Friday, July 27, 2012

7/27-Michael Jordan talks to Neil Bason & Susan Bartolucci

Neil Bason - Director of Hospitality, Regusci Winery
I would like to offer you a brief history of our historic property in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley.  My grandfather, Gaetano, purchased our 289-acre estate in 1932, which included one of the preeminent wineries of its time: the Grigbsy-Occidental Winery (est. 1878).  At that time the wine industry was certainly not what it is today.  Aside from growing and making homemade wine and selling grapes, my grandfather wrestled a living from the land farming corn, hay, walnuts, plums, a dairy, ranching cattle,  a slaughterhouse and a retail market for our primary ranch products—meat and milk.

In the 1960’s my father, Angelo, took over the family farm and started planting Bordeaux varieties on our estate in the heart of the Stags Leap District.  As the wine industry began to flourish so did our vineyards; and soon, we  planted the 160 acres of grapes that reside on our estate today.

On behalf of my family we wish you great prosperity for the year ahead and hope you enjoy some of the good times over a bottle of our wine.

Susan Bartolucci - Partner/Artistic Director - Madonna Estate

Since 1922 the Bartolucci Family has consistently created a perfect marriage of grapes and wine at Madonna Estate. Located in the world-renowned Carneros region, an area known for its fertile lands and cool climate, the Bartolucci family has found success with their organically grown grapes and Estate Bottled wines. In addition to practicing natural farming methods, they also combine traditional and modern winemaking techniques. As the third oldest winemaking family in the Napa Valley, it is important to them that they continue the commitment to farm naturally and preserve the winemaking traditions of past generations. 
In 1912, Andrea “Andy” Bartolucci left Italy and traveled to the United States. After a long journey he arrived at Ellis Island and made his way to San Francisco and worked on the French Exhibition Building at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Upon completing his work in San Francisco, he ventured north to the rich and fertile soil of the Napa Valley. In 1922 he purchased a 24-acre vineyard and winery across from Mount St. John peak in the town of Oakville, and named it Madonna Winery. Soon after, in 1924, a fire devastated the winery. Andrea and his family soon rebuilt it and in 1933 began crafting wines with his son, Louis. 
From 1955 - 1965 Louis purchased additional vineyard acreage with his brothers and established some of the first varietal vineyards in the Napa Valley. In 1967 Louis’ son, Andrea “Buck” Bartolucci, joined his father at the winery as assistant winemaker. In 1970 the founding family vineyards and Madonna Winery were sold. Passionate about continuing their family tradition, Andrea purchased 160 acres of land in the Carneros Region of Napa Valley that same year and named it Madonna Vineyard. There he primarily planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes but knew there was potential to grow many different varieties. 
In 1977, Louis purchased a 4½-acre piece of land near Madonna Vineyard. Eager to make wine again, Andrea and Louis constructed the current Madonna Estate Winery. The production of Estate Bottled Wines, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Dolcetto, Barbera, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Muscat Canelli, commenced. 
Currently, Andrea lives on the family vineyard with his wife Susan and tends to every aspect of the vineyard and winery. He oversees the entire operation and continues to hold the position of winemaker. In 1997, his daughter Brette joined him. Today, she continues her vineyard and winery education under the tutelage of her father, and has assumed the duties of Vice–President of Public Relations and Club Carneros Director. In January of 2005 Brette and her husband Frank, welcomed their first son and fifth generation family member, Andrew Steven Bartolucci-Engelbert. Andrea’s youngest daughter, Taylor, graduated from Pepperdine University in 2004, and promptly accepted a job at a Public Relations firm in Los Angeles. After a year of building her knowledge and skills, Taylor has enthusiastically made the commitment to carry on the family legacy. In July of 2005 she returned to Napa and joined Brette and her father as the Director of Public Relations and a partner in the winery. 
As the third oldest winemaking family in the Napa Valley, the Bartolucci’s are dedicated to continue the premium grape growing and fine winemaking that has been established by generations passed. It is their commitment to continue to farm naturally, to preserve, and refine the winemaking traditions of their past, which will result in bringing you the finest wines possible. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

7/20-Michael Jordan visits with Kristin Belair & Daniel Bailey

Kristin Belair - Winemaker, Honig Vineyard and Winery
A University of California, Davis graduate, Kristin, joined the Honig Vineyard and Winery team as winemaker in 1998. She brought 16 years of Napa Valley winemaking experience and a passion for creating delicious wines. Overseeing all aspects of production, from the grape to the bottle, she has worked to protect and improve wine quality, helping to build recognition for Honig wines as benchmarks for Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Kristin is active in professional associations, including California Enological Research Association, Napa Valley Vine Technical Group and Napa Valley Vineyard Technical Group. She is also a member of the American Society of Viticulture and Enology and the Trellis Alliance. 

Outside the winery, Kristin has many interests, including equestrian sports, skiing, gardening and travel. She lives with her family in Napa.

