.

In the late 1960's, Paul and Beba and the older kids planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Gray Riesling on the ranch's old pastureland and sold the fruit to nearby wineries. A decade later, brothers Jonathan and Matthew realized the vineyards' potential when a Cabernet Sauvignon grown by Frey's grapes won a gold medal for a Santa Cruz winery. Frey Vineyards was bonded the next year, in 1980, and soon after became the first organic winery in U.S.

The eldest brother Jonathan and his wife Katrina studied organic agriculture under the tutorship of Alan Chadwick, a green-thumb guru of the California 70's. At the winery's inception, Jonathan introduced high integrity organic practices that are still in place today.  Brother Matthew, learned the mechanical and technical skills of the wine business when working at nearby wineries. A final touch to the new winery's credo was that the wine would be made not only from organically grown grapes, but without any added sulfites. In the late 1980's, Paul Frey Jr. returned from the University of California at Santa Cruz to help perfect the techniques for making wine without the synthetic sulfite preservative, and is today our main winemaker. In 1996, Luke Frey spearheaded the conversion of our estate vineyards to biodynamic cultivation, making Frey Vineyards the first producer of certified Demeter Biodynamic wines in North America.

We are pleased that many local wineries and grape growers have become certified organic and biodynamic as well, for the health of our common environment as well as our customers. Today, a third of all organic grapes in California are grown in Mendocino County, and 15 wineries making wines from organically grown grapes are located here – more than any county in the U.S. The trend of organic grape growing is rapidly spreading in Napa and Sonoma Counties, and across the U.S. Frey Vineyards is the largest of the very few wineries to have taken on the challenge of producing a true organic wine, made with no added sulfites – a practice that is now tradition for our family.

Today, more than 30 years since the founding of Frey Vineyards, many of the 12 children and spouses work for the family business. As organic food production is reaching new heights in the U.S., we hope the trend never stops, benefiting taste buds, planet, and the future generations.

About Katrina Frey:
There aren't many jobs Katrina hasn't worked at Frey Vineyards. She has worn the hat of grape-picker, bottler, saleswoman – you name it! Katrina developed our sales and marketing branch and acts as our office manager. In addition to her work at the winery Katrina is the President of the Board of Demeter USA (our national Biodynamic certification agency). She gives her time generously to organic issues such as non-GMO activism and food safety, as well as Mendocino County's local Phoenix Hospice.

Under Katrina's community minded guidance Frey Vineyards has generously donated product and funds to local and national environmental and social justice charities and non-profits. As a leader in the organic industry since day one, Katrina has been a featured speaker at Natural Products Expo East, the All Things Organic trade show and the Sustainable Brands conference.

WWW.FREYWINE.COM

Monday, October 13, 2014

10/13 STU SMITH, SMITH-MADRONE, GARY PISONI, PISONI VINEYARDS

STU SMITH - GENERAL PARTNER & ENOLOGIST, SMITH-MADRONE

Brothers Stuart and Charles Smith are the vineyard managers and winemakers of Smith-Madrone Winery.  Also in the family attic is the Fetherolf family, German farmers from the Palatinate region, who came to America on the Good Ship Thistle in 1730.  The name for the winery came as a tribute to the Smith brothers who pursued their dream and to the Madrone trees which distinguish the property.

In May 1971, with a partnership of family and friends, Stuart Smith bought the ‘terroir’ which today is Smith-Madrone Vineyards & winery. He was 22 years old and had just received his B.A. in Economics from UC Berkeley and was taking classes towards his Master’s in Viticulture at UC Davis. In trying to find land to plant vineyard in the Napa Valley, through a family friend he explored a forest on the remotest and highest part of Spring Mountain and discovered that the land had been a vineyard in the 1880s and in fact had been part of the wagon trail route between Napa and Santa Rosa. Today he is respected for his expertise and leadership as a mountain vineyardist.

Stuart was born and raised in Santa Monica.  While pursuing his master’s at UC Davis, Stuart was the first teaching assistant for wine industry pioneers Maynard Amerine and Vernon Singleton in 1970-1971. He taught enology at Santa Rosa Junior College and Napa Valley College; he has chaired the 1986 and 2006 Napa Valley Wine Auctions.  He is an active member of the G.O.N.A.D.S. (the Gastronomical Order for Nonsensical and Dissipatory Society), a group of Napa Valley vintners who started getting together for monthly lunches in the 1980s. He served on Napa County’s Watershed Task Force for several years, appointed by the Board of Supervisors; in 2006 he was appointed again by the Board of Supervisors to sit on Napa County General Plan Steering Committee, responsible for updating Napa’s General Plan, a three year project. Stu also serves as auctioneer for an Omaha (NB) charity auction every year.

Stuart served as Scout Master for St. Helena’s (Boy Scout) Troop One for many years. He is an avid canoeist, having canoed through the Quetico Wilderness in Canada many times and often canoes the Klamath and Trinity Rivers in California. He has five children and one grand-child; the family includes a photographer, beekeeper/artist, management information specialist, up-and-coming winemaker, distributor salesman and high school sophomore.

