Wine News

Results | 2013 Arizona Wine Grower’s

2013 Arizona Wine Grower’s Association competition results

AZWGA festival 2013

Arizona Wine Grower’s Association Festival on the Farm 2013

This past Friday night (Nov 15th) The Arizona Wine Grower’s Association (AZWGA) in conjunction with Quiessence restaurant and the Arizona Republic Newspaper held the 5th annual AZWGA awards banquet.

Guests enjoyed the winning wines paired with a number of gourmet dishes including wood fired pizzas.  Guests were also able to mingle with many of Arizona’s wine makers including Todd Bostock (Dos Cabezas) Kent Callaghan (Callaghan Vineyards) and Tim White (Arizona Stronghold)

This was the 4th year in a row that I was lucky enough to attend and along with the familiar faces were some new comers (not new to wine, just the event).  Golden Rule Vineyard’s Jim and Ruth Graham were new and took home several medals for their 2011 Zinfandel “Second Chance”.   I talked with them briefly and as I congratulated them they humbly said “We are just farmers”   I recommend finding some of their wine right away before it sells out.

I also had a chance to talk with John Scarbrough of Cellar Dwellers Wines.  He is starting up a new wine label called Fire Mountain, and will be phasing out the Cellar Dwellers brand.  You might want to get a few bottles before they’re all gone.

Another new face to the event, but not to the industry was wine maker John McLoughlin of Bitter Creek Winery.  I first met and interviewed John at the Tempe festival of the arts back in April of 2010, and then again in the summer of 2010 when he first began releasing wines under the “Tarot Card” concept.  His idea was to have each release labeled with a different tarot card by artist Rick Wycoff.  See my interview with John about the new labels HERE

John McLoughlin actually took home the AZWGA “Grower’s Cup” GOLD for his 2011 Monepulician “Death”.   I joked with him a little about the name and he said of all the wines to enter and win with it had to be one called Death with scary dark imagery on the label.  The top prize should really help with the marketing!  John has actually been a prolific wine maker over the last few years producing over 70 wines!  Including a Pinotage.  (A Pinotage in Arizona?!)  Another very interesting thing that John did this last year was to bring in 3 wine maker interns from Europe in order to try to learn somethings outside of what he had learned in Arizona.  One from Spain, one from France and one from Greece. Check out my interview with John at the 2013 Festival HERE.

For more photos of the Awards Banquet and also The Festival on the Farm, visit my Facebook Page: and if you like what you see would you do me a HUGE favor and hit the “like” button, thanks!!

The Results – Click on the picture to enlarge

AZWGA winners

2013 Award winners

Arizona Wine Industry Celebrates 2012 Harvest

 Arizona Wine Industry Celebrates 2012 Harvest

Grapes on vines PHOENIX – The Arizona wine industry is celebrating a better than expected wine grape harvest this year. With yields up and grape quality above average, the harvest left many wineries scrambling to find more barrels, tanks, and workers to bring in their crop. “It is a nice problem to be having this year after several years of devastating crop loss due to weather” said Curt Dunham, winemaker/owner of Lawrence Dunham Vineyards. In Arizona’s oldest wine region, the anticipation for a good growing season was very high and the harvest exceeds expectations. Ann Roncone, winemaker/owner of Lightning Ridge Cellars in Sonoita, explained “I’m thrilled to actually have some estate white grapes this year. We lost about half the crop from an April 18th frost. But half a crop is much better than the last two years, where April frosts completed wiped out our two white varietals (Muscat Canelli and Malvasia).”

arizona wine

2012 harvest underway

Many vineyard owners reported that the monsoon season came early this year; starting in earnest in mid-June bringing quite a bit of rain for June and July in southern Arizona. Also, there were fewer new bugs to battle. The biggest challenge this year was keeping the nutrient levels just right. Vineyard managers reported Phosphorus and Potassium deficiencies creating difficulties during the growing season. Oak Creek Vineyards and Winery in Northern Arizona’s Verde Valley region reported their best harvest ever from their 12 year old vineyard. According to Florian Wahl, Oak Creek winemaker said, “We harvested our grapes with brix (sugar levels) at nearly 26 plus which we anticipate producing rich, smooth wines with nice alcohol.” Kief Manning, winemaker at Kief-Joshua Vineyards in Sonoita/Elgin area said “The cool summer temperatures coupled with plenty of rain has resulted in a hearty harvest this year.”

