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Wine & Spirits

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Dry Creek Vineyard Awarded U.S. Patent for Wine Cork Closures with Sustainable Sourcing Information

Dry Creek Vineyard announced the issuance of U.S. Patent No. D779,938, related to the design of printed sustainable sourcing information on its wine cork closures. This is the first patent issued to Dry Creek Vineyard, which is celebrating 45 years of family winemaking in Sonoma County, California.

The innovative closure is laser printed with ornamental and detailed information about the source of cork material, including the age of the cork forest, the harvest date of the trees and the sustainable habitat these remarkable forests provide to the Iberian Lynx and Spanish Imperial Hawk.

This revolutionary concept was introduced with the release of Dry Creek Vineyard 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel. President Kim Stare Wallace developed the idea in an effort to provide transparency and authenticity of the winery’s extensive portfolio.

“I wanted to provide valuable knowledge to consumers about our sustainability efforts and the benefits of cork closures,” said Stare Wallace. “Dry Creek Vineyard is one of the last truly private, family-owned, iconic wineries, and it is important to communicate our ‘no compromises’ philosophy on every aspect of our packaging.”

“We make wines with integrity and soul,” continued Stare Wallace. “No detail is overlooked, including when and from where our corks are harvested.”

Founded in 1972, Dry Creek Vineyard is 100 percent certified sustainable and a leader in the sustainability movement in the Dry Creek Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) and the wine industry as a whole.

Top Producers Promise to Restore World-Class Status of California Brandy

A group of leaders in the American spirits industry gathered this week for the first-ever California Brandy Summit and pledged to restore the perception of California brandy as ranking alongside the world’s most acclaimed spirits.

Top tier brandy producers, mixologists, and national influencers met for two days of discussions, seminars and tastings aimed at assessing the current perception of California brandy and at steering the future of the spirit.

The result was the pledge, formalized in a “Declaration to Raise the Status of California Brandy,” that said, in part, “We are committed to heralding the exceptional brandy crafted by California producers. We are committed to restoring the perception of California brandy as ranking alongside the world’s most acclaimed spirits.”

“We do need to raise awareness of the world-class quality of California brandy,” said Dan Farber, Founder and Distiller of Osocalis Distillery. “And that takes all of us. We producers have to keep putting the quality product in the glass, and we need the community to get the word out about what our DNA really is, and about how outstanding California brandy can be.”

The Brandy Summit featured discussions facilitated by F. Paul Pacult, Editor and Publisher of Spirits Journal and one of America’s foremost spirits authorities, with premium California brandy producers on the art and science of brandy making.

The group examined the best practices in brandy making, including distillation techniques, maturation and blending, and discussed whether there is a need for more production guidelines in California brandy.

Elite mixologists and summit participants demonstrated California brandy’s versatility by creating brandy cocktails ranging from new takes on modern classics to bright, refreshing spring and summer-style drinks. The group also got a preview tasting of the new premium Argonaut Brandy, which has four expressions ranging from a cocktail-oriented blend to sipping brandies to a collector’s brandy blended from rare, aged brandy lots.

“Because it’s made from wine, California brandy has completely unique flavor notes and qualities,” said Rita Hansen, Head Distiller for Argonaut Brandy. “A few decades ago, the world learned about the outstanding wines in California. We all think it’s time people also learned about the high quality and craftsmanship in California brandy.”

La Crema Promotes Craig McAllister to Head Winemaker

Artisan winery La Crema has promoted Craig McAllister to the position of Head Winemaker. McAllister, who first joined the winery as the harvest enologist in 2007, has been a passionate steward of La Crema’s Monterey program and played a vital role in elevating the winery’s Sonoma Coast portfolio throughout his tenure. In addition, he has helped to further develop the winery’s collection of single vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. In his new role, McAllister, who has most recently served as associate winemaker, will gain increased responsibility for the oversight of all winemaking operations.

“Craig’s long tenure with La Crema and passion for cool-climate winemaking make him a natural fit,” said Mitch Davis, Senior Vice President of Production for Jackson Family Wines. “In particular, his expertise on the Central Coast, in the Monterey appellation, a region in which we see tremendous potential for La Crema, coupled with his skill, experience and passion, will continue to enhance the strength of the La Crema winemaking team.”

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to hand the helm of La Crema over to Craig,” said Elizabeth Grant-Douglas, the company’s most recent winemaker. “He has been my partner and right hand at La Crema for so many years and has the passion and commitment to take La Crema to the next level,” she added.

A New Zealand native, McAllister earned a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology from Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. His deep passion for winemaking has taken him all over the world, from New Zealand to Australia, Chile and Cyprus. Since moving to California, McAllister has also made wine for Wild Ridge, crafting elegant Pinot Noir from vineyards on the rugged Sonoma Coast. In his expanded role, McAllister will continue to build La Crema’s portfolio, ranging from coastal regions as far north as the Willamette Valley, Oregon to as far south as Arroyo Seco, California, with a particular focus on raising the profile of the winery’s Monterey series, which includes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and a soon-to-be-released Rosé of Pinot Noir. Previously only producing small batches of Rosé, La Crema will be releasing its first nationally-distributed bottling this spring.

“This is a dream job for a winemaker who enjoys the challenges and rewards of producing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from cool-climate regions,” said McAllister. “I am thrilled to be a part of this this special team and look forward to carrying on the legacy that has been entrusted to me by continuing to produce the stylistically elegant wines for which La Crema is known, while elevating the winery to new levels of success.”

For more information regarding La Crema, visit www.lacrema.com.

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