Daniel Bailey -  Jones Family Vineyards

In 1992 Sally and Rick Jones found a gorgeous view that came with a few acres of vineyards. A retirement home; a family place was what they had in mind. After selling grapes to Stag’s Leap Winery for a few years Rick tasted the unblended wine made from the vineyard’s fruit and decided it was too good to let it be blended away in someone else’s wine. Jones Family Vineyards was born from this in 1996.
Jones Family Vineyards unique flavor characteristics grow from our special terroir – a combination of soils and micro-climate. Our three estate vineyards are located in the northern Napa Valley at the base of Howell Mountain about 5 miles north St. Helena. The soils are rocky which allows for excellent drainage, but each vine must burrow deep into the soil to find nutrients and water. Water is also a precious commodity in our land; we irrigate just enough to compensate for the drying effect of the sun.
Our vineyard elevations vary from 600 feet at the base of the estate to about 900 feet at our highest point. Throughout each vineyard the slopes undulate from relatively flat, to almost 35% in slope. Each vine has adapted to its unique location, and the variation in elevation and slope allows for a layering of flavors in the fruit we harvest.
Our warm days and cooler evenings work with the full southern sun exposure to ripen our fruit earlier than most. This stressing of the vines and early ripening reduces our berry and cluster size creating a more extracted and concentrated flavor when our wines are pressed.
10 total acres of vineyards in 3 distinct blocks means each lot has a flavor profile of its own. Seven acres of cabernet sauvignon were planted between 1991 and 1993 on 110R rootstock from clone 8. In 1998 David Abreu designed and planted a 3 acre hillside vineyard of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot.  The fruit is used for blending and to create our second label, The Sisters.
We are privileged to work with some of the strongest talents in winemaking today. David Abreu has managed our vineyard since 1996. Heidi Peterson Barrett made our wines in our first decade (1996-2006) and Thomas Rivers Brown now manages all aspects of our winemaking.

Friday, July 13, 2012

7/13-Michael Jordan visits with Gary Burk & Craig Camp

Gary Burk - Winemaker, Costa De Oro Winery

Though born into a farming family, Gary’s first love was music. So after earning his business degree from Cal Poly, SLO, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a musician. During his time in LA, Gary’s father Ron Burk and Bob Espinola planted their 30 acre Gold Coast Vineyard. That is when Gary’s interest in grape growing and wine took off. He began selling Gold Coast grapes to winemakers from his LA base.
In 1993 on a visit home to Santa Maria, Gary was fortunate enough to share a dinner with Au Bon Climat's Jim Clendenen and Dominique Lafon of Domaine des Comtes Lafon. After that evening, Gary was hooked ... funny what a great glass of Meursault will do! In 1994 he was invited to work harvest at the Au Bon Climat/Qupe facility and was hired full time in 1995. He worked in production and marketing for ABC/Qupe until August of 2002 when he left to devote all of his time and energy to Costa De Oro. He made one barrel each of Gold Coast Vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in 1994 and has increased production of the Costa de Oro label each year to the current level of 4,500 cases annually. He currently produces his wines at the Central Coast Wines Services facility in Santa Maria.
Gary says, "The transition from music to wine making was easy. There are a lot of similarities in the two industries; both rely on a blending of technique, artistry and feel." His goal is to produce wines with balance, elegance and texture, reflecting Old World Style and Terrior of the vineyard.
Gary has received critical acclaim, receiving 90 point scores or higher from Robert Parker, James Laube/Wine Spectator, and Wine and Spirits Magazine. He has also had wines named in the Top 100 Wines of the Year by Wines and Spirits Magazine (2000), the San Francisco Chronicle (2001), Wine Country Living (2003), and most recently Winner of Best in Show at both the Orange and Santa Barbara County Fairs.

Cornerstone Cellars was born out of a passion for great wines in 1991 when founders Drs. Michael Dragutsky and David Sloas crushed their first five tons of Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Today the founders of Cornerstone Cellars and have been joined by Managing Partner Craig Camp, Winemaker Jeff Keene, in the Napa Valley, and a group of Memphis based partners led by Hal Lewis and John Carrier. All share one goal: to make compelling, exciting wines that speak clearly of the vineyard, variety and vintage from which they are born. All of our wines receive minimal, gentle winemaking relying more on nature than technology as the path to making great wine. All come from organic or sustainably farmed vineyards. As noted, “Craig Camp and winemaker Jeff Keene have propelled Cornerstone Cellars to the top tier of California wineries.”

While our Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon remains the cornerstone of our portfolio, this year will see the premiere release of a very special wine. Named simply, "The Cornerstone" this wine represents the pinnacle of our vision of Napa Valley winemaking . Each vintage "The Cornerstone" will be selected from our best barrels of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot. The percentage of each only determined by the gifts Mother Nature gives each vintage. This year we will release the 2009 and it is a very, very special wine indeed. Less than 90 cases were produced.

There is such an exciting range of Cornerstone and Stepping Stone wines that you really need to taste them and there's no better way to do that than visiting our Yountville tasting room, which is located just steps from world famous restaurants like The French Laundry, Bouchon, Bistro Jeanty, Bottega, Hurley's and Redd. Call             707-945-0388       or for reservations or more information. We are open to the public seven days a week are also pleased to offer a full range of wine clubs offering both exceptional wines and personalized customer service. Visit for complete details.

