Monday, February 29, 2016



Allen is a noted wine collector and recognized authority on California and European wines. As a member of numerous tasting groups, Allen samples between 1,200 and 1,500 wines each year, for pleasure and education. He also serves as a consultant for restaurant and retail store buyers and evaluates wine for many panels and publications. Allen is the Founder and Co-Chairman of A Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters – a Wine Spectator Top Ten Charity Wine Auction – that pairs the talents of 45 international chefs with 70 of California’s finest wineries.

In his travels, Allen has toured wine growing areas around the world and tasted at numerous wineries, chateaux, and domaines throughout the United States, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and Chile. Allen co-authored Guide to Choosing, Serving and Enjoying Wine. Rather than another wine primer, the Guide demystifies wine, encouraging readers to try the beverage as a normal part of their mealtime enjoyment.

Saturday, May 14th, 2016 6PM
at Warner Bros., “Midwest Street”

A wine tasting extraordinaire and spectacular hors d’oeuvres dinner benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. One of WINE SPECTATOR’S “TOP TEN U.S. CHARITY WINE AUCTIONS” will be held on the “Midwest Street” backlot at Warner Bros.

The California Winemasters is a perennial Wine Spectator Top 10 Charity Wine Auction set for May 14, 2016 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.  This extraordinary event showcases 50 international chefs and 75 of California’s Finest Wineries.  “Winemasters” has raised nearly $29 million in support of the mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The CF Foundation is a nonprofit donor-supported organization dedicated to attacking cystic fibrosis from every angle.  It’s 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. The Foundation’s drug development success has been recognized by Harvard Business School and by publications such as Forbes, Discover Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. Make your reservations NOW for this wine tasting extraordinaire and spectacular hors d’oeuves dinner!


Club Essence – Savor Life Through Wine is the first and only club of its kind dedicated to experiencing life’s greatest pleasures through wine. There’s no cost – just FUN!!

Club Essence will transform your routine business meetings, dinners and personal entertainment into extraordinary occasions through the wonders of wine.

Learn how to enjoy wine to its fullest. Share the experience with your friends, clients, and the ones you love. Wine education is part of each event and is designed for the enjoyment of novices and experts alike within the same group. Club Essence Co-Founder and President Allen Balik will personally plan, accompany and moderate each event. Click through to sign-up

At Club Essence it is our goal to make the whole wine experience more enjoyable and exciting while enhancing any meeting or meal. You’ll shine as you show your friends and clients how to enjoy life’s greatest pleasures through wine. Napa Valley alone hosts more than 4 million guests each year. You can experience this region (as well as any other wine destination) in a completely unique style when you are a member of Club Essence!



wineLA is about enhancing the wine culture of Los Angeles. To do so, wine must be in rhythm with fashion, music, food and other beverages.  It must take advantage of the geography, the architecture and the centers of interest. Los Angeles is a giant playground with an amazing array of venues, spaces, wine bars, restaurants, beaches, roof tops, gardens, and magical views. We want to be a part of the LA lifestyle, the wine lifestyle, and celebrate the people, the place and the passion.
wineLA will promote significant events, occasional classes, and tastings of merit. This is phase two of what we started 20 years ago at - America’s first wine education website and first in wine event creation. LearnAboutWine will now evolve onto a digital platform; the transformation will take some time; so we will slowly rebrand our event efforts onto wineLA, reduce the number of activities we focus on, and elevate our efforts to focus on the next big thing… Doing what is best for the wine industry and the communities we serve.  Edicts:  innovate, evolve and excite.

We thank you for joining our newsletter, we will be sending fewer emails and packing them with amazing content. We want to be your wine content provider and would love to hear about your favorite places, your music, your locations - we want to be under the influence of what ignites your passion for Los Angeles.


Monday, February 22, 2016



Driving north along the pastoral Foxen Canyon Wine Trail feels like traveling back to California’s early days. Rolling hills frame vast meadows, deer and wildlife roam free, and pristine landscapes stretch as far as the eye can see. This peaceful environment enticed the late Fess Parker into buying a 714-acre ranch here back in 1988. The Texas-born actor, who played the television roles of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone in the 1950s and 1960s, had moved his family to Santa Barbara in the early 1960s and begun construction of a blufftop home. When heavy rains caused it to collapse onto the beach, he revised his plans and headed inland.

