Many moons ago the Little Old Winemaker at Italian Swiss Colony in Asti used to say that every year was a vintage year in California. This implied California’s weather was ideal and varied little from year to year. However, in the 30+ years I’ve been in the business I have never seen a vintage which hasn’t been unique.

Mike T. Having said that, isn’t it true that good wine is made every year?
Evelyn. Yes, if growers and winemakers work together they can usually react favorably to any curve balls Mother Nature may throw.
Mike T. So what are these curve balls?
Evelyn. The usual suspects – frost, heat spikes, rain, fire . . . . . . . .
Mike T. Let’s take them one at a time. Frost.
Evelyn. The window for frost is relatively short, from late March to early May, but severe damage can occur. Uneven sets and reduced yields can result, as occurred in 2008 and to a lesser extent in 2009.
Mike T. Rain?
Evelyn. Rain can be a problem. Early in the season rain and cool weather can delay grape cluster development, and chances increase for the appearance of mildew and mold. Rains during harvest can foster mildew, lower sugars and dilute the flavors of the grapes. Not good.
Mike T. Like last year.
Evelyn. Precisely. Fortunately most of our own grapes had already been picked, but several clients lost both volume and quality.
Mike T. And fire?
Evelyn. Not usually a problem around here, but in 2008 the huge fires in Mendocino and Napa resulted in some smoke tainted wines from nearby vineyards. It’s a bigger problem in Australia, where the recent years of drought has increased the frequency and severity of wildfires.
Mike T. Nothing else?
Evelyn. Well, you’ve got parasitic wasps, leaf worms, moths, mites, phylloxera, Pierce’s Disease, powdery mildew, rots of various kinds, deer, turkeys, birds. . . . . . . . .
Mike T. STOP! I need a glass of wine.

Fabulous Frittata

With warm weather approaching and our chickens producing full tilt, it’s time to think eggs. A frittata is an easy, versatile and delicious meal – and it is well matched with a glass of Taft Street Rose of Pinot Noir!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ onion sliced
  • ¾ cup of cheese
  • 6-8 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Put olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Beat eggs with salt and pepper, then add cheese. Pour over onions and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Cook until eggs are barely set, 5-10 minutes. You can set them further by putting in a 350 oven for a few minutes, or under the broiler for a very short time.
  3. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4. Don’t forget the Taft Street Rose of Pinot Noir!

May Days

The rains have finally ended, the vines are abloom, and Northern California’s blessedly short winter is a thing of the past. It’s time for flip flops, barbecue and Taft Street wine!

In the winery it’s mostly bottling for clients. We will soon release our 2009 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, as inventory on the 2008 Chardonnay is quickly disappearing. The 2009 model is a beauty, as Evelyn White has again worked her magic on Sonoma County’s premier white grape variety.

May is a busy month for everyone at the winery. We have just finished taking part in Bodega Bay’s annual Fishermen’s Festival; where good music, wine, and weather (!) combined for a very festive weekend. Next weekend we’ll participate in the Western Sonoma County Wineries Association Mother’s Day Open House (Sunday, May 8th). The big event for the month is our spring President’s Club party. This year we are bringing in local favorite band Bottle Shock, with added surprises and a new twist in our food service. Stay tuned.

We at Taft Street wish the very best to longtime sales maven, wonderful addition to the Taft Street family, and all round delight – Laurie Keith, as she marries the very lucky Tim Orr this weekend in Sacramento.

If you haven’t been to wine country lately, this is an especially good time. The weather hasn’t turned too hot, the crowds are not overwhelming, and the wines are fabulous. You don’t even need to call ahead.


Mike Tierney
President, Taft Street Winery