Archive for the ‘Winery News’ Category

Temecula Valley Wine Country Celebrates 50 Years!

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Vincenzo & Audrey Cilurzo

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country.

The first commercial vineyard in Temecula Valley was established in 1968 by Vincenzo and Audrey Cilurzo.

Since then, the region has grown into a bustling wine tourism destination, with more than 50 licensed wineries, 70 growers, lodging, dining and entertainment among the vines, and more than 5000 domestic and international wine awards.

The theme for the 50th Anniversary is “The People, Passion and Perseverance,” underscoring wine country’s history, while highlighting the entrepreneurs who pour their hearts into growing quality grapes and making premium wines year after year. The theme will be woven into all events and programming throughout 2018, culminating in a vineyard celebration dinner in association with California Wine Month, harvest and the annual CRUSH event, Temecula Valley’s signature wine and culinary showcase. Stay tuned for more information on www.temeculawines.org. 


Doffo Winery Takes Top Prize!

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Visit Temecula Valley (VTV), in coordination with Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association (TVWA), recently announced the winners of the second annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting. The event took place on Sunday, November 12, 2017, at Leoness Cellars, and featured a walk-around blind tasting, a wine seminar led by Master of Wine Roger Bohmrich and a 6-course awards dinner paired with last year’s winning wines.

Doffo Winery’s 2015 Zinfandel took first place in the competition, after taking second place to Wilson Creek’s Petite Sirah at last year’s inaugural event. The 2017 second place winner was Lorimar Winery’s 2014 Syrah, and third place was taken by Thornton Winery’s 2014 Estate Syrah.

“We are beyond thrilled with receiving 1st Place in the People’s Choice competition,” said Damian Doffo, CEO and Winemaker for Doffo Winery. “We work very hard in the vineyard to produce high quality fruit and make exceptional wine. We look forward to sharing our wine with the public in February.”

Over 200 guests tasted 29 wines (6 whites and 23 reds) without knowing any of the wines’ identities, and rated them on a scale of 1-5 during a walk-around wine tasting. The top 12-scoring wines from this portion of the event went on to be poured during a wine seminar led by Master of Wine Roger Bohmrich, where they were again tasted blind and rated on a scale of 1-5, including by Roger himself. Final scores were tallied to determine the top 3 “People’s Choice” wines. Wines could be any variety or a blend, at any price point, as long as they were from the Temecula Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA). Entries ranged from just $24 per bottle to well over $100, and represented a number of grape varieties, from Falanghina to Syrah to Cabernet Franc.

In addition to the walk-around tasting and seminar, the event featured a six-course dinner created by Chef Daragh Matheson from Leoness Cellars, paired with last year’s People’s Choice winners. A VIP reception offered hand-selected pours presented by local winemakers and winery owners. San Diego singer-songwriter Christian Taylor performed throughout the tasting. The evening’s dinner program was emceed by Lindsay Pomeroy, Master of Wine Candidate and owner of the “Wine Smarties” school in San Diego, and a brief keynote was delivered by Bohmrich. Local musician Brian Stodart performed throughout the dinner program.

Sponsors included Gosch Ford, 34° Crisps, Palpula Dips & Sauces, Temecula Lavender Co., Old Town Spice & Tea Merchants, Aall In Limo & Party Bus, Grapeline Wine Tours and American AgCredit. Carter Estate Winery & Resort was the official hotel partner for the event.

The top twelve scoring wines in alphabetical order were as follows:

Avensole Winery 2014 Malbec, $32.95
Baily Vineyard & Winery 2014 Malbec, $25.00
Doffo Winery 2015 Zinfandel, $72.00
Falkner Winery 2014 Rock Creek Syrah, $49.95
Fazeli Cellars 2014 Shiraz, $48.00
Hart Winery 2014 Volcanic Ridge Vineyard Syrah, $60.00
Leoness Cellars 2014 CS Cabernet Franc-Merlot, $38.00
Lorimar Winery 2014 Syrah, $48.00
Miramonte Winery 2014 Estate Syrah, $65.00
South Coast Winery 2016 Viognier, $25.00
Thornton Winery 2014 Estate Syrah, $49.00
Wiens Family Cellars 2015 Sangiovese, $44.00

Most wines can be purchased directly online through each winery’s website. The entire list of wines entered into the competition can be accessed HERE.


