Tuesday, September 30, 2014

IN PHOTOS Celebrating at Adamvs - New Wine Release, New Tasting Room

Last Sunday (Sept. 21) proved to be a beautiful day to celebrate both the weather and Adamvs' inaugural 2010 wine releases at the winery's new tasting pavilion. The Howell Mountain winery, a relatively new kid on the block, opened the doors, ceiling and wine bottles in honor of the new tasting room and hospitality center.

Adamvs, Latin for "of this red earth" is a play on both the red, Howell Mountain soils on which the vineyards sit and the name of its owners, philanthropists Denise and Stephen Adams, who already know something about great wines, owning two Bordeaux chateau in France.

The couple bought what was formerly White Cottage Ranch in 2008 and are doing everything right to make this Howell Mountain's Next Great Estate:

• The site: great Napa mountain terroir 

The 28 acre vineyard have glorious views and sunny exposures above the fog line. Neighbors include DANA and Dunn Vineyards.

• The farming: organic and Biodynamic certification

• The management: significant Biodynamic knowledge (along with elite winery experience)

Heather Conlin was formerly with another elite Napa label; previously she was the general manager at Bonny Doon Vineyards during its Biodynamic go go years.

• The winemaking: superstar consulting winemaker and rising star winemaker

Philippe Melka (DANA, Entre Nous, Skipstone and others) is the consulting winemaker; Jason Valenti is the winemaker.

To this list, as of Sunday's fete, one can add The tasting room. Designed by architects Kurt Melander and Peter Benoit, it is as original and creative a pavilion as one could imagine and true to the Adamses notion of a place inspired by nature.

Constructed out of walls made of log pieces (from the site itself), artfully held together with log fitting metal work, the building's shape and flow through design enable guests to effortlessly shift in and out of enclosure and expanse. A small courtyard is nestled between the pavilion and a separate cube shaped structure which serves as both kitchen and wine library.

Enjoy these photos of the day; click on the photos to see them display in a larger size
Adamvs Winery sits atop a hill on the property, above the tasting room
Winemaker Jason Valenti gives a tour of the winery
Amid the fermentation tanks with the crush pad in the background
The pavilion and cube with courtyard in the middle
The tasting room pavilion
Interior of the pavilion
The logs coupled with the open air ceiling provide see-through airiness.
(A cover slides over the open ceiling when shelter is needed.)
The view above
Exterior wall and ceiling
Inside the nearby cube: the wine library
The pavilion provides a great space for intimate entertaining
Celebrating with classical music
Delectable treats included pastry wrapped duck nibbles
The guest book

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ridge Vineyards - A 50 Year Perspective on the 2014 Harvest

Paul Draper on the 2014 harvest…early, early, early - in fact, Draper says, it's the earliest it's been in 50 years.


Congrats to the Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wineries - 5% Have Organic Vineyards

Of the 100 wineries chosen as Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wineries of the Year, announced on Monday, five percent have organic estate vineyards - and not just a few vines, but sizable estates.

And in case you didn't know, only about 2.5% of California vineyards are certified organic; the fact that the top 100 features twice as many organic growers as there are in the state should say something…quietly…

Here are the winning wineries, in the international competition, for 2014:

Frog's Leap - 130 estate acres and 70 additional acres; estate vines first certified in 1989
Storybook Mountain Vineyards - 42 acres; estate vines certified in 2008

Ridge Vineyards - 277 acres total (including its Monte Bello and Sonoma estates); estate vines first certified in 2011 (and continuing to transition today)

Qupé - 40 acres; certified in 2009

King Estate - 470 acres; certified in 2012

In addition, two of the featured wineries buy organic grapes (Bergstrom and Big Table Farm) while another Concha y Toro includes the organic wine giant Bonterra in its extensive portfolio.

All of these wineries and their wines from certified organic or Biodynamic vines will be featured in Our Next Big Project (stay tuned for news of this development - sign up for our email newsletter - on the top right of this page).

Harvest at Casa Barranca Winery: A Family Affair

Monday, September 22, 2014

Honey, There's A Bear in My Vines

While most vintners worry about troublesome pests - birds, rodents and more - there are few who have to guard against grape loving bears. Storybook Mountain Vineyards posted these before and after photos on their Facebook page of what harvest ready grapes look like before and after a visit from a local bear. Alas, the Seps (Storybook's owners) lost 3 tons to this hungry critter this year.

Harvest Beauty Shots, Continued: Organically Grown Orange Muscat

With less than 100 acres of orange muscat grown in California, who knew there was an organically grown one? The one and only is grown in Mendocino's Sanel Valley, near Hopland by Nelson Family Vineyards, on its 17 acres of certified organic vines.

Here it is being harvested a week ago. Look for the wine here.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Old Vine White - Compagni Portis - Arrives at Carlisle Winery

Carlisle Winery doesn't source organic fruit overall, but there are a few, coveted old vine vineyards it buys grapes from that are certified organic - and the renowned Compagni Portis - a rare, heritage, white field blend - is one of them.

Here's the fruit arriving at Carlisle's winery. It was bigger harvest than usual - hurray! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Harvest at Chacewater's Nevada City Vineyards

Chacewater Winery & Olive Mill is one of the few wineries in the Sierra Foothills to grow organically. Here's a shot from their harvest up in Nevada City last week and if you want to see more, enjoy their vineyard tour video below.

Ponderosa Vineyard, Nevada City, CA : Chacewater Winery from Chacewater Winery & Olive Mill on Vimeo.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pinot on the River - Oct. 26 in Healdsburg

The annual tasting - with more than 100 wineries participating - of top Pinot Noirs, mostly from Sonoma, takes place Oct. 26 in Healdsburg.

If you're looking for organically grown Pinot Noirs, here are some of the wineries that you can seek out at the event:


100% of Brand

• Canihan, Sonoma Coast AVA
• Masut, Mendocino AVA

Selected Wines Only

• DeLoach - Masut, Mendocino AVA
• Handley Cellars, Anderson Valley AVA
• Morgan Winery (all wines from the Double L vineyard) - Santa Lucia Highlands AVA
• Talisman - Adastra, Los Carneros AVA


Selected Wines Only

• DeLoach - Estate Pinot, Russian River Valley AVA
• DeLoach - Maboroshi, Russian River Valley AVA
• Littorai - Mays Canyon Pinot, Sonoma Coast AVA

(*A certification type that means no additives of any kind, except for sulfites, are in the wine.)

Selected Wines Only

• Benziger Family Winery - Pinot Noirs from the Sonoma Coast

Our apps Organically Napa, Organically Sonoma, Biodynamic Vine Finder, and Biodynamic Wine Finder all have details on these wines including pricing, scores and vineyard and winemaking details.

Of course, if you're making a trip to the area, you might also want to taste at other area wineries with organically or Biodynamically grown wines - including local gems Porter Bass and Porter Creek.