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Privacy, Copyright & Disclaimer's June 15, 2005 Monthly Newsletter

Greetings from, now 1,051 winery listings strong!

July and August are traditionally slow for wine releases because wineries want to avoid shipping during the summer.

But, there is no down-time for me! I take off for New York City tomorrow with my sister, brother and niece for the weekend. Long time readers will remember my niece Brynn, who is a Junior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She has also been gracious enough to volunteer as my designated driver during my annual wine visits to Paso Robles and San Luis Opispo. This time the trip is all about Brynn, as my siblings and I help her get settled in at the NYU dorm for her summer internship at Rolling Stone. I made reservations at my favorite NY restaurant, Veritas, for Saturday night. It will definitely be a great way for us all to kick off the summer.

And now, on to the show...

July 2005 Wine Releases's Winery Newsletters and Mailing Lists Sign Up Page: Click here.

The following 21 winery information pages have been updated since 5/15/2005:
  • Mayacamas Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Gary Farrell; United States: California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
  • Pride Mountain Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Jaffurs Wine Cellars; United States: California: Santa Barbara County
  • Domaine Drouhin Oregon; United States: Oregon: Willamette Valley
  • Domaine Serene; United States: Oregon: Willamette Valley
  • A Donkey and Goat; United States: California
  • Belle Glos Wines; United States: California: Santa Barbara County: Santa Maria Valley
  • Blossom Winery; Canada: British Columbia: Lower Mainland
  • Bonaccorsi Wine Company; United States: California: Santa Barbara County
  • Brochelle Vineyards; United States: California: Central Coast: Paso Robles
  • Brookdale Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Carriage House Wines; Canada: British Columbia: Okanagan Valley
  • Chester-Kidder Winery; United States: Oregon: Columbia Valley
  • Martin Estate; United States: California: Napa Valley: Rutherford
  • Patit Creek Cellars; United States: Washington State
  • Peters Family Winery; United States: California
  • Poet�s Leap Winery; United States: Washington State: Columbia Valley
  • Racchus Wines; United States: California: Sonoma County
  • Redmon Family Vineyards; United States: California: Napa Valley
  • Ross Valley Winery; United States: California: Marin County

  • By The Barrel Winemaker profile with Guy Davis of Davis Family Vineyards

    Guy�s first affair with wine came at the age of 19. Guy put himself through college cooking in a French Restaurant. Everyday after class Guy would work from 4:00 until Midnight with a French chef and owner from Paris. "After we sent out the last dinner of the night, I would cook for the three of us; the two Frenchmen would begin to eat and drink, and once I had the kitchen clean I would join them;" Guy remembers -"Each night I would taste and learn the details of France�s great wine regions and the grapes that make up those wines." Two years later Guy was buying all the wine for the list. Eventually Guy graduated with a degree in Economics and went to work as a Stockbroker. After the crash of the market in 1987, still in love with wine, food and the French lifestyle, Guy worked on a winery finance project which eventually lead him to a wine buyer position in Sonoma County in 1989. "Being a buyer in Sonoma County allowed me to line up work experience for myself at several of the best boutique vineyards and wineries. I worked in the cellar during the harvest of �89 and from that moment I knew that creating special wines from this area was my destiny. I immediately enrolled in every viticulture and enology class offered between Santa Rosa and UC Davis as well as working harvest for winemakers not only in California but around the world." Guy launched and ran his own import/retail company called Passport Wine Club through the 90�s while purchasing and replanting his own Russian River Pinot Noir vineyards in 1996 and starting Davis Family Vineyards in 1997. "In 1998 I sold Passport to focus my passion on growing and making great wines. The experience of tasting those 200 - 300 wines a month as a retailer, as well as connecting me to winemakers around the world has given me great perspective as a grape grower and winemaker." With the seasons being opposite in the Southern Hemisphere, Guy still makes Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand every harvest under his GUSTO label. "I think Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region in New Zealand is distinctive and delicious; more vibrant than anywhere else in the world. I love to bring that unique expression to life." It seems creating special flavors from special places is what Guy is all about.

    Describe the pivotal point when you went from dreaming about making wine to actually doing it.
    The harvest of 1989 I worked for Sky Vineyards at the top of Mount Veeder. Beautiful dry farmed, head trained Zinfandel vines! The wines were completely hand crafted, literally - no electricity, dirt floor in the winery, hand cranked basket press, small fermentors that we punched down with our hands and mixed with our arms - it was ethereal! I had been tasting wine and buying wine for 10 years at that point but it was working with Lori Olds at Sky in 1989 that made me set the goal to switch to the creative and agricultural side of wine. 9 harvests later I crushed by hand, much in the same way, my first vintage of Davis Family Vineyards.