arizona wineArizona is receiving a lot of attention in recent years as the number of vineyard acres are expanding, wine production is increasing, and the quality of Arizona wines are being recognized. There are now over 63 bonded wineries in Arizona up from nine in 2000. However, wine grape acres have not kept up with the demand sending Arizona wineries to purchase grapes from outside of the state. Peggy Fiandaca, President of the Arizona Wine Growers Association, said “The 2012 harvest will help Arizona producers begin to keep up with demand. The opportunities of the Arizona wine industry are great, and there is no reason that the wine industry cannot be the next billion dollar wine region like Washington and Oregon.”

Southeastern Arizona is the third major wine grape growing region and one of the fastest in the amount of acres being planted. “We have just completed an amazing 2012 harvest,” according to Curt Dunham, owner/winemaker of Lawrence Dunham Vineyards. “We finished harvesting September 27th picking the last of the Petite Sirah. Our estate harvested over 12 tons which averages out to about six tons per acre – an amazing yield especially for such a young vineyard.” Dunham said, “We are literally up to our elbows in deep purple must and have been scrambling to find places to not only ferment the grapes but to store the finished wine after pressing.”  “The Arizona wine industry is excited about the 2012 growing season. We have a new state-of-the-art custom crush facility in Willcox, Arizona, new vineyard acreage planted, and wineries producing highly rated Arizona wines. All of these accomplishments are boosting Arizona’s image as a quality winemaking region,” said Peggy Fiandaca, president of the Arizona Wine Growers Association.

*Press release and photos courtesy of the Arizona Wine Grower’s Association

Spanish Wine debuts at Arizona’s Running of the Bulls

Original Sparkling Red Wine Cocktail of Spain
Makes U.S. Debut at Arizona’s Run with the Bulls


A drink familiar to most who have lived in or visited Spain has finally made its way to the United States and will make its debut at another iconic Spain event – Arizona’s own Running With the Bulls in Cave Creek, Ariz., on October 19 & 20.

Tintano is a sparkling red wine cocktail based on Spain’s famous wine beverage, Tinto de Verano. In Southern Spain, this popular beverage is composed of red wine with soda water typically served over ice with a squeeze of lemon or lime. The Tintano formula is made from a high quality 100 percent Spanish Tempranillo wine fused with light carbonation. It is 4.5% ABV, very low sugar and carbohydrates and has only 85 calories per 8.5 ounce serving. It comes in bottles of 200ml, 500 ml, 750ml 1 liter, and 1.5 liters.

Tintano is a major sponsor of the Running of the Bulls USA in Cave Creek, Ariz., on Saturday, October 20. According to Tintano Western Sales Director Marco Sanders – this Spanish-inspired event is the ideal venue to introduce Tintano to the U.S. market.

“Anyone who has been to Spain or the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona will be familiar with Tintano. It is so much a part of the culture, lifestyle and festivities of the Spanish people.” He says. “We are proud to be the first (and only) to introduce this refreshingly delicious Spanish beverage to the U.S. consumer, and proud to sponsor the Running of the Bulls USA. We’re excited to share this unique and beautiful drink in such an appropriately festive setting.”

Tintano will have three tents at the Running of the Bulls, including a Tintano lounge, where participants and spectators can sample and enjoy the cocktail. It is also hosting two events for participants the night before the run.

“The night before the runs in Pamplona are a big party. There is no sleep, only excitement and celebration. We will create some of that excitement and atmosphere in Cave Creek,” says Sanders.