White Wine and Cider Brined Roasted Turkey with Swiss Chard, Sausage, Apple, and Dried Plum Stuffing

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

A fruity cider and white wine steeped brine is key to this moist and flavorful turkey. Begin the brining process 2 days before roasting. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Chardonnay or Merlot.

Serves 8


A fruity cider and white wine steeped brine is key to this moist and flavorful turkey. Begin the brining process 2 days before roasting. Pair with California Chardonnay or Merlot.

Serves 8


8 cups water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 small yellow onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 cups apple cider
1 bottle white wine

1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey, neck and giblets removed
1 small yellow onion, quartered
1/2 lemon, halved
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch sage
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Brine and air-dry the turkey:
Bring the water, salt, sugar, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns to boil in a large pot, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat, add the cider and wine, and cool to room temperature. Place the turkey, breast-side up in a large container. Pour the brine over the turkey, adding more cold water, as needed, to cover. Refrigerate the turkey for 24 hours, turning the turkey once or twice in the brine.

Remove the turkey from the brine, discard the brine, and pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 8 hours or overnight to allow the skin to thoroughly dry out. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting.

Roast the turkey:
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Loosely stuff the turkey cavity with the onion, lemon, thyme, and sage. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Roast the turkey in the oven, about 15 minutes per pound, or until the juices run clear when pierced at the thickest part of the thigh. Baste the turkey with the melted butter at first, and then the pan juices every 20 to 30 minutes. If the breast browns before the turkey is fully cooked, loosely cover with foil.

Remove the turkey from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Loosely cover with foil and let rest 30 minutes before carving. Serve with Swiss Chard Stuffing (see below).

Swiss Chard, Sausage, Apple, and Dried Plum Stuffing:
12 ounces pitted dried California plums, about 20, halved
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (1-pound) loaf sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, chopped
8 green Swiss chard leaves, about 12 ounces, ends trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock


Combine the pitted dried plums and wine in a small bowl. Let stand while you prepare the stuffing.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
Toss the bread with 1/4 cup oil and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the oven until light golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and cool.

Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F. Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Do not discard the fat from the skillet.

To the same skillet, add the apples and onion and sauté over medium heat until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the chard and cook until the leaves wilt, about 5 more minutes. Stir in the dried plums and wine, the butter, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add to the sausage, then add the bread and chicken stock; stir to thoroughly combine.

Pour the dressing into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until brown and crisp on top, about 30 more minutes.


Recipe and photo courtesy of The Wine Institute of California 


Holiday Wine Pairing Guide

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Mom’s stuffing, Aunt Nancy’s cranberry sauce and your sister’s sweet potatoes.  Menu: done!  But what about the wine?  Choosing a bottle (or two!) of wine to bring to the holiday table can be tricky.  Appealing to not only your menu, but to a cross-section of practiced palates and novice wine drinkers may seem challenging.  But don’t stress out over one of the simplest tasks of the holiday season. Make it simple.  Any wine you enjoy is a good wine!

One certainly doesn’t need to look to others to rate, score or direct you to make a particular wine choice. Bring a wine you’re familiar with to the table.  Chances are it’ll be just fine – and maybe even sublime!

First and foremost, don’t worry about pairing with the herbaceous, the tart or the sweet accompaniments to your turkey, ham or prime rib.  It’s much simpler to match the wine to the main protein dish.  Here’s a few tried and true varietal selections for some classic holiday main dishes:

Wines to Serve with Ham
Ham just begs for a something lightly sweet.  Look for wines with a touch of residual sugar like a Baily Vineyard & Winery Riesling or a Maurice Car’rie Winery Gewurztraminer.  Both are lighter in style, a bit lower in alcohol and still offer plenty of food-friendly acidity and crowd-pleasing palate appeal.  If you’re looking for an easy to pair red, go for a lighter style like Tempranillo.  Great examples can be found at both Robert Renzoni Vineyard & Winery and at Danza del Sol Winery.

Wines to Serve with Turkey
Although an array of whites work perfectly well, Sauvignon Blanc is an all-time, hands-down favorite pick that holds up well to turkey – and all it’s side dishes. Temecula Valley provides the perfect playground for growing this varietal, so you’ll find many great examples of it here.  Beautifully aromatic offerings from the musqué clone can be found at Hart Winery and at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. Soft red varietals like Syrah also make suitable partners; you can find some fabulous ones at Falkner Winery and Leoness Cellars.

