Sonoma County Harvest Fair

More than 1000 wines using Sonoma County Grapes are entered annually in Sonoma County Fair’s Professional Wine Competition. This competition is the largest regional wine competition in the nation. Judges — 25 of them — come from across the US, and from other countries to sit on a judging panel in three days of blind tastings. Their top selections are announced at the Annual Awards Night Gala.

Taft Street Awards

Mid-Month Musings

Harvest has finally arrived (sort of). We took in 5 tons of Pinot Gris on Monday (September 13th); but here we are on the 16th of September with nothing more to show for ourselves. That will change, as tomorrow we expect a significant amount of Pinot Noir. Things should change big time next week, especially if some rain arrives as predicted over the weekend. Another very untypical harvest season.

We had a great time at the 15th annual Tomato Fest, held last weekend at our Dry Creek Valley home. Over 90 friends of the tomato gathered with heirloom tomatoes from as far away as Delaware(!) to taste tomatoes, eat tomato based dishes, and enjoy Taft Street wines.

We lucked out on the weather, with perhaps the year’s most glorious day – temperature in the low 80’s, with a warm evening, and no yellow jackets (a rarity for this time of year).

With summer fading quickly and the days noticeably getting shorter, our focus alters with the season. The next month is semi organized chaos, as grapes come in when ripe – not necessarily when we can handle them most easily. Somehow it all gets done, and sometime late in October or early November it will all be over and we will breathe a collective and exhaustive sigh of relief.

It’s also pedal to the metal time in the kitchen, as preserving the season’s produce is the order of the day. With apple cider vinegar and verjus completed, the major tasks ahead include canning 100+ pounds of tomatoes, and drying figs from five fig trees. Somehow, our brains got obsessed with figs and we ended up with 5 trees – 4 too many. Fortunately we have some friends who make chutneys/jams with whatever we don’t dry.
The last remaining garden job is harvesting our own vineyard. Our Syrah came in at 21.9 brix yesterday. We like to pick at 22.5 – 23.0, so it looks like Sunday or Monday, depending on the weather. This year we will make a Rose for the first time. We are quite excited about the project, especially since my brother John will be helping in the winemaking. An added bonus is the wine should be ready for this holiday season!

Another chapter.

Mike Tierney

Weather Woes

Mother Nature dealt yet another woe to North Coast grape growers last week, as 105+ degree temperatures were experienced throughout the area. What made the situation particularly dire was the fact that many growers had trimmed the canopies of the vines to allow more air circulation to combat potential mildew. This left the grape bunches susceptible to sunburn. Vineyards with a southern exposure were affected the most. Warm weather is continuing, and we may see some harvest action within the next couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, Evelyn and the cellar crew have finished the bottling for the moment, and the crew is busy inspecting and preparing equipment, cleaning and getting ready. Vineyard inspections are picking up as well.

We have entered nine wines in this year’s Sonoma County Harvest Fair, with the Awards Night scheduled for September 28th. Meanwhile, Laurie continues her travels throughout the state, opening new markets as she goes.

Kaitlyn and Greg are meeting and greeting an ever increasing number of visitors to the Tasting Room. With the busy season upon us, 2010 should be our best year ever.

Never a dull moment. With the harvest upon us, the Harvest Fair coming up, our fall President’s Club party on the wings – we barely have time enough to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine. But we do.


Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery

Chicken Tomatillo Enchiladas

Here’s a green take on lasagna/enchiladas; with tomatillos and cilantro playing major roles. It’s a good dish to serve on those warm September nights.


  • 2 pounds tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
  • 12 ounces chicken broth
  • 2 cups green onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups cilantro, chopped
  • 2 serrano chiles, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 12 six inch corn tortillas
  • 4 cups cooked chicken meat, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound queso blanco, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup half and half
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Mix tomatillos, broth, garlic, cumin in saucepan. Cover, bring to boil, lower heat and cook about 10 minutes. Put in food processor, add cilantro, onions, chiles and coarsely puree.
  2. Overlap 6 tortillas in a 13 X 9 baking dish. Top with half chicken, queso blanco and half tomatillo sauce. Repeat. Pour ½ and ½ on top and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Serve with an chilled glass of Taft Street Russian River Valley Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.