Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wine Events for December 2009

Hello, Wine-Loving Friends! Let's see what's going on in December in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a focus on the East Bay region.

(Remember: Tell 'em Mac sent you!)

To start us off:


**HOLIDAY IN THE VINEYARDS -- Sat-Sun Dec. 5-6 from Noon to 5pm
Wineries across the Valley will celebrate the season in December. Visit for a full list of winery activities.

Some of our favorites include

* Cuda Ridge - Absolutely *terrific* wines across the board.
* El Sol Winery 8626 Lupin Way, Livermore (925) 606-1827
* Fenestra Winery 83 Vallecitos Rd., Livermore (925) 447-5246 -- more different wines than you ever saw, including their True Red Rhone-kinda blend.
* Longevity Wines 35 Rickenbacker Circle South, Livermore (888) 325-9463 - no tasting fee! Best wines and best winemaker in the Valley, only Cuda Ridge can rival them.
* Nottingham Cellars 2245 S. Vasco Rd., Livermore (925) 294-8647 -- Newest winemaker in the Valley! Check 'em out and tell me if they are any good yet!
* Occasio Winery 2445 S. Vasco Rd., Livermore (925) 371-1987 - with their pretty damned good Pinot Gris!
* Thomas Coyne Winery 51 East Vallecitos Rd., Livermore (925) 373-6541 -- personally I like their white dessert wines best.

--And many more wineries as well!


Wed. Dec. 2 - 55 to 7 pm
55 4th Street, Oakland

Taste why JC Cellars is so highly regarded. Complimentary Admission: RSVP to

Save 15-20% on the following wines:
-2006 Stagecoach Vineyard Marsanne (92 Wine Spectator)
-2005 Ventana Vineyards Syrah
-2006 Caldwell Vineyard Syrah (92 Robert Parker, 91 Wine Spectator)
-2005 Ripken Vineyard Late Harvest Viognier
Get into the holiday spirit and come down to sample a few wines, perfect for holiday entertaining or gifts. Nosh on some artisan cheese and cash in on the Wine Wednesday discount of 15-20%.

-->>**That's NOTHING! Wait until you see this!

The debut of The JC Cellars *DAILY RATION*, "our 1st neighborhood wine, a NV red blend from JC. For sale on FRIDAYS in the tasting room. HALF A LITER OF GOODNESS to start your weekend off right! $25 Jug $20 Refills (Bring Your Jug Back and Save) (Yes, that's right! This is old-timey stuff!)(But I'll bet it tastes better than the old-timey stuff, but that's because I have a high regard for JC Cellars plonk!)

Varietals: 41.5% Petite Sirah, 24.3% Grenache,19.5% Zinfandel, 11.5% Carginane, 3% Syrah. Alcohol: 14.5% Appellation: California

"We would like to introduce our first neighborhood wine. A tribute to our nautical heritage here in the Jack London District and a nod to our locals who want an excuse to drop by on a weekly basis. This blend is meant to quench weekend thirsts. Some of you have expressed reservations about opening our wines for some of your friends who may have questionable palates. So we thought we would provide an option that we can all sit around and enjoy no matter what day it is or how many other bottles have been opened."

Way to GO!

2323 B 4th Street, Berkeley, 94710.

Stop by the winery for complimentary wine tastings on Saturdays from 12-5 pm when we join our neighbors for **BERKELEY ARTISANS HOLIDAY OPEN STUDIOS** on 12/5, 12/12 & 12/19.

Stop by to taste, warm up and then if you like, take a walking tour of the artists' studios open for the holiday. The winery is located in west Berkeley, 3 blocks south of University and the 4th Street shopping district.

in Alameda in the heart of the old Navy base!
2301 Monarch Street, Suite 300, Alameda, CA 95401 Saturday Dec. 5 from 5pm.