Wines to Serve with Prime Rib
White wines will have a hard time keeping up with the likes of Prime Rib, but there are so many reds to choose from that make impressive cohorts, you’re sure to find one you’ll all enjoy.  Choose an affable Cabernet Sauvignon from Callaway Vineyard & Winery, a food friendly Italian varietal like Montepulciano or Sangiovese from Cougar Vineyard & Winery or an amazing Super Tuscan blend, Due Rossi, from Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery.

Happy Holidays!


Wine Community Rallies to Provide Aid + Resources to Fire Victims

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

Our hearts are heavy for our friends and colleagues who’ve been affected by the devastating fires in Napa, Sonoma and Mendicino counties.   Several wine association leaders have formed a support network to organize resources and direct them to those in need.  Many have asked how they can help.  The following press release was distributed this morning.  If you’re able to offer any assistance, whether it be “on-the-ground” support or financial assistance, please contact the individuals listed below. #CAWineStrong

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (October 11, 2017)—Wine industry leaders have formed a support network to provide immediate assistance and long-term aid to victims of the fires ravaging Northern California and are calling on the national wine community for additional help. Organized by a group of association leaders representing the Golden State’s major winegrowing regions, support efforts include fundraising and creation of an online resource where vintners can find and offer resources, such as generators, trailers, lodging and manpower.

“Our focus right now is on getting on-the-ground support to impacted growers and vintners to help stave off further damage,” says Ann Petersen, Executive Director of Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley. “We need the entire wine community to support this region with immediate and strategic action.”

Petersen is working with other local industry leaders to organize resources and direct them to those in need.

Short-Term Help
Vintners in the affected areas have immediate on-the-ground needs, ranging from equipment to experienced manpower.

Priorities include:
• Water Tanks, as local water resources are scarce and needed by firefighters; those who can provide should immediately email maureen@sonomavalleywine.com
• Generators to power cooling tanks and other urgently-need equipment
• Tractors and trailers to assist with moving grapes, equipment and debris
• Lodging to house workers, including tents, mobile unites or locals willing to open their homes
• Volunteer Labor. Experienced vineyard and cellar workers are needed; unskilled manpower is also welcome

The group has created an online form where supporters can list available resources and provide contact information. Resource and contact information will be shared only with members of Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino winegrowing and vintner associations. Click http://bit.ly/2wNVda0 to offer resources.

Long-Term Help
Established community foundations in each of the counties impacted by the Northern California wildfires have created relief funds to provide aid to local fire victims. The group of regional leaders organizing the wine industry support effort encourages those who cannot provide ground support to make a donation in any amount to the following funds:

• Sonoma County Resilience Fund: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1431417
• Napa Valley Community Foundation: http://napavalleycf.org/fire-donation-page/
• Community Foundation of Mendocino County: http://www.communityfound.org/for-donors/donate-today/community-funds/disaster-fund-for-mendocino-county/

“The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA wine community is heavyhearted today as we watch the continued impact of the wildfires on so many of our wine country brethren,” says Megan Metz, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association. “It’s times like these that remind us how important the company of family and friends can be. We have banded together to help our friends as best we can to protect their businesses and livelihoods and will continue partnering on recovery efforts in the weeks and months ahead.”

Community-wide fundraising efforts are underway and messaging is being organized around the hashtag #CAWineStrong.


Media Contacts:

Ann Petersen, Executive Director
Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley
(917) 558-3860

Michelle McCue, President
McCue Marketing Communications
(213) 204-4136

Megan Metz, Executive Director
Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association
(415) 728-8647


It’s Squeezin’ Season! ~ A Harvest Update

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

It’s our favorite time of the year!  Here’s an article originally published in Wines & Vines that gives a great overview of harvest in Temecula Valley this year.

Temecula, Calif. – Despite a heat wave and unusual rains, the vintners and growers of Southern California’s Temecula Valley are generally pleased with the quality of fruit coming in this harvest season.

At South Coast Winery, Winemaker Jon McPherson oversees 56,000 annual case production of primarily Rhone and Spanish varietal wines, all estate-grown. The winery accounts for a large portion of Temecula’s 1,300 acres planted to wine grapes.

“It was great, early on,” McPherson said of summer temperatures, which remained in the 70s and 80s during the day and 50s and 60s at night, even as his team picked Pinot Noir for sparkling wine on July 17. “Then, that last week of August, we had the crazy heat that the rest of the state experienced, followed by a lot of monsoonal influence from northern Mexico and Arizona, with moisture fed by the hurricane off of Baja.”

