September 2010 Archives

One of the wines we're all excited about around here is our new Foggy Oaks Chardonnay. It comes from our estate Russian River vineyard, and is aptly named after the 3 majestic oak trees that proudly stand in the middle. 

We developed the vineyard in 1999. A lengthy search for appropriate vineyard land led The Husband (aka Dirt Guy of Dry Creek) to the site—a 30 acre parcel heavily influenced by the Pacific Ocean and cooling layers of fog that gently roll in each afternoon/evening.  Numerous clones (#4, #96 are two favorites) were planted in an effort to provide subtle differences in the flavor/profile so our Chardonnay would be more multidimensional than we'd had in the past. Whole cluster pressing, hand sorting the fruit, and a new approach to our barrel aging, complete the wine. We also dramatically cut the production, (which was hard to sell the bean counters on), and quality has sky rocketed.

If we were starting the winery today, I doubt we'd even make Chardonnay. In a way, it just doesn't make sense for a winery located in Dry Creek Valley to be investing so heavily in Russian River Valley. But invest we did, and the fruits of our labors are quite deliciously bottled up in this limited new release.

Style wise, this is a true Chardonnay lover's wine. The fruit tones are exquisite, with hints of Asian pear, Fuji apple and baked pineapple. Click photo to enlarge!Exotic spices subtly dance across the palate. The finish is long and lovely without all of the heavy handed use of oak so overly common in California Chardonnays nowadays. Even for a dyed in the wool Sauvignon Blanc aficionado like me, I've fallen in love with this wine and am proud of its quality. Please ask for it in stores and restaurants near you. Or, if you're so inclined, call the winery or visit and we'll gladly sell you a bottle (or case!) or two. You might also enjoy reading the first review by blogger Gabe Sasso on

As far as what to drink it with, here are some of Wilma's pairing suggestions:

A long lost lover

A spouse of umpteen years

A boss who gave you a promotion

A teacher who is making a difference

A coach who is dedicated to more than just winning

A real estate agent who found your dream house

A contractor who completed the work on time and on budget

Anybody in your life whom you love, appreciate or just want to extend a warm thank you. (And there's always just you…………the most important person to appreciate of all!)

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Sometimes it seems like the weekends are even busier than weekdays around here. This is never more true than during harvest which by its very nature attracts a variety of people and events to our beautiful area.

First up is the annual Bike MS Waves to Wine cycling race that starts at the Golden Gate Bridge, winds up the Hwy 101, meanders past the entrance to Dry Creek Vineyard and ends up at the northern end of the Dry Creek Valley at Lake Sonoma. This is our 5th year as official wine sponsor and I like to think that pouring wines for all those sweaty cyclists is somehow helping to contribute to a cure for this nasty disease.  (My sister developed Multiple Sclerosis in 2003, so I know first-hand how debilitating MS can be.)

Click to Visit MS Waves to Wine!

Every year I say I'm going to form a team for the event. We'll train, and train, and train ‘til we're up for the 100 mile two day ride. Sadly, there is no Team Dry Creek this year, (and I still have those nasty 10 lbs on my derrière) but a number of us will be there in spirit as we pour our wines for the incoming riders as they cross the finish line. We'll also be greeting riders as they stop by our winery on Sunday, which is one of the designated rest stops along the route. It's quite an undertaking really, 2000 riders from all over the world all pedaling as fast as they can in support of a good cause. Good luck riders, may the winds be with you and the cars on the road not!

If you're planning to participate, thank you.  If not, and you'd like to make a small donation anyway, please visit their website at

If you're a music lover, be sure to stop by the winery this Saturday afternoon from 1:00-4:00.  We'll be featuring the jazzy tunes of local musician Shea Breaux Wells and her band and serving up some of our tastiest releases. Admission is complimentary for all wine lovers!  For more details, view the flyer for our Last of Summer Event.


This weekend is also the annual Awards Night of the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.  In its 36th year, the Harvest Fair celebrates all things agriculture from the Sonoma County region. It's chock full of wines and producers you've never heard of and a great place to schmooze with industry personalities while filling your tummy with award winning delectables.  Two years ago we won the Sweepstakes Award for our 2008 Fumé Blanc which was quite a coup with over 1000 wines to choose from. The chances of that happening again are rather slim…but I'll be there with my fingers and toes crossed that the stars align and the judges agree, our wines rock and deserve top honors!

For tickets and information visit

Whew… I'll need to go back to work on Monday just to rest up!

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Well it must be my lucky day. In playing catch up on all the emails that came in while I was away, I came across this from Alder Yarrow's blog, “A solid producer that keeps getting better, their flagship Bordeaux Blend is really excellent in its most recent incarnation.” Wow, thanks Alder, you tell our story better than we do! I think I'll go have a glass of Mariner.

