BRAND Napa Valley Launches #FromBRANDwithLove Giveback Sharing Package

Pritchard Hill winery, BRAND Napa Valley is running a giveback program, #FromBRANDwithLove for customers and Covid-19 first responders around the nation. Sharing the gift of wine, the “BRAND Care Package” is essentially a buy-1-get-1 for customers to spread the love with a distinguished bottle of wine and send another to a first responder as a token of appreciation for their selfless service.

Credit: BRAND Napa Valley, at Harvest 2019

BRAND Care Package

With the purchase of a $150 “BRAND Care Package”, worth $300 in value, customers receive a bottle of the prestigious 2016 BRAND Napa Valley BRIO Red Blend—an estate produced Bordeaux-style Red Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot—for the customer and for a first responder of their choice, who will receive an identical bottle at no cost to them. Customers can purchase the “BRAND Care Package” online, nominate their first responder, include a personalized note, provide shipping information.

How Does Casarena Winery Produce Such Distinctly Different Argentinian Wines?

Nestled on the sandy soils of Luján de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina, Casarena Bodegas y Viñedos is recognized for its single vineyard wines, with an estate that encompasses four vineyards each with its own distinctive micro-terroirs to create seven varietal wines for its flagship line, Casarena Single Vineyard wines.

Casarena’s sandy vineyards below the Andes. Credit: Casarena Winery & Vineyards

Winemaking expertise

Combining rich tradition with expertise in wine growing and winemaking, including collaborations with Michel Roland and his team, single blocks of high-quality and low yield are identified. 30% of the grapes are fermented in new French oak barrels, and the remaining in stainless-steel tanks, after which the fermented blend is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, resulting in an expression of unique, premier Argentinian terroirs which garnered many awards.

Casarena’s flagship single-vineyard wines from four distinct microclimates.

A Curated Portfolio

All wines of their single vineyard portfolio have consistently received over 90 points from acclaimed critics. The seven wines are: Malbec in three different expressions, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.  

Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir and Sbragia Cabernet Sauvignon Tie as Top Favorites in Classic Red Tasting

Sbragia Wines With Cheese Platter

Sbragia Wines With Cheese Platter

What is a classic red wine grape? It is a variety that has proved it can produce consistently high quality over a long period of time in more than one region of the world. Therefore, though there are more than 120 commercially produced wine grapes, there are only 4 classic red grapes. In California, however, we add Zinfandel as well, because it is one of our most beloved State grapes:

  1. Pinot Noir – famous in Burgundy, Oregon, Sonoma, New Zealand and many other regions of the world
  2. Merlot– famous in Bordeaux, Italy, Washington, and many other regions
  3. Cabernet Sauvignon – famous in Bordeaux, Napa, Italy and other regions
  4. Syrah – famous in the Rhone, Australia, and Paso Robles
  5. Zinfandel – famous in California, Croatia and Italy

Winning Pinot Noir from Paul Hobbs Winery

Winning Pinot Noir from Paul Hobbs Winery

In a blind tasting of these five famous varietals in Bus 305W, the 42 Millennial wine business majors tied in a vote of their favorites. Paul Hobbs 2012 Russian River Pinot Noir ($55) with dark raspberry, mushroom earth and cola notes tied with the 2011 Sbragia Cabernet Sauvignon ($49), with complex cassis cedar and earthy notes from the famous Monte Rosso Vineyard. Both wines were of high quality with good balance of fruit, oak, acid and alcohol; complex flavors, excellent concentration and a very long finish.

What are the Major Cool and Warm Climate Grape Varietals?

Cool climate Riesling grapes

Cool climate Riesling grapes

By Guest Author, Sumun Rahim – Any wine lover who has studied the French concept of “terroir” knows that the same grape varietal can produce vastly different wine depending on what type of soil and in what climate it’s grown. Some wines do best in cool, even cold, climates; others are better-suited to warm, sunny weather. Knowing which wines thrive in which climates can help you enjoy local wine more fully when you travel as well as be a guide to help you choose from the selection available at the average wine store.  Below is a look at the different wines that thrive in cool and warm climates.