Those conditions led to late-afternoon rains for two days, he said, with as many as 2” of rain falling in parts of the valley. “Most of our varieties hanging at the time were Bordelais, so they weren’t too badly affected,” he said. “We did have Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc out there, and we saw some rot issues start to manifest as we got into picking, but it dried up pretty quickly. Mostly, the heat just sped everything up. For those ten days, we were trying to get everything as quickly as we could.”

Varieties yet to be picked at South Coast Winery included Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and some Portuguese varieties, comprising 140 tons, with vineyard samples coming in at 23.5° or 24° Brix. “We’ll be wrapping up in the next ten days,” McPherson said.

At Hart Winery, winemaker Jim Hart estimated his team had brought in two-thirds of their fruit – about 60 tons. The winery produces around 4,000 cases per year. With the exception of Roussanne, all of Hart’s white varieties had been picked, including Sauvignon Blanc and Arneis; as well as a number of red varieties, including Sangiovese, Syrah, and Barbera. Like McPherson, Hart let his Bordeaux varieties — Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Sirah — continue to hang.

“We have ten acres and grow about 40% of what we make,” said Hart, whose family produces around 3,500 cases annually and is the longest-standing winery in the valley at 40 years old. “The rest we purchase, but it’s all Temecula Valley fruit.” He went on to describe the large scale of the Temecula Valley AVA at 33,000 acres, 1,300 of which are planted to vines in subregions that range from valley floor to mountains, desert to coastal-influenced conditions, and include a wide variety of soils like decomposed granite and volcanic.

Temecula is part of the four-county District 16 grape growing region, which accounted for 4,190 tons in 2016, according to the state’s Grape Crush Report.

In an effort to boost quality and identify the emerging region’s style and strengths, many winemakers commit to using only Temecula Valley fruit. But that commitment was put to the test in 2016 when heat and drought drastically reduced yields, by as much as 30% for some producers.

“We had a horrendous heat wave mid-June last year, right after a lot of us leaf-pulled” said Olivia Bue, who joined Robert Renzoni Vineyards as winemaker in 2013. “It got up to 115 degrees, so a lot of our grapes shut down and shriveled because there was way too much exposure. We also had minimal rain, as every region dealt with. We lost quite a bit of our yield; it was devastating for vineyard and winery owners.”

For the 2017 crop, however, Bue reports a significant increase in rain, which washed away much of the ground salts and brought pH into greater balance. “Harvest is really back to normal for what it was four years ago,” she said. “We’re seeing more varietal characteristics represented in the flavors of the grapes just because they’re staying on the vine longer and with slower maturation.”

With a focus on Italian varietal wines, Robert Renzoni Vineyards produces 18,000 cases annually, with a focus on lean, lower-alcohol wines to preserve acids. From the estate, Bue and her team make Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera, in addition to Montepulciano sourced from the Temecula Valley which, Bue said, “grows incredibly well here.”

This year’s Sangiovese, she said, was picked two weeks later than last year’s crop, and is currently undergoing malolactic fermentation in barrel right now; the brand’s two Pinot Grigio wines came in at around 23° Brix and are already fermented, one of which is being stirred on its lees for creaminess and minerality while the other will be kept crisp, clean and bright. Cabernet Sauvignon is still hanging at about 24° Brix, as are Cabernet Franc and Tempranillo; Bue plans to pick most of the remaining fruit next week.

She recalled how, in 2014, the Pinot Grigio was ready to be picked by July 14, nearly four weeks ahead of schedule. “We’re definitely looking forward to lower pH, better acids and higher yields this year.”

Read more at: https://www.winesandvines.com/news/article/189801/Temecula-Wine-Harvest-Rebounding
Copyright © Wines & Vines

Photo courtesy of  Matthew Burlile 


#TemeculaWineChallenge Contest: Experience Southern California Wine Country to Win!

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Mid-week is the best time to taste Temecula Valley wines, as your chances of getting a behind the scenes tour, meeting a winemaker, or snagging a barrel sample run high – you just have to ask! This California Wine Month, take your wine knowledge to the next level. From September 1-30, we invite you to explore Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country like a true wine photojournalist…and win a cool prize or two while you’re at it.

How it works:

Step 1: Pick your wine milestone from the list of 10 different challenges below.
Step 2: Take a pic. Make sure we can see the full experience.
Step 3: Post and tag. Post on Instagram & tag @temeculawines, #temeculawinechallenge #tastemidweek & #drinktemecula. Don’t forget to check in at the winery!