Sample current and new release wines from *seven* wineries that produce wine at Rock Wall Wine custom-crush facility. Admission includes heavy appetizers, tours and live music.
Admission is $30 per person with advance purchase, and $40 per person at the door. or more info at .
This event will feature 3 new releases from Rock Wall Wines as well as over 30 wines from their resident producers

-Blacksmith Cellars
-Carica Wines
-Ehrenberg Cellars
-JRE (John Robert Eppler) Wines
-R&B Cellars
-Rock Wall Wines
-Virgo Cellars

Mac sez: These are some of the most interesting & enjoyable Urban Wineries around! Some are so small you are unlikely to find them in stores. One of the big benefits of living in the Bay Area of San Francisco are these tiny specialty for-the-love-of-wine winemakers!

** Champagne from Champagne - A spectacular food and champagne pairing dinner from a TOP chef!
December 10, 2009 (Thu), 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
LOCATION: Faz - Pleasanton
5121 Hopyard Road, Pleasanton, California 94588, ph. 925-828-8356

Nine Champagnes, presented by K&L Wine Merchants Champagne buyer, Gary Westby, paired with a delicious five course meal designed by Faz Executive Chef Dolly Jacoby. Hosted by Tasters Guild #026. Cost: $65 per person inclusive (a few dollars more if you're not a member yet).

IF YOU GO TO THIS LET ME KNOW! I am a devoted member of this local Taster's Guild chapter and I get Goodness points for bringing you! But you must act fast as their events fill FAST!

PS: The wines are wonderful and the food is *spectacular* - this Chef Dolly is a food-pairing genius!! RECOMMENDED!!! Contact me at mac.mccarthy at gmail.


** HEY RICH PEOPLE! Want to bid on fine wines? Got bucks to do so? WineGavel auction house is hosting their 2009 Year-End Fine- and Rare-Wine Auction Dec. 19 at the AME Restaurant in SF's St Regis Hotel on December 19.

"From verticals of First Growth Bordeaux to OWC cases of 2006 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Magnums, this auction offers some of the world's finest, best cellared wines." Such as "Lot 149: 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, 12 Bottles in Original Wood Case. The 1982 Lafite Rothschild is widely regarded as one of the finest wines ever produced. Prodigious in breadth and intensity.
Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000"

Bordeaux: Lot 179: A full vertical of Chateau Mouton from 1983-2004
Est: $5,000 - $7,500

Burgundy: Lots 14,15 & 16: Rare Magnums of 2006 Domaine de la Romanee Conti
Est: $2,000 - $10,000
California: Lot 184: Stunning vertical of Silver Oak Napa Valley 1979-2004
Est: $2,200 - $2,800

Go to and see if you can figure out how to get in.

And then invite me over to your place to help you taste-test what you bought!


Join Us at Ft. Mason in SF January 28 to 30!

This year's theme: "Zin in Paradise!" (Wait 'til you see the cool Zin-Hawaian shirts us volunteers get!)

You really ought to join as a ZAP member and get in early! If you love Zins, that is. You DO love Zins, don't you? Why are you looking at me like that?

-->Order Your Festival Tickets Today!
If you haven't purchased your Festival tickets, take a moment today and sign up! A benefit of ZAP membership is the opportunity to enter the Grand Zinfandel Tasting at 1:00 pm, an hour before the general public. This is a wonderful chance to visit your favorite wineries or discover wineries new to you.

Ticket sales to our events are ahead of last year! Order your tickets today - you don't want to miss your favorite events. There are winetasting, wine-food pairing, wine highlight, and meet-the-winemaker events Thursday and Friday, and the general tasting Saturday afternoon -- 300+ winemakers offering some 800++ wines--all Zinfandels! It's the damnest thing you ever saw! And if you go Saturday, you'll see me there! What could be better than that?

Go to to join ZAP and purchase your tickets.

**Hendry Wine Tasting at 'Wine on Piedmont'
Dec 4 (Fri), 4 - 7 PM
Wine on Piedmont is at 4183 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, CA 94611 (ph. 510 595-9463)
"The Hendry Ranch may be the most versatile property in California. George Hendry is able to produce top quality Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and even Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the same property. Partner Susan Ridley will join us to pour several of the winery's current releases. Please stop by Friday December 4th, you will be impressed at the quality across the board."