Run with the Bulls USA

  • Media Day: Friday, October 19  5:00 p.m.
  • Event Day: Saturday, October 20 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

5632 E. Yucca Road, Cave Creek, AZ

Fleming’s “Sweet Charity” Cocktail for a Cause

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar presents “Sweet Charity” cocktail for a Cause


Fleming's steakhouse

The Sweet Charity Cocktail, 100% of proceeds benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma society

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar announces its latest Cocktail for a Cause: the “Sweet Charity.” For the entire month of October, 100 percent of the sales of  Sweet Charity will be donated to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the world’s largest voluntary non-profit health agency dedicated to funding blood cancer research. The cocktail will be featured on Fleming’s popular “5 for $6 ‘til 7*” bar menu and available after 7pm for $9.95.

Created by Fleming’s Director of Wine Maeve Pesquera, the new Sweet Charity cocktail is elegant and floral combining Lillet Rose infused wine, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur and soda water, served over ice in a wine glass with a raspberry garnish.

“Each year, Fleming’s is proud to donate to a cause we feel passionately about, and this year is no exception. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is near and dear to many of our guests. Last year’s Cocktail for a Cause benefited breast cancer research and raised over $60,000. This year we hope to top that.” says Pesquera.

Enjoy the Sweet Charity at one of the four Fleming’s in Phoenix located in Scottsdale at Lincoln Road, North Scottsdale at DC Ranch, Peoria and Chandler. For details about the location nearest you, visit Fleming’s online at

Sweet Charity
By Maeve Pesquera, Fleming’s Director of Wine

2 oz Lillet Rosé
½ oz St-Germain Elderflower
2 oz soda water
Raspberries to garnish

Fill a wine glass halfway with ice. Add Lillet Rosé and St-Germain Elderflower. Top gently with soda water and garnish with raspberries.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services. 

To learn more, visit or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

Yavapai College plants new vineyard

arizona wine college

Volunteers planting vines

If you’re like most people you probably haven’t heard of Yavapai college.  If you’re from Arizona you’ve probably heard of Yavapai ( Yav-a-pie) college.  You might not know this but the college actually has a little over 12,000 students enrolled on 6 campuses located in  the Sedona, Prescott and Verde valley areas in north central Arizona.  The Verde Valley is home to some of Arizona’s most famous wineries including Page Springs Cellars, Arizona Stronghold and Caduceus Cellars.

Vavapai College offers an Associate of Applied Science degree program in viticulture and enology.  The program summary is as follows:

“The Viticulture and Enology degree program prepares students for a variety of careers in vineyards (vineyard workers, crew leaders, managers, viticulturists) to wineries (winemakers, cellar workers, lab technicians).”

viticulture enology wine making

Volunteers big and small

3 acres of land located on the colleges Clarkdale campus in the Verde Valley were planted with about 3,000 vines.  Volunteers helped plant Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Viognier.  These varieties were chosen because of how well they do in Arizona’s harsh climate.

Watch this video summary and interview

See more pictures on The Weekly Wine Journal’s Facebook Page.  And don’t forget to hit the LIKE button, if you like 🙂

Yavapai College Viticulture and Enology program

Arizona Winemaker wins big in National Competition

Eric Glomski

Eric Glomski, Page Springs Cellars and Arizona Stronghold Cellars

The Jefferson Cup wine competition held this past November was a major achievement in Arizona Wine. The Jefferson Cup is an invitation only wine competition held in Kansas City. The wines were judged by some of the industries most well known Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine from across the country, 13 in all. There are no Gold or Silver medals awarded.
Over 630 wines from all of America’s wine regions were selected to compete with just under 300 being awarded “Medals of American Merit”
52 wines won “Medals of American Excellence” and only 22 wines won Jefferson Cups.

In an Amazing feat for Arizona wine and for any winemaker, Eric Glomski (winemaker for Page Springs Cellars and Arizona Stronghold) took home 3 Medals of Merit, 2 Medals of Excellence and 2 out of only 22 Jefferson Cups awarded.

