Monday, May 31, 2010

5/31 - Daryl Groom, Terry Hall,

Daryl Groom - Winemaker - Australian Premium Wines
Prior to his current ventures, Daryl was Senior Winemaker for Penfolds in Australia where he oversaw the making of Penfolds famed red wine, Grange. He was the Executive Winemaker for Peak Wines International that owned both Geyser Peak and Wildhorse Wineries. (1990-2005) and then Senior VP of Operations and Winemaking, for Beam Wine Estates (2006/2007). Daryl’s passion for wine sees him judging at 6 international wine shows. He has been a guest speaker on the Queen Mary 2 and Seabourne cruise lines. He has also been a repeat guest on E television in the USA. Daryl resides in the USA. In addition to being "Flying Winemaker" for Groom, Daryl is Winemaker and Principal of an exciting new winery project in San Francisco, Foggy Bridge Winery. Prior to this he has held numerous positions in the Wine Industry including Vice President of Winemaking & Operations for Peak Wines International and Beam Wine Estates and both Senior White Winemaker and then Senior Red Winemaker for Penfolds Wines in Australia.  His foundation was producing Penfolds famed red wine, Grange, which he oversaw from 1984 until his move to the USA in 1990. Daryl makes regular trips back to South Australia to oversee all winemaking operations for Groom to ensure the highest quality product. Daryl’s passion for wine sees him judging and 5 international wine shows. He has been a guest speaker on the Queen Mary 2 and Seabourne cruise lines. He has also been a repeat guest on E television in the USA.  /
Terry Hall - Communications Director - Napa Valley Vintner's Association
Auction Napa Valley 2010 - The American Wine Classic  - Napa Valley's vintners are known for their generosity, supporting fundraisers around the country and the globe with their legendary wines. But there's nothing quite like reveling with the people behind the wines in the place they call home, as they proudly share their finest wines and warmest hospitality in their favorite place. At Auction Napa Valley, you are our guests for four days, and when you return home, it's with memories to last a lifetime and some of Napa Valley's finest wines.  But the magic is just beginning when the weekend winds down, as the proceeds from Auction Napa Valley go on to support scores of incredible non-profit programs.  Since 1981, members of the Napa Valley Vintners and the Napa Valley community have rallied together to offer, each June, an experience unlike any other. What started as a small event has grown into one of the world's most renowned wine auctions—with more than 350 wineries and 550 community volunteers now taking par—yet remains true to its goal of raising funds for healthcare, housing and youth services non-profits: Auction Napa Valley has given $90 million in proceeds to date.  We warmly invite you to join us for some amazing festivities this June in celebration of our 30th Auction Napa Valley

Sunday, May 23, 2010

5/24 - Laely Heron, Heron -  Heron Wines
Point to any spot on the globe and odds are Laely Heron has been there. At last count, she has resided in or visited six of the seven continents (Antarctica will have to wait) and all 50 states. In addition to English, Laely speaks fluent French and Danish and can order dinner, drinks and a cab in Swedish, Norwegian, Spanish and Italian. Laely moved  to San Francisco and launched Heron Wines in 1995. At the time it was rare to see a woman owning a business in an industry traditionally populated by men. Her first release, a Merlot from St. Chinian in southern France, debuted in the U.S. that same year. Her portfolio soon expanded to include California Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in addition to a six varietal blend from the Terra Alta region of Spain. Over the next decade, Heron would become a “cult wine” among master sommeliers and chefs, a favorite “by the glass” pour in the nation’s top restaurants and a consistent “Best Buy” in the wine press.  Heron’s philosophy and wines are direct reflections of Laely’s spirit – pioneering, adventurous, daring, smart, adaptable, thrill seeking, irreverent, non-traditional and international.

Monday, May 17, 2010

5/17 - Lee Hodo, Mitch Cosentino,

Mitch Cosentino - Cosentino Winery
The history of Cosentino Winery began when Mitch Cosentino started making his first wines in the corner of a Wine Distribution warehouse in 1980, in Modesto, California. By 1981, his first vintage was released under the labels of “The Cosentino Wine Company”and “Crystal Valley Cellars”. The first several wines produced and released by Cosentino in the early 1980s were made from small lots of grapes that Mitch acquired from some of the leading growers of California’s North Coast counties such as Napa, Sonoma,Mendocino, Lake, and Sacramento Counties.  Cosentino rapidly gained recognition for his innovative winemaking abilities and uniquely crafted wines. Mitch was a pioneer in introducing new varietals into the California wine market and a leader in creating new wine blends that would eventually become commonplace in the industry.