Cooler Climate Wines

  • Riesling — Riesling is a classic, cold-weather grape and its flavor and character profile changes significantly if it’s planted in different environments. The best Riesling wines come from the Alsace region of France and Germany’s Rhine River valley.
  • Pinot Noir — This cold weather favorite is very particular about its soil and thrives in dry, cool climates. The world’s best Pinot Noirs hail from France’s Burgundy region and the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
  • Chardonnay —  Chardonnays does well in the cooler climate of Burgundy France, as well as the foggy coast of California near the Russian River.  Cooler regions of New Zealand and Australia are also famous for exquisite Chardonnays
  • Ice-wine — The quintessential cold weather wine, Ice-wine is crafted naturally by allowing the grapes to freeze on the vine, which concentrates the natural sugars in the fruit. Arguably, the best Ice-wines come from Germany, the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada where temperatures fall way below freezing.   Riesling and Vidal Blanc are common grape varieties used for Ice Wine.

Warmer Climates Wines

  • Warmer climate cabernet sauvignon grapes

    Warmer climate cabernet sauvignon grapes

    Cabernet Sauvignon—Cab usually thrives better in a warmer climate, such as sunny Napa Valley or the continental climate of Bordeaux.  Excellent cabernets can also be found in the warmer valleys of Chile, Argentina and Australia.

  • Zinfandel — This red grape with dark blackberry and slight black pepper overtones is a California favorite. It thrives in the hot, dry Lodi Valley of central California as well as the Sierra Foothills.  Zinfandel is also grown in Southern Italy and Croatia.
  • Sangiovese –– The grape that makes Chianti so wonderful and complex loves a warm, Mediterranean climate, particularly that of the Tuscany region of Italy.
  • Syrah— Syrah can actually adapt itself to cool and warmer climates, but has a tendency to exhibit more fruit-forward flavors when it is grown in a warm location such as the Barossa valley of Australia or the Paso Robles region of California.  At the same time, the cooler region of France’s northern Rhone Valley is the home of Syrah, where the climate often imparts a slightly smoky taste with floral accents.

Climate and growing conditions are just some of the factors that help to create a delicious wine. Knowing what wines thrive in which climates can help you get the most enjoyment from your wine tasting.

This guest post was written by a content editor for Personal Wine. To learn more about Personal Wine, check out our site –>

An Intimate Tasting with Schweiger and Bouchaine Estate Wineries

The most recent tasting of the SSU WineSense Club was intimate and relaxed.  Schweiger and Bouchaine wineries both presented and poured six of their beautiful estate wines.  The group of 18 Millennials in attendance really opened up and felt more comfortable asking questions in the more intimate setting.

Favorite Wines of the Evening

The favorite wine of the evening from Schweiger Vineyards  was the 2007 Schweiger Vineyards  Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, Estate Bottled ($58).  This was a rich, full-bodied Cabernet with dark berries, chocolate, and toasty oak.  It has a very velvety mouth feel with a long and pleasing finish.  A truly elegant cab!  Schweiger Vineyards is located on the very top of Spring Mountain with a beautiful tasting room and 35 acres of vineyard.  They produce 5000 cases of estate wine annually.  For more information see:

The favorite wine of the evening from Bouchaine Vineyards was the 2008 Bouchaine Pinot Noir, Napa Valley-Carneros, Estate Vineyard ($50). This was a complex rich garnet colored pinot with bright cherry and blue berry fruit.  It also had a subtle smokey note, hints of cocoa and a very long finish.  Bouchaine Vineyards is located in the Carneros AVA and is the oldest continually operated winery in that region, having been established in 1928 by Italian immigrant Johnny Garetto.  For more information on Bouchaine, please see:

Warm and Cozy Food/Wine Pairing

New Wine/Food Pairing Chefs, Alexa Dallas and Jenna Tallyn, did a great job with our food pairing as well!   The main course was Boeuf Bourguignon with Mashed Potatoes. This was complemented by Goat cheese with Fig and Apple Compote, and Almond Roca Brownies for dessert.