Here is an interview with Eric Glomski just after the awards were announced:

A List of Eric Glomski’s award winning wines:

Page Springs Cellars:

El Serrano 2010, Red Blend, Cochise County | Jefferson Cup

Mourvedre Colibri Vineyards 2010, Cochise County|Jefferson Cup

La Serrana 2010, White Blend, Cochise County | Medal of Excellence

Landscape Page Springs Estate Vineyard 2010, Red Blend, Yavapai County ………Medal of Excellence

Petite Sirah “Page Springs Estate Vineyard” 2010 Yavapai County | Medal of Merit

Pinot Noir “Bonita Springs”, 2010, Graham County | Medal of Merit

Arizona Stronghold Vineyards: Cabernet Sauvignon “Dala” 2009, Cochise County, Arizona | Medal of Merit

For a complete list of Jefferson Cup Competition award winners click HERE

International Wine Label Design competition winners

International Wine Label DESIGN competition ANNOUNCES WINNERS

wine label contest winners 2011 Napa, CA – The Volunteer Center of Napa Valley is proud to announce the winners of the 2011 International Wine Label Design Contest.  Lamoreaux Landing, designed by Veronica Martin for the eponymously-named New York winery, won the Overall Award.

2011 Wine Label contest winner

Overall winner "Lamoreaux Landing" by Veronica Martin

Entries were judged on the following criteria: overall originality and creativity, use of typography, and use of graphics.  Certificate Awards for the International Wine Label Competition will consist of Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards. The roster of international judges includes Paul Wagner, co-author of Wine Marketing & Sales and wine marketing instructor at Napa Valley College. “The single most important interface between the winery and the customer is the label; on the shelf, or in the restaurant. This competition brings attention to the people who are breaking new ground, and developing the most successful designs in the world. The winning labels were fun, dramatic, creative, and most of all, effective!” Rounding out the team of judges are Pascal Durand, Wine Marketing professor at the ENESAD program at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France; Tim Gaiser, MS, Director of Education, Court of Master Sommeliers Americas; Javier Merino, Management and Marketing Professor at the University of Mendoza, Argentina; Pierpaolo Penco, Director at the Executive Master in Wine Business program at MIB School of Management, Trieste, Italy; and Liz Thach, PhD, Wine Business Professor, Sonoma State University, who co-authored Wine Marketing & Sales with Paul Wagner.

The panel of international judges chose the winners in 6 categories:

Overall Winner:

Lamoreaux Landing, designed by Veronica Martin of Miami, Florida

Successful Innovation

design contest winner

Love Seafood, designed by Alan McCorkindale of Christchurch, New Zealand

GOLD – Love Seafood, designed by Alan McCorkindale of Christchurch, New Zealand

SILVER – Belle Dame, designed by Vanessa Mylchreest of Christchurch, New Zealand

BRONZE – Noir, designed by Karen Knecht of konnectDesign, Santa Monica, California

Dramatic Graphics

GOLD – Lamoreaux Landing, designed by Veronica Martin of Miami, Florida

SILVER – Buble, designed by Karen Knecht of konnectDesign, Santa Monica, California

BRONZE – Ray’s Station, designed by Mark Davis of Robert Mather & Gibbs,

Santa Rosa, California

Classic Style

Daniel B Kaplan wine label design

Finca Vides Torcidas, designed by Dan Kaplan of Daniel B Kaplan Design

GOLD – Finca Vides Torcidas, designed by Dan Kaplan of Daniel B Kaplan Design, New York, New York

SILVER – Ray’s Station, designed by Mark Davis of Robert Mather & Gibbs,

Santa Rosa, California

BRONZE – Wine by Numbers, designed by David Danz of LeBlanc Design,

Placerville, California

Label Series

wine label design winner

Vigne Note, designed by William Raineri of Raineri Design, Brescia, Italy

GOLD – Vigne Note, designed by William Raineri of Raineri Design, Brescia, Italy

SILVER – Sawhorse Cellars, designed by Karen Knecht of konnectDesign,

Santa Monica, California

BRONZE – BVN Wines, designed by Dan Kaplan of Daniel B Kaplan Design,

New York, New York

Labels Not Currently in Production

wine label contest winners

Between the Vines, designed by Dan Kaplan of Daniel B Kaplan Design

GOLD – Between the Vines, designed by Dan Kaplan of Daniel B Kaplan Design, New York, New York

SILVER – Sintonia, designed by Faini Eugenia of Grafica e Comunicazione, Jesi, Italy

A call for entries for the next competition will go out in spring of 2012. The proceeds of the competition, which are in the form of submission fees, go directly to benefit the Volunteer Center of Napa Valley.

