This summer is time for delicious wine and safely distanced live music! The exciting Robert Hall At Home Sessions we announced earlier continues with an incredible line-up of talented independent musicians for you and your community to watch from home, and enjoy authentic Paso Robles wine for the occasion. Next Wednesday September 2, the fourth virtual concert will feature contemporary Outlaw singer songwriter Elizabeth Cook, known for her appearances on David Letterman, “hip hard-country delivery, comedic gifts and magnetic personality”.
Watch From Home
You can watch the performance live, and get an exclusive behind-the-curtains recording from the artist after the show. Simply go to Robert Hall Winery’s Facebook page, @roberthallwinery. Previous shows and exclusive behind the scenes artist interviews can still be viewed at RobertHallWinery.com/At-Home-Sessions.
Paso Robles Wine + Special Discount
In addition, Robert Hall is releasing some 2019 vintage wines for the first time, which you can buy directly online. You can now get 20% off using the at home sessions code and free shipping if you live in valid states, including California.
About Robert Hall Winery
Founded in 1999 by the late entrepreneur Robert Hall, Robert Hall Winery showcases the best Paso Robles has to offer. The winery has three estate vineyards in the Geneseo and Estrella Districts, totaling 136 planted acres of fruit. In addition to growing Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Syrah, the winery also sources grapes across the Paso Robles AVA. This provides Head Winemaker Don Brady with a broad range of soils and micro-climates that, together, create optimal fruit for the beautiful wines that capture the essence of Paso Robles.
Due to stronger heat than normal this summer, many famous wine regions are beginning grape harvest one to three weeks earlier in 2020, compared to previous years. In Italy, at Ornellaia Winery, nestled in the heart of Bolgheri on the Tuscan Coast, harvest commenced on August 13, one week earlier than usual. In addition to the heat, they have had to adjust to the new COVID safety protocols of social distancing in both the vineyards and the cellars.
Social Distancing During Grape Harvest
“Distancing is natural in the vineyards,” explains Estate Director Axel Heinz. However, in the cellar where workers traditionally work more closely, Ornellaia had to reorganize the way the grapes were received. “We changed our working methods without altering our operation and without compromising our standards of quality. It has been a significant challenge.”
As with other years, the Ornellaia workers started harvesting white grapes first, with bunches of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. The red varieties, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, are expected to be harvested between the last few days of August and the first week of September.
Watchwords: Confidence and Resilience
Despite the issues, hopes are high for the 2020 vintage, but, like every year, it will be the weather conditions in September that decide the definitive quality of the vintage.
Axel Heinz states, “The watchwords for this first harvest after the Covid-19 lockdown are ‘confidence and resilience’. Our commitment is to work as usual, interpreting the vintage to the best of our abilities while preserving the style and identity of Ornellaia.”
About Ornellaia Winery
The name Ornellaia is synonymous with fine winemaking and an authentic expression of the beauty of Tuscany. The estate is situated along the Tuscan coastline, a short distance from the medieval town of Bolgheri and the iconic cypress-lined approach. Ornellaia Bolgheri DOC Superiore and Ornellaia Bianco are the estate’s top wines, ensued by the second vin Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, Le Volte dell’Ornellaia and the white Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia. In little over thirty years (the first vintage of Ornellaia was in 1985), the team’s dedication accompanied by optimal soil and microclimate have resulted in critical acclaim and public success within Italy and internationally.
With its natural terroir ideal for growing Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley is also Oregon’s largest wine growing region with over 70 varietals. Willamette Valley Winery Association is their wine industry association, which organizes an annual Pinot Noir auction that just ended on August 13. This year, 74 wine lots from the 2018 vintage made exclusively for the auction were sold, with proceeds this year not only supporting the Association’s education and marketing initiatives, but an additional $100,000 dedicated to the James Beard Foundation’s Open For Good Campaign – Food & Beverage Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans.
This was a special year for the Willamette Pinot Auction: going online for the first time, with the opening featuring its first-ever Ambassador, Portland Trailblazer NBA star and now Willamette Valley’s newest winemaker CJ McCollum, who launched his own wine McCollum Heritage 91 with Adelsheim Vineyards in June this year.
Supporting Black & Indigenous American Food & Beverage Businesses
About Willamette Valley Wineries Association The Willamette Valley Wineries Association (WVWA) is a non-profit industry association dedicated to achieving recognition for Oregon’s acclaimed Willamette Valley as a premier Pinot noir-producing region. Currently, the WVWA has nearly 250 members representing wineries and tasting rooms throughout the Willamette Valley region from Portland to Eugene.
