Wine Lands: Wine (and more) at Outside Lands

Outside Lands, home of Wine Lands

photo courtesy of Tom Jorgensen/Outside Lands

If you’re heading to Outside Lands next weekend in San Francisco, we want to make sure you know all about Wine Lands during the festival. That’s where you’ll find 48 wineries uncorking 125 different wines for your tasting pleasure including Ashes & Diamonds, Joel Gott and Long Meadow Ranch. With most of the wineries coming from Northern California, you’ll find a broad range of sparkling wines, white wines, rosés and red wines. You should also know that if you move quickly, you can also still buy tickets for one, two, or all three days at the August 9-11 Outside Lands festival.

Wine Director Peter Eastlake has been curating the offerings at Wine Lands for 12 years now, since the first Outside Lands. Formerly the Wine Director at Best Cellars Wine & Spirits in New York, and National Wine Buyer for Cost Plus, he is currently the owner of three wine stores in Berkeley (Vintage Berkeley College Avenue, Vintage Berkeley Vine Street and Solano Cellars), Therefore, he has had historical and ongoing exposure to delicious and well-crafted wines. He also knows about trends that are perfectly suited to a music festival so you’ll see beverages by the can from West + Wilder, Hoxie Spritzer, and Bushido Sake during the weekend.

DAOU Vineyards, one of the Wine Lands wineries in 2019

DAOU Vineyards

Peter tries to keep the lineup fresh each year combining both new wineries and old favorites. If you’ve been to Wine Lands before, you’ll be interested to know that some of the new wineries pouring in 2019 will be Bonterra, Cellars 33, DAOU Vineyards, Elyse, Furthermore, LVE (Legend Vineyard Exclusive), Mazzocco Sonoma, Navarro and Pennyroyal Farm, No Fine Print, Ram’s Gate and Saison Cellar.

Have you heard about the SEVEN % SOLUTION?  In 2012, Bergamot Wine Co. and a small group of winemakers got together to talk about the fact that only eight grape varieties comprised roughly 93% of grapevine acreage in the Northern California Appellations. Winemakers who are crafting delicious premium wines from the varietals that are grown on the remaining 7% have joined forces for an annual tasting celebrating these less-common varietals.  If you missed the June 2019 event, you can enjoy participating wineries at Wine Lands, including Birichino, Gamling & McDuck, Gros Ventre, Horse & Plow, March Wines and Rootdown.

This year, for the first time at Outside Lands, Peter will also be curating an all-star Wine Lands selection for VIPs, with offerings including Falanghina and Gamay from Arnot-Roberts, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Scribe, and Zinfandel and White Zinfandel from Turley Wine Cellars. The VIP bar will include Aperture, CrossBarn, and Lorenza, and offer a daily program of winemakers on hand to talk about their wines.  To see the complete listing of wineries, please go here.
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Winery Spotlight: Porter Family Vineyards

Porter Family Vineyards Caves

Caves at Porter Family Vineyards

Porter Family Vineyards in Napa Valley’s Coombsville Appellation is a true family endeavor, offering outstanding wines and a wonderful tasting experience in an underground cave. Yes, the actual winery here is housed fifty feet underground as part of a 17,000 square foot cave network. After Tom Porter and his wife Beverly purchased the property in 2005, they oversaw the installation of the caves, a 6-month project. Since then, the couple has been joined in the business by their son, daughter, and son-in-law. Porter Family Vineyards sits 600 feet above the valley floor in the Southeastern hills of Napa Valley and produces only about 3000 cases of wine each year.

Porter Family Vineyards – The Story

Tom and Beverly Porter originally started with the idea to grow a few grapes and maybe start a winery someday. After purchasing the Coombsville property and studying the vines, soil, hillsides, and seasons, they felt compelled to share it with others. Reluctant to disturb the lovely terrain, they decided to create an underground cellar in which to make their wines. Today, the winery’s existence is disguised behind two entrances on either end of the 17,000 square foot underground winery. Grapevines still grow up and around and over the hill.