About the Volunteer Center of Napa Valley
The Volunteer Center of Napa Valley, a program of the Community Action Napa Valley, has pursued its mission of “Connecting people who care with people in need” for over 35 years. CANV is an IRS sec. 501(c)(3) private non-profit. Please visit for more information.

Fleming’s 46 Diamonds Debut, October 26th 2011

Fleming’s Steakhouse has long been a supporter of breast cancer awareness in the month of October (and year round).   I met with Darrin Visser, managing partner of the Fleming’s on Scottsdale road and he gave me a brief rundown of some of the events and specials.

2 minute video

46 Diamonds Debut
An Evening of Exclusive Wine, Small Plates and High Fashion
Benefiting the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade

Wednesday, October 26
6 – 9 pm

Fleming’s at DC Ranch
20753 N. Pima Rd.
Scottsdale, Arizona 85255

Join Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar as it debuts its new private label wine – Forty-Six Diamonds, Toscana 2009. Enjoy a Arizona sunset on the DC Ranch patio while sipping this exclusive red blend created with Salvatore Ferragamo and the Il Borro estate all in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Guests will be able to sample the Forty-Six Diamonds, Cline Cellar’s Cashmere wine, and Fleming’s newest low-calorie cocktail – The Stiletto. Fleming’s newest Small Plates will be passed for noshing and the latest luxury handbags and shoes will be on display.

A portion of each ticket sale will be donated to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade.

RSVP with Fleming’s at 480-538-8000.


Fleming’s raises two glasses for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Fleming’s Raises Two Glasses for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Flemings steakhouse

New Stiletto Cocktail and Cline Cashmere Wine Only $6 during “5 for $6 ‘til 7” Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar raises not just one but two glasses honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month with on its new “5 for $6 ‘til 7” bar menu. Fleming’s new signature cocktail The Stiletto and Cline Cellar’s Cashmere wine will raise funds for organizations providing research and support in the fight of the disease.

The Stiletto martini is Fleming’s newest Skinny Cocktail. Fleming’s Director of Wine Maeve Pesquera created the 99-calorie drink in celebration of the women whose lives have been affected by breast cancer. The Stiletto is Fleming’s first gin-based skinny cocktail. It muddles Hendrick’s Gin with fresh blackberries, Monin, and lime juice and is topped with a float of diet ginger ale.

During October, 100% of the sales of The Stiletto will be donated back to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade.

The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade was launched in 1992 as a small pioneering program in the U.K. Avon in the U.S. adopted the Crusade the following year. Over the last 17 years, Avon philanthropy has raised and donated more than $640 million to breast cancer programs around the world, supporting cutting‐edge research to find a cure for or prevent breast cancer as well as programs that enable all patients to access quality care.

Also in October, Cline Cashmere wine will be featured by the glass on the “5 for $6 ‘til 7” menu. Cline Cellars is making a $25,000 donation to Living Beyond Breast Cancer through the sales of Cashmere during the month. Guests ordering Cline Cashmere will receive a complimentary pink ribbon wine charm (available after October 5).

October 1 – 31, 2011


  • The Stiletto: $6 from 5-7pm / $9.95 after 7pm
  • Cline Cashmere: $6 from 5-7pm / $11 by the glass

Fleming’s has four restaurants in Phoenix located in Scottsdale, DC Ranch, Chandler and Peoria.

  • Scottsdale: 6333 N. Scottsdale Rd. / 480-596-8265

  • DC Ranch: 20753 N. Pima Rd. / 480-538-8000

  • Chandler: 905 N. 54th St. / 480-940-1900

  • Peoria: 9712 W. Northern Ave. / 623-772-9463


Culinary Institute of America Annouces 2012 Hall of Fame inductees


The Culinary Institute of America Announces

2012 Vintners hall of fame inductees

2011 Hall of Fame inductees

CIA's Greystone in St Helena

 St. Helena, CA – The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) today announced that its 2012 Vintners Hall of Fame inductees will be Peter Mondavi, Sr., of Charles Krug Winery; Professor Albert Winkler of UC Davis; Joe Heitz of Heitz Cellars in the Napa Valley; former Beringer winemaker Myron Nightingale; Mendocino County pioneer John Parducci; and legendary South Coast vintner Richard Sanford. Dr. Eugene Hilgard, one of the fathers of modern soil science, was previously elected unanimously by the Nominating Committee.