Russian River Valley Winegrowers - Lee Hodo
Lee Hodo:  Marketing Manager of the Russian River Valley Winegrowers. RRVW is a marketing and educational trade association of Wine grape growers and wineries in the Russian River Valley in the Sonoma County wine country.  Just an hour north of San Francisco, Lee has the privilege to work with the most talented farmers and winemakers in the United States. Lee is a veteran in marketing and promotion of wineries and destination brands.  Born in Sacramento California, she fell in love with the wine country immediately after graduating from college when she moved to Sonoma County in 1975.  It was here she began a career that has spanned three decades during which time she became especially noted for her “outside the box” promotions and no-nonsense approach to wine speak.  This approach has served her well, generating millions of media “hits” over the years, largely due to her ability to understand the language of both the uninitiated consumer and the often besieged media. Russian River Valley Winegrowers upcoming event Sonoma County Singles Night - Click For Details!

Monday, May 10, 2010

5/10 - Chef Michael Rossi, Ray Gonzalez,

Exec Chef Michael Rossi -Nieman Marcus Mariposa - Beverly Hills
Located on the lower level of the department store, Mariposa still begins lunch the traditional Neiman Marcus way, with a bowl of broth and a popover with a side of homemade strawberry butter. The ambiance is suitably upscale and the rest of the menu features sandwiches, soups, salads and entrees of fish or meat.  The Mariposa restaurant at Neiman Marcus is one of the most fashionable places to eat lunch in Beverly Hills. Movers and shakers meet over the renowned lobster club salad and popovers. Shiitake Risotto and oven-seared butterfish are some of the seasonal specials that executive chef Gregory Norris dishes out daily.  Mariposa is a perfect place for friends to meet and dine on delicious, progressive American cuisine and experience the latest in fashion trends. The menu also includes an excellent selection of desserts, and a premier wine list.

Ray Gonzalez - Manager - 555 East  Restaurant - Long Beach. CA
With a menu that focuses on superior prime beef, an award-winning wine list, and a classic, yet comfortable ambiance, 555 East reflects the feel of a timeless American steakhouse. 555 East also provides three unique banquet rooms that seat from 12 to 75 people, including “The Cellar,” an intimate space located in the wine cellar that creates a particularly warm setting.  In 1984, 555 East opened King’s Seafood Company’s flagship restaurant, triumphing in a location where other restaurants had previously failed and has served to capacity crowds ever since. As a much-needed “power restaurant” for the growing Long Beach business community, 555 East is centrally located, close to the Long Beach Arena, the Long Beach Convention Center, the Long Beach Aquarium, the Terrace Theater, and all major hotels in the city. The restaurant is an ideal mid-point meeting spot between Los Angeles and Orange County. The 555 East interior, with its marble floors, dark wood and forest green upholstery, is elegant, yet familiar. The plush booths are perfect for business, social and intimate conversation. The brass-accented bar is always active and the glass-enclosed outdoor patio is popular all year round, with an evening view of the Queen Mary fireworks.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

5/3 - Ben Papapietro, Yolanda Papapietro.

Ben & Yolanda  Papapietro - Winemaker/Owners - Papapietro Perry Winery
Our toolkit for success contained a garage, good friends, some old equipment, great enthusiasm, a burning passion for wine and a lot of humor. With those tools, some incredible Sonoma County grapes and the love and patience of our family and friends, we built Papapietro Perry Winery, one vintage at a time. We were also younger, our hair was darker, we might have been a tad thinner and the wine was still a work in progress A complex man with simple pleasures, high standards and soulful values.  Wine has always been a part of Ben’s life. A native San Franciscan of Italian descent, Ben grew up with wine as part of every family meal and gathering. His grandpa made his own red wine blend in the basement, where Ben listened and learned.  Ben’s heritage and love for wine always beckoned. The passion caught fire in his early twenties as he explored wines from around the world—Bordeaux and an occasional high-end California Cabernet. But the wines that really turned Ben’s head were Burgundies from 1956 and ’57. Seduced by those captivating aromas and elegant nuances, Ben volunteered to work during harvest at a friend’s Sonoma County winery specializing in Pinot Noir. There he honed his craft and never looked back.  During his 37-year career with the San Francisco Newspaper Agency, Ben met future partner Bruce Perry. Through their common passions—cooking and wine—they became fast friends. Today, the Papapietro Perry cellar is simply a more elaborate version of Ben’s garage where he started making wine more than 25 years ago. “Authentic, not pretentious,” says Ben. “Confident, but not too serious. Humble. The winery is an extension of my home and personal hospitality.”  Maybe that is why one corner of the cellar is dedicated to a makeshift kitchen where family favorites are prepared for the staff, and the occasional lucky friend who drops by at lunchtime. In Ben’s words, “cooking and wine are indistinguishable.” He simply cannot imagine one without the other. When Ben isn’t in the cellar or the kitchen, he and his wife Yolanda like to travel and pour Papapietro Perry wines wherever they land. Yolanda has recently joined the family business in 2009 handling distributor relations and enjoys pouring with Ben at events. When they're not traveling, Ben and Yolanda are enjoying their first grandson and the joys of grandparenting.