Monday, February 28, 2011

2/28 Becky & Lowell Zelinski's First Crush,

Becky and Lowell Zelenski Tell Us About Their "First Crush," a Company in Paso Robles That Allows Customers to Get Involved in the Winemaking Process From “Berry to Bottle!”

Most wine lovers dream about experiencing harvest, making their own or seeing their name on a wine label. With First Crush winemaking experience in Paso Robles – now they can.

First Crush is a custom winery that provides unique wine adventures from berry to bottle. From learning about the Paso Robles wine region to enjoying a two-day, all inclusive deluxe harvest experience, First Crush has something for wine lovers of all interest and knowledge levels. All of their events, workshops and tours are also hands-on, educational, and fun.

First Crush also provides an authentic, total winemaking experience. They take customers into carefully selected Paso Robles’ vineyards where they can help harvest wine grapes that become premium Paso Robles varietals. They can also purchase wine made from the fruit that they help pick.

First Crush makes its wine at the Silver Horse Winery and all of their wines are crafted by Silver Horse winemaker/owner, Steve Kroener. As the wines are made, customers have the opportunity to learn about and participate in the winemaking processes. When the aging process is complete, they can blend, bottle, cork and custom label wines made from the their wine

The harvest experiences are the perfect blend of fun, work and a luxurious weekend winemaking safari. The one-of-a-kind adventure is perfect for individuals, couples, groups and businesses who want to experience the all or part of the winemaking process from berry to bottle.

First Crush is owned by Becky Zelinski and Lowell Zelinski, Ph.D. The couple also own Precision Ag Consulting -- a vineyard management company in Paso Robles and have been working with Paso Robles vineyards since 2003.

Becky Zelinski is a former journalist, photographer and event planner. She has more than 20 years experience in business administration and marketing. She heads up the marketing and event planning for First Crush and is the assistant winemaker. Becky also helps manage and markets their vineyard management company, and plans educational meetings and events for it. It is her photography from the First Crush 2008 maiden winemaking experience that helped inspire the First Crush concept. Becky’s wine knowledge is self-taught. She has attended classes on winemaking, viticulture and wine appreciation, and essentially learned “by doing” by working with winemakers and growers in the industry.

Lowell Zelinski is a soil-plant-water relations specialist with nearly 30 years of experience in agriculture production. He consults on and manages vineyards for several Paso Robles growers. He has also worked as a University of California extension agent, taught at four California State University campuses and managed operations for two large agriculture companies. He is the viticulturist for First Crush and helps Becky with the scientific components of the winemaking process.

Terry Hall, Communications Director of Napa Valley Vintners Association talks about the Feb 26 Napa Vintners Barrel Tasting

The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) non-profit trade association announced that its annual Premiere Napa Valley (PNV) mid-winter barrel tasting and auction for the wine trade that took place on February 26 was a sold out event.

"We are delighted with the response from the wine trade--retailers and restaurateurs, wholesalers and brokers from across the country, as well as the UK, Canada and Japan--who attended the 15th annual Premiere tasting and auction," said PNV 2011 Chair Michael Honig of Honig Vineyard and Winery.

"This continues to be the must-attend event for the wine trade each year. It raises money for our trade association's work to promote and protect the Napa Valley appellation, but more importantly, the event provides the opportunity for the best networking event anyone could ask for. All under one roof at The Culinary Institute of America in St Helena were hundreds of winemakers and winery owners pouring their offerings to the 200+ wholesale wine accounts represented by the attendees," said Honig. "Selling out four weeks in advance of the tasting and auction is a clear signal of the demand for Napa Valley wines, as well as the recognition of the value of networking and relationship building that PNV provides.

"What we always understand in Napa Valley is that building and maintaining personal relationships with the top accounts that attend Premiere is integral to our success in the market," said PNV steering committee member Jeff McBride of Stag's Leap Wine Cellar.

"Premiere Napa Valley is where winemakers get to have a 'gloves off' approach to what they make," said PNV steering committee member John Skupny of Lang and Reed Wine Co. "These wines are ultra-boutique wines crafted in as few as sixty and never more than 240 bottle lots from 200 renowned Napa Valley wineries, each sold to one buyer like a restaurant or retail store, who then offers these wines to their savviest customers. So while the event is only for the wine trade, the product--the portfolio of Premiere Napa Valley wines-- provides wine consumers with not only truly one-of-a-kind wine, but some of the very best wines from the Napa Valley."

We can see the wines offered as futures at and engage their favorite wine retailer to purchase wines on their behalf. Another way for us to purchase these rare wines is by visiting the website to see who will have them on their shelf or wine list.

About the NVV: The Napa Valley Vintners is the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation as the premier winegrowing region. From seven founding members in 1944, today the association represents nearly 400 Napa Valley wineries and collectively is a leader in the world-wide wine industry. To learn more about our region and its legendary American wines, visit .

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