WWW.SMITHMADRONE.COM


GARY PISONI – PISONI VINEYARDS                                                    

A special place, Pisoni Vineyards expresses the land and climate of the Santa Lucia Highlands and the spirit of the Pisoni Family. The site is a source of exceptional Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah.

First planted by Gary Pisoni in 1982, Pisoni Vineyards consists of small vineyard blocks arranged on and around the ridges of the mountainous landscape. Ranging in size from one-half to seventeen acres, the vineyard blocks perch at an altitude of 1,300 feet in the granite-laced mountains of the coastal Santa Lucia Range.

Inspired by the Burgundy tradition of having several wineries source fruit from the same vineyard, Gary Pisoni has formed relationships with some of the most prestigious Pinot Noir producers in California. With agreements based on handshake alone, these wineries are guaranteed specific rows and blocks each year. They purchase grapes at a per-acre price rather than a per-ton price, which maintains the focus on quality and not yields.

In addition to supplying fruit to artisan producers of vineyard-designated wines, the Pisoni Family retains a portion of the vineyard for the production of Pisoni Estate wine.

THE PRACTICE
Vineyard management is meticulous. Under Mark Pisoni's leadership, a long-time permanent crew of 18 skilled individuals perform all the work by hand. Every decision implements sustainable farming practices and long-term considerations. This commitment, combined with the rocky soils and cold Monterey Bay weather, produce serious and compelling wines.

THE FAMILY
In 1952 Jane and Eddie Pisoni began farming vegetables in the fertile Salinas Valley. A celery-crop profit in 1979 provided the down payment for the Santa Lucia Highlands property that became Pisoni Vineyards. Their love for the land provided the place where their son Gary could realize his dreams. Gary developed a love of wine while attending college. He started collecting fine French and German wines, and he made his first wine in his garage in 1978 at the age of twenty-five. In 1982, Gary broke ground and planted the first vines at Pisoni Vineyards. He was up against many obstacles, including not having a water source at the time.

Mark Pisoni, the vineyard manager, completed a B.S. in Agricultural Economics at the University of California, Davis, and an M.S. in Farm Business Management at Cornell University. He oversees the meticulous care of both Pisoni Vineyards and Pisoni Farms.  Jeff Pisoni is the winemaker. He earned a B.S. in Enology at California State University, Fresno, and got hands-on experience at premium wineries before becoming the Pisoni Estate and Lucia winemaker in 2002.

THE WINE
The Pisoni Family produces one wine each year under the label bearing its name: Pisoni Estate Pinot Noir. Although actual quantities vary with fruit yields, typical production is a mere 500 cases annually. Often noted for their deep color and intensity, wines from Pisoni Vineyards offer complex flavors and layers of undulating texture. The rocky mountain soil and the long, cool growing season provide the fundamental character of the wine, and the tannin and acid structure contribute to the age-worthiness.

LUCIA
Lucia vineyard designated Santa Lucia Highlands AVA wines. Lucia is the sister label of the Pisoni Estate wines. Whereas Pisoni Estate is committed to a single expression of the Pisoni Vineyards, Lucia represents the collection of vineyards that the Pisoni Family farms: Pisoni Vineyards, Soberanes Vineyard and Garys' Vineyard (the latter two farmed in partnership with Gary Franscioni).

The wines of Lucia are vineyard designated Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah from these vineyards and eponymous Santa Lucia Highlands AVA cuvées with varying percentages of each vineyard blended together. Lucia wines are made alongside the Pisoni Estate wines using the same exacting standards for quality. They are sold via mailing list and high-end restaurants and retailers. If you are on the mailing list for Pisoni Estate wines, you will automatically have the opportunity to purchase the Lucia offerings.

WWW.PISONIVINEYARDS.COM

Monday, October 6, 2014

10/06 DAVID HUNT, HUNT CELLARS, FR. BILL NICHOLAS, THE 2014 SIMI VALLEY DREAM CUISINE

DAVID HUNT – OWNER & WINEMAKER, HUNT CELLARS

Our Story
It started over 20 years ago as a fantasy: living on a lush beautiful vineyard, producing your own style of favorite premium varietal wines that are well received and appreciated by those who have discovered the wines and shared them amongst friends.

Now, drive along the scenic Highway 46 West, about three miles west of the 101 Fwy at Oakdale Road, you will find this dream has become reality for David Hunt, Winemaker and owner of Hunt Cellars, a winery committed to producing “Memorable Wines”. We believe that great wines leave indelible impressions when poured with wonderful meals and great friends and scintillating conversations. Hunt Cellars was founded on the philosophy of producing wines that you will look forward to simply sipping by a cozy fireplace or pairing with your favorite meals to enhance that special event or moment in time.

How It Began
When The Hunt Family decided to pursue their dream they were uncertain where they would choose to build their vineyard. The Hunts spent exhaustive days and weekends traveling to various premium wine regions from Oregon, Washington, and throughout the State of California. They finally narrowed their decision down to the Central coast to San Luis Obispo County. Paso Robles was selected because of its rich diversity in soils, superb growing climate and unique styles of wine making along with the spirit of graciousness and traditional American values.

