I am sitting in the Atlantic Airport, waiting for my connecting flight to San Francisco. For the past three days I have toured the west coast of Florida, visiting Total Wine & More stores and conducting tastings in Orlando, Tampa, St Petersburg, Sarasota, Ft Myers and Naples. A grueling schedule, but the response to our wines was heartening, and the perfect weather was very welcome. A couple of highlights for me included seeing the after church crowd descend on the Naples store; and bumping into an old friend who once owned a wine shop in Sag Harbor in New York and was now working in Sarasota.

The harvest is over and a calm of sorts has returned to the winery. The bottling line is open for business, however; so there is always plenty to do.

We had a great time at the recent Russian River Wine Road Wine and Food Affair, held the weekend of November 4th and 5th. We had our biggest crowds ever, with over 180 visitors on Sunday. I made and smoked 40 pounds of sausage (over 30 feet!) to pair with our 2007 Russian River Valley Zinfandel Cobblestone Vineyard and our 2006 Dry Creek Valley Syrah St Emydius Acres. Yum!

Later this week it’s off to Phoenix, where we will visit the Total Wine & More stores in the area, pouring our wines and spreading the Taft Street word. The fun just never ends.

With Thanksgiving coming up fast, time is running out on our Turkey Day Special. The focus will be on our 2008 Mendocino Gewurztraminer and the 2008 Russian River Valley Riesling – both GOLD MEDAL winners. Buy six and pay for five (yes, you can mix and match). We pay the shipping! So give Kaitlyn a call (800) 334-TAFT and get your Thanksgiving Beverages.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Mike Tierney

Harvest – Mission Accomplished

We gave Harvest 2009 a fitting farewell last Saturday. Under perfect fall skies we gathered the Taft Street family, including growers and other folks with ties to the winery; and had ourselves a party! We built a fire pit and started a fire with a load of oak and a couple of old wine barrels and let it roar for four and a half hours. Then we loaded the grill with a full sirloin, New York and filet (58 pounds total) and cooked. We gathered on the crush pad between tanks filled with new wine and watched the moon rise. We also enjoyed several bottles of Taft Street wine. A good time was had by all.

The harvest went quite smoothly, and for us at Taft Street it couldn’t have gone much better. All our grapes came in before the mid October rainstorm, and indications point to excellent wines. Some of our custom crush clients had grapes hanging and there was some problem with rot, but the good weather which followed the storm helped salvage most of the grapes. Things are slowly getting back to normal at the winery, with 14 hour days a thing of the past. Attention is now focused on following fermentations, getting wines into barrel, and cleaning equipment.

October was a busy month for everyone. While Evelyn and her crew were making wine, Mike Martini changed his cellar outfit for something a bit more presentable and worked with our distributor in Florida. I hit the Boston and New York markets, and then was off to Denver to catch their first snowfall of the season. Next week I’ll visit Florida, and the following week will be in the Phoenix area. We are seeing an increase in sales activity in most of our markets – a hopeful sign.

November is always a big month in the Tasting Room. This weekend we will participate in the Wine and Food Affair, when more than 150 wines in the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley offer wine pairing with specially prepared foods. I’ll make smoked sausages, which we’ll pair with our 2007 Russian River Valley Zinfandel Cobblestone Vineyard and our 2006 Dry Creek Valley Syrah St. Emydius Acres. Kaitlyn reports October was our best month ever in the Tasting Room – kudos to Kaitlyn and her staff!

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we have decided to promote two wines which go especially well with turkey and all the trimmings. Until Thanksgiving we will offer six bottles of either the 2008 Russian River Valley Riesling and/or the 2008 Mendocino Gewurztraminer for the price of five. On top of that we will through in free shipping! The Riesling won a Best of Class at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair; the Gewurztraminer a Gold Medal at the Mendocino County Fair. It’s time to act now to gussy up your Thanksgiving table.

We note with sadness the passing of longtime Sonoma County resident and musician Norton Buffalo. Norton’s music graced innumerable Taft Street parties and that tradition will continue. R.I.P. Norton Buffalo.

All for now. My blog will be around the 15th of the month.


Mike Tierney

Chimichurri Sauce

The inspiration for our fire pit cooking came from an Argentine recipe – Una Vaca Entera. This recipe called for “1 medium cow, about 1400 pounds, butterflied, skin removed.” We decided to start with something a bit more manageable, and our Saturday party was a big success. Chimichurri sauce is a staple of Argentine cooking, and it varies from region to region; but the basics include parsley, garlic and olive oil. Makes 2 cups.


  • 2 cups parsley leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • salt
  1. Combine parsley with salt, garlic pepper flakes, and half the oil in a food processor. Process, scrapping down the sides of the container if necessary.
  2. Add vinegar and the rest of the oil and process.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve with a wide variety of dishes. It was a real hit with grilled steak!

Zinfandel and Syrah are natural fits for steak with chimichurri sauce – Taft Street of course.