It's been a devastating week for Napa and Sonoma counties and, as of this writing, the fires are still raging.There has been loss of life, homes, wildlife, and livelihood for many - specifically to those in the wine industry which spans from the vineyards to various hospitality and tourism businesses. There are many articles on the destruction so we don't need to rehash that information.Instead, we'd like to provide a list of ways to help our Northern California brethren, and highlight entities who are providing assistance. Also, there is a running directory of wineries that have been affected: one way of helping those wineries is by buying their wines in addition to sending them messages of support.Please send us any tips to add to this post and we will update asap: firstname.lastname@example.orgWays to HelpThe Press Democrat has partnered with Redwood Credit Union, Senator Mike McGuire and numerous business leaders to raise funds to directly help fire victims. Every donated dollar will go directly to fire victims – all costs will be covered. To donate, click here.The Salvation Army NorCal Wildfire Relief - Monetary donations are needed at this time. 100% of your gift will be used in support of the relief efforts. Donate here.Donate to the Direct Impact Fund in partnership with GoFundMe. Your tax-deductible donation will go directly to support charities and individuals with verified campaigns on GoFundMe, donate hereThe Redwood Empire Food Bank is currently providing critical food to shelters for our neighbors displaced by fires. Donate hereUnited Way of Wine Country. Donate hereSonoma County Recovers, both to donate and also ask for assistance if you've been affected. Click hereSonoma County of Education will be coordinating funds for schools and students that have lost everything. Make a payment to a school district. Click hereRunning Directory of Wineries AffectedTres Sabores - "Although the fight and worry is not yet over, the winery, Julie & Jon's home, our staff and all our furry/wooly/feathered companions are currently safe. We are indeed the lucky ones at this moment. Our hearts go out to other wineries and residents who are not so fortunate." FBDarioush Winery landscape and vineyard damage, but the winery building itself is still standing. (Take a sip of their '13 Caravan Cabernet, $50) IG, TW, FBHagafen Cellars, “The winery building appears to be fine. The tasting room also appears to be fine though much of the vegetation surrounding it is black and burned." (Take a sip of their kosher Sauvignon Blanc, $20) IG, TW, FBHelena View Johnston Vineyards, “all is lost.” You can support them by donating even a few dollars to their YouCaring page.Mayacamas Vineyards, “Our team is all well. The winery is safe.” Tasting room is burned down. (Take a sip of their 2012 Chardonnay, highly rated, aromatic, and excellent aging potential.) IG, TW, FBParas Vineyard, no found website nor social pages, but a this video from SF Chronicle shows a structure property completely engulfed in flames.Patland Estate Vineyards, family is safe, they have not updated as to the extent of the damage. IG, TW, FBPulido-Walker’s Estate Vineyard, “Pulido Walker suffered a devastating loss of our home, but thus far the Estate vineyards seem to have withstood the destruction from the flames. Most importantly, we and our team are safe.” (Take a sip of their 95 point, 2010 highly acclaimed "killer Cabernet", $150) TW, FBRobert Sinskey Vineyards, no social pages nor updated website, but this Instagram post which indicates loss to vineyard and tasting room. (Take a sip of their biodynamically grown Stag's Leap Cabernet, $100)Roy Estate, no social pages nor updated website, but word is that the winery was extensively damaged. (Take a sip of their 92 point estate proprietary blend red, $70) TWSegassia Vineyard, A company spokesperson confirmed that the winery owned by the Cates family has burned.Signorello Estate