Monthly Archives: April 2015

Sonoma County Inaugural Barrel Auction

Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

I don’t know of anything more satisfying than a resplendent red wine on a winter’s evening or a crystalline white wine on a summer’s day.

Are your most discerning clients looking for unique wines that make an opulent-life even more luxurious?   Now you have the opportunity to exceed those expectations as Sonoma County Vintners announce the Inaugural Sonoma County Barrel Auction.

Licensed wine trade will have the opportunity to participate in a live auction for one-of-a-kind wine futures with lots ranging in size from five to 20 cases that include single vineyard bottlings, specific clonal selections, blends, wines aged using special barrel regimes and joint lot wines made by collaborating wineries.   All wines are “Never Before, Never Again” opportunities for heritage wine at its finest, showcasing the stylistic range and world-class quality of Sonoma County.

Auction Lots were cultivated in Sonoma County’s most highly acclaimed vineyards, handcrafted by legendary vintners, and curated by a hand-selected panel of influential Sommeliers & a Master of Wine. Every lot in the inaugural Sonoma County Barrel Auction is a masterpiece of Sonoma County winemaking. Here are a couple examples of the world-class collaborations:

Photo ~ Sonoma County Vintners

Photo ~ Sonoma County Vintners

A Russian River Valley Epoch: The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost Pinot Noir
An exclusive barrel lot by three epochs of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir history, Joseph Swan Winery (The Father), Williams Selyem (The Son) and Kosta Browne (The Holy Ghost) have joined forces to make a barrel of Swan Selection Pinot Noir from their finest lots of some of their finest vineyards in the Russian River Valley.
A Founders’ Lot from West Sonoma Coast Vintners
Featuring West Sonoma Coast Vintners founders Carroll Kemp at Red Car Wine, Ted Lemon at Littorai Wine,Vanessa Wong at Peay Vineyards, Damian Parker at Joseph Phelps Vineyards – Sonoma Coast, John Raytek at Ceritas, Akiko Freeman at Freeman, and Ehren Jordan Failla Wines in a never before collaboration on True Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. This elegant and racy Pinot Noir represents the essence of the newly petitioned West Sonoma Coast appellation. Never before have so many heralded winemakers joined together to produce such an important wine from the region. West Sonoma Coast Vintners is an association of wineries and growers who are passionate about farming wine grapes on the coastline of Sonoma County. They advocate wines with a clear identity that evoke the complexity of our region and the authenticity of its community — wines with balance, integrity, character and nuance.

Photo ~ Maple Vineyard

Photo ~ Maple Vineyard

Dry Creek Valley’s Classic Zinfandel
Four visions of the famous Maple Vineyard‘s 2014 Zinfandel by Dutcher Crossing WineryMazzocco WineryBella Winery and Vineyards, and Armida Winery. Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County is one of the most renown terroirs for growing zinfandel grapes. Maple Vineyards is 27 acres of benchland at Dry Creek and Lytton Springs Roads, a few miles northwest of Healdsburg.

This is small sampling of the more than seventy unique wine lots representing twelve Sonoma County appellations.  A complete listing of the awe-inspiring lots and information about attending the invitation only event visit the Sonoma County Vintners Barrel Auction website.

#SonomaCountyVintners #SonomaCounty #SonomaCountyBarrelAuction #WineCountry #RussianRiverValley #DryCreekValley #AlexanderValley #SonomaValley #KnightsValley #SonomaCoast #Vineyards #Wineries #BarrelAuction

A Glamorous Life in Viticulture

IMG_0716After returning home from surgery on Saturday, Tom Altemus at Red Cap Vineyards spent the next three nights answering frost alarms as Howell Mountain temperatures dropped with the recent storms.  These are part of the daily challenges a farmer faces as does anyone raising children – the timing is never convenient, the rewards aren’t immediate, and the hours are long.

In 1998, Tom and Desiree bought ten acres on Howell Mountain after the birth of their second child meant they needed more room and a great opportunity came their way. A couple of years later, stay at home dad, Tom, began vineyard planning amid studies and surveys culminating in mountains of permit paperwork. Finally in 2003, the land was cleared in time to welcome their third child and the work was to begin in earnest.


