Friday, February 27, 2015



Sinor-LaVallee was founded in 1997 by Mike Sinor and Cheri LaVallee-Sinor. Starting with the 2013 our wines are all from our Estate vineyard in Avila Beach with an Ocean View. There we have of Pinot Noir (8 clones) , Syrah, Chardonnay (3 clones), Pinot Gris and Albarino (planted on 3ft terraces).

In February 2015 we will have a tasting room in Avila Beach one block from the Ocean.

Our journey began almost 23 years ago, when we met at college in San Luis Obispo and started working at local wineries. The wine bug bit us hard, and the Pinot Noir bug bit us even harder. We were young and a little crazy. The Central Coast still had to prove itself, and so did we. Game on.

We kept at it, grinding out one harvest after another, consuming the craft of winemaking, and studying the art of Pinot Noir. We got married in Burgundy. We had two beautiful children. Experience led to opportunity, and opportunity led to more experience, and both led to fanaticism. And from fanaticism our little winery was born.

Sharing what we do is why we do it. We hope you enjoy our wines.

Mike Sinor is recognized as one of the Central Coast's highest-rated winemakers. Wines made by Mike have scored 96 points in the WineSpectator™, 95 points in Connoiseur's Guide™, 92 points in Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate™ and 95 points in Wine Enthusiast™. In 2012 Mike was voted as Winemaker of the Year for San Luis Obispo County.

The word that best describes Mike is "Fanatical." He is a self-made winemaker with no formal winemaking education who worked his way up from "cellar rat" through grit, determination and sheer love of wine.

Raised in Visalia, CA, Mike attended California Polythechnic State University at San Luis Obispo with the objective of becoming a high school shop teacher. He financed his college education by working at several local wineries -- an experience that ignited his passion for the craft of making wine. Mike met his future wife, Cheri LaVallee, in a chemistry class at CalPoly (now that's Chemistry 101).

Mike has traveled to France on numerous occasions, delving into the winemaking experiences of Burgunday, Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley. He also took a winemaking sabbatical to Australia's Margaret River in 2001. These travels are integral to his winemaking fabric and outlook.

Winemaker and proprietor of Sinor-LaVallee Wine Company
Director of Winemaking at Ancient Peaks in Paso Robles
Consulting Winemaker for Center of Effort in the Edna Valley
President of San Luis Obispo Vintners Association

Winemaker at Domaine Alfred Winery (now Chamisal)  in Edna Valley (2000 to 2006)
Assistant Winemaker at Byron Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley (1994 to 2000)
Cellar gigs with numerous Central Coast wineries (1991 to 1994)
Board of Directors of the World of Pinor Noir event held in Pismo Beach each year



The Chappellet Story
For nearly five decades, the Chappellet family has been crafting world-class wines from fruit cultivated on the steep, rocky slopes of Napa Valley’s renowned Pritchard Hill. As one of the first wineries to pioneer high-elevation hillside planting, and one of the few remaining great family-owned Napa Valley wineries, Chappellet Vineyard has influenced generations of vintners. Throughout its history, Chappellet has also established an enduring legacy as one of California’s most acclaimed producers of Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Chappellets’ romance with Pritchard Hill began when Donn and Molly Chappellet first glimpsed the mountain’s spectacular vistas in the late 1960s. Inspired by the notion that Bacchus loves the hills, Donn and Molly followed the advice of legendary winemaker André Tchelistcheff and settled on the rocky eastern slopes of the Napa Valley. There, on the mountain’s serene and picturesque hillsides, the Chappellets established their home and winery, raising their children and cultivating the vineyards.

Since being founded by Donn and Molly in 1967, Chappellet has earned acclaim championing the robust power and complexity of wines crafted from mountain grapes. At the same time, Chappellet has helped to establish Pritchard Hill as one of California’s most revered winegrowing sites. To honor the mountain’s rich, expressive character, the winemaking team focuses on creating extraordinary, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignons that embody the intensity and finesse of fruit from Pritchard Hill.

