Westbrook Wine Farm – 2004 Fait Accompli

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 12:55 -- johnk

Westbrook Wine Farm – 2004 Fait Accompli

IngredientsCalifornia Boudreaux Blend – Field Blend

Nose: Wonderful bouquet that evolves as it waits for your enjoyment in the glass

Taste: I hope it is sufficient to say this is a California Boudreaux blend that will give some of the best French Chateau’s a run for their money.  Think of Chateau Pipeau, Lynch Bages and a few other wonderful French wines.

How well do you know your customers?

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 11:18 -- johnk

How well do you know your customers? Do you know them well enough to know what they want? Or is it more along the lines that we tend to think we know what they want?

The average wine sale in a California wine tasting room is around $70-$80. While the average sale in the private session tastings, whether it be wine club members, or first-time visitors that request private tastings average $300 or more than those in the tasting room. So, it is simple, right? All you have to do is get as many people into private tasting sessions as possible, right?  Not necessarily!  These amounts just mentioned are the average sales amounts in the different two venues - but what if you were to include non-sales visitors? What would the true number be if you included every group of visitors instead of just those that bought wine while tasting? I don’t have such data to share, but I would be willing to bet that the average sale in the tasting room would be much lower. 

The amount from the private session might be a little lower but not likely as much as the regular daily or weekend tasting room traffic. Why do I say that? Those that choose to pay the higher price of a private session you are probably going to find are more affluent to begin with and can afford to buy more wine, or perhaps even purchase futures on vintages to be released later.  One thing to keep in mind is the experiences between the two groups and how they are different as is the level of service given.

Can Boutique Wineries and Small Producers Compete?

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 21:37 -- johnk

                                 (Picture- Courtesy of Russian Ridge)

Today it is pretty clear that beverage to customer business is stacked incredibly so, to the really big wine, brew and spirit industries. Their dominance in the industry leaves little room for so many of those passionate with their dreams and desire to produce quality wines, beer and other spirits.  It can be a lot of work to scratch out a living doing what they love to do best.

Judith Shultze – California Women in Wine - Windy Oaks

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 20:31 -- johnk

Judy Schultze interest in wine and winemaking goes back about 25 years, when she first lived in Chicago, but took numerous business and pleasure trips to Europe, and began learning about winemaking in France.  The attraction to the world of wine continued when Judy and her husband Jim lived overseas, first Australia for five years, where they came to love Australian wines, particularly the small boutique wineries near where they lived in Melbourne; then England for two years, which enabled them to make frequent trips to the vineyards of France, Italy and Spain.

Judy and Jim Schultze are the sole proprietors of Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards and Winery. This pair is dedicated to making the finest wine possible combining the best of Burgundian tradition with recent advances in winemaking knowledge. The sole focus of this winery is on the two great varietals from Burgundy, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, grown in their own estate vineyards.

In the summer of 1994, Judy returned home to the central coast of California; in 1995, land adjacent to their property in Corralitos became available, and this is when Judy and her wine-loving partner began to think of growing grapes. The two of them started doing research as to which grapes were most suitable to their microclimate in the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation, and found that it was uniquely suited for pinot noir grapes. (Wine Spectator has identified the Santa Cruz Mountain appellation as the most underrated wine appellation in the world.)

Westbrook Wine Farm - O'Neal CA

Thu, 07/16/2015 - 12:38 -- johnk

California wine Tasting with Westbrook Wine Farm

Westbrook Wine Farm  - Vineyard and Winery was conceived and created by Tammy Krause and California wine industry veteran, Ray Krause in 1995. After a ten year search for the heat summations, elevation, orientation, air drainage, soils, hydrology and market proximity,  the O’Neals location at 1500 feet in elevation near Bass Lake and the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park was selected. Their selection and search has rewarded them well as the vineyard has proven appropriate for growing the seven of the eight approved red Bordeaux varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenere. The 40 acre site was a challenge but the Krause's cleared the site for the vineyard and waterways were protected in cooperation with the USDA /NRCS fire fuel reduction and wildlife protection program. 

New Clairvaux Winery - Vina, CA

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 16:29 -- johnk

New Clairvaux Vineyard Sign

In a tiny Northern California town called Vina, there's a winery that's definitely stands alone, a little off the beaten track. That likely because this area Tehama County is better known for olive groves and cattle ranches than grapes. Having been urged by more than one wine maker in the Shasta Cascade and in Tehama county to try New Clairvaux’s wines I recently made it a point to stop in on my way home from visiting my family in the Redding area.  It was an interesting little detour jumping off Interstate 5 and over to Highway 99.  I had not been on this part of 99 for some years.  It was nice to drive past the orchards and ranches.  I was looking forward to tasting the wines produced under the watchful eye of Aimee Sunseri who is the winemaker at New Clairvaux.



Spiriterra Vineyards - Muscadine Grape

Sun, 02/01/2015 - 09:10 -- johnk

Spiriterra Winery


Paul (died November 2019) and the vineyard was sold

Spiriterra is a small family-run wine producer based in the hills of the Vaca Mountain Range – with vineyards above Lake Hennessey. Husband and wife, Paul and Shirley Dean moved here in 1996 after they took a trip to California to specifically watch the “Big Game” between Stanford and Cal Berkeley (their daughter Ashley was at Stanford at the time. Ashley has since joined with here parents in the family business).  During their visit, they drove up to the Napa Valley to do some wine tasting when Paul happened to glance at one of the real estate magazines sitting outside one of the grocery stores and Paul called up one of the agents who introduced him to a hillside property, by the end of that week the Dean’s had purchased 52 hillside acres. The Dean Family uprooted themselves from their long time home in Connecticut and moved to the Napa Valley permanently. Several acres of Cabernet Sauvignon were planted on-site at the time of their purchase – and for many years they sold the fruit until 2009 when they held back all of this varietal and made their first Cabernet wine.

Which word do wine lovers and wine professionals most often misspell?

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 16:49 -- johnk

Which word do wine lovers and wine professionals most often misspell?


That word is palate.  

It is often spelled as palette


(a small wooden or plastic disc artist use for paints)






(a foundation, often made of wood, for stacking items).

Monterey Wine Country

Sat, 12/13/2014 - 14:49 -- johnk

  Are you looking for great scenery, wonderful cuisine and lots of sites to see?  Great tasting wines come with the territory and you are welcome to Monterey Wine Country.  Monterey County produces complex, balanced and somewhat pampered wines. Whether you choose a classic Chardonnay or Riesling, an elegant Pinot Noir and Merlot, a rich Cabernet or a Syrah you will agree that Monterey Wine Country and her vintners have much to offer. 

  Monterey has nine unique winegrowing regions and some 85 vintners.  You will also find nearly 30 tasting rooms that open to the public. When you make your way down the California Wine Trails, with Monterey as your destination, you will be able to enjoy some of California’s fine products of the vine as well as take in some of most beautiful scenery California has to offer.  So enjoy a little mental journey to Monterey as your read of her wine trail other pleasures that await your arrival.                              


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