Vineyards, “…while the winery buildings themselves had essentially burned to rubble, the vineyards appeared to be in good shape—and ready to bear fruit for another 20 vintages. We can, and we will, rebuild the winery.” TW, FBSill Family Vineyards, “We will rebuild as soon as we’re allowed to return.” IG, TW, FBStags’ Leap Winery, “In the face of too much tragedy and loss, we continue to be deeply grateful that our buildings, vineyards and employees have been spared.” (Take a sip of their regularly 90+ point Cabernet, $50) IG, TW, FBVinRoc, no social pages nor updated website found, but owner said “Total loss, everything gone except our (wine) cave,”White Rock Vineyards, “Everyone at White Rock is safely evacuated and accounted for. The whole eastern Napa hillside from Stags leap down to napa is on fire.” Believed to have major damage. (Take a sip of their Bordeaux blend of which they make less than 1,000 cases, $50) IG, FBWilliam Hill Estate Winery, “ we have confirmed that the winery buildings are intact. William Hill sustained only minor cosmetic and landscaping damage” (Take a sip of their Napa estate blend, 90 point offering at $43) FBAncient Oak Cellars, “I’m very sad to report that our house, two big beautiful redwood barns, gorgeous tasting counter... are gone,” IG, FBChateau St. Jean, ‘Our employees are safe and accounted for and their continued safety remains our number one priority.” The main structure appeared unharmed. (Take a sip of their 90 point Sonoma Chardonnay for just $25) IG, TW, FBGundlach Bundschu Winery, ‘I spent some of the day digging through the rubble at my parents’ house, with little to no luck finding anything intact.” Still assessing the damage. (Take a sip of this Sonoma Cabernet that's scored 90+ points across critics, giving Napa a run of its money, $43) IG, TW, FBNicholson Ranch, “All the people at Nicholson Ranch are fine..Some of us are without power and some are staying with friends. But we are safe.The winery was in the path of the fire but escaped being engulfed by the flames. We have some damage to fix. The wine is secure in our cellars." IG, FBParadise Ridge Winery, “We are heartbroken to share the news that our winery was burned down this morning. The winery may be broken but our estate vineyards survived, which is foundation of our wine.” IG, TW, FBSky Vineyards, no updated social page nor website; the extent of the damage is unknown because the fire is still active in that area. FBBackbone Vineyard & Winery,“Our winery burned to the ground along with all our wine made over the past five years.”Frey Vineyards, The country’s first organic and biodynamic winery lost its winery and bottling facility. The wines are readily still available at Whole Foods. IG, TW, FBGolden Vineyards, The vineyards “are scorched but they are not ruined,”. No updated social and website isn’t working. Oster Wine Cellars, destroyed in the Redwood Fire.J Cage Cellars: "We were one of the lucky ones." Their family is safe and their wine is already in barrel.Shout Outs To:Participating wineries from Paso Robles have mobilized and will donate $1 from every bottle sold in the month of October to charities helping those impacted by the fires. Here is a list including these 90+ point Cabernets by J Lohr ($13), Ancient Peaks ($17), DAOU Reserve ($50).Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday that the company is donating $1 million. The money will be divided among the Red Cross California Wildfires Fund, the Community Foundation of Sonoma and the Napa Valley Community FoundationE. & J. Gallo Winery and Apple are giving $1 million, plus matching employee donations two-for-one.Google said Google.org and the company’s employees are donating $500,000 to help support those affected by wildfires in Northern and Southern California. The money will go to the American Red Cross and to the Napa and Sonoma Community Foundations.Intel said it is matching its employees’ donations.