There, he discovered the Foxen Canyon property, where he initially planned to run cattle, plant a few grapes to sell to other vintners, and establish a small winery. Parker, an only child, dreamed of starting a family business that he could pass on to future generations. He asked his children to join him, and they planted a five-acre experimental Riesling vineyard in 1989. Eli, his son, started as assistant winemaker and spent three years under the tutelage of acclaimed enologist Jed Steele before taking the helm. Eli then planted more vines and started a four-year project to build a cutting-edge winery and tasting room.

Eli Parker and his sister Ashley continue to stay involved as stewards of the family’s vision for the winery while Ashley’s husband Tim Snider serves as President and oversees day-to-day operations. The family’s vineyard is the 120-acre Rodney’s Vineyard, named after Fess Parker’s late son-in-law, at the 400-acre Foxen Canyon Road estate where the winery is located. They also source grapes from Camp Four vineyard in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, which Parker planted in 1998 as well as vineyards in the cooler Sta. Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley appellations. Blair Fox assumed the role of head winemaker in 2005. In recent years, the winery has sharpened its focus to produce more small-lot, vineyard-designated wines made from high-quality Rhone and Burgundian varietals, which have won awards in national wine competitions.

Completed in 1994, the new winery and tasting room are loosely designed after an Australian sheep station, with a grand stone fireplace, stone floors, and a wraparound veranda with picnic tables. The spacious complex is set amid an acre of meticulously landscaped grounds that border the vineyard. The amphitheater-style lawn, rimmed by mature oaks, provides a serene setting for picnics, summer evening performances by Shakespeare Santa Barbara, and other events. Indoors, visitors taste the latest vintages at a worn knotty pine bar, surrounded by photos of Fess Parker as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone and other memorabilia related to the actor’s television roles.

It wouldn't be stretching the truth to say that Tim Snider knows the wine business from the ground up. His first job in the industry was driving a tractor preparing the ground for his family's vineyard in Knight's Valley, Sonoma County, CA. in 1985. For six summers Tim participated in the development of the Snider family’s vineyard working on wide ranging projects from installation of irrigation systems to building deer fences to canopy management. Though Tim didn’t know it at the time, the summers spent in the vineyards would spark a true passion for the wine industry.

After graduating from Williams College in Massachusetts, Tim embarked on a 7-½ year stint at the E&J Gallo Winery. He began at the bottom as a sales representative but had the opportunity to work in several different sales capacities including Northern California Area Sales Manager. From there Tim was able to jump to the Gallo marketing department for several years including a stint as Brand marketing manager working on successful brands such as Ecco Domani, Marcelina and Rancho Zabaco.

In September of 1999 Tim left Gallo to head up the marketing at Fess Parker Winery. Over the past eleven years has held positions of increasing responsibility culminating in being named President of the winery in 2010. He is proud to be part of the team that has developed & launched successful projects such as the Fess Parker single vineyard tier of wines, the family’s boutique rhone-oriented label, Epiphany, and the Frontier Red & Parker Station programs.

In addition to his responsibilities at the Fess Parker Winery, he also oversees sales and distribution of the Snider family’s Fortress label based in Northern California. Tim also served for four years on the Santa Barbara County Vintner's Association Board of Directors, three of which were spent as president, and currently is a member of Rabobank’s Regional Advisory Board. Tim lives in Santa Barbara with his wife, Ashley Parker Snider, and their three children. In his free time, Tim enjoys playing golf, basketball and tennis, running, snowboarding, coaching youth basketball and playing the drums.



Napa Expo, 575 3rd Street, Napa California 94559. 
Doors open at 11:30am. 
Last act ends at 10:00pm.

BottleRock Napa Valley features the world’s top musicians on four music stages, plus the infamous BottleRock Culinary Stage showcasing one-of-a-kind culinary and celebrity mash-ups. Master Sommeliers, celebrity chefs and dozens of the region’s finest vintners, restaurateurs, and brewers rub shoulders with guests in an intimate setting. BottleRock offers the best in wine, food and craft brews to complement the music and create an authentic wine country experience for festival guests. For additional information, please visit Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@BottleRockNapa, #BottleRock) and Instagram (@BottleRockNapa, #BottleRock).