Here’s what we’re giving away:

Each week, we will give away (2) SIP Temecula Passports, good for 5 wine tasting flights at participating Temecula Valley wineries, Monday through Friday.

At the end of the contest, we will announce one grand prize winner from the month, who will receive (2) Reserve tickets to the People’s Choice Blind Tasting and Awards event on November 12, 2017.  This prize package includes a walk-around blind wine tasting and seat at the People’s Choice awards dinner including a 5-course tasting menu and wine pairings.

Don’t Forget: You can capture as many wine milestones as you like to up your chances of winning!

Instagram account must be public for your entry to be considered.

View full terms and conditions here: Terms and Conditions

Happy sipping!

Wine Challenges:
1. Take a selfie with a Temecula Valley winemaker
2. Taste a Temecula Valley wine made from a French grape
3. Convince tasting room staff to let you try a Temecula Valley barrel or tank sample
4. Taste a Temecula Valley Sangiovese
5. Document a delicious Temecula Valley food and wine pairing at one of our many wine country restaurants
6. Taste a Temecula Valley Syrah
7. Take a photo of wine grapes on the vine
8. Take a photo with tasting room staff
9. Taste a DRY (not sweet!) Temecula Valley sparkling wine (bonus if it’s made with the Methode Champenoise!)
10. Take a photo with one of the many vineyard dogs out in Temecula Valley wine country


California Wine Month ~ Temecula Style!

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

This September marks the 13th consecutive year that California’s governor has proclaimed California Wine Month; in honor of our state’s contribution as the leading wine industry in the United States.

September is the perfect time to visit Temecula Valley Wine Country. Besides the fact that it is our favorite month, we’ve got several events and promotions up our sleeves and we want you to celebrate with us!

Here are the highlights:

SIP Passport Program

When: Valid Monday through Friday the entire month of September (excluding the Labor Day holiday).

What: Passport for a full tasting flight at any five participating Temecula Valley wineries; includes souvenir wine glass. Passport includes discounts on wine purchases, wine club memberships and dining.

Tickets: $45 per person. For more information and tickets, click here.

“CRUSH on Temecula Valley Wines”
Do you have a crush on Temecula wines?  Visit several participating local restaurants throughout the month of September that will feature a special flight of local wines for the month.  Snap a picture of yourself with the wine flight, tag the restaurant and #crushontemeculawines for a chance to win some awesome prizes! Click here for more information.

#TemeculaWineChallenge Social Media Contest
Do you love social media almost as much as you love Temecula wine?  Then this challenge is for you! The entire month of September, we’re inviting you to select a few “wine country challenges”, such as clinking glasses with a Temecula Valley winemaker, tasting a barrel sample, etc.  Then, snap a pic to post the evidence of your challenge and share with your fellow oenophiles on social media.  We’ll pick winners throughout the month….and again….there will be prizes! Click here for more information.

CRUSH ~ A Wine & Culinary Showcase
Although we never need a reason to raise a glass in celebration, we’ll be doing just that at our 8th annual CRUSH event.  CRUSH is Temecula Valley Wine Country’s signature event and is The ONE and ONLY event showcasing the wines of 30+ member wineries in one location! Winery and local restaurants will also be on hand to pair small bites with the wine.  Mix and mingle with winery owners and winemakers at this most anticipated walk-about tasting!

When: Saturday, September 30 – 7:30p-10:00p
Where: Monte De Oro Winery
Cost: Standard ticket – $89 / VIP ticket – $110

Click here for more information and tickets


How to Properly Chill & Open Sparkling Wine

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

If you’re reading this, the chances are good that you’re cheering for, and with, bubbles. Sparkling wine has arguably never been a more popular beverage choice, especially in the U.S. The Wine Institute reported that in 2015, Champagne and sparkling wine sales in the U.S. grew by two million cases, topping off at an incredible 21.7 million cases that year.

You might be a bit shocked to learn, however, that the iconic imagery of celebrating major life events with the loud pop of a Champagne cork flying across the room has got it all wrong, at least when it comes to the best way to enjoy your bubbly-drinking experience. And if you’re like most of us, the bottle of sparkling wine at the end of that cork is being served too warm, too. Yeah, we know, we’re party poopers, but we’re trying to help you out, here.