Click to read Vinography Review!
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These are the words that describe the NY wine selling experience. In a given day, I recently saw buyers from India, Peru, Taiwan, China, Italy, and of course, the melting pot of the good old US of A. Truly, this is one of the most ethnically diverse wine markets in the world. Buyers and gatekeepers of the trade (those who decide which wines to put on store shelves and restaurant wine lists) are as diverse as I've ever seen. I had to rely on every sales tactic I could think of—at one point, I'm sure I even resorted to outright batting of the eyelashes, which I'm not proud of, but heck, I was there to make the sale! There was something exciting and scary about it at the same time, and I must admit I loved every second of it. The wine market in New York is unlike any I've experienced, a colorful kaleidoscope of wines and wine buyers from every corner of the globe. It's thrilling while at the same time humbling as one realizes how truly insignificant you are in today's world of wine. (Sorry starry eyed winemakers but if you're just getting started, be prepared for a wake up call—nobody “needs” your new Syrah or hand crafted Merlot.)

I used every mode of transportation possible to get around the city- my legs, the subway, the public bus system, a guy on a bike pulling a rickshaw, and of course the famed yellow cabs of NY. I also learned very quickly that my version of “comfort” shoes didn't do justice to pounding the pavement New York style.

Each night I had some sort of business dinner at a cutting edge restaurant. While the balls of my feet burned from my day on the streets, Click photo to enlarge!my taste buds rejoiced as I continued to tell the Dry Creek story for all who would listen. I felt like a religious missionary, trying to create DCV converts, one person at a time.

As I reflect back, I'd say the trip was a success. Sales were made, relationships forged, and DCV zealots are sprouting up in the Big Apple. I even promised my distributor I'd be back one more time before the end of the year. Until then, I'm putting away my BS detector and passing the baton to my hubby.

Today he heads to Texas to do the same thing all over again…

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Cute but comfy outfits…check. Sensible shoes…check. A little black jacket…check. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, it's the pre-trip packing marathon that happens before I leave on a business trip. In this case, I'm headed to New York for a week of sales and marketing work with our distributor Lauber Imports. I'll be out of commission for a while so wish me luck. I'm sure I'll need it!

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Yesterday I spent the day working with a new sales rep for our California distributor. We met with half a dozen accounts in San Francisco in hopes of making some new placements. Tasting through our current releases together and telling the story of Dry Creek Vineyard was invaluable for him. Nothing better than hearing it straight from the horse's mouth, right?  But it wasn't enough. We had lots of great feedback on the wines, and numerous requests to check back when other inventory has been depleted, but at the end of the day I didn't help this poor chap sell one bottle of our wine. The Husband on the other hand was in Florida kicking off our brand with a new division of our distributor. He too had been personally visiting accounts, sampling with wine buyers, and educating the sales representative with whom he was working. Middle of the day I got an update message on my cell phone:  Day 1 he had sold 40 cases. Day 2, 30 cases. Not a bad haul even if he had to travel 3000 miles to do it.

I point this out for those of you who still think that the wine business is glamorous. Sure there are elements of glamour. I'll be the first to admit I enjoy strutting the Red Carpet during my annual pilgrimage to the SAG Awards.  And, hosting a wine cruise for Windstar Cruises in a few weeks isn't a bad way to make a buck either. But at the end of the day, the wine business is tough and only getting tougher. 

This became crystal clear for me at the last account I visited. The sommelier was blown away by the quality of our wines. (Although not as much as he was his own palate, which he kept reminding me was one of the best in the city!)  At the end of the tasting, I asked to see the wine list. (It's always good to see if there's a “hole” i.e., no wines from the Dry Creek Valley appellation, or a lack of great Zinfandels, etc.)  Much to my horror, I did not recognize ONE SINGLE brand name. And it wasn't because they were from Timbuktu or some other obscure region. These were wines from well known California AVAs.  Yet, I had never heard of any of them. My heart starting thumping and my breath became well, sort of labored. In that split second I realized that no matter how fantastic our wines, how amazing our reviews and scores, or how hard we work to promote our products in the marketplace, the industry as I know it has changed. Labels are becoming like bunny rabbits, expanding and multiplying at such an alarming rate that making a placement on a wine list or store shelf is becoming an act of God.

And it isn't limited to just wines. Check out this photo. Never in my lifetime in this industry, first as a kid growing up in it, and later as my chosen profession, have I seen something like this in the Dry Creek Valley.  Some poor schlock using guerilla marketing tactics to market his unsold grapes...

Click to enlarge!

To put it bluntly, and as Bob Dylan once said,

“The Times They Are A-Changin'!”

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2010 is the previous archive.

October 2010 is the next archive.

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The Merits of Meritage
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