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Local Teams Dominate California Wine Tasting Championships


Teams from Florida, Ohio, Connecticut and Minnesota were no match for local doubles teams at the 22nd annual California Wine Tasting Championships held at Greenwood Ridge Vineyards on July 24 and 25, 2004.


Jeff Brinkman and Brad Holstine of Husch Vineyards in Philo scored 100 points, the second highest score in 22 years, to capture the Professional Doubles title. David Walker and Jennifer Hainstock, also of Philo, won the Novice Doubles. David Thompson from Ukiah anchored the winning Amateur Doubles team with partner Darren Huus of Sacramento.


In both Amateur and Novice Singles divisions, spouses placed first and third. Luis Valente of Cupertino won the Novice Singles competition while his wife Louise came in third. In the Amateur Singles division, veteran taster Lorraine Hamberg of Paradise placed first with husband Kim Yamaguchi following in third place. Donovan Weir of Mill Valley walked off with the Professional Singles crown with a score of 95 and also won the title of Individual Grand Champion.


Last year's event featured live performances both days by Christine Lakeland of San Diego and her band. The chocolate tasting and cheese tasting contests were as popular as ever. Vineyard consultant Steve Tylicki conducted tours of the vineyard and presented an informative olive oil tasting as well.


The California Wine Tasting Championships has been held at Greenwood Ridge Vineyards the last weekend of July every year since 1983. Participants compete in three skill levels: novice, amateur and professional. This year's event, the 23rd annual, is scheduled for July 30 and 31, 2005.


Following the Dragons

On their march to the league playoffs, the Greenwood Ridge Dragons hardball team took a few road trips this season. Of special note were two games at SBC Park (home of the San Francisco Giants) and one at the new home of the San Diego Padres, Petco Park. After the league playoffs in October the Dragons hope to again be headed to Phoenix, Arizona for the M.S.B.L. World Series. You can now follow the Dragons here on our website, where you will find up to date standings, stats and schedules by clicking on the tab marked "baseball" above.


Wining and Dining

by Shannon Nadeau


Winemaker Allan Green has been wining and dining his way across the country this year. For those of you not familiar with winemaker dinners, they are the quintessential paring of a restaurant and winery. The chef creates a menu that showcases specific wines with each course. In turn the winemaker circulates amongst the guests and shares some of the more interesting facts about the wines.


In fall of 2003, Allan entertained the guests at the Terrace Grill at the La Playa Hotel in Carmel with his casual but informative style. In November, Allan teamed up with chef Steven Smith of the Albion River Inn for a lavish six-course meal for the Mendocino Wine & Mushroom Festival. In February Allan and Marie Steele, of the Saw Shop Gallery & Bistro in Kelseyville, hosted a fabulous six-course menu. April showers (more like a typhoon!) followed Allan to Alex Sebastian's Wooden Angel outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One week later was our second annual Winemaking Fantasy Camp, which for those of us lucky enough, found us basking in the sun, awaiting lunch and dinner prepared by renowned chefs Luciano & Pauline Zamboni of Victorian Gardens in Manchester.


To help support the annual Mendocino Music Festival, Allan and MacCallum House Restaurant chef Alan Kantor created an evening of pleasant harmonies matching our wines with some of the best local ingredients. In May, as part of the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival, Allan teamed up with our neighbors Lazy Creek Vineyards and Roederer Estate for a dinner of seven courses from seven countries prepared by Anderson Valley's own Jennifer Schmitt. In June Allan hosted a fabulous dinner at Roy's in Austin, Texas. Rumor has it he was also seen enjoying some of the hot music spots in that famed city. Hot August nights found Allan enjoying the southern hospitality of Wisteria Restaurant in Virginia Beach, Virginia.


There are a couple of upcoming opportunities on the North Coast to join Allan and enjoy remarkable meals accompanying our outstanding wines: Valentine's Day, February 14, at the Ledford House in Albion and Winemaking Fantasy Camp, April

15-17. Hope to see you there!


2001 Merlot

Allan's Notes

In twenty years of making Merlot, the 2001 vintage is one of my favorites. The growing season was long, enabling the Merlot fruit to develop such intense flavor that no Cabernet Sauvignon was needed to beef it up. With so much Merlot now being grown in warm regions, this is a rare example of a powerful cool-climate Merlot. Try it with roast lamb!


Winemaking Fantasy Camp

Once again we are more than fortunate to have Luciano and Pauline Zamboni of Victorian Gardens in Manchester preparing a feast for our annual tasting club weekend April 15-17, 2005. Those of you who attended last year know what a unique opportunity this is, especially since their inn is completely booked through 2005 and into 2006!


Best Dessert Wine

In our twenty-five year history we have won ten "Best of Show" awards. In 2004, the 2002 Late Harvest White Riesling accomplished the unprecedented feat of winning two such awards: Best Dessert Wine at both the Orange County Fair and Pacific Rim International Wine Competition. This wine won a total of six gold and three silver medals, making it one of our highest awarded wines ever.


Transcontinental Tasting Team

Barry Peterson, an architect from Sausalito, California, has been taking the long route to the California Wine Tasting Championships for the last few years: via Minneapolis, Minnesota. Each year Barry flies to Minneapolis to meet his doubles partner, Jerry Thompson. They then hop into Jerry's plane and fly towards California, each year taking a different route. Eventually they land on the small air strip in Boonville, about 20 miles from Greenwood Ridge Vineyards.


Following the event they take another scenic route back to Minneapolis, where Barry catches a commercial flight back to the Bay Area. By then Barry has logged about 10,000 extra miles.


Even after all the flying, they still do well at the Wine Tasting Championships. They finished second in the Amateur Doubles in 2002, where they then moved up to the Professional Doubles in 2003 and were again able to take second place.