Eventually after looking at numerous parcels of vineyard potential property, they settled on uniquely beautiful property containing over 550 acres on Highway 41 in Creston. This unique property met their criteria in topography, soil composition and unparralled beauty. Within the 550 acres there are four terrior’s with varying elevations containing soil composites that mirror the great wine regions of the world. They were convinced that they could grow wonderful exciting intense fruit here on this property.

Destiny Hunt
The Hunt Family decided to name their vineyard, “Destiny Vineyards,” in honor of their new baby girl they named Destiny who was born in 1996. Just ask Destiny who has the best wines today and she will certainly tell you.

Destiny Vineyard’s first planting consisted of: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Syrah, Cab Franc, Viognier and Zinfandel. The Hunts decided to build a tasting room for their premium wines, which opened in October of 1999.

In 1997 they began producing their first releases of memorable wines… Experience has taught Hunts that in order to make great wines you must simply have the best fruit. At Hunt Cellars, we believe passion, hard work and never giving up until we have put together all the components and structure that will give our wine the varietal character, flavor and velvet finish that will become a trademark of our wines.

View of Destiny Vineyards
As you enter The Hunt Cellars Tasting room, the fun wine experience begins, as you are greeted with either live music or our white grand player piano, which can play any song. Stroll up to our Cabernet Bar, where our warm and friendly staff are eager to lead you through a light hearted and fun sampling of our wines. You may also choose to sip your wines on our spacious 1200 foot veranda, smoke your favorite cigar under our pavilion or simply stroll through our lush inviting landscaped lawns. We want you and your guest to simply have a wonderful time at Hunt Cellars and bring your friends and family back on your next visit to the Paso Robles Wine Country.

How Hunt Cellars Wines Differ from Others
There are many different wineries in the Paso Robles area; few compare to the quality of Hunt Cellars. Hunt uses only the best and rarest mountain grown fruit to produce the best harvest of grapes. Their vineyard’s location has been specifically chosen for its composition and diversity – every step of the production process is designed so Hunt Cellars produces the highest caliber of wine for you to enjoy.

HUNTCELLARS.COM


FR. BILL NICHOLAS - THE 2014 SIMI VALLEY DREAM CUISINE - OCTOBER 12, 5PM

Welcome to The 2014 Simi Valley Dream Cuisine. Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014 | 5 PM

Enjoy an exciting evening of delicious gourmet foods and beverages from many of the area’s finest restaurants, bakeries, wineries and breweries. Dine under the stars on a wide range of fine foods and beverages from the best restaurants in Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, and the San Fernando Valley. And dance the night away to musical performances by wonderful live bands.

The Simi Valley Dream Cuisine gives you the opportunity to dine on gourmet foods from the finest restaurants in the Conejo and San Fernando Valleys—all in one place in one night! You can enjoy food from many different restaurants, sip on fine wines from some the most prestigious wineries, drink beer from well-known breweries and taste desserts, coffees and teas from outstanding bakeries, coffee houses and eateries.  The event offers just about any kind of food you can imagine.

“The Simi Valley Dream Cuisine is quickly becoming the premiere wine & food festival in Ventura County. Where else can you eat and drink to your heart’s content, plus enjoy entertainment, a silent auction and raffle drawing, all for one low price?” says Father Shea, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church.

Guests enjoy the fact that they can sit and enjoy the food, drinks and entertainment while sampling food from the many vendors. Live music and entertainment is also provided throughout the evening, and a dance floor is available if the mood strikes you.

Contact St. Rose of Lima today to see how your restaurant, brewery, winery, coffee house, bakery or eatery can be featured at this year’s event.

This is a great way to attract new customers! Opportunities are also available for sponsorship and advertising in the full-color program, which is seen by the audience of almost 2,000+ people.
Amazing raffle prizes includes a large cash lump sum or a luxury automobile, a Hawaiian vacation and a flat-screen television.

A free shuttle service makes getting there a breeze. Special packages are also offered at local hotels. For more information, call (805) 526-1732.

Late Nite Catechism
Join us this year as we bring everyone's favorite nuns to the stage with the popular Late Nite Catechism show! This is part catechism class, part stand-up routine. It’s an interactive comedy, one of the longest running shows in Chicago and U.S. theater history. The New York Times calls it, "hilarious, well-written and inspired." Jeffrey Lyons from TV’s Sneak Previews calls Late Nite Catechism "something to savor and enjoy....one of the most intimate, rewarding shows in town." You, the audience member, are part of Sister’s class. She’ll take you back to the days of the Latin Mass, meatless Fridays, and remind you about that good old ruler across the knuckles!

Be True to Your School!
This year we're celebrating the 50th Anniversary of St. Rose of Lima Catholic School and are honoring all those who have joined in making it one of the finest educational institutions in the area. The school mission is to nurture students to discover their God-given gifts, to encourage them to use these gifts in the service of others, and to empower them to be models of integrity. With the help of gifted educators throughout the years, they continue to do just that!

WWW.SVDREAM.COM