The official induction of the 2012 Vintners Hall of Fame honorees will take place on February 20, 2012 at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in St. Helena, CA, as part of the college’s 6th Annual Vintners Hall of Fame Induction Celebration.

“These inductees are the leaders who helped California become the center of the American wine industry while producing some of the best wines in the world,” said CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan. “The Culinary Institute of America is proud to host the Vintners Hall of Fame and honor the class of 2012 for their accomplishments at making California wines so extraordinary and successful.”

In celebration of Presidents’ Day, a dozen California wineries will host a reception featuring wine and food pairings from White House menus. The members of the Class of 2012 will be inducted in the Vintners Hall of Fame Barrel Room after the unveiling of sculpted bronze plaques honoring those inducted in 2011. The induction ceremony will be followed by a Celebrity Chef Walk-Around Dinner in the college’s teaching kitchen. As in the past, Vintners Hall of Fame Inductees will provide a selection of their wines to be enjoyed with dinner. The VHF Board of Stewards will provide a few choice auction lots to enhance the excitement of the evening.

“This is a great class of deserving Hall of Famers,” says Blake Gray. “I’m especially glad that we have the joy of sharing this honor with Peter Mondavi, Sr., and John Parducci, who are still going strong in their nineties, as well as Richard Sanford, the youngster in this class, who just turned 70 this year. Their contributions to the California wine industry have long been recognized by their peers, and now they will be enshrined where they belong. I can’t wait to raise a glass with them in February.”

Proceeds from the Annual Vintners Hall of Fame Induction Celebration help support the Vintners Hall of Fame and contribute to the scholarship fund for students in the Professional Wine Studies program at CIA Greystone.

Joe Heitz

Joseph Heitz started his career making sweet wines as commodities from Central Valley grapes. In 1951 he went to work at Beaulieu Vineyard under André Tchelistcheff, and helped develop a quality control regime. Heitz spent 1958 to 1961 establishing the Fresno State enology curriculum, setting up its hands-on approach. In 1961 he acquired the Only One winery in St. Helena, where he purchased and perfected wine blends to sell under the Heitz Cellars label. Heitz was among the first Californians to price his wine on the basis of “perceived sensory quality” and not the cost of materials and labor. He set the tone for Napa for decades to come by realizing that higher prices ($6 to $9, as opposed to the standard $2-$3) would not repel the customers he wanted, but might actually cultivate them. For many years Heitz believed strongly in blending to achieve his results, but when he was able to secure grapes from Martha’s Vineyard, he quickly established one of the first iconic single-vineyard Cabernets from Napa Valley.

Peter Mondavi, Sr.

For showing just how fresh and fruity California wine can be, few vintners have been as instructive as Peter Mondavi, Sr. Studious and quiet, he often transformed theory into practice, establishing new standards for the wine trade. In 1937, while still a university student, he researched cold fermentation, and his subsequent use of the technique and of sterile filtration improved, virtually overnight, the cleanliness and crispness of California white wines. For 68 years he’s continued his experimental ways at Charles Krug Winery. He was among the first to use French oak barrels. He was the first to release Chenin Blanc as a varietal. He was the first to install glass-lined steel tanks, thereby better showcasing the state’s fruit, slowing maturation of wines and prolonging their lives. He was an early advocate of the centrifuge and of fermenting Chardonnay in oak barrels. Early in his tenure at Charles Krug, the industry’s first winery newsletter debuted. He began tastings for distributors, restaurateurs and consumers that became the model for the industry. And he was one of the early growers to see in the Carneros district an accommodating home for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot At 96, he’s still at it.