Three-Day General Admission, VIP and VIP Plus Skydeck are Sold Out

Single day passes for the fourth annual BottleRock Napa Valley music, wine, food, and craft brew festival, presented by JaM Cellars on May 27 - 29, 2016, are availableand may be purchased at and Fans are strongly encouraged to purchase their passes early. Three-day General Admission, VIP and VIP Plus Skydeck passes are sold out and a limited quantity of single day passes will be available starting at $109 per person. The legendary Stevie Wonder will kick-off the festival on Friday, May 27, followed by indie rock superstars Florence + The Machine on Saturday, May 28, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, who will soon release their much anticipated new album, will close out the three-day event on Sunday, May 29.

When you put on a music festival smack dab in the middle of the legendary Napa Valley, you better be prepared to “bring it” with your wine offerings.  BottleRock will amaze you with the wealth of incredible wines from some of the most heralded producers in the world. From crisp sauvignon blancs to delicious chardonnays, elegant and luscious pinot noirs to blockbuster cabernets, the Napa Valley has it all, and BottleRock offers the best of the region, with the help of our on-site staff of sommeliers and wine experts. We promise you won’t go thirsty while listening to your favorite music…cheers to that!

Featuring more Michelin stars per capita than any other wine region on the globe, it’s no wonder that many regard Napa Valley as a must visit region for its culinary prowess as well as its wines. The BottleRock menu of offerings are reflective of the vibrant culinary scene, offering a variety of delicious bites from many of the area’s finest chefs and restaurateurs to pair perfectly with that glass of wine or craft brew. And don’t forget to check out the Culinary Stage where we offer tasty mashups of your favorite artists and our famous chefs. Just don’t forget to make sure you get in some music while eating and drinking Napa’s best cuisines.

As many a vintner has said… “It takes a lot of good beer to make a great wine”! Craft brews are a big deal North of the San Francisco Bay and BottleRock is no exception. We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure there are plenty of premium brews to be enjoyed with BottleRock’s tasty food. Sometimes life just calls for a cold beer and we’ll have them ready for you!

Latitude 38 Entertainment (L38) is a premium entertainment company located in the Napa Valley, producing world-class events including BottleRock Napa Valley.  Formed in 2013, Latitude 38 Entertainment (L38) is owned, operated and managed by Napa Valley entrepreneurs Dave Graham, Justin Dragoo and Jason Scoggins, who combine to bring together a unique combination of business acumen, marketing savvy and world class hospitality coupled with their love of music. L38's vision is to blend music, wine, food and community to enhance and elevate the Napa Valley's reputation as a world-class destination to live, work and play.

A lifetime farmer, Jeff Gargiulo founded Gargiulo Vineyards in 1992 with a dream of making "true" wines; wines that deeply reflected the unique terroir of Oakville. Our first release was in 2000 with 356 cases each of Money Road Ranch Cabernet and Merlot. Today Gargiulo Vineyards is a 3,500 case family winery committed to handcrafting exceptional wines from two Oakville estate vineyards, Money Road Ranch and 575 OVX. Gargiulo wines represent the culmination of years of research, responsible farming, rigorous selection and a winemaking philosophy dedicated to a vivid and true expression of two extraordinary vineyards. We embrace vintage, vineyard and varietal distinction so that we can grow world-class, age-worthy wines worth discovering vintage after vintage.

Monday, February 15, 2016




BlendFest is back, this time behind the locked gates of the Hearst Property in Old San Simeon Village!

  • 30 Paso Robles wineries!
  • 90 unique blends!
  • Stunning ocean views!
  • Behind the locked gates of Hearst Property!
  • Stay & Save $10+!

Afternoon Tasting 1 - 3 p.m. |  Sunset Tasting 4 - 6:30 p.m.

90 unique wines from 30 Paso Robles wineries beyond the locked gates of the Hearst property in Old San Simeon Village. The sunset tasting will include a personalized cheese and charcuterie plate from Vivant Fine Cheese.

