The most successful Russian River Wine Road Barrel Tasting weekends have just finished. Over the past two weekends we have introduced a pair of Pinot Noirs: a 2008 Mendocino County Pinot Noir (115 cases); and a 2008 Sonoma County Pinot Noir (111 cases). We bottled them with our original (think 1982) label, designed by Maureen Bragdon. These “heritage wines” will only be available on line www.taftstreetwinery.com starting April 1st. Stay tuned.

Gorgeous weather, St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness (two of my alma maters made it to The Dance – go St. Mary’s College Gaels and Cal Bears!) all spell Spring. However, an even more important event is now taking place – the vines are starting to push. Go vines! (update: we’re still rooting for St. Mary’s)

It has not been a great month for us at Taft Street in terms of health. First, I had some complications in a pacemaker procedure and enjoyed an overnight stay at Santa Rosa’s Memorial Hospital. Then Mike Martini suffered a stroke and a hole was discovered in his heart. A local columnist quipped the event was misdiagnosed – it had long been thought the hole was in Mike’s head! Finally, Laurie Keith, our California sales manager, was in an automobile accident in Los Angeles and her rental car was totaled. The good news is Laurie was not injured. Mike and I are on the mend – both back at work.

Am enjoying the last of a way too short visit from our son and his family from Shanghai. It doesn’t get much better than doting on one’s grandchild. They are off tomorrow, laden with Taft Street wine.

Speaking of China, just finished Peter Hessler’s COUNTRY DRIVING:

A Journey Through China From Farm To Factory. Hessler takes us with him on a fascinating, often hilarious journey by car through a country experiencing dramatic transformation. This is an intimate portrayal of a society by someone who knows the language and culture. Good stuff.

Next week I’ll be talking with winemaker Evelyn White on Pinot Noir. We’ll discuss the grape variety in general and describe the qualities of our two “heritage wines” in particular. Check it out www.taftstreetwinery.com.

Enjoy Spring – perhaps with a glass of Taft Street wine.



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