Myron Nightingale

Myron Nightingale began his career as a winemaker in 1944 and by 1949 he was chief chemist at Italian Swiss Colony, one of California’s largest wineries. In 1953 he took charge of Livermore’s historic Cresta Blanca Winery, guiding the resuscitation of the rundown facility. He made enological history with his Premier Semillon made in the style of Sauternes, in which the botrytis cinerea was actually produced in the laboratory. Nightingale moved to Napa in 1971 to apply his resuscitation skills at the old Beringer Winery, newly purchased by Nestlé. As winemaker and director of operations, he did far more than just bring the dilapidated facility back to life; he gradually made it a large- scale producer of world-class varietal wines. The Los Angeles Times called him Beringer’s “Angel of Mercy.”

John Parducci

Since 1940, when he took over winemaking at his family’s eponymous Mendocino County winery, John Parducci strived to improve the quality of wine while making it more accessible. Determined and outspoken but gracious, he met those goals for more than half a century. He constantly upgraded equipment. He experimented with grape varieties virtually unknown in California, such as Nebbiolo and Flora. He was the first to label French Colombard as a varietal. He was an early proponent of vintage-dating wines. He made fruit wines. And long before wine coolers became a staple of the state’s wine trade he made a popular forerunner, a white wine steeped with woodruff and infused with strawberry juice. Decade after decade, his wines were praised for offering clean and clear varietal flavors at fair prices. As recently as 1975, a Chardonnay he made without any oak won a gold medal at the Los Angeles County Fair. In 1999, at 81, five years after he ostensibly retired, he jumped back into the business by buying bankrupt Zellerbach Estates and making it over into McNabb Cellars. A wine trade may have developed in Mendocino County without John Parducci, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as colorful, dynamic and progressive.

Richard Sanford

A Burgundy fan, Sanford graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in geography in 1965 but was immediately drafted. He got out of the Navy in the late 1960s with a passion for Pinot Noir. He drove across Santa Barbara County with a thermometer before settling on a site west of U.S. Highway 101 in the Santa Ynez Valley. For some years Sanford had the west side of the highway to himself; he was the first winemaker to prove the potential for Pinot Noir in the chilly Santa Rita Hills. He founded Sanford Winery in 1981 and spent the next 20 years making some of the best regarded Pinot Noirs from the region. Sanford left his namesake winery in 2005 and founded Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards.

 Albert Winkler

Albert Winkler joined the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the UC Davis in 1921 and retired in 1963, serving as department chairman from 1933 to 1957. His research on grapevine physiology was critical to our understanding of how pruning and trellising influence vine growth and grape quality. The canopy management methods employed in the best vineyards today are based on principles Winkler elucidated. He also studied the relationship between temperature and fruit ripening and showed that for a given variety, a constant amount of accumulated heat is required to ripen the fruit no matter where it is grown. This work led directly to the regional classification of California’s grape growing areas, along with recommendations for varieties that were best suited for each region. In addition to his formal teaching at UC Davis, Winkler was active in viticulture extension programs, writing many extension leaflets and giving frequent talks to grape grower groups. His classic textbook “General Viticulture,” published in 1962, has been used by thousands of winemakers and grape growers and translated into several languages.

Eugene Hilgard

In 1874, Eugene Hilgard was lured to the University of California at Berkeley from his research post at the University of Michigan. The UC president needed a great scholar to head the College of Agriculture and to pursue research in agricultural science. What Hilgard found in California was a land whose soil and climate were perfect for winegrowing, but the state’s young wine industry was struggling. Its wines were generally of poor quality, and its most promising wine lands had been invaded by phylloxera.   Hilgard spent 25 years leading a statewide movement to remedy the situation. He created a unit at UC devoted to viticulture and enology, the first in the nation, and today the greatest. He organized courses, recruited faculty, and reached out a helping hand to the state’s winegrowers. By 1894 the College had published its 100th technical bulletin, more than half devoted to viticulture and enology, all supplied free to anyone who asked. Having traveled the state continually, Hilgard knew personally all its leading winegrowers. Hilgard’s ideals and the program he founded are still evident today in UC Davis’ Department of Viticulture and Enology.

Tickets for the program are $175 ($100 tax-deductible). For more information about the event, please contact Holly Briwa at h_briwa@Culinary.Edu.