STAY & SAVE $10+!
Stay in Cambria or San Simeon and SAVE $10+ on each ticket to Saturday's event.
Save $10+ when you stay in Cambria or San Simeon! Before purchasing your BlendFest tickets, book your stay directly with Cambria and San Simeon lodging properties to receive an Access Key that will unlock amazing savings!NO refunds will be given for tickets purchased without the Access Key. Enter your code in the "Have an Access Key?" field on the checkout screen to unlock the hidden tickets. The Access Key must be entered in ALL CAPS. Note: This is not a Promotional Code and will not work if entered in that field.

Kick off your weekend at a Winemaker Dinner at Robin's Restaurant in Cambria with four Paso Robles winemakers. After tasting blends at Saturday's Grand Tasting, try your hand at blending wine during Sunday's Blending Seminarat Harmony Cellars (sorry, seminar sold out).

It's a full weekend of fun in store! Tickets are limited for each event, so get yours today!

The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance is a cooperative marketing alliance made up of Paso Robles Wine Country wineries, vineyards and related businesses. The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance is a 501c6 nonprofit organization operated under the guidance of a nine-member board of directors.

The Paso Robles American Viticultural Appellation (AVA) is home to more than 200 wineries and 32,000 vineyard acres focusing on premium wine production. The distinct microclimates and diverse soils, combined with warm days and cool nights, make growing conditions ideal for producing more than 40 wine varietals from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, to Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne, to Zinfandel, the area’s heritage wine variety.




Monday, February 8, 2016



After graduating from CU Boulder with a Business Marketing degree in Spring 2012, I worked for Turanga Creek, an organic and biodynamic vineyard outside of Auckland, New Zealand. While working there, I fell in love with the wine industry. Upon returning to the United States, I worked with the Santa Barbara Vintners to promote Santa Barbara as a world class wine region. I then decided to narrow my focus from 120+ wineries to just one: Beckmen Vineyards, a biodynamic estate winery in Los Olivos, CA.

When you open a bottle of BECKMEN, you are opening a piece of our history. Good wine comes from good grape juice - that comes from good grapes, that comes from great plants, that grew on the right soil - all nurtured by the vision, passion and dreams of a family.

The Beckmen family established their Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley in 1994. After years as leaders and pioneers in the electronic music business, Tom and Judy Beckmen, joined by their youngest son Steve, set out to make wines as well-crafted and distinctive as the keyboards and synthesizers that built their successful careers as founders of Roland Corp, US. Their search for a promising vineyard ended in 1994 when they discovered a 40 acre winery near the picturesque town of Los Olivos, CA. It was here, in the heart of the blossoming Santa Ynez Valley wine region, that the family laid down their roots and established Beckmen Vineyards. The Beckmens’ commitment to building a world class estate vineyard led them to purchase an unplanted 365 acre ranch in nearby Ballard Canyon. Named after the ranch to which it once belonged, Purisima Mountain Vineyard was established in 1996. Beckmen Vineyards’ wines are composed exclusively from the 150 acres of grapevine grown on these two vineyards, crafted with care in the original Los Olivos winery.

Beckmen Vineyards consists of two separate vineyards with dramatically different soils and climates.  On the western side of Ballard Canyon lies our acclaimed, 365 acre, certified Biodynamic Purisima Mountain Vineyard. Comprised mostly of clay and clay loam, with varying amounts of gravel, the most unique aspect of this site is the limestone subsoil. Found in great Rhône regions like Côte Rôtie and Châteauneuf du Pape, the limestone soil limits vine vigor and produces smaller vines with lower yields and more intensely flavored fruit. With peaks reaching 1,250 feet, Purisima Mountain boasts 500 feet of elevation change with multiple exposures. The Winery Estate vineyard is 25 acres of rolling hills, situated in a wide valley just south of Los Olivos and two miles west of Ballard Canyon. The site is warmer than the Ballard Canyon property, due to its lower elevation and its location farther inland.