What better way to start the Jewish New Year than sharing great wines with loved ones? Traditionally, wine or grape juice is an important part of Kiddush, which means “sanctification” in Hebrew, a ceremony where a blessing is recited over wine or grape juice.
Royal Wine Corp is bringing a fresh selection of kosher wines from California, Israel, France and South Africa just in time for Rosh Hashanah, which falls on September 18th this year.
Organic Kosher Wine with Noble History
If you are sensitive to sulfites and want some quality organic kosher wine, you could try Herzog Variation Be-leaf Cabernet Sauvignon, a full-bodied organic Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles with no added sulfites. Herzog Winery was one of the first in America to make kosher wines, with over 9 generations of winemaking. Founded by Rabbi Menachem Herzog, Herzog wines were so sought after by Austrian Emperor Franz Josef that he dubbed then-owner Phillip Herzog a Baron.
Surprise Yourself With Wild Yeast Wines!
Have you tried wines fermented with “wild” yeast that originate from the vineyards? Winemaker and Master of Wine candidate Ido Lewinsohn, known for experimenting with wild yeast and whole cluster pressing, has made Segal Wild Fermentation Chardonnay and Segal Wild Fermentation Cabernet Sauvignon from Gailelee, Israel resulting in some unique wines representative of their authentic terroir.
French Winemaking in the Judean Hills
High fashion designer turned Winemaker David Suissa has made high-end kosher wines in Bordeaux before starting his winery Ephod in Israel. You can now try kosher red wines from vineyards in Judean Hills, Galil Elyone and Ramat Hagolan: Ebiatar, Keter, and Regesh, made with classic Bordeaux grapes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.
Kosher Champagne Back By Popular Demand
Established in 1808, Drappier in Champagne, France is known for their quality organic vineyards. After being out of stock for almost 15 months, three of their kosher champagnes are now back on the shelves, just in time for the upcoming Jewish New Year celebrations.
Chill with Canned South African Rose!
For a fun twist, you can try J. Folk from South Africa, a fruity but dry and refreshing rosé that comes in packs of four 250ml cans.
About Royal Wine/Kedem
Founded in 1848, Royal Wine Corp. has been owned and operated in the United States by the Herzog family, whose winemaking roots go back eight generations to its origin in Czechoslovakia.
Today, Royal Wine’s portfolio of domestic and international wines range from traditional wine producing regions of France, Italy and Spain, as well as Israel, New Zealand and Argentina.
Additionally, Royal Wine Corp.’s spirit and liqueur portfolio offers some of the most sought-after scotches, bourbons, tequilas and vodkas as well as hard to find specialty items such as flavored brandies and liqueurs.
The company owns and operates the Kedem Winery in upstate New York, as well as Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard, California, a state-of-the-art-facility featuring guided wine tours, a fully staffed modern tasting room, gift shop and catering facilities. Additionally, the winery houses the award-winning restaurant Tierra Sur, serving the finest, Mediterranean-inspired, contemporary Californian Cuisine.
Have you ever tried South African wines? If not, now is a great time to enlighten your wine experience with some unique wines from this country known for their high quality yet affordable wines, with a rich history in winemaking.
Wine Sales Devastated By Covid-19 Restrictions
A lot has happened in South Africa since our last post about their wine exports resuming after an abrupt ban in March due to Covid-19. National alcohol sales ban has remained in effect, except for a brief period in June, with no end in sight. South Africa is the 8th largest wine producer globally, producing some 974 million liters of wine in 2019, and $1.1 billion worth of revenues in wine exports.
Livelihoods at Stake
Based on Wines of South Africa estimates, $18 million is lost every week in alcohol revenue since the ban, and 1 in 5 wineries may not survive, affecting the livelihoods of some 300,000 wine industry workers and their families. Even before the pandemic, about half of the country live below poverty line. Moreover, hospitality and food and beverage workers are equally devastated, who have been protesting for relaxation of restrictions.
Some good news: about half of South African wines are exported globally, and since exports are still allowed, global support is more important than ever. South Africa is a highly reputable New World region that produces a diverse range of grape varietals, such as red Pinotage (a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault) and white Chenin Blanc, and many wine styles worth trying. You can easily find it online or from your local wine shop. Taste, share and spread the word!