California Day Two

Day two and jet lag is great! Awake at 4am. The day started with a stroll to the Oxbow Market in Napa, which is just full of lovely foods!

We then went across the road to meet Brent Shortridge from Waterstones Tasting Room and Winery, Lindsey from California WIne Institute and Alison Jordan from California Sustainable Wine Growing Alliance.

Alison spoke the about the sustainable programme for wineries and how it looks at ways in which to support wineries and the different aspects. Soil management, Eco system in the vineyard, ways to save water as this is one of the challenges, plus social responsibility and many other aspects which looks at a sustainable future for the next generations.

We had a tasting from Brent and a selection of wines he and his business partner Philip Zorn produce. What is unique about Waterstones Winery is that they don’t own any vineyards, they source their fruit from different AVA areas to which gives them flexibility and choice of quality grapes.

Pine Ridge Vineyards in Stags Leap AVA, who now own vineyards from five vineyards in total across five different AVA regions. It was established in 1978 by Gary Andrus who was inspired by Bordeaux varietals. We had the pleasure of winemaker Michael Beaulac who joined us for lunch and showed us through a selection of wines including a 2004 Pine RIdge.

Just a short distance down the road we visited the iconic winery Stags Leap, where the cellar master walked us around the vineyard. It included the very vineyard the grapes came from that won the blind tasting in Bordeaux in 1976 that catapulted Stags Leap and California on the wine map. We walked through the cellars and finished off with a tasting in the cellar tasting room, which included the S.L.V, FAY and Cask 23.

The evening visit was to family run Chimney Rock Vineyard, where we met wine makers Gary and Bryan. The vineyards were steep, one which had been named Cardiac Hill. We had a beautiful candlelit dinner and tasting in the cellar surrounded by barrels, where the wine was slowly ageing.