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. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Harvest Beauty Shots, Continued - Ehler's Estate in Napa Valley

From last night's Merlot harvest...in the heart of Napa Valley...a little north of the town of St. Helena...some goooood lookin' (Biodynamic) grapes!

Thanks to Kevin Morrissey, Ehler's winemaker and general manager, for posting these on Ehler's Facebook page.

Harvest Beauty Shots, Continued - Beckmen Vineyards, Ballard Canyon (Santa Barbara County)

Harvest is happening throughout Santa Barbara County. Check out this picture from Beckmen's Facebook page to see the state of the grapes.

You can learn more about Beckmen's (Biodynamic) Ballard Canyon vineyard in this video shot in April 2014:

Beckmen's one of the county's best Syrah and Grenache producers.

Here's what Wine Advocate's Jeb Dunnuck had this to say about the current Beckmen releases: "...a superb lineup from the team at Beckmen, and across the board these wines showed an uncommon level of polish and finesse."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Harvest Beauty Shots - Solminer Wine Co., Santa Barbara County

Anna deLaski
Solminer Wine Co., an up and coming artisanal winery in Santa Barbara County, just got its 3 acres of vineyards certified this summer, making 2014 its first harvest of certified grapes.

(It takes three years to become certified.)

Proprietors Anna and David deLaski have 2 acres of Syrah and two Austrian varietals (Anna is from Austria).

Steve Clifton (f Brewer-Clifton fame) is the winemaker.

Estate Syrah

The youngst deLaski, photographed enjoying his Labor Day
(Those grapes are organic...)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Harvest Beauty Shots, Continued...McEvoy Picks Pinot in Marin County

Picking Pinot at Azaya Vineyard in Marin County...for McEvoy Ranch's new Pinot Noirs...

These are the only certified organic vines in Marin County.

You can try McEvoy's wines in their SF Ferry Building store.

Star Lots of the Sonoma Wine Country Auction - The Organic Among Them

The 2014 Sonoma Wine Country Auction raised $4 million for local charities over the holiday weekend - more than double that of last year's auction.

Vintners with organic estate vines - including Hamel Family Estate, Stone Edge, and Kamen Estate Wines - participated in two very exciting lots.

LOT 11 - HAMEL FAMILY ESTATE - Raised $250,000

The Hamel family made headlines for its lavish, high roller 6 course dinner for 25 couples featuring a culinary dream team of 6 James Beard Award winning chefs. 

The chefs include Gary Danko, Craig Stoll of Delfina, Nancy Oakes of Boulevard, Tory Miller of L’Etoile, Barbara Lynch of No. 9 Park; and Belinda Leong of Manresa and b. patisserie. 


Vintners in the newly designated appellation of Moon Mountain District AVA (on the Sonoma side of Mt. Veeder) put together a luxe weekend long tour for four complete with gourmet meals, wine tasting and accommodations. 

The winners will enjoy a guided tour of the area, including a helicopter ride, and a private tasting and dinner at Kamen Estate with vintner Robert Kamen, vineyard manager Phil Coturri and winemaker Mark Herold. A catered brunch on Sunday at Stone Edge's beautiful Silver Cloud estate caps off the weekend.

Enjoy these photos from the official FB page for the auction:

Mike Benziger of Benziger Family Wines - on the left - with friends

Jean Charles Boisset with his Biodynamically grown estate Pinot

The auction proceeds support local charities, including reading programs

On the left - John Lasseter of Lasseter Family Vineyards - with a friend