Today, a second generation of the Chappellet family has embraced their parents’ love of the mountain’s inviting spirit and exceptional vineyards. Led by Cyril and Carissa Chappellet, who oversee the day-to-day operations of the winery, this new generation also includes Jon-Mark, Dominic, Lygia and Alexa Chappellet, who are active board members dedicated to building upon Chappellet’s reputation for excellence. Equally important, this second generation is passionate about preserving the land by continuing Donn and Molly’s intimate approach to winegrowing. In order to ensure the health and wellbeing of Pritchard Hill for generations to come, the Chappellet family meticulously cultivates their estate vineyards using hands-on sustainable and organic farming techniques, with a constant eye towards quality.

In addition to the dedicated second generation of the family, which has joined Donn and Molly in contributing to the ongoing success of Chappellet, the winery benefits from a talented team, which includes gifted winemaker Phillip Corallo-Titus and vineyard manager Dave Pirio—each of whom possesses decades of experience working at Chappellet. Applying their wealth of knowledge, and their comprehensive understanding of the estate’s 34 distinctive vineyard blocks, the Chappellet team handcrafts extraordinary wines that showcase the authentic charm and personality of Pritchard Hill.

Though focused on crafting limited quantities of benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon for almost 50 years, the Chappellet portfolio also includes exceptional Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. While consistently setting the standard for mountain-grown wines, Chappellet has earned high praise from critics and a devoted following from many of the world’s premier collectors.

Cyril Chappellet - Chairman of the Board

Moving to Pritchard Hill when he was 10 years old, Cyril Chappellet has witnessed the
transformation of the Napa Valley into one of the world’s great winegrowing regions. The eldest son of Molly and Donn Chappellet, Cyril grew up working in the vineyard and winery. At 18, Donn and Molly encouraged Cyril to make his own career choices and to explore life away from the family business.

After studying farm management at Cal Poly and completing his business education at
Pepperdine University, Cyril began a career in corporate planning and acquisitions. In 1988, after nearly a decade of honing his business skills, Cyril returned to Pritchard Hill to join the Chappellet team. “The finest wineries around the world reflect a commitment that goes beyond one generation,” says Cyril. “At Chappellet, this ongoing commitment is key to our continued ability to make extraordinary wines. It has also elevated Pritchard Hill as one of the world’s finest locations for producing ultra-premium wine.”

Prior to being named chairman of the board, Cyril spent many years as the winery’s managing director. In this role, he was instrumental in guiding the day-to-day workings of the winery, overseeing sales and marketing efforts and working with his parents and siblings to ensure the ongoing vitality of the business. During his tenure as managing director, Chappellet was recognized for making some of the finest wines in its storied history, and Pritchard Hill catapulted to center stage as California’s premier location for mountain-grown Bordeaux varietals, most notably, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cyril was elected chairman of the winery’s family-run board of directors in 2012, becoming the only person other than his father, Donn, to hold this position in the history of Chappellet Vineyard. Today, Cyril is actively involved in every aspect of the winery’s operations and works closely with his family to ensure the continued success of Chappellet.

Cyril’s intimate connection with Pritchard Hill, where he lives with his wife Blakesley and their quarter horses, Dragon, Patron and Rico, often finds him lending a skilled hand wherever needed. Whether building a horse corral, driving a forklift in the winery, or barbecuing for guests, Cyril enjoys being hands-on. “Doing whatever it takes is the nature of a family business,” says Cyril. “It is also part of the charm.”

In addition to the many hats he wears at Chappellet, Cyril has been a board member of the Napa Valley Vintners Association, of which Chappellet was the 18th registered member. (There are 425 members today.) He is also actively involved with the Wine Service Co-Op that Chappellet helped to found in 1972. Cyril also served as chair of the 2012 Auction Napa Valley, which raised $8.2 million for local charities. When not working on behalf of Chappellet or the Napa Valley wine industry, Cyril is an avid horseman, and a member of the Charlie Russell Riders andLos Rancheros Visitadores.


