Understanding AVA: 75% Rule

It is commonplace to believe when you buy a Central Valley Cabernet or a Central Valley Zinfandel, that you are getting 100% Cabernet with 100% of the fruit from the Central Valley, or 100% Zinfandel 100% from the Central Valley.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Appellation…

What is Chaptalization?

Developed by (and named for) French chemist Jean-Antoine-Claude Chaptal, chaptalization is the process of adding sugar to unfermented grape juice to increase the alcohol percentage post-fermentation.  The added sugar is consumed by the yeasts and converted into alcohol. Chaptalization as a process does not increase the sweetness of the…

What is a Hectare?

If you’ve geeked out at a wine tasting room, wine bar, or local wine shop, you may have come across the term hectare in conversation about the land the grapes were grown on, but what exactly is a hectare? A hectare is a unit of measurement used by…

Our Top 3 Holiday Wineries in Sonoma County

Planning on spending your holidays in the vineyards?  Us too!  Here are our top 3 choices in the Sonoma County: 1.  Korbel Champagne Cellars – rich with local history, beautifully decorated every holiday season, a wide array of wines only available at the winery, a choose-your-own-adventure-style tasting format,…

Cabernet Franc

Happy Cabernet Franc Day! And it couldn’t be at a better time of the year.  Nothing sounds better than cozying up by the fireplace with a delicious glass of Cab Franc to help keep you warm. Cabernet Franc in the new world has an association with big heavy…

Whole Cluster Fermentation

Whole cluster (or bunch) fermentation is the process by which everything goes into the fermentation process.  Skins, seeds, stems, you name it.  The invention of the destemmer revolutionized wine, but could you imagine Burgundian winemakers in the 1800s hand picking each berry to get all the stems off? …

National Zinfandel Day

Here are some good ‘ol Zinfandel facts for a bit of conversation over the turkey (and wine) tomorrow afternoon/evening: Zinfandel is considered California’s heritage grape, there are some vines in Sonoma and Amador County that are 100+ years old, and still bearing fruit. A well made Zinfandel can…

Malbec

If you didn’t know better, it would seem in the last decade a new varietal wine had been magically invented or finally discovered.  During the last American recession, a new standard for structured reds just magically appeared in the marketplace hailing from Argentina, and its name?  Malbec. The…

What is Carbonic Maceration?

Carbonic maceration is a process by which grapes are fermented in their skins in a carbon dioxide rich environment.  The weight of all the grapes crushes the juice from the lower areas of the tank that holds the grapes and gas, and undergoes a somewhat more conventional fermentation…

TX Wine Facts

For Texas Wine Month, we’d like to share some information on the Lone Star state’s wine industry.  Hopefully it will inspire you to check out some wineries on your next trip to the SXSW festival or whatever brings you to the great state of Texas! Texas has 7…