Each plant selection in our property brings its own unique character and quality to our wines.
Tending vines from dormancy through harvest since 1994, the Beckmen family has learned a great deal about their two distinct vineyard properties. Over time they have discovered, acre by acre, the unique soil and microclimate that best hosts each grape varietal, ensuring every block in the vineyard consistently produces the highest quality fruit possible. The Winery Estate is mostly planted to Cabernet Sauvignon with small amounts of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah. The Purisima Mountain Vineyard is home to our white wine production including Sauvignon Blanc, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, and Chardonnay, as well as our Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Counoise.

20 years in pursuit of the ideal palette to achieve balanced flavor, structure, color, and complexity.
When planting our first vines, the grape varieties were chosen through recommendations from accomplished peers and regional history. Over time, we’ve let experience be our guide in determining which grapes thrive best on our two vineyards. Over the last 20 years we have been in constant pursuit of the ideal palette that will portray the balance of flavor, structure, color, and complexity for which Beckmen wines are known. We specialize in Rhône-style grapes such as Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Mourvedre, and Counoise. For an optimal diversity of expression, we cultivate seven different clones of Syrah and four selections of the heat-loving Grenache. We have found the thin topsoil on the hilltops of our Estate Vineyard to be the perfect host to four clones of Cabernet Sauvignon. Sauvignon Blanc, another Bordeaux variety, yields a startlingly flavorful fruit, stressed by the steep slopes of our Purisima Mountain Vineyard, where two clones of the Burgundy grape Chardonnay flourish on the hilltop.

For the last 10 years, all of our fruit has been picked under the Santa Ynez Valley night sky.
At Beckmen Vineyards, we’re working year round to carefully nurture our growing vines and monitor our aging wines, but no time is as exciting and vital as harvest. Harvest usually begins in September and runs through mid-November. During these three months, we are bustling with activity around the clock. For the last 10 years, all of our fruit has been picked under the spectacular Santa Ynez Valley night sky. Harvesting through the night ensures our grapes are picked at the lowest possible temperature, when they are at the peak of their flavor, and affords our harvest crew the comfort of working out of the hot Californian sun. All of our grapes are carefully hand-picked in small lots of less than 10 – 12 tons per day. We control the quality of fruit that is selected, only picking the ripest grapes on each vine, in every row and block. We commonly harvest the same vine two or three times throughout harvest, making passes to choose only the fruit that will make the highest quality wine. Harvest is when the artistry of wine making comes alive, when we compose the foundation of what will one day mature into exceptional wines.

The same meticulous attention to detail that we pay to our vineyards we pay to our wines.
The focus of Beckmen’s winemaking team is to draw out the distinct qualities expressed by each grape variety, and the unique character of both vineyards, as they guide the grapes from vineyard to bottle. Each wine program is given the same meticulous attention to detail that the vineyards receive year round. By making wine in small lots, we are able to capture the individuality of each particular block in both of the vineyards. We blend most of our wines from this collection of small lots, so that each wine has more depth and distinct layers of flavor. Our winemaking is done through “smart interventionism”. We make the best decisions at every step in order to create wines that balance depth of flavor, complexity, and the elegance our vineyards naturally possess.

Beckmen Vineyards wine is sold in 25+ markets across the United States and can be purchased at many independent wine shops and restaurants. Sample our wines at the Beckmen Vineyards tasting room, located next to the winery outside of Los Olivos, CA. We craft wines that leave an impression. Enjoy our wine on its own to appreciate its complexity, pair with great food to enhance the experience and heighten your satisfaction. The best way to drink Beckmen wines is by joining our Wine Club. Four times a year you will receive new wines not yet released to the public, along with inspirational food pairing ideas and demonstrations, plus recommendations for how long to cellar your wines, and more.  Every vintage we strive to create beautiful, balanced wines that are a pure expression of our vineyards and our grapes.



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.


Monday, February 1, 2016



Three friends, a passion for wine and a love of working and creating together fueled the ultimate development and launch of KaDieM Cellars. As with most passionate and creative endeavors, KaDieM has been a project requiring ultimate patience, perseverance, dedicated commitment, continual learning and overwhelmingly satisfying results.