Friday, February 13, 2015



Spreti is the wine buyer for Anne’s Boutique Wines in Costa Mesa, California. As the wine buyer, Spreti specializes in procuring the best small production wines from all around the world.  As the Sommelier and buyer, Spreti meets with winemakers, importers and winery owners to sample many wines each week. From these wines, a limited few – the best of small producers are chosen to be featured in weekly tastings and in the three wine club she oversees. Spreti has served as a wine judge for the prestigious International Los Angeles Wine and Spirits Competition for the past two consecutive years and is currently mentoring several aspiring Certified Sommeliers while she herself prepares for the Advanced Sommelier exam. Spreti was first introduced to wine by her mother, who owned a wine and spirits store in Guatemala City, Guatemala. During her college years, she further immersed herself in the world of wine through studies abroad in France and South America.

Anne’s Boutique Wines
Anne’s Boutique Wines is a wine shop located in the heart of coastal Orange County.  With an incredible selection of small production wines, hard-to-find wines in a super-friendly atmosphere. Wine tastings are conducted three times a week and boasts a by-the-glass wine list that rivals many restaurants.  Our shop maintains a database on each client’s palate to further enhance their wine enjoyment experience.   Our wine club is “avant-garde” in style, to educate and introduce our members to new wines and varietals from all around the world.  Many famous winemakers host events in our tasting room each month.  We are on our 6th year in business.

Anne’s Boutique Wines is a known as “Orange County’s Best Kept Secret” in the top five “BEST WINE SHOP” by Orange County’s City Voter. (2nd to HiTimes)


In the mid-1970’s, due to a normal teenage interest in alcoholic beverages, my family allowed me to make some wine from the family vineyard and beer at home (under adult supervision, of course). This led to a UC Davis degree as well as concurrent work at a local winery doing the dirtiest and most menial jobs imaginable. In the mid-1980’s good friends at Duxoup Wine Works (think Marx Brothers for the pronunciation) inspired me to try my hand at my own label so I negotiated cellar space in lieu of a raise by my then-current employer, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards in Anderson Valley (I got a raise anyway). Greenwood Ridge was supportive of my project and decided to have some Scherrer Zinfandel produced for their label as well. Unfortunately, I had a poor business plan and during the first year I realized I was not yet ready for this project. Greenwood Ridge continues to make a small amount of Scherrer Vineyard Zinfandel to this day.

Enter Dehlinger Winery in the late 1980’s. Tom Dehlinger was very supportive of my long-term plans and challenged me to develop a solid business plan, facilitating an important entry into my own project. In return, his winery received my heart and soul for a decade. The final key element in our getting started was from my parents. They allowed me to delay paying them for their fine grapes until we began getting cash flow from our wine sales. By 1997, we were ready to make the move to a facility of our own. In anticipation of this, we were able to add Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay to supplement the Zinfandel we were producing, all from my father’s vineyard in Alexander Valley. Tom Dehlinger supported this transition of my focus, allowing me to produce these additional wines in his facility and we parted very amicably after that vintage.

And so after the harvest of 1997, I moved our operation to a corner of an apple packing shed-turned-winery, finally leasing the entire building. During this period, our production grew from just the three varietals from Scherrer Vineyard, to now typically a dozen wines, about half of which are Pinot Noir. Total production is now 4000 to 5000 cases. My good friend, Don Bliss helped me whenever I needed a hand (or a finger to dial 911 in the unlikely event of a forklift mistake) throughout this period until he sold his fine vineyard and moved back to his native Texas in 2006. Since then, I have been able to impose on a handful of friends and local customers when I have needed help, but still continue to work at the winery pretty much alone most of the year. Judi, my wife, has handled administrative and compliance for the winery since 2002, keeping me out of trouble with bureaucrats and making sure we are able to conform with the complex and changing world of direct shipping and wholesaling laws, reports and fees.

Friday, February 6, 2015



A complex man with simple pleasures, high standards and soulful values.

Wine has always been a part of Ben's life. A native San Franciscan of Italian descent, Ben grew up with wine as part of every family meal and gathering. His grandpa made his own red wine blend in the basement, where Ben listened and learned.