    What was the first wine you remember tasting and where were you?
    I worked in a French restaurant at 19, so my first wines were all French - my first whites were from Alsace and my first reds were from Burgundy - I was blessed in this business from the very beginning!

    Who has been the most influential in your wine making career?
    There have been far too many to list...from all over the globe - but I have very strong memories of the first formal class I took in 1990. It was taught by Christine Benz who was the winemaker at Murphy Goode at the time - All the classes I took over the next 5 years seemed to just reiterate the lessons she taught me that first semester - she has an amazing knack as a teacher as well as a winemaker.

    What is your most memorable food and wine experience?
    There have been thousands and I remember almost all of them - but one that sticks out at the moment is one night at a 4 star Michelin restaurant in the town of Colmar in Alsace -- 4 of us were on a tour de force; meeting with top boutique winemakers in every region of France over about 2 1/2 weeks; we spent the previous night in Burgundy, drove at light speed to Alsace (getting a speeding ticket I might add) - visited vineyards in the day and then went to Barmes Bouchet to taste in the cellar with the wine maker before going to dinner - we had allowed 2 hours for the winery and then time to get into the mandatory coat and tie for the 4-star experience...well the discussions and the friendship went deep at the winery, we tasted literally 50+ wines and took notes on the details, vineyards and techniques of each of those wines - the winemaker would not let us go!...he dropped us at the restaurant 5 minutes after the reservation time - unshowered and in the same clothes we put on 12 hours ago in Burgundy, after convincing them to let us in (which took some convincing) we were seated and proceeded to have one of the best food and wine nights of my life! It was someone in the groups birthday!... so we went at the wine list and the menu like it was our last supper! It became very obvious that seating our motley crew was the right decision... We ended up being the last table in the restaurant and sharing all our wines and good times with the Chef, Maitre de and the entire staff, ending with hugs and kisses amongst everyone!
    Editor's Note: I thought I recognized this story. It was my birthday that night. I met Guy and his wonderful wife Judy on that trip with my friend Nick Ramkowsky. We did have a great time.

    What is your favorite memory of creating wine?

    What wine best expresses the region where it grows?
    If the varietal is matched correctly to the microclimate, great wines will always express the region! Be it Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, Russian River Pinot Noir, Napa Valley Cabernet or Sangiovese in Tuscany.

    What food and wine paring is perfect?
    Italian wine with Italian food - it is one of the great mysteries and magical matches in the wine world!

    What is the funniest wine descriptor you have heard?
    Read Wine X Magazine, they are all hilarious!

    What wine trends do you not want to see?
    Over ripeness! Wines that lose balance and varietal character - rich , ripe flavors are very important but over ripe to me is as bad as under ripe.

    What do you want to tell the beer drinkers of America?
    Save some for the winemakers! At harvest it takes lots of great beer to make great wine! (I don't get credit for that quote, its been around along time!).

    If you weren't a winemaker, what would your occupation be?
    Creating something! Cheese or sculpture or something - and maybe teaching philosophy and African drumming.

    What bits of advice do you have for an aspiring winemaker?
    Taste and taste and then taste some more!! Learn what great wine is...learn what your favorite wines and styles are...then when you have the fundamentals of wine making down you can refine your skills in the techniques that will help you craft wines that you define as GREAT! Don't make wines for the critics - make truly great wine and the rest will take care of itself.

    What part of your job do you most enjoy?
    I enjoy everything I do!...the farming, the crafting of the wines, selling and connecting with the people that enjoy the wines... everything!... lately my favorite part is that my oldest son now works full time with me - for the last year it has been so wonderful to watch him evolve and become "hooked " on the philosophy that everything matters and that complexity and balance mean everything!

    How do you want to be remembered as a winemaker?
    As a fun, honest and passionate winemaker - someone that never stopped trying to make better and better wine every single season both in the vineyard and in the winery.

    What is your wine motto?
    Three mottos 1) "Balance and Complexity" ... 2)"Everything matters...strive for perfection and achieve excellence!" and 3) "A bottle a day is all we ask!"

    For your last supper, what will be the food and wines?
    My last supper would be with my family and closest friends - I would cook, and courses - the ingredients would be whatever was the freshest that day at the market or from our garden and the wines would be Pinot Noir from my vineyards, many bottles from many vintages - reflecting on the happiness from each of those years as we ate and drank and laughed into the wee hours!

    This issue's worthwhile wine site to visit is Vin Trust SOMMspeak. Vintrust is a cellar management company. They have a cool area on their site called SOMMspeak which is blog for various Sommeliers. It is a rare chance to read entries from the other side of wine service.

    Please forward this email newsletter to your wine friends so they can enjoy it as well.

    Till next month!

    Neil Monnens

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