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If we're being honest with ourselves, wine has a cultural stigma that it's still trying to shake. It can feel intimidating, exclusionary, and reserved only for those with "refined sensibilities" or whatever advertisers say. No doubt, that stigma is starting to dissolve as young sommeliers (and the internet) make wine education and discovery more accessible. But there is the lingering question for many, "Is it for me?". Luckily, there is no shortage of people eager to break right through that crumbling, tired mold. Asked why Oakland has been the perfect home for her ambitious wine event, Melody Fuller - founder of the Oakland Wine Festival - had a response that underscores both the city AND wine culture as a whole : "It is my way of pushing the narrative beyond the fading stereotypes of what Oakland is and who her people are". "Oakland residents and the Greater Bay Area residents provide tremendous support to the Napa Valley and Sonoma County wineries. A part of me, being a proud Oakland native, wanted to create a way to let the world know about that", she explains further. Melody's festival ain't no joke...and far from it. As a testament to that tremendous support, she's backed by winemakers of some of the world's best grapes - Silverado, Rombauer, and Opus One to name a few. Those three alone would be worth investing an afternoon in red and white juice consumption. However, it's not just the Oakland Wine Festival's location that intends to plow through barriers. The event's Judgment of Oakland, a repurposed version of the legendary Judgment of Paris blind tasting, brings the entire spectrum of grape lovers into the same room, drinking the same wine and rating them the same way. "The Judgement of Oakland invites wine enthusiasts, novices, buyers, sommeliers, winemakers, winery owners and the curious to taste and privately rank the wines by voting", Melody enthusiastically declares. "It's a rare experience that only select professionals have enjoyed for centuries worldwide". If getting wine owners, makers, and hobbyists together IRL to taste world-class vino from around the globe isn't a catalyst to community building, then we're certainly doing it wrong. Can't swing to this year's event? Get a taste of prime Napa Valley with the 2013 Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon. There are still tickets left for the Oakland Wine Festival on July 15th. $35 for 100+ excellent, rare wines. It's a steal. Follow the community via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
You read that correctly: Michael Jordan! But not the hall-of-fame NBA legend who was arguably one of the best to ever pick up a ball. This Michael Jordan is a legend in wine and arguably one the best sommeliers to ever pick up a glass. Jordan is a certified wine educator with the Society of Wine Educators and a Master Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers -- one of only 15 people in the world to hold both diplomas! Thus, when he recommends wines, we take notes! Question: Michael, if you were to advise young wine drinkers - who are open to trying new wines - what 3 would you recommend? Answer: For those newer to wine that are eager to try and discover new things I am going to stay with soft, easy drinking AND DELICIOUS, rather than super complex, tannic or dry. Let's stay on the affordable side of things too. The following wines are all just good wines that will make lunch and dinner taste better, or be enjoyed on their own without any food. Rosé: Barrymore Rosé of Pinot Noir - made at Carmel Road in Monterey County. Strawberries and cherries – it’s like liquid love. Definitely foreplay! This is not just her name slapped on “shiners” (meaning, it's not just 'whitelabeled') but Drew actually is making the wine with winemaker Kris Kato, choosing the vineyard blocks, blending and deciding the final wines. Remarkably pretty…soft and delicate. Available for $15. Cenyth, Rosé of Cabernet Franc, Sonoma County has a very different flavor profile, more plummy and cherry with almost a tangerine freshness. Available for $23. BUY Domaine des Carteresses, Tavel is step up in intensity, color (and a trip to South of France) for an excellent Dry Rosé from the Tavel AOC in the Southern Rhône – an AOC that produces only Rosé wines! White Wines: For those that have already discovered how well the “fresh lemon zest” in a light Italian Pinot Grigio refreshes you and goes with antipasto and crispy fried calamari, the new world version is a great discovery. Pieropan, Soave, Veneto, Italy Soft and bright apples and citrus made from Garganega grapes from close to the romantic town of Verona…‘nuff said. Available for $35, BUY Paco & Lola, Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain Albariño grapes create a white wine with stone fruit flavors of nectarine, peach and sometimes apricot along with apple and tangerine. Great for anything from the sea with fins or shells. Available for $19. BUY Tangent, Albariño, Edna Valley, California is a California version with those same peach and apple flavors. Delicious! Available for $14, BUY WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon is a fun and delicious wine with plusher texture than the Italians and has not only crisp flavors of citrus and apples, but a layer of Rainier cherry – and I don’t know anybody that doesn’t like that flavor! Available for $20, BUY New logo tee for her! BUY! Red Wines: I am a true devotee of the seductive Pinot Noir grape; it's truly the most sexy grape ever fermented. Grenache/Garnacha and Tempranillo are also delicious grapes when made into plush and fruity wines. WillaKenzie Estate, Gisèle Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon is one of the most pretty and light-styled Pinot Noirs from the west coast. The “Gisèle” is a soft and light bouquet of roses and fresh raspberries – a delight! They also make three or four more Pinot Noirs with varying degrees of intensity and tannin. Available for $28, BUY Beronia, Rioja Gran Reserva, Spain Tempranillo is the primary grape in the blend of the Rioja region, aged and softened in barrel until the vanilla-laden cherry and plum flavors dance together! These wines are quite good values also when you consider the amount of aging required by Spanish law. (A "Gran Reserva" means that the wine was aged at least five years, with a minimum of two years in oak. Gran Reserva wines are typically only made in outstanding vintages/years.) Available for $30, a steal! BUY Radio Boca, Tempranillo, Valencia, Spain is a super affordable and soft version of this grape's plush appeal from the South Eastern region of Spain . They also make a Garnacha that’s more intense but just as smooth, and the winery’s website is quite creative and fun. “GSM” Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre blends from Côtes-du-Rhône in the Southern Rhône Valley are very approachable and plush with rich texture and rich red and black fruit while being ultimately soft and smooth. These are great for everyday dishes like pizza and burgers or more extravagant pairings like rack of lamb and pork chops. Also great with vegetarian stews and roasted mushrooms and veggies! Perrin, Réserve, Côtes-du-Rhône, France All the bells and whistles, everything you expect from a classic GSM blend with the addition of Carignan grapes. BUY E. Guigal (available for $15, BUY), Delas (available for $12, BUY), Chapoutier (available for $15, BUY) and Mont-Redon are all good producers of classic and inexpensive Côtes-du-Rhône Well, this list should keep you busy for the at least a few weeks! We thank Michael for his time and for sharing his wisdom with us. Michael is serial restaurateur, beverage consultant, and Director of Global Accounts for Jackson Family Wines. If you have any questions you'd like to ask a Sommelier, just send us an email cheers AT ilikethisgrape.com, or hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Music and wine should be paired. We call this #VINOMUSIC. When was the last time you carelessly floated in the ocean, staring at nothing but the blue sky above you? Or stood on a snowy mountain top, breathing in the fresh, crisp air while enjoying a view that lasts for miles? How about walking through the desert with only the unpolluted, star-filled sky to guide your way? That's what it's like listening to Tycho - an all-instrumental artist that layers rich, electronic sound against airy guitar and percussion. Spend some time with his latest album released earlier this year, Epoch, to get a sense of what I mean. The atmosphere of it is just gorgeous. Much like Tycho's ethereal musical style, the 2014 Belle Glos Dairyman Pinot Noir is equal parts luxurious and airy. You might know pinot noir for its cherry-forward palette, light body and silky tannins. It's also a notoriously fickle grape. The varietal is prone to disease while on the vine and requires a cooler climate to really thrive. 2014 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Belle Glos embodies the hell out of a pristine pinot noir. Owning four vineyards up and down the California coast, Belle Glos focuses exclusively on pinot noir. Each vineyard produces its own distinct wine, each carrying a beautiful profile of what a true California pinot noir should be. The Dairyman vineyard is Belle Glos's Russian River Valley version of a pinot noir. The Russian River Valley is a Sonoma County AVA that proudly wears the badge of a world-class region for this grape. The 2014 Dairyman is a killer vintage. You'll get that classic red fruit and vanilla smoothness from the oak, drinking like a cherry cola made for royalty. The price tag for this one is around 50 bucks, but SO worth it if you're hunting for that quintessential Sonoma style in a pinot noir. Plus, every bottle is dipped in a vibrant red wax. It's a sexy appearance to match its identically sexy flavor. Enjoying a 2014 Belle Glos Dairyman Pinot Noir with Tycho on the speakers will transport you to a brisk, spring evening atop the dramatic cliffs of Big Sur. With its A+ California terroir on your tongue, and Tycho's sensuous vibes in your ear, this wine is all about getting aligned with nature. Want our sommelier selected wines delivered to you within minutes?! Click the banner below - San Francisco only (for now!)