* 'Food & Wine Pairing 101' - Dec 3 (Thu) - 6:30 - 8:30 PM
1580 Solano Avenue, Albany, CA 94707 (ph. 510.525.9463)

"Red wine with fish? What's the best pairing for spicy Thai? Vegetarian fare? Ice cream? Find out what to drink with whatever you eat in this class taught by our fearless leader/fearless eater, Jason Lefler. We promise a delicious, decadent, perfectly paired evening filled with wine and food ... and more wine and more food. $65 includes all food and wine pairings."

Dec 10 (Thu) 5:30 - 8 PM
At Crushpad custom crush facility, 2573 Third Street, SF 94107 (ph. 415-695-0221)

"Don't miss the San Francisco wine event of the year! Get your ticket early as this will be a very popular event. Featuring the *20 boutique wineries* of the SFWA offering premium wine tasting and some tasty morsels! You will meet your local vintners, enjoy award-winning vintages, and be able to take home the perfect gift for that special wine enthusiast on your list!

"It will be fun and festive, and everyone who attends will see (and taste!) first-hand why these small, high-end SF vintners are getting rave reviews from the critics. The SFWA urban wine artisans are truly redefining how fine wines are made! Dress up or dress down --- just make sure you get there and join us in the spirit of the holidays! Online tickets only $25 at "

Featuring: Aver Family Vineyards - Bartz-Allen Winery - Canine Wines - Connor I Brennan Cellars - Damian Rae Winery - Due Cani Cellars - Flying Wine Cellars - Guy Riedel Wines, LLC - Jazz Cellars - Joelle Wine Company - Kindred Wines - Mark Moretti Winery - Milliarium Cellars - PerryMoore Wines - Pug Wine - Ricardus Corculum - Seawind Wines - Think Tank Wine Company - Townley Wines - Wait Cellars

Mac sez: I know the woman who runs this custom crush facility - she makes a terrific Chard! This is like Rock Wall but in SF - hosts numerous small winemakers, so it's fun to explore! Hope to see you there!


At the dramatic and luxurious Officer's Club in Fort Mason, San Francisco, on Wed. Dec. 16th from 6 to 9pm. Check out last year's festive pictures.

And purchase tickets at $38: As an early holiday gift, anyone who purchases four or more tickets will get an extra ticket at no additional charge. Bring your family!

Here's the spiel:
"The Ultimate Holiday Gathering. While the San Francisco summer is over and the holidays are upon us, we can pretend we're in southern hemisphere heat on December 10th. Uncorked Events will transport you to the warm beaches of Australia & beyond for a very festive holiday celebration. We won't have vegemite or koala bears, but we will introduce you to over 100 of the very best wines from Australia & New Zealand. And because one can't live on wine alone, we're adding a tasting station featuring down under beers - for added pleasure and hydration!

"A Wide Array of World-Class Wine -- A wide array of Shiraz, Cabernet, Grenache, Chardonnay and Riesling from Australia and Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Merlot from New Zealand. World-Class Wineries from Amisfield, Cloudy Bay, d'Arenberg, Elderton, Felton Road, Giant Steps, Grosset, Henschke, Hewitson, Jim Barry, Kilikanoon, Leeuwin Estate, Penley, Peter Lehman, Plantagenet, Quartz Reef, Robert Oatley, Spy Valley, St. Hallett, Trevor Jones, Two Hands, Vasse Felix, Villa Maria, Wild Earth, and more!"

A lot of these you can't even get here in the US!
******TO COME IN 2010!
Besides ZAP, there's the 'PS I Love You' Petit Syrah event Feb. 19 at Rock Wall in Alameda, watch for it!


"Learning About German Wine: Getting All the Details"

*Get Wine Guide to Spain's Wine Countries -- Complimentary*

*Learn More about the Wines of the Loire Valley -- sign up up with the French wine promotional organization at and they'll send you a brochure all about it. Loire make some of the most wonderful wines in the world!

at in your blog reader so you don't miss an erratic issue!

****AND WHILE YOU'RE AT IT, SUBSCRIBE TO MAC'S SAVVYTASTE WINE BLOG in your blog/newsreader, where I write my notes about what I'm drinking.


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