Fermentation Tanks at Porter Family Vineyards

Fermentation Tanks

The entire winery operation is underground in the caves with the exception of an outdoor gravity-flow crush pad. The winery was designed with high technology in mind and utilizes sophisticated control systems to monitor and adjust environmental conditions, control fermentation temperatures, and provide access to winery operations data. The cooling system created by Tom Porter uses sensors inside and outside of the caves to control the temperature of the caves. Vents automatically open up when it is cooler outside at night, leveraging Mother Nature so neither air conditioning nor humidifiers are needed. There are also solar panels installed on the property.

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2019 Taste of Howell Mountain – Father’s Day Eve

2019 Taste of Howell Mountain "Above The Fog"Father’s Day Eve may not be a real thing but celebrate it anyway enjoying food, wine and music at the 2019 Taste of Howell Mountain on Saturday, June 15th. Starting at noon, you (and Dad) will be able to taste and compare wines from over 45 Howell Mountain wineries such as AloftCADE Estate Winery, Duckhorn Vineyards, Dunn Vineyards, La Jota Vineyard Co., Piña Napa Valley and Robert Craig Winery.  The fun starts at noon in and around the historic Carriage House at Napa Valley’s oldest winery, Charles Krug Winery (2800 Main Street, St. Helena).

Rosés from Howell Mountain

Rosés from Howell Mountain

Howell Mountain is well known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and you’ll find many incredible wines from that varietal that day. But, there’s more to Howell Mountain than just Cabernet. We’ve particularly enjoyed the Arkenstone Sauvignon Blanc, Robert Craig Merlot, Black Sears Zinfandel and Retro Cellars Petite Sirah.  We’ve also found many excellent Rosés from Howell Mountain.  Last year, our favorites included wines from Red Thread Wines (crafted from Zinfandel grapes), Retro Cellars (Peloursin grapes) and SPENCE (Cabernet Sauvignon grapes).

Howell Mountain Merlot from Robert Craig

Howell Mountain Merlot from Robert Craig

Between noon and 3 pm at the 2019 Taste of Howell Mountain your group can enjoy a Walk-Around Wine Tasting, a Silent Auction and Live Music from The Hummingbirdz.  Then, from 3 pm to 5 pm it’s time to sit down and enjoy even more Howell Mountain wine as you watch (and hopefully participate in) a festive Live Auction with Greg Quiroga officiating.  Auction items this year include opportunities for wining and dining in special Howell Mountain locations, multiple bottles of Howell Mountain wine (in many sizes), and fun excursions to places such as Mammoth Mountain, Yosemite and the Oregon Coast.
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A Wine to Honor D-Day: 6.6.44

6.6.44 Wine

6.6.44 Wine

As we remember and honor people who have died while serving in the US Armed Forces this Memorial Day, we wanted to make sure you had heard about 6.6.44, a wine commemorating D-Day.  In preparation for that important day’s 75th anniversary, Boisset Collection recently released this elegant red wine made with grapes from both California and France.  The wine honors an important moment in world history and Boisset Collection is also donating a portion of the proceeds to an important veterans’ charity.

D-Day was one of the most pivotal moments in world history, when 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified coastline in Normandy, in northwest France, on June 6, 1944. The operation, including the largest seaborne invasion in history, began the liberation of German-occupied France (and later Europe) from Nazi control and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.

6.6.44 represents a first-of-its-kind partnership between Boisset winemakers in California (Stephanie Putnam, Brian Maloney and Thane Knutson) and France (Grégory Patriat, Laurent Sauvage, Florent Georger and Jean-Philippe Perrin). This Franco-American red wine blend features Gamay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Petit Verdot grapes from the French regions of Languedoc, Rhône, Beaujolais and Burgundy. California’s contributions include Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah and Malbec grapes from the Russian River Valley and Napa Valley.

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Taste Mendocino: SF, You Should Go

Bud Break so come Taste Mendocino

Bud Break in Mendocino County

If you’re ready to plan your next trip to Mendocino County, we highly recommend you swing by Taste Mendocino in San Francisco on April 27.  Between 1 pm and 4 pm, at Fort Mason Center (in Gallery 308), you can meet representatives from this County full of striking natural beauty, friendly small towns, and excellent wineries just 90 miles north of The City.  Winemakers, brewmasters, farmers, chefs, innkeepers and other local artisans will share samples of their products and provide information about this area’s diverse offerings.