It takes almost four years to develop a Napa Valley Cabernet from grapes in the vineyard to wine ready to sell.  After finding the right vineyard for our grapes, in addition to numerous lunches, dinners and cups of coffee, we work together on both the actual making of the wine and the operational fundamentals that go into running a business:  Of primary importance is managing our growing customer list.  We spend hours designing, choosing and ordering all the packaging elements for each vintage.  We walk the vineyards, harvest the grapes, purchase and check all the barrels.  In the background we update and renew all the required permits and licenses, maintain our website and pack and ship orders. The milestones of accomplishment and progress are compelling.  KaDieM Cellars continues to be a labor of passion fueled by friendship, lots of hard work and ultimately a product that we are all so proud to be able to share with you.

We launched our brand as KaDieM, the phonetic spelling of our initials pronounced KDM. Our logo, three wine glasses entwined, is a symbol of our friendship, the celebration of our families and a toast to our passionate endeavor to create remarkable wines from the Napa Valley.

After two highly rated and sold out vintages, we gained some unwanted attention from a very large, low end wine producer on the East Coast threatened by our success.   With the foundation of our partnership focused on friendship, family and brilliant winemaking, the choice to change our brand KaDieM or face years fighting of litigation and expense was an easy one for us to make.

With our 2011 vintage, we are so excited to launch Hunt McKay, the combination of Karen and Danna's last names, Hunt McKay is the same great wine, made by our partner and winemaker Michael Trujillo from the same Morisoli Vineyard Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon grapes under the exact standards upon which KaDieM Cellars was founded. You'll find the label, 3 entwined wine glasses and of course the wine to be exactly what you experienced under the 2009 and 2010 KaDieM label.

Our Vineyard
Hunt McKay Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet from the Morisoli Vineyards in the Rutherford Bench appellation of Napa Valley.  Family owned and managed for over 100 years, this 53 acre vineyard consistently produces fruit exhibiting ‘Rutherford Dust’ characteristics. This ‘Dust’ is the terroir or soil of the Rutherford appellation of Napa Valley, and has come to reflect an enduring commitment to quality and ecologic harmony.  Wines from this central area of the Napa Valley are recognized worldwide as some of the finest wines ever made in California.

At the age of 6, Karen Hunt discovered her selling passion with her lunch money, a few Tootsie Roll Pops and willing customers in her classmates from elementary school.

Karen wanted a pair of red lace up Buster Brown shoes to better fit in with her first grade classmates, but felt badly asking her Dad for new shoes when she saw that he had a hole in the sole of his shoe where he put a dry piece of cardboard every morning.  So she used her $0.25 lunch money to buy 12 Tootsie Pops, each costing 2 cents plus 1 cent for tax. She sold them to her classmates for a nickel.  The next day, she took the $0.60 from the previous day’s sales plus her $0.25 lunch money and bought more Tootsie Pops, again buying them for 2 cents and selling them for a nickel.  She continued this with her lunch money and her profits, day after day.

Within days she had  worked her way into taking orders for specific candy that would fill special requests from the children at school.  Although she was called to the principal’s office three times and asked to stop selling her lollipops on school property, Karen continued the Tootsie Pop caper until she had $60 – and then a new pair of shoes for her Dad and the red lace up Buster Brown’s for herself.  This focused persistence is the defining characteristic of Karen’s career in sales management.

Selling has been the cornerstone of Karen’s more than twenty year career.  Since graduating from college in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, Karen has traveled across the U.S. and Europe selling everything from M&M’s and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, to coffee.  Following her passion, Karen moved to the Napa Valley in 2000, without a job in the wine industry but determined to find one so she could work and live her dream.

Karen has worked over ten years in the wine industry, as Vice President of Sales for both Charles Krug and Francis Coppola Winery and now as President of DAOU Vineyards and Winery.  She has not only solidified her love for wine, the wine business and the Napa lifestyle, but her broad sales responsibilities have allowed her to develop relationships across all channels of the business across the world.  She spends most of her time in the marketplace, with customers, seems to know everyone and continues to form new relationships daily.  As a founding partner in Hunt McKay, Karen looks forward to talking with customers, hearing their stories and in return, sharing the plans for building Hunt McKay – one bottle and one customer at a time.