Winemaker, Rudy Zuidema, and Tom have been friends for 25 years.  They worked together before Red Cap Vineyards as chefs at Brava Terrace Restaurant in St. Helena where local winemakers brought their wares and asked the chefs to pair the wine with a custom dish.  It was here they learned what they liked and what kind of wine they wanted to make – an elegant, complex Cabernet Sauvignon.

After planting and nurturing their Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard, the first grapes were harvested in 2006 and Rudy & Tom created their first vintage – to be released just as the recession in 2008 hit and no one wanted additional wine, especially an unknown product.

So Tom began the process of turning a family farm into a viticulture business in slow measured steps.  Watching nature change the surrounding forest gently and slowly, he worked in the same way, creating an organically styled vineyard with a rich loose soil that reminds you of a forest floor when you walk on it. They pick grapes a few tons at a time as each section ripens with daily walks in the vineyard to taste seeds for a nutty ripeness and juice for its vintage characteristics. Vintage variance is evident here as each year reaches its own balance.

This working family vineyard has help from entire family as each one lends their skills in many ways from data entry to social media to pulling crickets from the grapevines.  A slow, humble way of life that creates a rich family lifestyle in a beautiful spot where you want to live now, retire eventually, and watch your grandchildren grow up.

Red Cap continued to develop their Cabernet and added a Sauvignon Blanc (from purchased grapes) as an entrance wine to get them into restaurants with great success. Now they have developed a following of friends, wine lovers, and businesses that appreciated their small production, gently made wines.


This admittedly unglamorous life-style of fighting mildew, praying for rain, praying it doesn’t rain, and answering frost alarms in the middle of the night is exactly the rich life the Altemus family has chosen. They find their own kind of glamour in a humble vineyard in the mountains above Napa Valley and a gentle lifestyle that is reflected in the land they call home.

#RedCapVineyards #NapaValley #WineCountry #Vineyard #Winery #Viticulture #Wine #Wines

Protecting Wine Country for 100 Years

IMG_0353Geyserville Fire Protection District is celebrating 100 years of Service to Sonoma County’s Wine Country including over 200 square miles of prestigious wine growing vineyards in Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley, the largest fire district in Sonoma County.

You can help celebrate this accomplishment and support them through a variety of events and  fund raisers this year.

Limited Edition Wine from Peterson Winery
IMG_0374During Passport Dry Creek Valley, Peterson Winery will be serving Geyserville Firehouse Chili & Cornbread & selling their Limited Edition 2013 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. The grapes for this wine were grown by three current and former Geyserville Fire Protection District volunteer firefighters (Bernier, Borkow, & Peterson).  All of the proceeds from the sale will benefit the Geyserville Volunteer Firefighters’ Association. Great chili, gorgeous men in uniform, and delicious Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel wine – not to be missed!  This limited edition wine will be released April 25-26 at Peterson Winery and you must have a ticket to Passport Dry Creek Valley to attend.  If the wine does not sell out, it will be available after the event at the winery and online.

Open House at the Geyserville Firehouse


Photo ~ Geyserville Fire Protection District

The annual open house for the Geyserville Fire Protection District will be held at the Geyserville Firehouse (20975 Geyserville Ave) on May 9, 2015.  Additional Information will be available on the Geyserville Fire Protection District website and Facebook page.

Additional Centennial Year Events include: Geyserville Chamber of Commerce June 9, 2015 BBQ, Wine Country to the Rescue July 18, 2015 Dinner Dance and AuctionGeyserville Volunteer Firefighters Association Pancake Breakfast Octover 25, 2015, and the always fabulous Lighted Tractor Parade on November 28, 2015.

IMG_0377If you would like to learn more about this great community resource, Ann Howard has documented the history of the Geyserville Fire Protection District from its inception in 1905.

This self-published book is available directly from Ann Howard by writing her at PO Box 639, Geyserville, CA  95441.

Proceeds from her book are also supporting the Geyserville Fire Protection District.

#Firefighters #Geyserville #DryCreekValley #AlexanderValley #PetersonWinery #WineCountrytotheRescue #WC2Resq #GeyservilleFireProtectionDistrict #GeyservilleFire #Wine #Winery #WineCountry