Long Meadow Ranch, a Taste Mendocino participant

Long Meadow Ranch

Over 30 Mendocino County wineries will be pouring their best wines for attendees, paired with small bites from the region’s top chefs. Participating wineries will include Alder Springs Vineyard, Barra, Brutocao, Campovida, Fathers + Daughters Cellars, Goldeneye Winery, Handley Cellars, Husch Vineyards, Long Meadow Ranch, Maple Creek Winery, Navarro Vineyards, Parducci Wine Cellars, Seebass Vineyards, Theopolis Vineyards and Waits-Mast Family Cellars.
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Tasting Room Spotlight: Outland Tasting Room in Napa

Outland Tasting Room wines

Outland Tasting Room

Spring brings many welcome things to Napa Valley: warmer weather, an abundance of wildflowers, and expanded hours at the Outland Tasting Room in downtown Napa (at 920 Franklin Street). This 3-wineries-in-1 tasting room features delicious wines from POE WinesForlorn Hope and Farella Vineyard. Starting this month, they are now open Thursday to Monday from 1 pm to 7 pm. The wines produced by those three wineries may cover an array of varietals, but the winemakers share a common belief that wines should be produced with minimal interference and allowed to show their unique varietal characteristics.

The founding winemakers of the Outland Tasting Room are Samantha Sheehan (POE Wines), Matthew Rorick (Forlorn Hope) and Tom Farella (Farella Vineyard). On any given day your white wine tasting choices could include Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Sémillon, Pinto Gris and Chardonnay. For red wine, you’re likely to find Pinot Noir, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, and/or Cabernet Sauvignon. The tasting room itself has an open, contemporary design and was created to allow the Napa community, and visitors, to experience high quality wines while also fostering wine education.

Outland Tasting Room – The Stories of POE Wines, Forlorn Hope & Farella Vineyard

After being inspired by the wines of Burgundy and Champagne, Samantha Sheehan founded POE Wines in 2009. Here, she tries to create wines which are vineyard specific, age-worthy wines reflective of the terroir of California. POE Wines are vinified with minimal intervention without any additives and a judicious use of sulfur. Each wine is made in very limited quantities. FYI, the name “POE” was inspired by the ravens which inhabited Samantha’s backyard as she grew up (and Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was actually filmed nearby).

POE Wines at Outland Tasting Room in Napa

POE Wines

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bASH 2019: For the 10th Time, Enjoying Wine with Food

Steamed Bao Buns, the type of dish to expect at bASH 2019

Steamed Bao Buns with Braised Beef Cheeks

If you enjoy awesome wine, food, and wine-and-food pairings then you should clear your calendar now for bASH 2019 on Saturday, March 30. More than just a wine tasting event, this annual showcase for Napa Valley’s Appellation St. Helena has over 30 premium wineries joining forces with local culinary talent to compete for your vote for best wine and food pairing of the evening. This is the 10th time this delightful event has happened, giving attendees the power to select the winners. That’s right: if you attend bASH 2019, you get to eat, drink AND judge.

Appellation St. Helena Wines

Appellation St. Helena Wines

We are huge fans of wines crafted from varietals grown in the St Helena appellation. Last year’s bASH allowed us to savor outstanding Cabernet Sauvignons from Anomaly Vineyards, Calafia Cellars, Ehlers Estate, MC4, Mending Wall, Pellet Estate, Raymond Vineyards, St. Helena Winery, Taplin Cellars and Trinchero Napa Valley. However, we also had the pleasure of enjoying other wines such as the Ballentine Vineyards Maple Station White Blend, Charles Krug Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Benessere Vineyards Aglianico and Prager Winery & Port Works Royal Escort Port.

Taplin Cellars Terra 9 Cabernet Sauvignon

Taplin Cellars Terra 9 Cabernet Sauvignon

We’re not sure which wines those folks will be pouring this year, but we’re glad all of those wineries will be returning for the 2019 bASH. Other participants so far include Chase Cellars, Crocker & Starr, HALL Wines, Revana Family Vineyard, Robert Biale Vineyards, Rombauer VineyardsSpottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery, Stanton VineyardsTitus Vineyards, Tuck Beckstoffer Estate and Varozza Vineyards. Their wines will be served alongside delicious food offerings from participants such as Chef Jonathan Bodnar (Smoakville), Market Restaurant and Sunshine Foods.
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