While a cork-turned-flying-projectile is admittedly kind of fun, there are better ways of ensuring that your celebrations include getting the best out of the bottles of bubbly on which you spent your hard-earned cash. Those start with knowing the best way for chilling your sparkling wine (hint: it involves salt), and the best way to open it once it’s cooled down (hint: it’s not supposed to be noisy).

Here’s a primer on chilling and opening your bubbles, with an overview of the science behind it, for those of you who are skeptics at heart, and in case you want to impress your friends with your wine knowledge.

Chilling it Out
Due to its carbonation, sparkling wine generally tastes best when it’s served colder than most other wine styles. Typically, this is in the 43–48 degrees F (6–7 degrees C) temperature range. A lower temperature also slows down the molecular activity in the bottle, making it safer to open; warmer carbonated liquid tends to foam up more – which can make a mess. So, in a way, chilling sparkling wine is actually the first step in properly opening it.

You can achieve this chill-down by putting your bubbles into the refrigerator, but that takes about three hours, and mostly kills the romance associated with whipping out a bottle of celebratory sparkling wine. The quickest way to get your sparkling wine to the right serving temperature – usually getting the trick done on a 750 ml bottle in 20 minutes or less – is by using an ice bucket, ice, water, and salt.

First, fill the ice bucket about halfway with ice and water. This is the most important step in chilling the wine, and the one that even some seasoned professionals sometimes miss. A mixture of ice and water will chill down your sparkling wine much more quickly than ice alone. For that, we can thank the laws of thermodynamics (you know, the stuff you slept through during science class in high school). For the wine to cool, it needs to transfer its heat to its surroundings; the colder the surroundings, the more quickly it can do this. Ice, of course, cools the area around the bottle, but ice alone will have many air pockets between the ice cubes, and air, being a gas, isn’t great at heat/energy transfer. Water, on the other hand, is a pretty good medium for transferring heat, and it will fill in the air pockets between the ice cubes, increasing the amount of cooling material in contact with the bottle, thereby getting the bottle of bubbles cooler, faster.

Adding a handful of salt to the ice/water mixture before gently putting the bottle into the ice bucket is also a good idea. Why? Because salt will lower the freezing temperature of the ice water in the bucket. When that happens, there’s more melting than freezing happening in the bucket, increasing the ice water’s ability to absorb energy from the wine bottle, and minimizing the cooling time required. See, you should have paid more attention in physics class!

Don’t “Pop” it Open
Now that you’ve given your sparkling wine a 15-or-so minute chill-out, it’s time to open it up. Notice we didn’t say “pop” it open. Flying corks can be dangerous, and should be avoided. Not only that, but a loud “pop!” indicates that you’re releasing a lot of the carbonation in the sparkling wine, and you actually paid extra for those bubbles – so we want to keep them inside the bottle as best we can. Also, forget using a corkscrew on sparkling wine, because that’s dangerous; this needs to be done by hand.

First, get a small towel and dry off your bottle after removing it from the ice bucket. Next, remove the foil around the top of the bottle, and grab the bottle with one hand. Using your other hand, grab the wire tab at the bottom of the “cage” that secures the cork, and untwist it by turning it counter-clockwise.

While doing this, keep a thumb from your other hand on the top of the cage, and be sure that you’re not pointing the bottle at anyone (including yourself) or anything expensive. The reason: you’re holding a potential missile. There are 5 to 6 atmospheres of pressure inside that corked bottle of bubbly, equating to about 70 and 90 pounds per square inch. That’s the reason that Champagne bottles are thicker than still-wine bottles: so that they don’t explode. The pressure is going to want to find the quickest release, which is the opening in the neck of the bottle.

Once the wire cage is loosened, put the small towel over the top of the bottle, hold it at about a 45° angle, and continue to hold the top with one hand. Start twisting the bottle – yes, the bottle – slowly with one hand, while applying pressure against the cork and cage with the hand that’s holding the towel-covered top of the bottle. The carbonation will be trying to pop that cork right out, but that’s not what we want. Continue applying slight “negative” pressure as you twist the bottle, until the cork loosens and you can release it slowly.

If done correctly, instead of a pop, you should hear a sigh…which, hopefully, is similar to the sound that you’ll be making after drinking and appreciating your properly chilled and properly opened bottle of bubbles!

Article courtesy of Joe Roberts and our friends at PartSelect


Mother’s Day in Temecula Wine Country!

