Friday, January 27, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Check these out...

I've fallen behind a bit with the blog this year, it's been a very busy few weeks kicking off the New Year.  Wine.Woot! and Rue La La are killing it for wineries Nationally with their direct to consumer channel!  If you haven't taken time to "join the discussion" on Wine.Woot! and see what all the hype is about, do it, it's a cool group and one of the best "virtual wine tasting rooms" on the planet.

Well, all I have to say about the  Brack Mountain Wine Company  portfolio after the first few weeks of 2012 is - grab'em while you can!  No foolin' in all my years I've never seen California wines fly onto top-dawg wine lists and fine wine retails shelves so gracefully. Absolutely stunning.

My current favorite...2010 Bench Pinot Noir:  100% Pinot Noir grapes from Sangiacomo Amaral Ranch - just north of the San Pablo Bay. Around $24 a bottle at your favorite wine shop, just ask for it if it hasn't arrived yet!  Cheers - Ali

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter Wineland Done Right!

This weekend Northern Sonoma County is kickin' with the 20th Anniversary of Winter Wineland where thousands of wine fans are checking out the latest releases from wineries all over Dry Creek, Alexander Valley and the Russian River Valley, my stomping grounds for sure!  It's been exciting to suggest to friends where to stop and cool to receive messages from everyone after tasting all weekend!

Westside Boys

Last Thursday night I had the pleasure of attending a small (but enormously rowdy) Pinot Noir dinner alongside the winemakers of Davis Family Vineyards, Joseph Swan, Kosta-Brown and Holdredge.   It was a night for the record books, I was literally sore the next day from laughing so hard.  Zazu Restaurant beautifully paired each wine with local flare and love.   

My wines of the night: 2010 Joseph Swan Gewurztraminer & 2008 Davis Family Vineyards Soul Patch Pinot Noir.  Must grab a few of these bottles soon for the house.  Big Shout Out to Ziggy the Wine Gal for creating this cool event, know I know what everyone had drivers, these pinot boys know how to pour it on!(click on the pics to read the menu and full list of wines poured - EPIC!).

 Dinner in The Shop

Saturday night was a real treat - a first ever dinner in "The Shop" at Porter-Bass.  The sunset fell behind the hills of the Green Valley while driving West. The sky quickly turned from blue to pink to orange and ended with midnight blue - stars shining bright at the top of Mays Canyon road where Porter-Bass calls home.  

A relaxing night with outstanding wines - old and young from Phillips Hill & Navarro in Anderson Valley, Littorai & Porter-Bass and even a sip of bootlegged Brandy made from Pinot Noir grapes.  
Gracious hosts Luke and Elena Bass filled The Shop with delicious food and stories that were great fun!  Conversation lingered on about who makes the best biscuits around, film new & old, thieves in the night (someone stole their propane tank!) cool weddings and of course a small amount of wine industry talk.  

The highlight of the night was the Porter-Bass 2007 RRV Pinot Noir, a perfect glass alongside Elena's savory Cassoulet. 

Everything about the evening was darling (dogs running in & out, fireplace flickering, a tractor guarding the door!) and warm even though we were sitting among tools of The Shop.  A fun tasting place, can't wait for others to experience the Porter-Bass Shop soon. 

Winter Wineland Done Right!   Cheers,  Ali

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Visionaries & Heartbreak

The first few weeks of January in this biz is full of finalizing strategy, confirming calendar dates and taking a few very deep breaths to gear up for a full year ahead.  

Direct to Consumer Big Leagues

2012 is already full of exciting opportunities to help wineries with their direct to consumer business on Wine.Woot! and Rue La La.   Both sites are very unique sales channels that wineries utilize to expose their brand and sell cases of wine to a National audience.  I've learned so much over the past 12 months while working with the great team behind it all - Wine Country Connect - this is a recent article  published in the Press Democrat explaining the beginnings and current success of this smart Sonoma, California based team.  Both Wine.Woot! and Rue La La are presenting new features to highlight and strengthen their effectiveness for wineries in 2012...which will be a ton of fun for online wine shoppers.  Wineries - please reach out to me anytime to talk about working with us, it's simple and fun, no market-visits required!

Farm to Table

The year also brings a unique new beginning for Brack Mountain Wine Co., I'm helping them grow their 3-tier wine business as well as developing their eCommerce and messaging to the world.  In 2011, we seriously couldn't keep wines in stock - demand for these wines in major US cities were stronger than the winery's release schedule! 

Getting to know the team behind Brack Mountain Wine Co. back in 2010 was such a blessing, rarely does one meet a winery comprised of both incredible winemaking skills & business acumen. Don't take your eyes off of Brack Mountain this year - they are just getting started and I'm very honored to be on the ground-floor.  Stay tuned...

Family Heartbreak 

Many of you have asked "what's going on with Pellegrini?".  In brief,  "it's complicated". Wine sales in Texas are still breaking records (big thanks to Favorite Brands!) and will continue until we hear from the winery that they are out of wine.  It's no secret that the Pellegrini's have been in one of the worst family battles on the West Coast.  Their beloved Cloverdale Ranch vineyards were sold, 100% of their oldest claim to fame - Olivet Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir grapes were sold the last 2 harvests to other winemakers and fruit was left on the vines of their popular Eight Cousins RRV Zinfandel.  

It's all quite shocking, I won't go into any further details, but it's such a sad situation, professionally and personally I am left extremely heartbroken for Ida Pellegrini, the matriarch who has witnessed such a nasty battle among her children.   Who knows what the future will bring for Pellegrini Family Vineyards, anyone who has 10 million dollars laying around or so could make their "owning-a-winery" dreams come true this year I'm sure. 

So a big year ahead for TexaCali Ali - thank you for your faithful readership, fantastic that the TexaCali Wine Trail is turning 8 years old in May.  So many adventures past, present and to come!  Cheers and Happy New Year everyone, Ali