Music and wine should be paired, we call this VINOMUSIC: Tribe Called Quest and Bordeaux Blend Drinking this bottle while listening to the melodic, socially accurate, expertly fired lyrics by Tribe Called Quest was nothing short than perfect. The Bordeaux Five… Is it a Marvel Comic book about five buzzed Frenchies fighting crime while sipping on the finest juice France has to offer? Or just the most famous blend of grapes known to ever exist on the planet catapulted to cult fascination through folklore and whispering gypsies? The Bordeaux Five is closer to the latter. . minus the gypsies. The Bordeaux Five is a blend of five grapes commonly found in Bordeaux, France: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot tend to dominate the blend while the other three are used for aromatics and texture. Most wines of this style can fetch a pretty penny and are highly sought after. But don't worry! Get acquainted with this beauty: Baby Blue from Blue Rock Winery. If Bonita Applebum Had Legs This Bordeaux blend from Alexander Valley is a wine that came dressed to impress. At first glance, your eyes will notice this wine is SEXY and has a pretty stellar array of colors. With a quick swirl of the glass you will be tantalized by two things: legs and color. This wine has legs like Bonita Applebum had a posterior! We’re talking about never ending sultry legs, the kind that keep your attention for so long you forget you’re staring. Secondly, is this intense color of purple with hints of blue that stain the glass with every swirl. In the wine world we call that “concentration” which has the wine looking a touch cloudy. That's because it’s “Unfined” meaning they don't use additives to make the wine shiny and clear. Instead, the lack of filtration creates a sexy mouthfeel giving this juice some serious body. Take that first sip and you will quickly realize she is more than just looks. Loads of acidity with the layers of flavor such as blueberries, cherries and plum. This finish is unique in that the wine lingers around you palate with slight kiss of toasty oak. This baby goes for around $21 and can be found at places like Total Wine or your local supermarket. Baby Blue is a personal favorite here at ILTG, mainly because it’s a crowd pleaser. You don’t need a big juicy steak to pair with this -- just a few good friends, a nice view and some killer music. And if you haven't heard the newest album to hit the streets, A Tribe Called Quest “We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your Time” maybe this would be the perfect time to give it a listen. Listen Here
Wine in Cans are Manly - MANCAN Conventional wisdom is being challenged everyday. The wine industry as a whole has not evolved in centuries, but today a number of entrepreneurs are challenging conventional wisdom to how, who, and when wine should be consumed. One such agent of change is MANCAN. Each can is handcrafted in Sonoma County using 100% California grapes. MANCAN is aimed at the soccer-dad as well as the construction worker after a hard day. We have a chat with MANCAN's founder Graham Veysey and learn how his concept was born after he had a long hard day on the construction site in Ohio. Cleveland Stand Up! What was the impetus to making wine and selling it in a can? Was there an ‘aha’ moment? The 'aha' moment came in April of 2014. I had been working on a construction project I was managing and was covered in drywall dust when I met a buddy at a bar. I was craving wine and yet this was a bar that -- if it had wine -- who knows how long it had been half opened. They had all this craft beer in cans and I asked "Why non wine-in-a-can?" I bought www.mancanwine.com that night. Describe your demographic. Is it just men who don't want to seem effete when drinking with their beer-swilling pals? Or is it bigger than that? We target anyone who wants to take the chore out of drinking wine. That being said, we find that millennials and "soccer-dads" tend to love drinking MANCAN the most. After a long day at work, people want to just go to their fridge and grab something easy and delicious. Dealing with stemware or even worrying about not drinking a whole bottle of wine are things we hear from folks who want that convenience that MANCAN offers. Also, MANCAN's awesome blend provides a universal taste appeal. How do you pitch your product to bartenders, and what kinds of bars are you doing well in? We do really well at places with live music or spots that don't have wine lists but love being able to serve our wine without worrying about those crappy plastic cups that break if you sneeze too hard. How long does your wine keep in the can? We dose each can with nitrogen and because cans don't have light penetration, we have a multiple year shelf life where our flavor profile is very stabilized. That being said, our cans are designed for drinking and not for cellar shelves. So we’re all about making wine relatable, tell us what movie are we watching while drinking a can of MANCAN? Not a serious movie...something like Trainwreck starring Amy Schumer that you can laugh to. We're from Cleveland so we love Lebron James in that movie! Any teasers as to new offerings in the future? We'll launch a rose for Summer 2017. Check out MANCAN Follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook Best $3 corkscrew with free shipping! Can't go wrong. Buy Now.