Best Quips and Tips from Online Wine Events

Yes, there have been silver linings to our time at home! One is the ability to connect with wine enthusiasts, winemakers, authors, and other folks in the wine industry via myriad online wine events. Here are some of the best quips I heard and tips I learned in recent months.

Alta Colina Syrah Virtual Tasting

My introduction to virtual tasting featured Paso Robles winery Alta Colina. The organically farmed estate based in the Adelaida District AVA specializes in Rhone varieties. An amiable panel included the winery’s founder, grower, and winemaker emeritus Bob Tillman, his daughter Maggie Tillman, and winemaker Molly Lonborg. Following this terrific introduction to the winery, I am eager to explore the rolling hills of their vineyard in person!

Fun fact:  Paso Robles is about three times the size of Napa in terms of acreage planted.

Pro tip:  At the Alta Colina Vineyard you can book a stay among the vines at one of 5 cool looking boutique vintage trailers.

WineSmith Wine

I wrote a full post about an intriguing virtual tasting with Clark Smith, who boldly discussed his manipulation in winemaking. Continue reading “Best Quips and Tips from Online Wine Events”

Join the Syrah Challenge

Each year wine reviewer Sean Sullivan poses a challenge to wine lovers to explore one specific underappreciated variety of Washington State wine. Participants who agree to the challenge simply uncork a bottle of that variety at least once a month and report back. Fun, right? This year the chosen grape is Syrah. Will you join the Syrah challenge? If you’re not exceptionally familiar with Washington Syrah, don’t worry! After all, this is your chance to learn more.

There are a number of ways to tackle this monthly endeavor. Don’t get too hung up on that, just start the challenge! Then if more focus is needed, here are some suggestions.

  • To get the most out of the challenge, include some bottles from wineries, vineyards, and regions that are new to you.
  • Each month open a Syrah from different Washington State American Viticultural Areas (AVAs).
  • OR, take a deep dive into just one or two AVAs.
  • Try Syrah from different vineyards.

What’s so captivating about Syrah? At a past Taste Washington seminar, Wine Bible author Karen MacNeil waxed poetic about Washington wine, vividly describing each pour as only she can. As the audience sipped on Syrah from cult producer Cayuse she uttered,

“This wine is primal scream. Wonderfully corrupt.”

Continue reading “Join the Syrah Challenge”

Historic Moment in Washington State Wine

The movie Bottle Shock tells the story of a 1976 wine competition in which California wine was victorious over French wine. Known as the “Judgement of Paris”, it’s a tale that many are familiar with. It seems, however, that few are aware of an important historic moment in Washington State wine. The hero in this story is the pioneer of vinifera grape growing in Washington State that has been producing classic European varietal wines since 1967, Chateau Ste. Michelle.

At a blind Riesling tasting sponsored by the Los Angeles Times in 1974, Chateau Ste. Michelle’s 1972 vintage of Johannisberg Riesling won top honors. Moreover, although Ste. Michelle Johannisburg Riesling was the least expensive wine in the tasting, it beat out German, Australian, and California Rieslings. It is significant to note that producers included P.J. Valckenberg in Worms, the oldest family-run wine export company of Germany, as well as Liebfraumilch Madonna, the oldest brand of German wine. Domestic producers included a who’s who of California stalwarts such as Beaulieu Vineyards, Heitz Cellar, and Freemark Abbey.

The Real Johannisberg Riesling

Continue reading “Historic Moment in Washington State Wine”

Virtual VinoSocial: Let’s Talk About Washington Wine

As we continue to hunker down, let’s connect via Zoom, have some fun, and sip some fantastic wines from Washington State! Do you like sparkling wines? How about balanced, complex red wine? I am conducting a virtual Washington wine tasting in collaboration with a couple of admirable women in wine. Together we will shine the light on four selections that are sure to spark more joy than decluttering your house ever could.

Save the date and order your wines now!
Monday, October 19
5-6pm Pacific / 7-8pm Central
Registration $12

Virtual Event Collaborators

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the two remarkable women who have partnered with me on this event. Continue reading “Virtual VinoSocial: Let’s Talk About Washington Wine”

Let’s Talk About WineSmith Wines with Clark Smith

It’s not often that a winemaker initiates a discussion on consumer perceptions of wines and winemakers. Especially rare is a winemaker who openly discusses his use of oak chips in winemaking. Insists that wine tastes better paired with music. Or asserts that sulfite free wines age forever. Yet, all this and more was tackled head on during an online media tasting with Clark Smith, winemaker for WineSmith Wines & Consulting and author of Postmodern Winemaking.

I wasn’t sure what to anticipate from the virtual event. One thing was for sure, though. When I received the sample bottles, I was excited to see wines rarely associated with California such as Saint Laurent and Petit Manseng.

Here’s the first thing Clark wanted to say:

“My wines are highly manipulated. ALL wines are highly manipulated. Those are not grapes in the glass. No wine is as manipulated as any beer, and that’s the truth. The foundation of our brand is total honesty.”

Regarding Wine Lovers

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About WineSmith Wines with Clark Smith”