Friday, July 6, 2012

7/6-Michael Jordan visits with Leslie Mead Renaud & Bob Vogel

Leslie Mead Renaud - Director of Winemaking, Foley Family Wines
Foley Family Wines is committed to producing, marketing and distributing handmade, highly individualistic wines from some of the world’s greatest vineyards. Each of our wineries is a distinct, autonomous entity with its own identity, style, vineyard sites, techniques, personnel, varietal mix and category segment. Every wine in our portfolio is honest, unique and delicious.

Santa Monica Seafood was officially founded in 1939 but the real story began in 1898. That year a young man chose the life of a fisherman in California. John Deluca had only recently left his home in Naples, Italy when he put his roots down in the port city of San Pedro. Needing a way to support his growing family he looked to the sea. His hard work and respect for the ocean rubbed off on his family and before long his oldest son Jack was tagging along. Those days on the dock laid the groundwork for a family tradition that has lasted four generations.

Jack Deluca always had a passion for the sea. From the age of nine he was at the docks pulling lines, scaling and gutting fish, and filleting the fish – all the elements of bringing seafood to market. By the age of 16 he was the proud owner of his own fishing vessel and at the tender age of 21 he was the co-owner of his own wholesale company, State Fish Company. Alongside his close friend and future brother-in-law, Gerald Cigliano, Jack built State Fish Company into a formidable presence in the wholesale seafood business in the Los Angeles area.
Jack eventually grew restless at State Fish Company and left to join L.A. Fish & Oyster. The 10 years he spent at L.A. Fish & Oyster were good to Jack. He made a name for himself at the new company and even started his own family, but he couldn’t shake his entrepreneurial passion. After 10 years as an employee, Jack and his younger brother, Frank, joined together to embark on what would become their life’s work. In 1939, the two brothers set up shop at the end of the Santa Monica Pier selling fresh fish to restaurants and tourists alike under the company banner of Santa Monica Seafood.
For the next 42 years Jack and Frank worked to build Santa Monica Seafood into one of the top distributors of seafood in Southern California. They went from selling the catch of the day to hungry tourists on the Santa Monica Pier to selling fresh and frozen fish to the top restaurants in Los Angeles and Orange County. By 1969 an operation that had been borne on fresh-caught halibut, shark, sea bass, tuna and lobsters had outgrown its original location and had to move twelve blocks east to the corner of 12th Street and Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica. The new location served as the headquarters for an ever-burgeoning wholesale business as well as the seafood market that has come to be known as “the cathedral of seafood” to many residents of L.A. County.
While the Delucas were busy building the framework for Santa Monica Seafood, their cousins, the Ciglianos, were on the docks of San Pedro continuing the business of State Fish Company. Jack Deluca’s brother-in-law, Gerald Cigliano, had passed the business on to his eldest son Anthony who, in turn, was getting help from his own seven children. The precocious youngsters, in between helping their father and going to school, had set up a business of their own on the San Pedro docks. They would get fish from the fishermen to sell to fish peddlers when they weren’t busy unloading boats and sorting fish.
In 1981 the families came together again when Anthony Cigliano and his children purchased the company from Uncles Jack and Frank. Over the next several years each of Anthony’s children joined the daily operations of Santa Monica Seafood as the company continued to expand.
In 1985 a second retail/wholesale facility was opened in Orange County to serve a business that had pushed into Palm Springs, San Diego and Las Vegas. The new location, with its retail space and larger warehouse facilities, served to further extend the reach of Santa Monica Seafood. In 1997 a retail-only store was opened in Costa Mesa to further the company’s exposure to local consumers. More recently, the wholesale operations were streamlined in 2002, when the warehouses in Orange and Santa Monica were combined at the company’s new corporate headquarters in Rancho Dominguez, CA.
After more than 40 years at its location on Colorado Avenue, the first Santa Monica Seafood retail store was relocated to Wilshire Blvd. where it boasts an incredible refrigerated seafood display, grocery products from around the world and a small café featuring the freshest seafood sold in the Southwest. Also, in 2009, the Company opened a new Las Vegas office with docking and storage facilities.

Jack Deluca founded Santa Monica Seafood with the philosophy, “Provide the highest quality product at a fair and reasonable price.” Today his great-nephews are carrying on that tradition with a new purpose. Anthony Cigliano’s second-born son, Anthony, is the President of the company. He directly oversees a purchasing department that is at the cutting edge of seafood sustainability. Recently the company joined with the Monterey Bay Aquarium to promote and develop new and better ways to source seafood that conform to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative. The philosophy of providing the highest quality product now demands ethical and sustainable sourcing of fish and education of both customers and the public at large.
The Cigliano family is at the forefront of preservation and aquaculture efforts to ensure the bounty of our seas for generations to come and their love of the sea remains unabated. Our story is the past, the present, and the future of the seafood industry.