Monday, May 1st, 2017

Spending the day in Temecula Valley’s Wine Country……well, we can’t think of a better gift for Mom this Mother’s Day!  We’ve got you covered with brunches and lunches and everything in between. Here’s a list of wineries celebrating all of the Mom’s out there:

Baily Winery
Mother’s Day lunch at Carol’s Restaurant /
May 14 / 3-course lunch from 11:00-3:00 / Menu and prices will be posted on our website on May 1st.  It will be reservation only, credit card necessary for reservation / For reservations call 951.676.9243 or visit www.Bailywinery.com

Bel Vino Winery
Mother’s Day Brunch / May 14 / Two seating’s: 9:30 to 11:30 and 12:30 to 2:30 / Set up on top of Bel Vino’s Hilltop Terrace, we will be hosting a bottomless mimosa brunch, to include an Egg Bar, Bagel Bar, Carving Station. Spring Salad, Chicken and Waffles, Assorted Desserts, Crab Cakes, Yogurt Parfaits, Fruit Varieties, Live Music and more! Wine and Beer Extra. Children 3 and under are free / $83.99 for non-members, $71.06 for Wine Club Members, $29.67 for children / Call 951-676-6414 to make reservation.

Cougar Vineyard & Winery
Mother’s Day Special Treat
/ May 14 / 11am-6pm / Join us for a Special Treat…Bubbly Peach Sangria Flute Floats! / $8 each; Logo flute INCLUDED. $4 each for Wine Club Members!  The first 25 guests to pre-pay will also receive a long stem rose for Mom!  Come by…call 951.767.8398…or email events@cougarvineyards.com to pre-pay.

Danza del Sol Winery
Mother May I GET SAUCED?!! / May 14 / 1:00p -4p / Treat Mom to a fun filled afternoon of food, wine, and culinary entertainment for Mother May I GET SAUCED?! / Price: $58.50 – $65.00 / Please check our website www.danzadelsolwinery.com for additional information and reservations.

Europa Village
Mother’s Day Lunch / May 14 / 12pm-3pm / Gourmet three-course champagne lunch prepared by Executive Chef Dean Thomas. Live music by Jimmy Patton / Tickets $54 per person, children 10 & under $17. Tickets available via website www.europavillage.com or calling Event Department (951) 695-7175.

Falkner Winery
Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch in the Pinnacle Restaurant
/ May 14 / 10am-3pm / For a full menu please visit www.falknerwinery.com. Live Entertainment will be provided / Cost: $69.95+/person (Wine Club $59.95+/person) Children (3-10) $29.50+/child (Wine Club $24.95+/child) / Reservations required please call 951-676-8231 option 4.

Lorimar Vineyard & Winery
Treat Mom to a Special Champagne Brunch / May 14 / 10am or 12:30pm / Located on our Vineyard Lawn / $60 regular, $55 WC / Tickets available through www.lorimarwinery.com

Mount Palomar Winery
Mother’s Day at Annata Bistro/Bar / May 13 and May 14 / 11:00am – 7:00pm / Celebrate Mother’s Day all weekend at Annata Bistro/Bar! All Moms receive one complimentary classic Mimosa on Mother’s Day weekend, plus we’re running a limited time Mother’s Day menu / For reservations and information please visit https://www.mountpalomarwinery.com/MothersDay

Oak Mountain Winery
Mother’s Day Brunch in The Cave / May 14 / 11am-4pm / For a complete brunch menu please visit our Events page at www.oakmountainwinery.com / $39 pp., Members $30 plus tax, includes 1 glass new Release Wine. Children, ages 6-12 are $15 +tax – 5 years and under are free. Gratuity not included; no refunds within 24 hours / Reservations 951 699-9102, events@oakmountainwinery.com

Thornton Winery
Mother’s Day Buffet / May 14 / 11am-4pm / Cost: $62.95 plus tax & gratuity (Adults). $22.95 plus tax & gratuity. Child 12- 6 yrs. old $19.95 plus tax & gratuity. (5 years and under – FREE). Call for Reservations: (951) 699-0099

Wilson Creek Winery
Mother’s Day Brunch / May 14 / 10am – 3pm /Enjoy live entertainment, our annual Petting Zoo, and a special bottle of wine to go home with mom! / Buffet + unlimited Sparkling Wine $64.95. Buffet Only $58.95. Children $14.95 / Reservations are required, online at www.wilsoncreekwinery.com or by calling 951-699-9463.

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