Alexander Valley Vineyards is located on Highway 128 in northern Sonoma County, 75 miles north of San Francisco, 6 miles from the sleepy town of Healdsburg and 16 miles from Calistoga in the Napa Valley.

Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley was mostly prune orchards and pastures when, in 1962, Maggie and Harry Wetzel purchased a large portion of a homestead built by Cyrus Alexander, the valley’s nineteenth century namesake. Here, in a rural community of family farms and ranches, the Wetzel family settled. They raised livestock, cultivated bountiful gardens and restored Alexander’s original home, making it the center of family life. With an eye to their neighbors in nearby Napa Valley, the Wetzels boldly planted premium grape varieties, among the first in the area. Then the family built a small winery and Hank Wetzel, oldest son of Maggie and Harry, produced Alexander Valley Vineyard’s first wine in 1975.  His wife Linda set up the books and managed the winery office.  AVV quickly established a reputation for estate grown wines with distinctive varietal character. Acclaimed for luscious Chardonnay and elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley Vineyards brought recognition to the appellation and became a leading winery in Sonoma County.

Today the Alexander Valley is a prominent appellation known worldwide as the source of rich, age worthy wines. As the twenty-first century begins, the Wetzel Family Estate grows fourteen grape varieties, on diverse sites stretching from the banks of the Russian River up onto the hillsides. Each grape variety is matched to a specific soil type and exposure. Vineyard Manager Mark Houser and Winemaker Kevin Hall work as a team to maximize fruit flavor in the vineyard and to create balanced wines that capture the grapes’ varietal characteristics.  Barrel fermentation and aging take place in the cave, where the cool, constant temperature and high humidity are ideal for aging wine. Winemaker Kevin Hall explains, "Inside the cave the ambient temperature varies only 5°F from summer to winter, from 63° to 58°.   AVV's cave reaches deep into a hillside adjacent to the winery, for a total of 25,000 square feet.

2016 marks the family’s 54rd year on the historic property and will be the winery’s 42nd vintage.  The 3rd generation of the Wetzel Family produces award winning wines that are sold throughout the United States and was voted Sonoma’s Best Winery in 2011 by Bay Area wine lovers. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot constitute over one-half of total production.  Other varietals include Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.  Proprietary wines include CYRUS, our limited production Bordeaux style blend, Gewurz, and our trio of Zins: Temptation Zinfandel, Redemption Zinfandel and Sin Zin, our voluptuous Alexander Valley Zinfandel.

Our six hundred acre property was the homestead of valley namesake Cyrus Alexander.  When he rode into our valley in 1840 he called it the "brightest and best spot in the world".  He chose this spot to build his home and raise his family, and many years later we would do the same. This wine is our tribute to the man, the region and the very best of the vintage.

In 1995 Hank Wetzel produced the first vintage of CYRUS, Winemaker Kevin Hall carries on the tradition with the 17th release of CYRUS.  He selected 10 distinctive lots of estate Bordeaux grapes for this vintage: Cabernet Sauvignon with exceptional concentration, purity & lush       texture; Cabernet Franc with finesse & depth; Merlot for texture & structure; Petit Verdot for vivid color & richness and Malbec for deep color & depth.

Light and late are the two words most often used to describe the 2011 vintage.  A wet winter and spring delayed bloom and heavy rain at bloom hindered the fruit set decreasing grape yields dramatically.   A cool summer prolonged the growing season and harvest started later than    usual.  The overall effect was great flavor development at lower than normal sugar levels resulting in balanced wines at lower alcohol levels.

After harvest each lot was fermented and aged separately for 12 months, then blended to   showcase the vintage and aged for an additional 12 months in French oak barrels so that the flavors could meld together.  Additional bottle aging allowed the blend to become seamless.  The 2011 has terrific color and expressive aromas of cassis, red cherry, berry, red and black plum along with toasty oak and vanilla.  This is a complex wine with flavors of dark fruits, spice, vanilla and cocoa powder.  There is good structure on the finish along with a classic elegance and silky dimension as well.  This wine is always limited, we produced 912 case of the low yielding 2011 vintage.