Ben's heritage and love for wine always beckoned. The passion caught fire in his early twenties as he explored wines from around the world—Bordeaux and an occasional high-end California Cabernet. But the wines that really turned Ben’s head were Burgundies from 1956 and '57. Seduced by those captivating aromas and elegant nuances, Ben volunteered to work during harvest at a friend's Sonoma County winery specializing in Pinot Noir. There he honed his craft and never looked back.

During his 37-year career with the San Francisco Newspaper Agency, Ben met future partner Bruce Perry. Through their common passions—cooking and wine—they became fast friends.
Today, the Papapietro Perry cellar is simply a more elaborate version of Ben’s garage where he started making wine more than 25 years ago. "Authentic, not pretentious," says Ben. "Confident, but not too serious. Humble. The winery is an extension of my home and personal hospitality."
Maybe that is why one corner of the cellar is dedicated to a makeshift kitchen where family favorites are prepared for the staff, and the occasional lucky friend who drops by at lunchtime.
In Ben's words, "cooking and wine are indistinguishable." He simply cannot imagine one without the other.

When Ben isn't in the cellar or the kitchen, he and his wife Yolanda like to travel and pour Papapietro Perry wines wherever they land. Yolanda joined the family business in 2009 handling distributor relations and enjoys pouring with Ben at events. When they're not traveling, Ben and Yolanda enjoy spending time with their two grandsons.

When asked what style of wine we make, the response is always ‘great wines’.  After we’ve all laughed, the real answer emerges. After almost 30 years of winemaking, we still firmly believe in a minimalist approach—allowing the wine to express itself and reflect the growing season through the nuances that appear from vintage to vintage. For this to happen and to produce those ‘great wines’, it is vital to pay attention to every detail; carefully attending to every step of the winemaking process, yet always with a light hand. We don’t over-extract or over-oak our wines. We give the wines the fermentation and aging environments that allow them to become exceptional—so we can smell and taste what the fruit has to offer us.

Consistency is another element to our style. We cold-soak all the grapes for two to four days before fermenting, use the same cultured yeast and same type of François Frères barrels for 11-12 months of oak aging for our Pinot Noirs and 12-17 months for our Zinfandels.

Our vineyard and clonal designates are all kept separate throughout the winemaking and aging process.  Midway through the aging process (usually around Spring) we taste through the barrels and blend the wines together to make the vineyard and Clonal designate wines.  Our winemaking team tastes through the wine in the barrels in order to determine which blend of clones and or vineyards allows the best flavors and nuances to show through.

What varies from year to year is how the growing season affects the flavor profile of the grapes. Our goal is to let the grapes speak through the finished wine. Those vintage differences are a piece of the charm in both winemaking and wine drinking.



HALL Wines produces critically acclaimed artisan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, available to taste and buy at two tasting room and winery locations in Napa Valley. Owned by Craig and Kathryn Walt Hall, its vineyard collection features five Certified Organic estates producing classic Bordeaux varietals. Each vintage, Director of Winemaking Steve Leveque crafts 16 distinct Cabernet Sauvignon wines which demonstrate the unique characteristics and diversity of Napa Valley. HALL’s highly rated wines include the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon selected as Wine Spectator’s #18 of the 2010 ‘Top 100’, the 2008 “Kathryn Hall” Cabernet Sauvignon that earned #2 of the “Top 100” Wines also in Wine Spectator, and its 2010 ‘Exzellenz’ awarded 100 points by Robert Parker, Wine Advocate. Since the first vintage in 2002, over 75 HALL Wines have been rated 94 points and above. HALL Wines employs high-density plantings and small vine viticulture combined with two cutting-edge, gravity-flow wineries to produce the highest quality wines. In addition, the HALL St. Helena winery was the first LEED® Gold Certified Winery in the State of California in 2009 and earned another LEED® Gold certification for its high tech production facility and modern tasting room in 2014, making HALL Wines pioneers in the use of green buildings for the wine industry. Each of HALL’s state-of-the-art winemaking facilities and tasting rooms combine modern art and architecture matched with spectacular settings. For more information, please visit, @hallwines, or by calling 707.967.2626.