Why I Love Cabernet Sauvignon

Whenever I am asked that question: “if you were stranded on an island and could only have one bottle of wine, what would it be,” my answer is always the same  – a great bottle of cabernet sauvignon.  Cab is always satisfying – big, rich, tannic with complex fruit and a wonderful accompaniment to meats and strong cheeses.  A glass of Cabernet Sauvignon on a cold night near a warm fire is almost a comfort food.

But I am not alone in loving cab, because it is now the number one selling red varietal in the U.S. market (Neilsen, Nov. 2011 WBM).  So what makes cabernet sauvignon so special?  Some of the answers may arise in its special characteristics while others can be found in the amazing styles of cab from around the world.

Parents and Characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon

In France in the 1700’s it is believed that Cabernet franc (father) and Sauvignon blanc (mother) were crossed to create what many refer to as the King of grapes – Cabernet Sauvignon.  Indeed cab does possess the dark fruit and pencil lead notes of cab franc and the herbal nuances of Sauvignon blanc.  The union also created a varietal that is quite healthy and resilient, because Cabernet Sauvignon can be grown in many climates around the world.  Its thick skin and resistance to rot and frost make it easy to cultivate and therefore is a favorite of grape growers.  Furthermore, it’s ability to create wines with strong typicity in terms of consistent cab flavors, it’s affinity for oak, and the fact that it can demand high prices make it the darling of many winemakers.

Cabernet sauvignon is the dominant red varietal in some of the most famous and expensive wine labels in the world.  Examples include Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1869 from Bordeaux, France which sold at a Hong Kong auction in 2010 for $232,692 a bottle, and Napa Valley’s 1992 Screaming Eagle which sold for $62,500 per bottle at the Napa Valley Wine Auction in 2000 ($500,000 for a six liter bottle made by famous winemaker Heidi Barrett).

Cabernet Sauvignon from Around the World 

The generic markers of Cabernet Sauvignon include black currants (cassis), dark berries, cedar, leather, and herbs.  Color ranges from a dark red to opaque red black.  Acid, tannin structure and alcohol level are determined by climate and winemaking practices.  Cabernet Sauvignon is almost always aged in oak for a period of time, and is often blended with other red varietals such as the classic Bordeaux blend of merlot, cabernet franc, petite verdot and malbec.

Experts suggest that cabernet sauvignon from different parts of the world have distinctive markers.  Following is a list of some of the more famous regions where cab is grown and some of the attributed markers – though these vary by vintage and producer.


Napa Valley – elegant, opulent red and black fruit, velvety tannins, rich

Sonoma/Alexander Valley – powerful, dark fruit, herbs, coffee, structured tannins

Washington State – deeply concentrated, ripe purple fruit, large plush tannins


Pauillac – power and elegance, fine-grained tannins, led pencil, rich, rounded, cassis, herbs

Margaux – softer, most feminine wine of Left Bank, floral, berry, lifted perfume

St. Julien – rich dark fruit, velvety texture, cigar box, elegant, leather, in between Pauillac and Margaux in mouthfeel and texture.

Pessac-Leognan – minerality, elegance, gravel, mocha, spice, more integrated tannins

St. Estephe – austere, marked acidity, darker, more intense, gravel, cedar, herbs, very firm tannins


Italy/Tuscany/Bolgheri – powdery tannins; velvety, cassis; deep; dark; rich; slightly more astringent

Chile – sweeter, deeply concentrated, some boysenberry flavors, herbal notes

Australia/Coonawarra –  minty, firm tannins, dark fruit; dark chocolate

Australia/Barossa – warmer fruit forward style, can be jammy berry, complex

South Africa – leaner but with concentrated fruit, herbs, similar to Bordeaux in style

Argentina- ripe dark fruit, leather, fine grained tannins

NOTE:  This article was originally published on Women for WineSense Napa/Sonoma Blog