Jeff Zappelli has been at the helm of the Direct to Consumer (DTC) initiatives at HALL Wines since 2006. After six years managing restaurants, including three years at San Francisco-based Morton’s Steakhouse, Zappelli jumped to the producer side, joining a small wine industry startup whose goal was to scale DTC sales at a mid-to-large size winery. Since 2006, Jeff’s primary initiatives included growing the HALL membership programs, technology software development, fulfillment programs, outbound sales, E-Commerce and CRM strategies. In 2012, HALL launched a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay label under WALT, leveraging direct programs, providing roadmap for scalable brand acquisition and growth. While building effective business strategies is important, Zappelli believes that building personal relationships is the core mission of both HALL and WALT Wines’ current and future success. Additionally, Zappelli has extensive experience in strategic partnerships, distribution agreements, contract services sales, international sales strategies, and luxury brand product marketing.

Born in Seattle, Zappelli attended High School in Mountain View, CA and later graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a Bachelor’s of Science in Bio-Psychology. He currently resides in Marin County with his wife and three children. When he’s not being dad, Zappelli enjoys traveling, snowboarding, kayaking and training for outdoor sports races in Lake Tahoe.

Wine and Food Pairing Challenge with 100% of Ticket Sales to Benefit Napa Valley and Bay Area Charities

NAPA VALLEY, CA (February 5, 2015) – Joined by a prominent panel of judges such as Ken Frank, Virginie Boone, Ian White and more, the HALL Cabernet Cookoff will return for a sixth year on April 25 featuring an all-star line-up of both Napa Valley and San Francisco based chef teams. Bringing together foodies and wine for a culinary pairing challenge, chef teams will compete before a panel of all-star judges for a local charity of their choice by creating small bites paired with HALL 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. 100% of proceeds from ticket sales and 100% of donations made online and from sponsors will go directly to charities. During the event, guests will be invited to taste farm-to-table dishes from each chef team paired with HALL wine, and then vote on their favorite for the People’s Choice Award.

“The Cabernet Cookoff is a fun way to experience the great Napa Valley cuisine, wonderful wines, and help our community,” says vintner, Kathryn Walt Hall. “Everyone involved with this event including our generous sponsors, talented Bay Area and Napa Valley chef teams, enthusiastic non-profit organizations and the entire HALL and WALT staff all donate their time to create a spectacular day. Every year, everyone at the Cab Cookoff comes out a winner.”

The 2014 HALL Cabernet Cookoff drew more than 600 culinary and wine lovers for a sold out crowd and raised $48,000 for local charities. Last year’s winning culinary teams included One Market Restaurant and Paula Le Duc Catering who took top honors for their selected charities, Napa Hospice & Adult Day Service and St. Helena Hospital Foundation.

6th Annual HALL Cabernet Cookoff, celebrating a clutch of popular culinary teams competing in a food and wine pairing challenge with 100% of ticket sales to benefit local charities.
HALL and WALT Wines, Celebrity chef teams, local charities, sponsors, community members and an acclaimed panel of judges including:                      
 Ken Frank, Executive Chef, La Toque Napa                                              
Virginie Boone, Wine Editor, Wine Enthusiast                              
Ian White, Wine Country Editor, San Francisco Magazine                            
Lars Kronmark, Chef/Culinary Institute of America Instructor            
Returning chef teams this year includes Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ, Ca Momi, Farmers Market Pantry, Feast Catering, The Grill at Meadowood, Paula Le Duc Catering, the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, and more.

Saturday, April 25 2015
11:00am – 2:00pm PST

HALL Wines, St. Helena – The Great Lawn  
401 St. Helena Hwy. South  
St. Helena, CA 94574    
(707) 967-2626

Early Bird $70.00 (until April 1)                    
General Admission Ticket $80.00 (after April 1 and at the door)          
VIP Sky Lounge $125 (private access to our Bergfeld Loft,
VIP service of our limited production Bergfeld wine, specially catered food pairings, and knowing you are helping the community even more!)
The HALL Cabernet Cookoff is a community fundraising event organized by HALL Wines. For more information, please visit or via social channels using #cabcookoff.